Nutritional Considerations During Injury or Decreased Training Volume

Garage Gym Athlete
Nutritional Considerations During Injury or Decreased Training Volume

Hey, Athletes!  Episode 185 of The Garage Gym Athlete Podcast is up!

Nutritional Considerations During Injury or Decreased Training Volume


  • This is a Jerred solo podcast where he dives into a discussion on nutrition during either injury or a time of decreased training volume.
  • Jerred discusses his approach during his experiences with injury
  • He uses information from two studies to discuss this topic
  • He gives a few guidlines for intake:
    • Protein -  2.3g/kg of body mass
    • Creatine - 5g+
    • Eat enough calories
    • Avoid alcohol 
  • And A LOT MORE!!

Diving Deeper… 

If you want to go a little bit deeper on this episode, here are some links for you: 

Reference these studies for this week!

 Garage Gym Athlete Workout of the Week 

Don't forget to listen to this week's episode!


Thanks for listening to the podcast, and if you have any questions be sure to add it to the comments below!

To becoming better!


Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the garage, gym, athlete podcast, where we talk about fitness, health, and anything to help you become the most optimal human beings. Let's dive in.

Jerred: Hey, Jerred Moon here, and welcome to the garage, gym, athlete podcast. Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about injury and some things that you should consider. Things that you might want to do, things that you want to avoid because it all happens. It's going to happen to every single one of us at some point getting injured while we do our best to avoid it altogether.

Sometimes it just comes with the territory of not sitting on our asses, right? So we are out there, we're doing things we're doing. Above and beyond just a walking and bicep curls. So an injury is bound to occur at some point, especially if you enjoy doing things that are a little bit more athletic, if you still continue to play sports as you get older, anything like that, you will get injured.

And. I've been injured a number of times, never anything too serious. I've had a tweaked knee, a tweaked shoulder, those kinds of things. My worst and most long term injury which I've talked about quite a bit on the podcast was when I hurt my lower back. So this is when I was doing a ton of volume and I was chasing that goal of being able to do the 500 pound back squat and the five minute mile.

And so I was increasing volume, to be honest, I wasn't paying attention to much else. I really only have myself to blame getting injured there. I wasn't factoring in nutrition all that much. I was just doing what I was doing. I still had a very hectic work and life schedule.

To go after a goal like that. I should have been more prepared. I really thought that I could handle that training volume better than I did. And looking back at it, it's quite obvious why I was injured. I wasn't I wasn't all there mentally. I wasn't adjusting to the volume in slow enough increments.

And while my nutrition was clean, I wasn't, I was not eating enough. I was not consuming enough protein, those kinds of things. So there are a lot of considerations but ended up hurting my lower back and that one. That one was tough because it lasted for pretty much a year and a half, maybe even a little bit longer with a lingering, like it was severe for probably six months to six to eight months.

I did a lot of physical therapy and other stuff. And then I got. Better. But what would happen is every time I would start to increase the load, that injury would start to come back. So I realized quickly, like I was just gonna have to start at square one and go and build back very slowly. And that's what I've done.

Right now I feel great just to update everyone on that. Like I'm training. I brought my intensity back. Weights are coming back up. I'm right now. I'm not trying to get anywhere close to 500 pounds on the squat or anything thing like that, but still lifting moderate to heavy loads every single week.

Running fast again, running at higher zone has higher intensities and I feel pretty good, but having been, like I said, injured a few times. I think there's some considerations I take in. Just having read a lot of research and done this stuff a lot. There's a lot of things that I do and take into consideration that I don't think I've, voiced enough.

And I think that it could really help you if you come across a time period where. You're either injured, and this could be an acute injury, something smaller hey, I'm gonna be out for five to seven days, you just kinda know it's a tweak, that's gonna get better, this, these are considerations, this is also a consideration if you do have a longer term injury, things that you wanna think about.

Or if you just, have decreased training load due to, same kind of category of a chronic injury something just doesn't feel right, so you're not training as hard or you're not training the way that you should. So this is why I'm making this podcast is that I want you to be able to take into considerations a lot of the things that.

I'm taking into consideration and I was looking at two specific studies in preparation for this podcast. So one was done in 2022 and it's called nutritional considerations for injury prevention and recovery and combat sports. I really liked that one is very in depth review. And then there was another study, very similar, a lot of overlap, I like to pull from multiple places.

This one was done in 2020 rehabilitation nutrition for injury recovery of athletes, the role of macronutrient intake. And so I'm going to they're both very long studies, but you can Google either one of those, or you can go to the show notes and you can see exactly what I'm, what I've seen and what we see in the research, but I'm just pulling out what I think is important.

And one thing that was an underlying theme that I believe to be true. And also in the research if you are injured, so this is let's go to step zero here, if we're working through multiple things, step zero is going to be You need to keep moving. Now, if this is some sort of very severe acute like impact like maybe it was combat sports or maybe you play soccer or something like that.

Like you, it's an injury where there was an impact and you have to immobilize a joint. Then that's not necessarily what I'm talking about. I'm not saying hey, if your knee is super jacked up, keep moving it. That's not what I'm saying. But if you have a tweaked muscle or, knee or elbow or shoulder or something like that, or lower back, don't let it be an excuse to quit moving altogether.

Because a lot of the things I'm going to hit on that were in the research that have to do with muscle protein synthesis and muscle atrophy, all of the things that I'm going to talk about work better. If you're still moving, at least in some capacity. So for instance. In my garage, I have multiple different cardio machines.

So I have a treadmill, I have a concept to, I have all the concept machines. I have a concept to row or concept to bike in a skier. And I did have an air dying that I got rid of but I'll probably get another one of those soon. Anyway, I have a lot of different options for one, how I feel. And then also what, what's going on.

And so if my knee or foot or something is not feeling good. Then I can get on the skier and I can do upper body conditioning and I can still do whatever strength training that I can do. And I say that because I broke my foot a couple of years ago. And that's what I had to do. I had to do a lot of upper body.

I couldn't run for a long time. And then even when I hurt my lower back, it was just finding out what I could do. And I had to cut out some of the things that I absolutely love, which was like. Long bike rides running. I wouldn't say I love running, but it's just an easy form of cardio to get done that you can do, just put on the shoes and get out there and go.

So you have to keep moving. You want to keep some level of. keeping your muscles engaged, breathing, sweating. So don't quit moving. I feel like that is a lot of people's natural reaction. Sometimes it's Hey, I'm just gonna stop using, stop doing everything I'm doing and get better. That's not the way you want to get better.

You want to keep, you want to wait if you have to, if there's a couple days for information to go down or whatever, okay, wait it out. But then you need to start moving again, need to start loading again, just in different capacities. And if you need to work with like a movement based physical therapist, something like that, then I highly recommend it as well.

So that's the first thing keep moving. Now the biggest thing I think that considered nutritionally is protein. And what I was, what I pulled from the research. Is very in line with my beliefs about protein. So you're going to need about 2. 3 grams per kilogram when you're injured.

This is the injury recommendation. So I'm 185 pound male that comes out to being around 193 grams of protein. So slightly over that one gram per pound. And that's something that you want to consider. I. I think it's okay to eat around one gram per pound or less. Not a whole lot less, but if I'm 185 and I'm eating 160, 160 grams of protein a day and I'm like, I'm not injured.

then that's perfectly fine. I think that you're still getting enough mu muscle protein synthesis, you're having enough protein, cuz we can base it off your lean body mass, all these other things. So I think that there's a range there, but when you're injured, I think that you have to there. That's not as much as con consideration.

Protein is the building blocks of your bodies, of your cells, like you need protein, and when you're injured you need more protein. So going up to 2.3 grams per kilo. So like I said, 185 pound males, 193 grams of protein. And another big point was that you need to evenly do your best to evenly distribute that throughout the day.

So let's just round up to it being 200 grams of protein for me in a day. I would want to eat. Do my best to have four meals and each meal being around that 50 gram protein per mark because there's research that's saying muscle protein synthesis can be up to 25 greater if we have it evenly distributed throughout the day as opposed to I'm going to eat junk carbs all day and then i'm going to try to Backload the day and get a bunch of protein at night like that's not how you want to do it And to be honest a lot of people do that.

They have a Bagel and cream cheese for breakfast, whatever for lunch. And then they, maybe they have a steak and chicken for dinner and they try to get like a hundred grams all in one meal. That's not what you want to do. If you want to increase muscle protein synthesis, especially when you're injured you want to try and distribute that protein evenly throughout the day.

And another big factor, and I've talked about a good amount on the podcast is you want to make sure that you're getting enough leucine. So leucine is a lot of what triggers muscle protein synthesis. And from this research, from what I pulled it was about the same that I stumble on the magic number around two grams of leucine is about what you're looking to hit.

And just to give, some context to this two grams of leucine if you eat a six ounce steak, that's around five grams of leucine. So meat has a ton, like just a ton of leucine. And then one egg has over 500 milligrams of leucine. So if you're eating three eggs, that's 1. 5 grams of leucine. Then if you add anything else to that, you're easily going to pass that two gram threshold.

So those are all of the protein considerations. Another thing to throw in there or some research that was in here quite a bit was creatine seems to help with decreasing muscle loss because when we're injured, that's the main thing that we're trying to do. We're trying not to lose our gains.

We're also trying to let our body give the body all the tools that it needs to rebuild and repair, reduce inflammation. And so that's why we're focusing on all of these things. And so creating has some research that definitely shows that it can help. alleviate muscle loss when you're injured. So their recommendations and what the research said was anywhere from five grams to 20 grams of creatine per day.

I think you only need ever need about five grams of creatine a day. I always think that 20 gram mark is crazy, even when you're injured, but if you're not taking creatine at all, maybe when you're injured, increase the protein amount. If you increase the protein amount, you're probably naturally going to get more creatine because if you are eating meat.

Has a lot of creatine in it already. But then if you want to add some creatine on top of that, cause you feel like you're not getting enough, or if you are more plant based or something like that, you're definitely going to want to add some creatine in there. Next is just calories. So making sure that you're getting enough calories.

Pretty interesting stats. So when you are injured your body's energy expenditure can increase by 50%. Some of the research said it can go two to three times. Two to three fold its baseline dependent on the severity of the injury. Obviously. I'm going to go ahead and say that the injuries that I'm talking about now you might be experiencing are not necessarily in that camp of.

Doubling your need for calories, but could there be a 25 30% 50% bump necessary for you to be able to heal properly? Yes. And again, this is goes counter. It's a little bit counterintuitive to what we naturally want to do sometimes, is okay, I'm hurt. I'm not going to move. I'm not going to train.

That's a lot of people make that decision and that's the wrong decision. Like you, you just need to move differently, not move how you are. You need to move differently. You still need to have the body moving, get blood flow, get nutrients in and out of the affected area. And then sometimes people are like I'm not training as much now, I going to eat less, I'm not going to eat as much food.

So if you do those, if you make those two decisions alone, you are compounding how long it's going to take to recover. I don't have any specific research saying, yeah, if you do those two things, it's going to take three extra months. But if you think about it, you're just not doing what the body needs.

You're not, you're no longer exercising, which helps. Reduce the amount of muscle loss you would have. It also helps with blood flow, like I mentioned. And then also if you're reducing calories, you're not giving the body what it needs to actually repair the damage that's been done. So you need to make sure that you have the proper amount of calories.

And one of the interesting things I pulled, so again, going back to me being 185 pounds, they said that if you're eating less than 30 calories per kilogram. In this study, there is some research that says that's where you start to have some hormonal issues. That's where it starts to affect the hormones.

So for me this is 30 calories, sorry, 30 calories per kilogram of fat free mass. So very specifically a fat free mass. That's important indicator if you're trying to calculate this yourself. So if you were looking to calculate this for me, let's just say let's just make it a round number.

So 185 pounds, if I was 20% body fat 20% body fat would be roughly 148, 150 148. Pounds of lean body mass, fat free mass. So then I'd multiply that by 30. I'm right at that 2000 calorie mark. Okay, so this is that's like the threshold, like the baseline. If I start to trickle down below that at all, I'm going to be into some hormonal issues.

I'm starting to screw up. my body's hormones, which are the opposite of what you want to do when you're injured. And ever. That's why it's always bad to under eat. Because when you under eat, you start to screw with your hormones. You need to be eating enough. Enough calories and enough protein. And so stay away from that bottom line threshold against that 30 calories per kilo kilogram of fat free mass.

Now the goal specifically in this study was around 45 calories per kilogram. So going back to me being one 85, let's say I'm 20% body fat that bumps it up a thousand calories. So the goal should meet for me should be a minimum 3000 calories per day. Which is fairly close to my actual maintenance calories anyway.

So I, I'd probably even want to bump that up a little bit. It right after the injury. So I'm going to make sure, just actually walking through this, if I got hurt today, I, I went outside or went out to the garage. I trained, I'm hurt. I know that for a fact, I hurt myself.

My, ah, crap. Immediately I'm switching to.

Okay I'm focusing on, okay, I just got to get enough protein right now and I need to get enough calories. Let my body do its thing. Let my body heal itself to the best of its ability. And so I'm going to increase my calories. I'm gonna make sure I get enough protein and you're going to do that probably for the first week.

Then after that. Stick with a protein and then maybe calories can come down a little bit because you're not in that Acute zone where you need that 50 bump in calories Which again I think is a lot that it has to be a pretty severe injury to do something like that but definitely something you want to keep in mind making sure that you're getting that 45 Calories per kilogram of fat free mass.

So again, that's about 3 000 calories If our 20 body fat at 185, so those are the main things there were a lot of other things, but there's some conflicting data on antioxidants, vitamin D just micronutrients in general. And so I don't have an exact recommendation, even after looking at all of the, these two big studies.

I would go ahead and say, just my gut feeling here. is you're going to want micronutrients, right? It's not like you're trying to avoid those or they're unimportant. And I wouldn't go overboard with trying to have any antioxidants. I definitely wouldn't start to supplement with large doses of vitamin C or just antioxidants in general, but I'm still going to make sure I'm getting antioxidants and I'm still going to make sure I'm getting micronutrients.

So when. I'm injured. I don't want to put any crap in my body because I don't believe pizza has more, more effective at giving my body what it needs, as opposed to having, greens and blueberries and fruits and vegetables and all those things, and while I won't put an emphasis on, Hey, you should have this much vitamin D and you should have this much vitamin C.

I think all of those things are helpful, but I would just get them naturally through diet and I would focus more on having whole foods, fruits and vegetables every single day. That I was injured. I can't give you the amounts. Really? I couldn't pull it from here anyway. A lot of, like I said, the data was pretty conflicting, so just make sure that you're getting as many micronutrients as you possibly can.

And then making sure you're getting antioxidants again, this is. just through whole foods, no supplementation of any of these things. Cause there is some research that saying antioxidants after injury weren't necessarily a good thing. And then a whole bunch of conflicting research on vitamin C and vitamin D and all those things.

So we've looked at this in the podcast before. If you have too many antioxidants, it can get in the way of doing what the body needs to some degree. It can blunt what the body's trying to do, but that's more in like a hypertrophy standpoint like the effects of like cold exposure, for example can blunt muscle hypertrophy, muscle growth, really just because it's getting in the way of what the body wants to do by reducing inflammation too much.

And antioxidants can do the same thing. So again, don't go overboard with those things, but definitely prioritize eating real whole foods, fruits and vegetables. One of the last things, this is biggest, like what to avoid. And this was hands down, do avoid alcohol at all costs. You should not be drinking alcohol during this time frame when you are injured.

It all studies point to alcohol reducing muscle protein synthesis, which is the opposite of what we're wanting to do. We're wanting to build our body back better after we've been injured. You don't want to reduce muscle protein synthesis. Alcohol can do that. Also it has been shown to decrease wound healing.

So that's no good. You don't want that to happen either. Even if you don't have an actual wound, it seems like there is some sort of correlation to alcohol really just making your body less effective at doing the things that it needs to do. And so avoid alcohol. So the worst thing that you could do, so the worst thing that you could do, if you're like, Hey, I'm injured.

One, I can't do anything I like to do. So now I'm depressed. Since I'm depressed, I'm going to start drinking more alcohol in the evenings. So what am I doing when I'm drinking more alcohol in the evening? I'm decreasing muscle protein synthesis, decreasing wound healing, and I'm screwing with my sleep.

So I'm screwing my sleep and then also, you know what? I don't think I'm going to move anymore because I just, I'm injured and I shouldn't move. So I'm drinking alcohol. I'm not sleeping. I'm not moving as much. And then, you know what? I'm also going to eat less because. I don't want to gain weight, right?

That's the thought process. And this is what a lot of people do. This is not a far fetched thing. Even if you don't feel like you do that I know people go through this little cycle that I just mentioned. So we have more alcohol, less sleep, fewer calories, and we're not moving at all. So you're going to be injured for a long time.

So that acute injury will probably turn into a chronic injury and it will probably come back over and over again. And then once you come back and you're so far behind where you wanted to be or where you left off, that's going to be probably start the cycle over cause you're slightly depressed and your performance is way off.

You don't look how you used to. So you have to be very mindful of these things. Okay and the absolute last thing, and I mentioned it there which should, this was more of like nutritional considerations, but making sure that you're sleeping enough. Whatever you have to do to your schedule to go to bed earlier, wake up later but be consistent in your sleep and wake times, going to sleep and wake times.

That would be, a super power for when you're injured. So getting eight, nine hours of sleep. Every single day, I think are super important to this overall process. So if you can factor in all of this, so the second you get injured, maybe come back to this podcast. If unfortunately you ever do get injured in the process of your training career and just take into considerations everything I gave you, so we're going to keep moving.

We're going to find a way to keep moving our bodies. We're going to make sure that we have enough protein. We're going to actually increase it 2. 3 grams per kilogram of body weight. We're also going to focus on getting enough leucine. We're going to get it and we're going to start adding creatine.

And then we're going to make sure that we're eating enough, at least 45 calories per kilogram of fat free mass. And then we're going to avoid alcohol and we're going to sleep a lot, as much as we can. If you do all of these things, you will. 100% increase your time to recovery and reduce your overall injury time injured and your time out of training.

And then once you start coming back, just come back slowly. If you're feeling great one day, don't just. Pedal to the metal. I ran into that a couple of times when I thought I was better. And I was like, fine, great. Let's load 400 back on the bar. Not what I should have done. I just thought I was a hundred percent better when I wasn't in that just prolonged thing.

So come back slowly see a physical therapist. If you have to take in all of these considerations. But that's basically it for when you get injured. So nutritional considerations during injury or decreased training volume. If you have any questions let me know. And if you are one of our garage gym athletes, hopefully you stay uninjured, but I do appreciate you sticking around, sticking with the programming and listening to the podcast.

If you guys enjoy the podcast, please five star view, positive comment really helps out a lot. And if you want to be a part of the community and a part of the training. You can go to garagegymathlete. com and sign up for a 14 day free trial. We would love to have you. That's it for this one. Thanks for watching or listening.

And remember if you don't kill comfort will kill you.

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