The Dual Battle of Losing Weight While Dealing with Pain

It is possible to feel like you are in a vicious circle of dealing with an injury and trying to loose weight. You might be making progress with your fitness, and all of a sudden the old back injury flares up. This causes you to have to rest up for a while, and in the meantime you start to loose the training gains that you build up. Being inactive makes it more likely that you will get injured again, and so the circle continues.

Things can get frustrating when the injury starts to hamper your overall progress towards being healthier. However, once you realise that you are in two separate battles at the same time, one with your overall health, and one with your injury, you can start to plan accordingly.

Training with Injury: The Basics

  1. Fixing an injury making your body stronger and more resilient to such an injury in the future takes gradual and consistent work.
  2. Just because you are injured does not mean that you cant be active and still train. In fact, if you are injured you better MAKE SURE that you are moving and training. Motion is the lotion!
  3. When you are injured having a knowledgeable coach is very important. Doing exercises with wrong technique can make a bad situation much worse, and having the guidance, accountability, and knowledge will keep you on track to be stronger than ever.

How to win the overall health battle:

If you are serious about loosing weight, and finally getting into a shape that you are happy with and is optimal for your health, then you need to get serious about 3 things:

  1. Regular strength training
  2. A habit based nutrition approach
  3. Being sufficiently active every day.

You need to get real with the time frame that you are giving yourself, and prepare to work consistently towards your goals and through all the roadblocks that life will throw at you between now and the time that you have reached your goal. 

How to win the injury rehab battle:

Training with an injury certainly is a tricky prospect. The right moves can help heal and strengthen, and the wrong moves could cause you pain for weeks. Really this is where the expertise of a quality coach comes in. However, the basics of training are as follows:

  1. If it is sore stop doing it
  2. Flare ups may happen but the show can still go on
  3. Have exercises that can be performed with your current pain free rage of motion.

When a flare up of an injury occurs, it can potentially set you back in your progress towards your goal of being fitter and healthier, but fear not, the show can go on. However, there are absolutely endless possibilities when it comes to movements that we can do and your progress with rehabilitating your injury, and getting in shape, having the right combination is crucial.

You need to be working on a program that;

  1. Suits your current abilities in terms of movement and mobility
  2. That does not cause irritation of the injury
  3. That helps heal the body towards full and pain-free range of motion

One of the worst pieces of advice that is doles out to people who have any kind of injury is; 'just rest it', or 'do not do anything that moves the area'. Basically you are being told not to move until the injury is gone. This is terrible on two fronts. Firstly, if you are already unhealthy and overweight, not moving is going to into an even more over weight and unhealthy state. That in itself should be enough motivation for you to stay active in whatever way you can, and if you do not know to do what you have got to do to find out. Secondly, aside from the initial acute stage of an injury, not moving will not help the healing process as much as getting things moving again in a graduated and pain free way. The 'stop everything' advice probably stems from physicians not wanting their patients to go home and get stuck into some form of exercise that will irritate the injury or even make things worse. Sure when areas are injured they need time to recover, but not moving the body rarely does us humans any good. The right combination of exercises will speed the recovery process, and let you keep fit despite being injured. This applies to every injury that I have ever encountered personally or professionally. There is always something you can do to keep moving forward, and using an injury as an excuse to be totally inactive is a sure way to stay in your current state of health for the foreseeable, you just need the right guidance, supervision, and coaching.


This article is by Ainle Ó Cairealláin MSc CSCS.