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Q: I’m a triathlete, but after I injured my ankle I had to change my training regimen. I ended up gaining a few pounds. I’ve adjusted my diet, but the scale hasn’t budged. What should I do? 

A: That’s gotta be frustrating. One thing to consider, though: Your body may actually be trying to help in a number of ways. “First, it’s not uncommon for triathletes to hang on to a little more subcutaneous fat [located just under the skin] than sprinters, who store more fat between their organs as a quick energy source,” says Heather Dubé, holistic nutrition consultant, personal trainer and cofounder of e3 Energy Evolved, a fitness and nutrition consulting company. “Subcutaneous fat sustains long-duration activities,” she explains. So if you’re not training as much as usual, your body might simply be stockpiling fat for when you’re ready to go again.

“Secondly, during an injury, the body lowers its resting metabolic rate in order to prioritize the new work of repair, and this makes fat loss slower,” Dubé says. Once your injury heals, your bod will rev up its metabolism.

Stress can also play a role in weight gain, causing hormonal imbalances that slow fat loss.

“I’d recommend incorporating corrective exercises to strengthen your ankle and its surrounding musculature,” says Dubé. “And cut high-intensity cardio down a bit — your body needs the energy for healing. Emphasize strength training to build muscle and increase the caloric afterburn effect. Additionally, increase your intake of essential fatty acids and cook with turmeric to lower inflammation naturally.”

Put your focus on healing and you’ll drop those extra pounds faster.

This article originally appeared at “How do I shed injury-related pounds?” in the January/February issue of Experience Life magazine.

Jen
Jen Sinkler

Jen Sinkler, PCC, RKC-II, is a fitness writer and personal trainer based in Minneapolis. Her website is www.jensinkler.com.

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