Injuries Are Not Excuses!

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Unfortunately, injuries happen, whether they’re exercise-induced or a by-product of simply living life. Sometimes they can be avoided, sometimes they cannot. Here’s the thing: an injury is not an excuse to take a break from your health and often your fitness routine! Throughout our many years of working with clients and our peeps on the show, Chris and I have never come across an injury we can’t work around. Never. So even with an injury, you can continue working out—it will just require some modifications and creativity from you and your healthcare team to find what works best for you.

Coach Bob Brenner, our dear friend and contestant on season 3’s final episode of Extreme Weight Loss, is an awesome example of how to not let an injury sideline your transformation goals. Bob had barely begun his 365-day transformation journey when he suffered a torn left ACL on day 4. He was given the option to get surgery and wait until season 4, but he said “No!” So Chris and our awesome team worked around this knee injury. On day 53, while doing lunges (which he wasn’t supposed to be doing!), he tore the meniscus on his right knee. At this point most people would quit, but not Bob. He said, “If I have to crawl to my goal, that’s what I’m going to do.” And even with two injured knees and a knee scope before his day 270 weigh in, Bob set an Extreme Weight Loss record, losing 56.47% of his weight—253 pounds! And he was the first person to outperform Chris during a milestone. Two injuries did not stop Bob!

You can also reach your goals, like Bob did, even with an injury. If you can’t run, bike or walk, hit the pool, and use the arm bike. If you have an upper body injury, use the stationary bike. There are so many options available that there really is no excuse to put your exercise routine on hold. Again, your healthcare team can help you figure out what works best for you in your situation and help you learn how to avoid injuries in the future.

While injuries do happen, there are some things you can do to decrease your risk of being injured:

  • Always warm up and cool down. Always.
  • Stretch before and after every workout and throughout the day.
  • Ease into a new program or exercise.
  • Don’t stick to the same routine day after day—throw some cross training days into your schedule.
  • Know your “trouble” spots (knees, ankles, feet, elbows, etc.).
  • Listen to your body. Seek medical care sooner rather than later, and don’t try to “tough it out” because you could end up making your injury worse (which means a longer recovery period!).
  • Fuel your body with healthy foods and lots of water. We think carb cycling is a great option! 😉
  • Work with a certified trainer to learn how to work out correctly, especially if you’re new to strength training.
  • Dress appropriately for your workout. Be sure to wear a helmet when biking, the right shoes if you’re running (believe me—this is crucial!), and so forth.
  • Be sure to incorporate some rest days into your routine, and make sure you actually rest!

As frustrating and difficult and never-ending as they may feel, injuries are temporary. You’ll be back to your routine sooner than you think, with a newfound appreciation for having a healthy and injury-free body to move!

Xoxo,

Heidi


23 Comments

  1. Julie - July 11, 2017

    This past Sunday evening I tore or ruptured a muscle in my lower right abdominal area. Not sure if it was due to too short of a warm up before I tackled an obstacle course. I’ve been trying to take it easy and let it heal in the couple of days since but I’m afraid of losing all of the progress I’ve made if I’m unable to train for too long. I have a physical agility test for I’ve been training for to try to continue in my career field of choice but my current certification in that field expires in November if I don’t get hired on. Any recommendations on exercises I may still be able to do without causing further damage? Keeping my diet on track shouldn’t be a problem for me.
    Thanks.
    Julie

    • Team Powell - July 12, 2017

      Hi Julie: I’m so sorry to hear about this. 🙁 Since each injury can be a bit different, as well as the correct exercises to do while healing, it’s best to work with your healthcare team on any exercises while you’re healing since they understand the nature of your injury and can work with you personally. I hope you heal quickly and that your agility test goes well! 🙂

  2. No name - August 13, 2015

    Hello everyone,
    I hope this reaches everyone on this site in a timely manner as well as in good health, I have no excuses for my actions, I will not deny myself from who I am suppose to be,I will accept ” what I am” and mange things the best way that I know how. It’s very hard because I try and try and try and nothing ever changes. I’m ver discouraged. I don’t have the money to have the surgeries that would allow me to feel beautiful in my own skin,it’s something I’m forced to deal with on a daily basis.
    If anyone can help me I’d sure be greatful.
    Here’s my story:
    At 19 I noticed a breast lump- which it turned out to be ok, I just took it day by day, the breast lump was surgically removed and it left a scar, not horrible- but just a scar, over time that scar did kind of disappear, just not from my head. When I was 21 I had my child, I almost died giving birth to her due to a physicians error,luckily, I survived,here I am. At 22/24 I was diagnosed with level four endometriosis, which caused massive amounts of physical pain for me- within a few weeks tutors and cysts began to form, to make it short and sweet ( the doctors ordered me to have a Radical Hysterectomy T.AH.) they took everything and it threw me into surgical menopause at 29. Since being 29, oi haven’t beent able to lose any weight, I haven’t been able to gain any muscle mass, I have stayed the same weight if not heavier than before.its really messing me up as I already have an extremlly low self esteem of myself. In 2009 I broke my neck in a car accident, I was the passenger, I ended up having an Anterior Cervical Disectomy Fusion at levels C5-C6 it was very hard on me, very hard on my body, it took years from me that I’ll never get back,I was in a hard shell neck brace for almost 6-9 months in itself. During the surgery, the neurosurehon harvest my right hip bone to repair my tangled neck, yes, it’s very true, the hip pain is Very, Very, Very bad, it’s very bad and I often don’t know what to do because there’s times when I can’t hardly even walk properly anymore.in 2014 I had another issue with my neck after another car rear ended the car that I was in.( I ended up having yet another operation as well as a drain ) the reason for surgery was because when we were rear ended it caused my bones in my neck to shift or something and my neck became herniated. I then had my second neck surgery.( these are considered major surgeries where I live) this time it was at levels C4-C5, during the accident I also manage to hurt my lower back very badly, my bones, my muscle spasms, the pain just puts me to the floor- to this day- everyone knows that I require back ( lumbar) surgery but no one is stepping up to assist me, I’m in high levels of pain on a day to day basis and I don’t know what to do anymore. My lower back I have 3/4 dehydrated discs,2 very large disc hernia tigons which are compressing onto my spinal cord, I have nerve damage and I just want to feel a little bit better. I’m unable to hardly do any walking,intense moving, sitting for too long really hurts, standing up for too long is just as bad, my fine motor skills are going downhill fast, I’m not sure if it has something to do with the lack of blood from the nerves or what, but here recently I’ve been getting very bad headaches along with numbness and electrical shocks in my lower back and both legs. I need help. I need someone to help me, I’ve tried to help myself but by doing so I have only managed to make myself look stupid and the help is non existent. I just want my health back, people don’t understand how hard it is for me, it’s very hard. Heck, given the opportunity to have my back and neck fully fixed, to have my hips worked with, to have my knees checked out by a very good doctor I would not deny the help. Here recently a mass returned into my breast,in 2011 I had a phylloides tumor removed from my left breast,(2nd breast surgery) which became infected, to make it short I was hospitalized for just about 2.5 weeks in the oncology ward at the local hospital. I was taking college classes( which I failed and got deferred because of it) but I’ll figure that out. Here recently another few masses have formed not in my left breast, this time in my right, I currently have two oncologists1. Which is in Seattle wa at Virgina mason cancer center and another which is located in Spokane wa. I go in for a simple surgery on the 21st with hopes that something is fixed or changed anything. I don’t know what to expect for the rest of my life if my health continues to challenge me, it’s very frightening to me. I’ve managed in my short 34 years of life to have just about every surgery a female needs.( or close to it)
    Yes I’m 34. Yes I’m in menopause since 29( which has been a very hard thing for me-it still is), I can’t have anymore children, I do have one and I’m so very blessed to have her. I’ve noticed over the past few years my teeth have begun to weaken,and they really hurt, I do not have dental insurance, it’s something I just am unable to afford. My daughter comes before I do. Always. I’ve noticed that no matter how hard I try to be active my energy levels just don’t work with me. No matter how much I sleep, I’m still very tired. I’m a vegetarian and I eat correctly( for the most part) I think it’s just all my aches and physical pains,ailments that are not allowing me to move. I’d love to work with a trainer to help me get my mobility,life and happiness back but it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Here is my question.
    I’m more than willing to work for anything, I’m not asking for help, I’m not pleading for anything, I’m offering one service for another, I’m offering my time, my efforts, for a description on what I can do to get better, just advise even,anything because I’m so lost I don’t even know who I am anymore, I’m bionic, I know there are other people worst off than me. I pray for them everyday , but I would love to wake up one day and just feel like a person, like how I used to be before all my stupid health problems ruined my life. Any advice..from anyone will be helpful, my hips do not allow me to move very rigorous as nerves were damaged during surgeries. Alls I can do is try,try and try and pray that one day something happens. I can offer ( really nothing anymore) I do have a car I can trade for services?its nothing fancy but at lease I will feel like I’m contributing to something. Anyways, thanks for reading, I wish everyone a very happy day.
    God Bless.

    • Team Powell - August 13, 2015

      Thank you so much for your post! I’m so sorry for everything you’ve had to deal with and are still dealing with, and I can’t imagine how difficult this all has been for you. While Chris and Heidi would love to help everyone who needs their help, they are not able to take on clients right now. I do hope you understand. And as far as losing weight, with all your medical issues, it really is best that you work with your healthcare team to put together an exercise program that will work for you. I understand that this is difficult for you, but we want to keep you safe and not make your issues worse, so it is best that you work with someone who can help you on a one-on-one basis. We hope your surgery on the 21st goes well, and that you have a speedy recovery. We truly wish you the best!

  3. Kristin - August 10, 2015

    Thank you so much for posting this! I am currently recovering from hip surgery( complete labral tear in my left hip, I tore the cartilege straight off the bone). Prior to surgery I used my hip as an excuse, granted I was in so much pain . I gave up on my self with my eating and working out and gained 20lbs over the course of the last 4 months. I still have a long road of PT . Currently I am learning to walk again with my left leg. I meal planned and cooked yesterday and started the turbo cycle today … I read Chris’s book front to back ! I have written down my promises and I am DETERMINED to lost 80lbs by April 2016 . I am also determined to keep working out even with all my limitations. My injury is no longer going to be an excuse ?

    • Team Powell - August 10, 2015

      Yay! You got this! Hope you recover quickly. 🙂

    • No name - August 13, 2015

      I wish you well, please stay strong hip pain is very,very painful. I will pray for you. Sorry your in pain.:(

  4. Shannon - August 3, 2015

    I love to work out and feel so great afterwards, however, in my later years (62) my knees have osteoarthritis along with my right foot. what are good exercises? Lunges are out, hurts the knees too badly. squats are not as bad w/o additional weight… Any thoughts for a regimen I should stick to? We have weights and TRX at work. Doc says no running due to impact on knees but elliptical? stationary bike?

    I am happy to pay for a regimen.

    • Team Powell - August 3, 2015

      Hi Shannon: So sorry to hear about the issues you’re having! 🙁 You’ll want to check with your doc on any strength training exercises that involve the lower body. Is he/she okay with swimming and/or water exercises? And I’d also make sure you can do the elliptical and stationary/recumbent bike too. Your doc’s advice is the best since he/she knows your exact issues and can work with you on a one-on-one basis.

  5. Pattie - April 22, 2015

    Thank you so much for getting back to me. I have both of Chris’s books and it’s not in either one. But, because you gave me the youtube link I was able to find it. It’s the “couch potato” 9 mimute mission, as he labels it. I was/am working with a Dr. and PT. I was able to show the youtube video to them and we were able to modify it too make them and me happy!..yeah!! And it didn’t take much changing either. For now, I just have to modify the squat part…..best part PT. is a Chris Powell fan and is going over other 9 minute missions for me too modify too use with his assistance.
    A win WIN situation for everyone around. And, a heck of a lot less frustration.
    Transformation has begun!… I don’t have anymore excuses!! YEA TEAM!
    P.S YOU’RE AWESOME…

  6. Eloïse - April 18, 2015

    Bob Brenner was the one that makes me said: “I can do it. Injuries are not excuses.”
    He saves my life.
    And the three of you, in fact.
    Thanks a million.

  7. Pattie - April 17, 2015

    I just started and want to excercise after to many years being a couch potato! While finding you and Chris (YEAH!!) I was searching so much on so many of the sites you have. I came accross a video of an exercise ( 9MM) I think I can do to get started but can’t find it now.
    I have had pervious back problems and really they are all mush now, but I must strenthen them first.
    You and Chris were in the video together, you were on the floor raising your head up, leaving body on the floor and using arms to do a push up, then into (an upside down V) lifting your legs up ( or out) to your chest and then into side motion jumping jack.. I can modify this one. I just need to see it again.
    Can you please help me locate it??
    I have been on utube looking for any video’s you might have on modifying these missions with out any luck. Do you have a such a series?
    I can’t jump do to previous foot surgeries, but I am not giving up and I need to get started at the same time..
    Frustrated!! Thanks for your help

    • Team Powell - April 17, 2015

      All the 9-Minutes Missions are in Chris and Heidi’s book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” complete with instructions. With your back and foot issues, I’d strongly suggest you work with your healthcare team and have them help you make any necessary modifications to the 9-Minute Missions or to any exercise program. We want to keep you safe as you’re working to achieve your goals! As for the video you’re looking for, here’s a link to several on YouTube – I hope the one you’re looking for is in this link: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=9+Minute+missions. We wish you the best!

  8. Candis - April 16, 2015

    I broke some toes a couple months ago right before I was starting a diet/workout plan. But I continued on and made modifications to some of the exercises and I’m now down 25 lbs with 5 more to go. If I would have waited I would still have so far to go and I’m so thankful for not giving excuses

  9. Chelsey - April 15, 2015

    Thanks for this information. I have a somewhat related question. How long do you stay out of physical activity due to illness. For example, do you wait until the fever subsides or until you are 100% well? So you have a general rule?

    • Team Powell - April 15, 2015

      Since each illness can be different, it’s best to listen to your body. Our bodies are pretty smart! If you ever have a concern or question, it’s best to talk to your healthcare team, and then follow their recommendations.

  10. alexandra - April 14, 2015

    hey Heidi,
    I’m pregnant with my second one and i’m planning that after i give birth and recover i want to start training for a half a marathon. My problem is that after i gave birth to first one for about half a year (as i was also breastfeeding) i had problems with my knees, even walking up the stairs, or taking a longer walk with end up in pain. What’s the best approach if this were to happen again after giving birth to the second one? As i want to start running (i hate running, but it is my goal to start loving it) but I don’t want to end up with an injured knee.

    • Team Powell - April 15, 2015

      Congratulations on your pregnancy – that’s so exciting! I’d suggest discussing this with your healthcare team and then follow their recommendations – they are the best ones to help you since they can work with you on a one-on-one basis. We wish you the best!

  11. Stacy - April 14, 2015

    I have elbow/forearm tendonitis and wrist pain from overtraining lifting weights. Injury first happened in December and I have been resting since. Any advice? I miss the iron so much! But I also can’t do body weight exercises either

  12. Jackie - April 14, 2015

    Some of us have injuries that are permanent.. But it’s still no excuse to give up 🙂

    After a car accident 23 years ago and multiple surgeries including a hip replacement in 1999, I competed nationally 4 years later in bodysculpting in NZ and won.
    Since then I also developed a regional pain syndrome which means my body tells my brain 24/7 that it’s still in pain, and no cure for it. I lost my career and ended up on ACC (an insurance type system here) for the past 8 years and can only work part time. But I hire a nutritionist and workout every day to avoid becoming crippled or overweight like so many with this syndrome.

    I refuse to let the injury define me!!
    We can do this people!! 🙂

  13. Laurie - April 14, 2015

    How does one go about to even start walking when within the first 5 min legs go numb/burn, back spasms and numbness on and off throughout entire upper area due to c6/c neck fusion….2 years now and my husband is still having difficulties even walking much less trying to exercise and it’s not an “excuse” he would love to be active he’s just not physically able so what would you suggest tried pt and after one and half years there’s nothing more that could be done….I appreciate a reply…..

    • Team Powell - April 14, 2015

      That’s definitely a tough one, and he’s definitely not using his injury as an excuse! The best we can advise is that he continue to work with a PT to see if there is anything he can do, and then he can simply do his best. I can’t imagine how frustrating this must be for him, and we wish him the best!

  14. Sunshine peralta - April 14, 2015

    dear heidi powell I am in week 4 of 6 for a sprained ankle and my first 10k with others on may 9 can you recommend some stretches ?

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