| By Nadine Shaban |
Let’s face it – injuries suck; they just plain old suck. Even though incurring an injury can be like having a gray cloud hovering over you, there is a silver lining. Injuries can put life into perspective and let you refocus on aspects of your training that you may have been ignoring. It is when we fall down, we realize there are many things we take for granted such as walking, lifting, and going about our day pain free.
Approximately 7 weeks ago, I fractured my fibula. I wish I had an amazing story to share about how I broke it, but I don’t. It’s your typical summer time story; girl meets summer, summer introduces girl to cute boy on a Sea Doo, cute boy introduces girl to huge wave, huge wave introduces girl to a fractured fibula. It’s the summer, what do you want from me?! As he lifted me from the water and on to the boat, I took a look at my leg and my heart fell out of chest – my knee was completely dented and I could not move it. I was lucky that I fractured my fibula and not my tibia, which is the weight bearing bone. Unfortunately, I also had a small contusion in my posterior compartment and this did not allow me to wear a cast or a boot; we had to be careful of the pressure/stress applied to the leg.
Summer introduces girl to cute boy , cute boy introduces girl to huge wave, huge wave introduces girl to a fractured fibula.
The worst part is that I just finished two events and was on my road with my amazing coach to continue to reach my goals. I am very lucky that I did not need surgery. Depending on the individual, it can take longer to heal up than it took me. But, I’m one heck of a concrete cupcake covered in tough, iron sprinkles (pink ones) and I don’t break so easy. I’ve healed up pretty quickly.
This just goes to show that injuries just happen. You don’t have to be playing a sport, training in the gym or doing something active in order to hurt yourself. Normally, I am on the other side of the fence and trying to prevent injury; however, now I am trying to play the other side, be proactive and treat this injury. You might be wondering what one could possibly do other then RICE – and no not eat rice, but Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Well, there’s plenty that can be done. The body itself will be in recovery mode as it goes through a whole process. First, is the coagulation phase which lasts 1-2 days. Second, an inflammation phase follows lasting up to 5 days post –injury. Third, is the migration phase, which lasts from day 4 to 21 days post-injury. Lastly, the remodeling phase lasts from day 5 up to 2 years post injury. By understanding the steps in the recovery process, nutritional targets can more easily be identified.
No, there was no spelling mistake there! Eating good fats, higher in omega-3 and monounsaturated fat can help prevent/inhibit inflammation. If you haven’t read all of the articles on Strong-Athlete.com already about omega-3s and inflammation, go give them a read! While eating anti-inflammatory food stuffs and supplements, you should also be reducing the pro inflammatory fats such as omega-6 and saturated fats. An ideal ratio is about two or three omega-6 fats to every omega-3 fat consumed. Instead of trying to calculate it out with a calculator, use Google Spreadsheet of the fat intake of food increase the intake of healthy oils (olive, walnut, almond), mixed nuts, avocados, flax seeds, chia seeds, and any type of wild and fatty fish (salmon). It’s also important to supplement with 3-9 grams of fish oil (one that is primarily omega-3 based) per day.
Eating good fats, higher in omega-3 and monounsaturated fat can help prevent/inhibit inflammation.
All Natural Supplementation
I actually have to thank my amazing coach, Carter Schoeffer, and John Berardi for these suggestions. They both are the ones to teach me about the importance of reducing inflammation through whole food based supplements.
Curry Powder/Turmeric – The active ingredient, curcumin, is responsible for its anti-inflammatory effects. Dosage: 7tsp per day of the powder or 400-600mg per day of the supplemental form.
Garlic – It is anti-inflammatory and helps to increase our white blood cells (macrophages). Dosage: 2-4 garlic cloves each day or 600 to 1,200 mg of aged garlic extract.
Pineapple – Contains Bromelain, which is anti-inflammatory. Dosage: 2 cups of pineapple per day or 500-1,000 mg in supplemental form.
Cocoa, Tea and Berries – These are all rich in antioxidants which influence cell growth/new capillary development during tissue regeneration.
NSAIDs – AVOID!!!!!! Avoid pain killers and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs such as ibuprofen during training because they damage the gut and hinder absorption of nutrients, delaying recovery.
Instead of using NSAIDs, try to improve recovery through nutrition. Believe it or not, the bone needs to be fed. In fact, our metabolic rate can increase anywhere from 15-50% when injured. Now, this does not mean to go and start eating everything in sight – remember what I said above about making good food choices. Moreover, as it may sound high, it is still not as high if you were in a trained state. Additionally, some micronutrients may help during the proliferation and remodeling stage such as vitamins A and C, copper and zinc.
Instead of using NSAIDs, try to improve recovery through nutrition.
If one really wants to take it to the next level and income is not an issue, there are plenty of recovery nutrients that have been shown to have excellent restorative effects during injury recovery. Some of these are: Arginine, Ornithine, Glutamine, and HMB. Dosages vary depending on who you are and what your history is, so consult your nutritionist or do research to find the appropriate dosage for you!
Nutrition During Injury
As I am a Precision Nutrition Certified Counselor, I believe that one should practice good nutritional protocols based on habits. These habits are lifestyle driven and do not require you to count anything or to Google how much fat, calories, and or protein is in a serving. Here’s a list of habits that an injured person should follow. To be honest, I believe these habits still are good for the non-injured. These habits are taken from Dr. John Berardi at http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_repair/injuries_nutrition_and_recovery
- Eat every 2-4 hours.
- Each meal/snack should contain complete protein including lean meats, lean dairy, eggs, or protein supplements (if whole food is unavailable).
- Each meal/snack should contain 1-2 servings veggies and/or fruit (1/2 – 1 1/2 cups or 1-2 pieces) with a greater focus on veggies.
- Additional carbohydrates should come from whole grain, minimally processed sources like whole oats, yams, beans, whole grain rice, quinoa, etc. The athlete should eat fewer starches when not training, and more when training. Although a no carbohydrate or no starch diet is unwarranted.
- The athlete should eat each of the following good fats each day – avocadoes, olive oil, mixed nuts, flax seeds, and flax oil. In addition 3-9g of fish oil should be added to the diet.
- The athlete should include the following anti-inflammatory foods: curry powder/turmeric, garlic, pineapple, cocoa, tea, blueberries, and wine.
- The athlete should include the following supplemental vitamins and minerals for 2-4 weeks post-injury — vitamin A, C, copper, and zinc.
- A combination of arginine, HMB, and glutamine should be supplemented to help preserve lean body mass while accelerating collagen deposition.
Nadine is a talented fitness model, trainer and nutrition expert who also holds a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Windsor. Her research specialty is glucose handling in Type 2 diabetics during high intensity interval exercise (HITT). Nadine also holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Windsor. In addition, Nadine is a certified strength coach under Charles Poliquin, a certified Biosignature Practitioner through Charles Poliquin, and a certified nutritional consultant through Precision Nutrition.
Nadine’s personal philosophy is to challenge people beyond what they believe they are capable of accomplishing. She hopes to inspire people to adapt to a healthier lifestyle. She believes people not only need to change their mindset towards exercise, but must also have a positive and balanced relationship with food. She truly believes a healthy mind represents a healthy body. For nutrition consultation or personal training, you can contact Nadine at firstname.lastname@example.org.