Returning to Your Workout Routine After Illness or Injury

You’re finally on a roll with regular exercise, thanks to Koko. You feel great and your workout has become part of your daily routine. Then it happens: you get sick, you sustain an injury or you need a medical procedure. You are told by your doctor (who is always telling you to get active) to stop exercising for awhile. Sometimes a long while. Don’t worry. I know firsthand you can come back from it better than ever. You just need to have the right expectations.

Last month, for the second time in three years, I had emergency eye surgery and could not exercise. After one week I was told I could start back with cardio. Great! But, I was still not able to do any strength training. It was two weeks before I was told I couldslowly ease back into my strength training sessions.

What happens if you cannot get in your weekly Koko Smartraining workout, or worse, you become sick or have to go on bed rest for a few weeks or more? When your body receives no exercise stimulus, detraining will occur.

detraining | dē-ˈtrān- iŋ: the partial or complete loss of training-induced adaptations in response to cessation of training or a substantial decrease in training load.

This loss in both strength and aerobic capacity is followed by a decrease in your lean muscle level (LML) and can occur in as quickly as two weeks!

Don’t worry. Life happens. You body is amazingly adaptable and you can get it back to where it was – and then some!

If you’re faced with returning to your Smartraining workouts after a period of two weeks or more of inactivity, just plan to slowly progress back to the level you left off.

Koko Cardio – To start, try and complete a full 15 minute workout, but at a lower intensity than what you could do before your break. Slowly increase the intensity of your exercise over subsequent weeks. If you find that next higher intensity program is too much, back off on my audio suggestions for the incline, speed or resistance (for the elliptical.) You know how to do it!  Also, it may be that 15 minutes is too much to handle at first. It’s ok. Be patient with yourself and your body. It will come back.

Koko Strength – Rarely do I suggest it, but do not try to lift the weight that the Smartrainer initially suggests. It remembers the “you” from before your time off. Instead, you can help it calibrate to your current strength level even if a strength test isn’t scheduled. What I did was to cut my weight in half (or less) for the all my exercises through the first few sessions. The Smartrainer remembers your adjustments for the next time it gives you those exercises. After a week or so, I started to increase my volume of work by doing three extra reps on the sets that felt easy. The Smartrainer understood this to mean, “Michael needs more weight on this exercise” and it automatically adjusted the next time.

It may be frustrating to feel like you’re starting over and difficult to convince yourself to “take it easy.” (You just want to get back to where you were, already!)  Be patient. By slowly letting your body adjust to the specific demands placed on it by both strength training and cardio sessions, you will avoid injury and be back in peak form before you know it and stronger than ever!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer
Koko FitClub

Koko FitClub Franchising


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About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.

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