Cardio While Injured

Exercising while injured.

I have gotten more questions about exercising on the elliptical to maintain my fitness and I thought I would share my “secrets” with you.  No, I don’t really have any secrets.  Here is the thing, being injured is what you make of it. 

I could sit on my ass…I do that at work.

I could run through it, be in serious pain, shatter a few bones, get a few surgeries and be stupid about it…then be in a wheelchair forever. I don’t ever push my foot on the machines, I really would not like to be in a viscous cycle of irritating myself to stay on the elliptical.  I’ve had times in the beginning that I went to the gym, it hurt stepping on the machine…I debated what would happen if I left.

Then left so I didn’t redamage anything.  Mentally?  It was very very hard, but I knew it was for the best.

So two spectrums.  Instead I take the exact middle route and cross train my booty off simulating the intensity of workouts.

This post is more or less the cardio overview. 

First, there are two gym machines I use:

The precor 100i.    

Just pretend this is me…i mean we are both wearing booty spandex…

Right now and NEW this injury, I have found it to be my favorite machine to cross train on.  It simulates running and doesn’t hurt when I do it.  It also has many many many options that I have yet to explore.

I always crank up the resistance to the highest (in my gym that is 20) and just pedal for an hour or two.  I cannot tell you that it isn’t boring because sometimes it is.  You have to have mental toughness like you do a run.  You don’t just stop during running, why stop on this machine?  It’s the same thing.   Some days I pedal harder than others…some days I chat with my friends and relax and kill two birds with one stone.

The Arctrainer.

Arctrainer love

I haven’t been using this AS MUCH lately, because it pushes down on the heel and sometimes mine says no way I’m doing it.  The Arc trainer has so many options though.

Sometimes on the machine, I just crank it to level 100 with a grade 7 incline and go for a while.

Sometimes I do the Cardio setting which are intervals.  If you like something that keeps you less bored, I would go for intervals.   It’s also a great workout (remember…intervals on a track?). 

So cliff notes edition:

You can bring your friends to the gym.  I have!  People I wouldn’t be able to run with but can go to the gym with.  It keeps it more fun! 

Simulate the intensity of your run workouts.  Not every run workout was hard.  Not every run workout was easy.  Keep that in mind. 

Cross training does not have to be bad by any means.  It sucks when you are injured but you can still get a great workout friends. 

Finally-today is the last day to enter the #coffeeaday Contest

(I know large font is necessary..first time I’ve ever used that and I’ve been blogging for two years)

Questions for you:

1.       Biggest advice for cross training. 

2.       Favorite machine to cross train on?

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  1. When I hurt my leg at the start of the year and couldn’t run I was devastated. But, like you, I just couldn’t do nothing now I couldn’t run. I tended to go for long walks and do more strength training as I’m not a member of a gym. I find the elliptical soo boring though. I’m hugely impressed that you can stay on there for an hour or two. I think I’d fall off with boredom hehe.

  2. Biggest advice = DO IT! 🙂

    Best cross training exercise = swimming/ water running with belt… I say that as I don’t actually go to the gym but I have my own eliptical kinda machine that I used when I was injured, and last week since finally returning to training after 5 months of no running squad my coach said “you’re strong for someone who has had that long of a break” I couldn’t help but smile, yes I shall take that as a compliment, despite not exactly feeling strong hmmm oh well…

    Hope you have an awesome wkend! 🙂

  3. I think it’s great you did the elliptical… really for me cross training consists of weights and yoga, those are my favorites :). I don’t do machines that often, maybe I will try one of these next time I don’t want to run or it’s bad weather out.

  4. Great post/comments. My biggest advice…you get out what you put into it. My fav machine to cross train on is the stair climber. Hope you enjoy the rest of your conference! 🙂

  5. I actually have never used either machine lol but I know when I hurt my ankle 2 years ago I was kinda forbidden to run. I was such a klutz and fell on the side of the road and some nice cop helped me and drove me and my bloody self home haha… so I just kept it to walking/ intervals

    Glad to see you’re not letting your injury keep you from working out 🙂

  6. I get so bored cross training, unless I’m watching trashy TV obviously. But for me, I can’t really cross train because my body is somehow backwards and it hurts me knees to do anything besides run. I know, it’s weird. I’ve never tried the arc trainer though… maybe I’ll have to look into it on those days when I can’t bring myself to run outside in the mush. I love how positive you are about all of this!

  7. I mean I have to say I find both of those machines especially the arc trainer pretty intense! I give you credit, when I was injured I got super down on myself and was not helpful to my recovery. you are one smart girl

  8. I love (and only use) the Arc Trainer too. It gives you a different feeling of accomplishment after a workout (than a general Precor). I like all of the interval settings and the feeling of climbing!

    When I was injured, along with the limited use of the elliptical I tried to spin at least once a week as well. I tried to enjoy it and switch things up, but as you know, you’re injured and it sucked anyway lol!

  9. Impressive cross training while injured!! I would do the same thing as you.

    I am a fan of the elliptical, even when I am not insured. I usually do intervals once per week, e.g. 2 minutes at high resistance, 1 minute recovery at low resistance. Repeat for 20-30 minutes. I think the Precor elliptical is too big for me. And I am not all that small – 5’4″. I feel like my arms and legs have to stretch to the very max to do a full stride on that thing!!

  10. After having ACL reconstructive surgery in high school, I did a lot of biking (stationary) and swimming before I was cleared to run. These days, I’ve incorporated yoga into my cross-training and absolutely love it!

  11. The secret for me to cross-training=MUSIC!! I don’t run with music, so getting on the Arc Trainer w/ Pandora and sweating it out for an hour FLYS by!
    I love spin-classes for the music & sweat action too!
    I’m so excited your healing and back to running!!! 🙂

  12. I DEFINITELY agree that being injured is what you make of it! I used my injured period to strengthen my core and do all over weight training. I’m much less injury prone now and my abs are bangin’. 😉 My coach frequently gave me elliptical interval workouts and I found that those made my go by much faster. So, for all of his running/riding/swimming workouts he has an easy/steady/hard pace. Sometimes he goes by pace, sometimes by heart rate depending on the athlete so what those paces are varies but basically he would have me to maybe 10 minutes easy to warm up then 1 min hard/1min steady, 2min hard/2min steady, etc. He would often have me do a pyramid or two and then a cool down. Sometimes it was hard/steady, sometimes steady/easy… whatever. The point was that it varied and it varied intensity. I can actually say that I think these workouts played a huge role in helping me lose the 12 pounds I had initially gained during injury (Yeah, I know that’s a lot). Good times!

  13. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that machine before, but then again last time I set foot in a gym was over 2 years ago :/ I’m sure it’s doing wonders in helping you maintain your agility! Good for you 🙂

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