Pregnancy Fitness Set-Back: Strategies for Coping with an Injury

by For Two Fitness July 28, 2011

You’ve already met Dawn Weinberger, a runner, writer, and avid subscriber to the principles of Paleo nutrition.  Today, she shares her strategies for dealing with a painful injury that kept her from her usual routine…

Coping with pain

A few simple strategies helped me through a long week

When it comes to working out, my strength isn’t in how much weight I can dead lift and it isn’t in how fast I can run a mile. My strength is in my consistency. I always show up. It doesn’t matter how busy I am, or whether I even “feel like” working out. My workouts are appointments on my calendar that are generally non-negotiable.

Every once in a while, however, something beyond my control comes up. Something that keeps me from getting to the gym, like not having any maternity workout clothes that fit. Or being out of town. And when these things happen, I freak out because I miss my routine and I miss the supportive social environment my gym provides. And even though I know it sounds completely ridiculous, I worry that one missed workout is going to lead to a long-term setback (it won’t, of course).

So naturally, I really freak out when I miss several workouts in a row. This is what happened a few weeks ago.  I didn’t go to the gym at all. Not only that, I spent the entire week either sitting or pacing around the house. It’s not that I didn’t want to go to the gym or that I had scheduling conflicts. I was injured. My pain was significant and I was almost immobile. Frustrating to say the least. This was by far the longest week of my entire pregnancy. What was going on? Well, I am not 100% sure. All I know is I had a specific spot in my ribs that really, really hurt and it was affecting the muscles and nerves around it. Standing was the only position that was even remotely comfortable, so I didn’t sleep for three nights. Breathing hurt. Everything hurt. Working out was not even an option. Nonetheless, I missed the gym a lot and couldn’t stop thinking about feeling better and getting back to my regular classes. Mentally, it was challenging and I knew I needed a strategy to get through the long, long days. Here’s how I did it:
• First, I started with an attitude check. Yep, pain is unpleasant. No doubt about it. But it isn’t an excuse for a pity party. Instead of complaining, I decided to think positively about my life and my situation. For example, I can take all the time I need to recover, I have a supportive husband, my baby is healthy and so far my pregnancy has been fabulous. Plus, I am healthy and strong and usually bounce back from illness and injuries quickly. Why would this time be any different?
• Next, I decided to take advantage of my “time off.” How often am I able to just sit and watch two chick flicks in the middle of the day? Basically never! This was my opportunity.
• My commitment to Paleo is solid, but I do allow myself treats once a week. I decided to make this week no-treat week. I knew I would recover more quickly if my I kept my diet pure.
• Whenever possible, I did a bit of stretching or some walking. The opportunities were few and far between, but I truly believe that every little bit helps.
• I decided to treat myself to a massage, and I found a massage therapist who specializes and in prenatal AND travels to the client’s home! It was so relaxing.
• Finally, I forced myself to wait until I felt 99.99% better before working out again. By Monday, I probably could have managed but my instincts told me to wait. I returned to the gym on Tuesday and, even though I’ve slowed down a lot since my pre-pregnancy days, I still had a great workout. I was really, really happy with my accomplishments (we did max body weight squats, and I did 80 in two minutes – not bad for 25 weeks and 17 extra pounds!).

You can read more from Dawn in the coming weeks and months right here! Also, check out her blog, The Paleo Baby. You can  find Dawn on Facebook and Twitter


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