How do I Stay Fit After an Injury?

Have you ever started a fitness program and were able to stick to it? Were you getting great results in your health and fitness? What happened though when you got an injury? Might have come from the gym, but maybe it didn’t.
Maybe you hurt your back playing with your kids or injured your knee playing some basketball with your friends.

Everything comes to a screeching halt, right? Honestly, no. It doesn’t have to. When I first was opening Hidden Gem CrossFit I was cutting rubber mats. The blade slipped, popped free from the rubber and instead of going in a straight line it came out to the side (where I thought I’d be out of the way) and directly into my knee. The entire 1.5” blade went into my knee and right back out. After going to Urgent Care and getting 4 stitches, the doctor told me I couldn’t exercise for 2 weeks. I was devastated, because I exercise regularly, and our grand opening was in 10 days.

Thanks to my wife, I remember that regardless of the injury we can continue exercising as long as we modify the movements to respect said injury. Fast forward and recently I was achieving some life time personal records in my heavy lifts. Things I was super proud to do and share on Facebook, but led to an overuse injury in my left arm.

No problem I said, been here before and modified my workouts around not using that part of my body. Then, unexpectedly I severely injured my foot (no cool story, was just stepping back during a lunge and has been insanely painful to use, including just standing). Now, I’m stuck with a left arm I can’t use and a left foot I can’t use due to extreme pain. Now, I HAVE to stop exercising, right?

Maybe. Maybe I could just throw in the towel and say the fates have deemed it so. Maybe I can modify around the left side of my body. Or maybe I take this time to focus on my nutrition and flexibility. Two things I’ve been less than stellar about in the past 3 months.

As you can see, an injury doesn’t mean the end of progress towards your goals. It means part of the trail you were following was washed out by some rain, a rock got in your way, or the bridge you planned on crossing was just not the safest to cross at this time.

The obstacle in your path doesn’t mean your journey stops. The obstacle allows you a new and creative way to continue your journey. Possibly in ways you’d have NEVER thought of if you hadn’t run into the obstacle. Over the next few posts I’m going to discuss both my personal journey and how you can turn these seemingly impossible obstacles we all face into advantages towards your goals.

To Your Success,

Christoph Kettermann
Hidden Gem CrossFit

Why do I lose fitness so easily?

Fitness, simply put, is the sum of all the things you want your body to do and what it can do. It’s based around a “use it or lose it concept”. Our bodies are meant to survive, which means eliminating the unnecessary to increase our chances of surviving.

When you exercise, you’re providing a reason for your body to adapt. It has a reason for you to be strong, fast, or be able to do more than run across the parking lot. When you stop exercising, it has no reason to keep you fit. That extra muscle that made you strong, fast or able to breathe forever is now a waste of energy.

Think of it like a roommate that paid his bills on time and was totally awesome. However, one day he lost his job and stopped paying the bills, but never moved out and ate your food. That’s how your body views the muscle required to be fit.

Muscle requires energy to have. Not just to use, but its very existence requires more energy from the body just to have it. The body is all about efficiency (lazy) and therefore doesn’t want to spend a single calorie that it doesn’t have to. When you go from exercising 3 to 5 times a week to not exercising at all, your body immediately recognizes it doesn’t have a need to keep the muscle that made you fit and works quickly to get rid of it and increase body fat (your body’s extra storage for hard times).

Losing your fitness is rough, both on the body and on your mental state. It happens to all of us at some point though. Moving across the country, a new relationship you’re enamored with, loss of a job, the list goes on and on. The good news is you can regain your fitness. It doesn’t have to be a permanent loss!

Since your body is all about adapting, you just need to give it a reason to be fit. Do things a fit person would do, you know, like exercise! There’s a whole host of ways you can start such as online workouts you can do from home, joining group classes that are low threat, or even hiring a professional coach to meet you where you’re at. The important part is really just getting started.

Believe me when I say that although getting started sounds difficult, it’s really not. You can always join a friend who’s already going to the gym. You can watch a fitness class to see if it fits with your vibe. You could even sit down with a professional coach and do a No Sweat Intro to discuss your goals and the best options to helping you achieve them.

If you still feel unsure of where to start your amazing turnaround, drop me a message and I’d be glad to help you find the right starting point for your goals!

To Your Success,

Christoph Kettermann

Hidden Gem CrossFit

Can I gain muscle and lose fat at the same time?

This week’s Hidden Gem Hint is one that is open to a lot of debate. For the longest time everyone thought it was impossible. The idea of calories in versus calories out meant you couldn’t build muscle (more calories in than you currently need) while lose fat (fewer calories in than you currently need).

However, we’ve finally realized our bodies aren’t a closed system (think a vacuum sealed box), they’re an open and adaptive system (think a forest). In a closed system the idea that your body will burn X number of calories and if you take in fewer than that number you use energy reserves (body fat). If you take in more calories than you burn you build energy reserves (body fat) and if you’re working out you’ll build new muscle (GAINZ!).

Luckily, our bodies are a million times more complex than that. Your body can prioritize building new muscle over storing fat. It can decide to burn fat while using that burned fat TO support building new muscle. It can do a lot of things we previously didn’t understand. Now, we could dive into the science (believe me, I’d love to go down that rabbit hole), but really it comes down to focusing on a concept I mentioned in a previous article: blue print and building blocks.

Exercise is the blue print for the body you want. The food you eat is the building materials for the body you’ll get. If your blue print is to build new muscle (resistance training such as gymnastics and weightlifting) but you lack the building materials to build new muscle you won’t get very far.

Instead of seeing the building materials as all being the same, we must look at each building material having a purpose. Think of boards versus pipes. We can’t use pipes very well to build walls and I’m pretty sure a sewage system made from wooden planks went out of style centuries ago.

To build new muscle you need two certain building materials in the right amounts: protein and carbohydrates. Protein is the stuff muscle is literally made from. When our bodies lack enough carbohydrates it becomes difficult to use the protein for it’s main job of being turned into new muscle: it’s becomes target to be turned into carbohydrate for energy.

How do you get enough of these two building blocks, have less calories come in, AND not sacrifice the delicious fat from your diet? The answer might surprise you. Let the body convert some protein to carbohydrate. Take enough extra protein in so that there’s enough left over for doing the thing protein is supposed to: build new muscle.

This is where the high protein diet idea comes into play. You ensure you always have enough of the right building materials to do the job you want to do.

How much is enough to do what we want it to do? Well a GREAT place to start is a 30/40/30 split. This is 30% of your calories will come from protein, 40% will come from carbohydrate, and 30% will come from fat. Combine this with doing high intensity weightlifting and conditioning workouts and you’ll see both a decrease in body fat and increase in muscle.

As I mentioned though, this is a great place to START. It will get you from where you are to a better place, however it’s like walking (gets you to where you want to go, but slowly). If you’re wanting to run or maybe even dead sprint to decreasing body fat and increasing muscle you’re going to want a VERY specific diet based on your body.

My advice would be to do a DNA test to figure out which building materials (macronutrients) are best for your goal, hire a professional Nutritionist to zero in the amounts for those building materials, and a expert Personal Trainer to ensure the blue print is flawless for your transformation. The picture in this post is me from February 2019 to June 2019. That’s the speed of transformation when you’re consistent and have professional support!

 

Always Helping,

Christoph

Hidden Gem CrossFit

 

P.S. If you’re wanting to do more than stroll to your goal, click HERE to schedule a free intro with one of our expert coaches or Precision Certified Nutritionists today!