Recovering and Training While Injured

Please note: I’m not a doctor and I’m just sharing what I’m doing right now. You should see a doctor if you have an injury. Find a good physical therapist, chiropractor, massage therapist, trainer/coach and anyone else you may need on your team to help you recover from an injury properly. Since most of us are not training to play a professional sport, the number one thing we need to deal with when we’re injured is recovering in the way that makes sense long-term. It’s a heck of a lot better to take a few days/weeks/months now to get yourself squared away than it is to take a forced (likely longer) recovery later.

On Instagram yesterday I posted this photo and said I would explain why I am running and walking more than normal…and unfortunately, why I have NOT been lifting any heavy things or doing any pull-ups.

Walking More Often

I still think kettlebells are better than running and strength training is still my fitness passion. I’m not training for a marathon or anything “exciting” like that. I haven’t changed my mind and decided that doing crazy amounts of cardio is the answer to losing weight or staying lean. The simple reason I’m cardio-ing it up a lot more lately is that I was careless moving a barbell at the gym last week and screwed up my shoulder.

I had a mini pity-party for a few days, but I like to keep this blog (and really all things in my life) happy and positive so let’s not dwell on the negative. Instead, let’s talk about how you can recover from a shoulder injury and additionally how you can train around a shoulder injury!

As far as training goes, I ditched the training plan I was just starting to follow…let’s just say military presses are not gonna be on the agenda right now.

Instead, I’m staying active and using this as a time to appreciate what my body CAN do right now. I’m taking this as a time to deload and give my body a break from lifting heavy.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
-Arthur Ashe

It’s important to remember that every injury opens up an opportunity to learn more about your body. And guess what? That’s pretty important. Our bodies are smart and when we take the time to listen (and learn), good things happen. This is especially true for me as a coach. When I get injured and take the time to learn what helps with recovery, it’s a lot easier to help a client who’s going through something similar later.

The most important part of my recovery strategy is going to be my nutrition. I’m taking extra fish oil (for inflammation), making sure I take my vitamins, eating tons of veggies, getting enough protein, fat and carbs and just fueling my body appropriately to recover. You’d be surprised what a difference proper nutrition can make when you’re recovering from an injury.

When you’re injured, you may be tempted to give up on eating healthy and just throw in the towel until you get better. Not only is this a bad idea for your mood, physique and overall health, but it’s a bad idea for your recovery too. Your body works hard to heal when you are injured, but you need to help it along.

The second most important part of my recovery strategy is staying positive. Seriously, staying positive just helps. Besides, let’s face it. I have an injury. The world isn’t ending. My child is great. My husband has stepped up to the plate and has been ridiculously supportive. I can still train and now I get to be even more creative with what I’m doing. My lower body is gonna be strong. Man I really am lucky…see how that works?

Goofy Mike and Mandi

Another important tip: when you’re injured do not to work through pain. Again, listen to that smart body of yours and if something doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. One of my least favorite sayings is “Don’t stop when you’re injured, stop when you’re done.” I get it…goals are important, but really…when you’re injured, you are done. Do something else.

Fine. So I’m eating for recovery, staying positive and steering clear of pain. What else?

Five things I’m doing to help restore full mobility to my shoulder, improve shoulder stability and increase strength:

  1. Lots of time with the MarcPro recovery unit. This thing is AMAZING. I’ve been hooking up to it about 30 minutes twice a day and it really seems to be helping. The non-fatiguing muscle contractions help to deliver more oxygenated blood and nutrients to the area while at the same time moving related waste and deoxygenated blood away from the fatigued area. This exchange of nourishment and waste, without stress or fatigue, accelerates the recovery of the muscle.Check out my resources page in the right side bar for a discount code if you’re looking into getting one.
  2. Epsom salt baths. I’ve talked about my love for epsom salt baths before. They’re a game-changer for sore muscles. Plus they help me sleep. Sleep helps recovery too. Double win.
  3. Foam rolling. I’m spending extra time foam rolling, something I usually neglect! My hips and glutes will be happy even if my shoulder is a grump.
  4. Practicing patience. Good thing I wrote this post a few weeks ago. Strength takes time and patience.
  5. Recovery exercises. Once I gain back full range of motion (probably very soon…yay!) I’ll start doing a lot of scapular stability work, eventually progressing into things like arm bars, overhead walks and turkish get ups to restore stability in my shoulder and re-build strength.

Five ways I’m training while I am injured instead of becoming a couch potato:

  1. Walking. We won’t get into all the benefits of walking right now, but do know that it’s a restorative exercise (it’s hard to really overdo it) and it’s actual great for fat loss and decreasing your stress levels.
  2. Running. I’m planning to get into any crazy distance running like I used to do, but I love doing some intervals outside, jogging a few miles or even timing myself for a mile or two to see if I can beat my last time. Sometimes when my body feels good I may even go out for a “long” run like 4 or 6 miles. Running is not my favorite, but I love being outside right now while the whether is nice and it’s a good change of pace (pun intended) from the norm.
  3. Hill sprints. These are honestly the You can get in a killer training session in a short amount of time. Sprint up a hill. Walk down the hill for recovery. Repeat until you’re done.
  4. Getting creative with workouts at the gym. I’m working on a few different circuits I can do to keep strength in my legs. Yesterday I did some walking lunges, single leg RDLS and slide board. Random, but it did the trick and honestly it felt good to be at the gym and sweating after a week of resting, running and walking.
  5. Lighter weights and higher reps. Not my norm, but it will be fun to switch it up.

So that’s my plan…for now. I’m trying to recover smart while still training smart to stay strong and keep my body healthy and my mind happy.

When something bad happens you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.

Have you had an injury recently?

What are your strategies for recovery and continuing to train while you are injured?


  1. Thanks for being an inspiration!

    I have been doing lots of what you were talking about for my disc issues. It can get very discouraging when you are injured especially when you have recovered from one before like me. I’ll keep pressing forward and we will both be on top of our game again on no time at all.

    • Thank YOU for being an inspiration! Your commitment to improving your health over the last year+ has been really amazing and wonderful.

      You’re right…you’ll be better than ever soon. Just keep seeing the “magician”… :)

  2. Aww! Hope your shoulder recovers soon! And I agree with you on all that you say here, about nutrition, allowing yourself to recover (and allowing for some pity too!) and switching it up while you can. Rundate?! barre date?! 😉
    Jolene recently posted..A year later, yet so much more.

  3. Hope you heal quickly! I think staying positive is so key (well, after a brief pity party, you are allowed some time to “grieve”). Plus, if you’re looking at it from the right angle, it’s an opportunity.

    I’m super jealous of your weather right now, btw. Send some down here? :)
    Michelle recently posted..Volunteering at Second Harvest

    • It totally is an opportunity. I’m sure I’ll surprise my body in a few ways with the workouts I’ll do… :-)

      Always good to mix it up!!

      Awww…yes the weather is awesome. Let’s talk in November though. haha

  4. Hope you feel better quick. Sounds like you have a fantastic attitude about it!

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