TWIR #57: You Can Do a Lot on a Sprained Ankle

I often benefit from minor injuries. I realize this sounds like an odd statement, but they ignite some sort of stubborn, inner flame in me, one that causes me to rebel and say “I can still do stuff!!” Don’t mistake this for pushing the limits and furthering damage to an injury, mind you. I’ve learned that lesson painfully and slowly over the last year. I am just so, so, so terribly familiar with sprained ankles that I know what I can and can’t do with one.  This week, I attacked my seemingly small range of possible workouts with a level of commitment that I rarely show for…anything these days! Let’s see what I got up to.

Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: big win = avoiding mid-day fish and chips
Observations: I was a bit of a sad panda care of my stiff ankle so my boyfriend took us on a field trip to Steveston where we went for the world’s slowest walk. My biggest accomplishment was resisting fish and chips, a feat only accomplished because I had a big enough breakfast that I wasn’t hungry.  I was less successful resisting treats from a heavenly smelling (think: butter-laden air) bakery where I acquired both a pain au chocolat (which turned out utterly mediocre) and a double-chocolate cookie sandwiched with salted caramel buttercream (which turned out to be every bit as delicious as I’d expected). All in all, an excellent rest day.

Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 65 min., mostly upper body
Observations: There was no more avoiding exercise. After the day prior, a double pastry day with far more sitting on my ass than I usually allow, I needed to hit the gym.  Thanks to my trainer, I have an absolutely massive repertoire of upper body exercises to draw from. This workout was proof that you can work up a good sweat with strength training, even if you’re really only working your abs and arms.

Activity: cardio warm up + strength training
Relevant Stats: 20 min. spin bike + 60 min. strength
Observations:  I was feeling confident in my ankle’s healing and decided to test it out on the spin bike. It held up, even with standing sets, but I didn’t push too hard with speed or resistance. I also tested the old ankle’s response to dead lifts and squats, both of which were fine. Side lunges, on the other hand, were not fine. Damn you lateral movements.

Activity: cardio warm up + strength training
Relevant Stats: 10 min. stairs + 15 min. spin bike + 45 min. strength
Observations: En route to meet a friend for a lazy beach stroll, I stopped at the gym and fit in a decent workout. I tried stairs but found that, with any speed or resistance, the ankle wasn’t loving it. I wrapped up my cardio warmup by hopping over to the spin bike. I have to say, though, my upper body and shoulders were definitely not happy with me about three consecutive days of  strength training.

Activity: cardio warm up + personal training session
Relevant Stats: 10 min. stairs + 60 min. personal training
Observations: One of the good and bad things about commuting downtown for my personal training sessions is that I have to endure rush hour.  It’s good because I inevitably arrive downtown way earlier than I need to, which forces me to go to the gym first, but bad because that means I sometimes show up to my trainer already tired. Thankfully, this week I only had 10 minutes to spare before my training session. I thought my trainer would take mercy on me because of my ankle, but she showed surprisingly little concern. Sure, she stayed away from jumping, but I still had to dead lift 100 lbs and I still had to do single leg dead lifts (extra fun on a wobbly ankle, I assure you). Plus, she integrated a new arm/shoulder exercise which made me question whether I have actually made any progress with my upper body strength. Bless my trainer for always finding a way to make me feel like I’m still the weakest human on the planet.

Activity: spin + strength
Relevant Stats: 30 min. spin + 50 min. strength
Observations:  Though I loathe the location of the spin bike at my gym, it’s becoming one of the few cardio options for me at the gym so I sucked it up and gave it a go. After a half hour, I switched over to strength and killed my arms and shoulders yet again. I was able to do more leg and glute exercises, for sure, but I’m trying not to load too much weight on my poor ankle quite yet. Of course, after this workout I was positively starving and finished my lunch with a “dessert course”–a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch.  So….you win some you lose some.

Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: I learned a very important lesson today: do not go to my gym at 9:00 am on a Friday. Everyone is either coming out of a fitness class or milling about waiting for the next spin class and it is a zoo.  For the first 15 minutes I had to horde any available equipment, which amounted to a 30 lb bar and one mat. Thankfully after 10 minutes the masses cleared and I fit in a decent workout, which I then followed with 16 km of walking. But don’t worry, I completely negated it all with a giant pecan ganache brownie for lunch. Balance.

Another week is done and all I can say is:

I’m looking forward to a rest day tomorrow during which my exhausted shoulders and arms may recuperate from the barrage of workouts they faced this week….oh, and we’re going to restock our wine collection so that will also make up for a tough week of strength training. Yay wine!


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