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Injury Layoffs: What to Do When You Can’t Work Out


When you are motivated to reach your goals, you are dedicated with your workouts and consistently pushing yourself to new heights; however, it’s always when you are making really good progress that you are forced to take an injury layoff from working out. Whether it is due to a gym accident, car crash, or a serious illness, not being able to exercise because you are physically unable is frustrating. Although injury layoffs from the gym can make you sad or depressed because you have to put your goals on hold, here are some tips on what to do with your time when you can’t work out:

Focus your training on the part of your body that is not injured: A lot of guys who lift weights to build muscle focus on their upper body, especially their biceps and chest, but they neglect their legs. However, due reasons such as overuse and improper exercise technique, most men will experience a shoulder injury that limits their ability to train their upper body at least once in their lifting career. While shoulder injury layoffs mean that most people completely stop weight training until their shoulder heals, there is a way to turn a misfortune into an opportunity: focus on your legs. Even though it is harder to show off your leg muscles than your chest or arm muscles, huge quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves are sure to turn heads since they are so rare in the bodybuilding world. In fact, you may consider taking this time to train your lower body twice per week instead of once. By focusing on your legs as your shoulder heals, you will ensure that you will have a good balance between upper and lower body and not have “chicken legs” when you come back from your injury layoff.


Research nutrition, training, supplementation, etc. with the extra time you have: Not being able to train during injury layoffs doesn’t mean that you can’t learn more and improve after you heal. Use the time that you would be exercising to research new exercises, diet strategies, supplement usage, and anything else that will give you an edge when you get back to the gym. Armed with more knowledge, you will be able to hit the ground running when you get back to working out consistently after your injury layoff.


Pursue other hobbies: This may seem like an odd recommendation, but it is definitely something to consider. For people with lofty fitness or physique goals, especially men with bodybuilding aspirations, enduring intense workouts and following strict diets can take up most of their time and energy, leaving little time, energy, or money for other interests or people. They often become so focused on their goals that their interests turn into obsessions. While injury layoffs from the gym can be especially difficult for you if you fit in this category, it is important to use your time away from the gym to pursue other interests. Perhaps you would like to learn how to play the guitar, speak a foreign language, or go on a trip and not worry about your diet or training? Now is the time to try to get more balance into your life by exploring other things. Developing other interests during injury layoffs will make you more well-rounded, helping you to avoid becoming a “meathead” who can only talk about working out. Besides, there might come a day when you no longer want to, or are no longer able to, be so dedicated to fitness or physique goals as you are now, so you want to have something else to fall back on. You never know what the future may bring…
Injury layoffs that force you to take time off of working out consistently and intensely can be one of the hardest things for anyone who takes his or her training seriously. However, if you remember these tips the next time that you are forced out of the gym due to sickness or injury, you will be better prepared to not only deal with not being able to do what you love but also to come back better than ever.