Returning From Injury
By Daniela Marchesi
Last year was a very challenging one; one evening last July I was run over in a hit and run not far from my home. My body slammed on to the car bonnet and after the driver kindly drove off, I was left with a broken foot (three fractured metatarsals), a cracked rib and a severely sprained wrist. Not to mention, a delightful array of bruises and cuts. I was truly a sight for sore eyes. The following six weeks were uncomfortable, to say the very least. I was housebound and spent day after day in a lot of pain, not being able to go about my daily life.
So whilst I lay at home, I started to research ways in which I could really improve my fitness once I was back on both feet. Personal training seemed like the most effective solution. Over the years I have gone to the gym regularly, though truth be told, I don’t think I really ever pushed myself to my full potential.
So once I waved goodbye to my crutches – about two and half months after the accident – I started. My ‘taster’ session was torture and it soon became apparent just how unfit I had become. I was out of breath within minutes and genuinely thought I was going to collapse. And when the initial body measurements and weight were taken, I was in for another shock as I was actually a lot heavier than I thought. Overall, not the best for a girl’s ego.
Initially, there were a lot of exercises I was unable to do as my right foot and leg were incredibly weak. Running for more than three minutes on the treadmill was out of the question, and lunges, press-ups and planks were just too painful as they involved putting pressure on my foot. Would you believe it, my right calf was a whole inch and half smaller than my left one, and the whole of my right leg had turned to jelly.
But with a lot of intensive training – three to five times a week, as well as a clean diet, whey protein shakes and the odd treat thrown in for good measure, my fitness has improved tenfold.
My trainer devises a series of programmes consisting of intense interval training workouts, involving weight lifting and body weight exercises. And every few weeks these are tweaked and intensified. Last week I was dead-lifting 50kg on a bar and squatting with 45kg. There was no one more surprised than me.
I am fitter and stronger now than I have ever been in my life, and it feels great. Though it is has been anything but easy. To re-sculpt your body, it takes proper hard work and months, if not years to achieve results. For me now this is only the starting point. Embarking on this fitness regime has taught me just how much time, dedication and commitment is required. And even on those days when you are feeling sluggish, bloated, tired and the thought of donning lycra borders on suicidal, you have to suck it up and put in the hours.
I want to continue pushing my fitness levels and challenging myself. As I’ve never run further than the next lamppost, I would also like to run a Race for Life this summer. I know it’s only three miles long, but you have to start somewhere right?
My advice to anyone recovering from a similar injury to me, is to slowly reintroduce exercise into your daily routine. Increasing your fitness levels again will not only help with the painful recovery process, but will boost your mood and overall health. It was the best decision I ever made.
Follow Daniela on Twitter @danielamarchesi