Have you been injured doing the insanity workout? Were you unable to do one or more days of exercise? You aren’t alone, and that isn’t always a bad thing. Chances are pretty high that it was either an honest mistake (tripped on the carpet and sprained an ankle) or the result of over training (pushing beyond the body’s abilities to recover.)
More people nurse injuries on the insanity workout than would like to admit it.
The question is: how should you deal with it?
The fact that you are even asking this question is a good sign. It shows that you are listening to your body and trying to find out what it needs. This is a great first step. The next steps really vary based on how strict you are with yourself and why you are doing the workout in the first place.
Some injuries like broken bones, torn ligaments, and severe shin splints can take months to heal. If you have one of these kinds of injuries consult your physician. Period. You are already injured, the only way to make it worse is to keep pushing your body after it has failed.
On the other hand, sprained ankles, sore knees, jammed fingers and a host of other mysterious aches and pains can be thought of as gentle warning signs. You have started to do things with your body that it doesn’t like. It isn’t ready to fully shut down, but you had better listen to it or else it will. These are the types of injuries that I am thinking of, and the ones that we will recover from.
The first thing to do is to stop exercising. If your knee starts popping, or you roll an ankle doing the heisman – STOP. This type of pain is much different than muscle burn, or your lungs screaming for oxygen. Those are positive, and this pain is negative. Stop the exercise and cool down. Listen to your body and rest. If everyone followed this advice then the vast majority of people would never miss more than one or two workouts.
After you have stopped and cooled down – does it still hurt? Keep an eye on it for the next 24-48 hours. Take some tylenol, rehydrate your body, eat good food, and get plenty of sleep. Many people wear their bodies down by never giving them the time to build back up. If the pain is severe, or if there is any swelling then you should probably ice it, elevate it, and rest. If it’s still not improving by the morning, or the next night then you should consider talking to your doctor. Most of the time he will tell you to rest, and that is good advice!
I hope that I have hammered home one important point by now. Rest is the only thing that will heal you. Insaniacs are generally a group who are focused on one thing: exercising 6 days a week for 60 days. I understand that this is at odds with your healing, but you need to trust me. You are going to have to take (at least) a day off. Let’s go through your options
- You can simply pause where you left off. I think this is the best option most of the time. Who cares if you take 65 days to do the 60 day challenge? Even Superbowl All-Stars get injured! Simply adjust your schedule so that you redo the workout that you got injured on next week and carry on from there. Your fitness won’t take a huge hit from resting out for a few days, and your body desperately needs it.
- Start over. I have never really understood this one, but a lot of people have very strict rules for their own challenge. Maybe you are part of a group and you don’t want to be “with them” but 5 days behind. Maybe you just hold yourself up to a (ridiculously) strict standard. Some people will start over if they miss a day due to illness / injury / act of god / whatever. I think this is being too hard on yourself, but I promise I’m done judging you.
- Keep the calendar going and make up the missed exercises later. Ok, I lied, I’m not done judging. THIS IS THE WORST IDEA YET! Admit that you are injured, that it wasn’t your fault, and that you aren’t superhuman. Doing doubles a week from now is almost guaranteed to end in misery, and probably injury to boot. Get that chip off of your shoulder and pick a realistic option.
So I realize that only two of those are realistic, and I only really support one. Sorry if I’m being judgy, but we are all in this to get fitter, and some people are in this to lose weight. Both of those goals will still be accomplished if you take an extra 5 days to complete your challenge.
Returning to the workout.
While your body is healing is a good time to reflect on how you got injured. Was it just an accident? Was it bad form? Did you push too hard stretching? Was it something like a loose rug or your dog running through the room? All of those could be true, and you should prepare to prevent them from happening again. Focus on your form when you get started again. Stay within your limits. Maybe lock the dog up, and keep an eye out for things that may trip you up. If the pain gets worse, or if it simply doesn’t go away then maybe you need to rest some more.
If you follow these tips and listen to your body you should be back to working out soon, and you’ll be looking back from Day 60 in no time!
(sidenote – this was really weird. I wrote this on a friday, then bruised my rib snowboarding on saturday! I’ve taken two days off and I’m hoping to get back to it tomorrow morning. )