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Recovery and the Importance of Mindset with Ria Gandhi

3 min read

Recovery and the Importance of Mindset with Ria Gandhi

After hearing about her recent injury, Team Pocket caught up with Personal Trainer and Coach Ria Gandhi to discuss the importance of rest, recovery and mindset.

We were really sorry to hear about your recent injury. Please can you tell us about the type of injury you sustained and how it occurred? 

I sustained bilateral stress fractures on the femoral heads of my hip joints. Stress reactions or fractures can occur in a number of different ways but I would say the main cause of mine was progressively overdoing it. Overtraining accompanied with being on the go constantly, over 20,000 steps a day and very little recovery time. 

How has your recovery been so far and how long is your road to full recovery?
The road to recovery started after I received my MRI results in early October. I wasn’t able to bear weight on my hips so I had to use crutches for six weeks (not fun at all). During this time, I went to the physio 2/3 times per week where a Compex machine was used to stimulate my leg muscles and ensure I wasn’t losing too much muscle mass. 

I also had to return to hospital to have my bloods taken in order to establish whether I had any deficiencies that would have led to my injury. On top of this I was taken in for a DEXA scan to determine my bone density and to rule out Osteoporosis. 

Post crutches and a further MRI scan, I had another six week recovery window where I was still unable to coach classes. I could start to slowly reintroduce light resistance into my training. One method we used was Blood Flow Restriction training (BFR), where a tight cuff was placed on the top of my thighs in order to restrict blood flow to my legs and encourage the muscles to work harder on movements such as a bodyweight squat. 

After twelve weeks I was finally able to return to work and have slowly been building strength back since then. I am now over twenty weeks into my recovery and am lifting heavier than pre-injury in my compound movements. I will be able to return to Olympic lifting, plyometrics and running within a few more weeks. 

Whist your injury is physical it’s important to consider the impact this can also have on your mental health and wellbeing too. Would you mind sharing your experiences in regards to this and whether your injury has impacted your career within fitness?

Although I had to take twelve weeks off coaching group fitness classes (I still personal trained my private clients throughout), I actually feel my injury has impacted me in the most positive way. I feel I have a much better understanding of my body and the importance of knowing when to stop and reset. 

The first two/ three weeks were super tough mentally. I had gone from being on the go 24/7 to a complete standstill. For someone who uses exercise and movement as an outlet, I suddenly was forced to deal with my stresses head on. I had so much more time on my hands and a lot more hours of my day free to overthink. However, I chose to use this time as a way to reflect on the different aspects of my life and evaluate where I needed to make key changes and shifts.
I gained a new perspective on the importance of mindset and it further reinforced to me that the strongest part of your body is in fact your mind. I feel I can use my injury to my advantage, it has made me a better coach and I can continue to learn and grow from each lesson I’ve learned over the whole experience. 

How are you feeling now? 

I feel great now. I’ve made some big changes since coming back from injury. Starting a new job, broadening my horizons and approaching my own training with a lot more consideration for my body and for my mind. 

Do you have any advice for others who are currently looking to get back into fitness post injury?

1.Focus on what you can do not what you can’t.

2.Work with the experts. A great physio, a coach who specialises in injury and recovery. Listen to their advice and use it. 

3.Be kind to yourself. Your mind is a powerful place. 

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