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Injury = Weight Gain? Not So Fast!

Injury = Weight Gain? Not So Fast!

Injuries; no one likes them, I get that. I’ve had my fair share over the years (4 concussions, 4 shoulder subluxations, femoral stress fracture, fractured clavicle, fractured wrist, torn calf muscle, torn quadriceps muscle, fractured foot and more). When it comes to our workouts, which we all enjoy very much, no one wants to miss workouts due to injury. In addition, individuals tend to place a direct connection between injuries and weight gain.


A very common thought process I've heard numerous times over the years goes something like this, "Rick, I injured my shoulder and had to have surgery and I was unable to do anything with my upper body for about three months. And that is why I put on 30 pounds; I’m sure you know what I mean." In my mind, I’m saying to myself, ‘no, I do not know what you mean. Why does an injury = weight gain?’


Think about it like this…if an injury meant weight gain every time, there would be zero super-fit and super-lean elite athletes. We know there are a ton of lean and fit athletes and at the same time, these individuals have one of the highest risks of injury, make sense? Elite athletes frequently get injured, but their body weight does not balloon during the rehab, not even close. These athletes remain lean despite the injury…and guess what? You can too!


In no way am I minimizing injuries whatsoever. As mentioned earlier, I do not like injuries any more than the next person. But it’s how we deal with them when they occur that will determine our body composition success (or lack thereof). When it comes to body composition, there is no reason that injuries like this need to lead to weight gain. There may be many times in our lives when we are not able to work out whether it is injuries, illness, etc. But, we can always eat right, no matter what; and that is the key to success. And another huge key to success during times of injury is to focus on the exercises you Can Do and to not give any attention to exercises you cannot do, make sense? For example, if we have a lower leg injury and we cannot jump, kick etc., we have to keep in mind that our upper body is just fine (and we can eat right). A lower leg injury does not mean we cannot work out our upper body. You can still go to your 9Round workout and work your upper body. This is just another great aspect of your 9Round workout. Simply let your trainer know if you have an injury that does not allow you to do certain exercise. And then your 9Round trainer can help you by giving you a different exercise that you can do based on your injury. Point being, with virtually every injury, there is some type of exercise/movement we can still do.


The 2 key areas of focus when we experience an injury are the following:

  1. What exercises can I do?
  2. I can always eat right, despite my injury.


Let take a look at a few examples of individuals that did not let their injuries stop them from achieving their body composition, fitness and athletic goals.


Many years ago, a gentleman I was coaching called me. He was very shaken up as he had just been in a cycling accident and fractured his collarbone. In his words, he said, "Rick, I guess I'm done working out for a while." This is a very normal response after an accident like this. I mentioned to him that in no way was this the case. I had him back in the gym the next day, lifting lower body weights. His collarbone was fractured, not his legs. He could still lift weights with his legs and sit on a stationary bike and pedal. And, he could still have laser-like focus on his nutrition. He was so excited to know that this cycling accident and fractured clavicle, in no way, was going to set him back. By the time his fractured collarbone healed, he was in fantastic physical condition and his body was lean and well fueled. He did not lose a step.


Another gentleman I was coaching suffered a very severe leg injury. This required extensive surgery and a full leg brace and this gentleman was forced to be sedentary for the next 12 weeks. Sounds like a train wreck and a set up for body composition and fitness disaster, right? No way, not even close. This guy called me and said, "Rick, I'm ready to be more focused than ever on my nutrition." Let's fast-forward 12 weeks’ post-surgery; with only upper body weight lifting workouts and eating right, this individual lost 10+ pounds of body fat. Severe injury = weight gain? Absolutely not!


A female athlete had always suffered from calf muscle issues from her younger years as a competitive athlete. She had a severe, bilateral flare-up, of the calf muscles. One of her main modalities of exercise was running. Well, this injury did not allow her to run for many months. Did that stop her? Did that mean she was going to gain weight and body fat? No, not even close. As mentioned earlier, we never want to focus on what we cannot do (running in this case); rather, we always focus on what we can do. She could still do strength training workouts, swimming and some light cycling. And of course, she could still eat right no matter how injured her legs were. Over those next few months, she stayed as lean and fit as ever, despite bilateral lower leg injuries.


Here is a personal story that is very similar to the stories above. It was 2004, the day before Memorial Day. I was on an 80-mile cycling workout and I had a high-speed crash. I suffered a fractured clavicle, concussion and road rash. I was loaded into an ambulance and I was off to the hospital. There was no way was this going to stop me; it was only a fractured clavicle, road rash and a concussion. I was ecstatic it was not worse! I followed my Orthopedic Surgeon’s orders and he gave me the green light on my workout plans moving forward. I was back in the gym the next day, lifting weights with my legs and sitting on a stationary bike. In addition, I stayed right on track with my nutrition and staying lean and fit was not an issue during the recovery process.


 In summary, we can break through the mindset that injuries are going to lead to weight gain. In no way does this have to be one’s reality. We can always eat right and make the right nutrition choices and this is one of the main keys to success whether we are injured or not. And when it comes to working out while injured, we want to ignore what we cannot to do physically…and we want to put laser-like focus on what we can do physically.


Use the stories above as great motivation because I'm sure you’ve had some type of injury, illness, surgery, etc. in the past. The individuals above are just like you.  And when you see similar-others overcome these injuries and not miss a step during their recovery process, you can do the same!


Workout Smart, Eat Right, Get Results™!


Dr. Rick Kattouf II

2x Best-Selling Author

9Round Nutrition Coach

Named One of America’s PremierExperts® in Nutrition & Fitness

Named One Of The World Fitness Elite® Trainers Of The Year