Overcoming Injury: A Setup for a Comeback

Just a week ago, on June 2nd, I underwent surgery on my right hip. Here is what they did:

• Cleaned up the labrum. They were not able to repair it totally since it was so shredded. I may need reconstructive surgery if it becomes a problem down the road.
• Shaved the neck of the femur
• Removed some loose bony structures

perseverance

I have been dealing with right hip pain for a number of years now. I would feel “clicking” in the hip, general tightness and mild pain in my hip and lower back after strenuous activity, and while sitting. It was nothing really serious until February of this year when I felt a shooting pain while I was squatting. At that moment, I knew that it was time to get it checked out.

So far, I am feeling pretty good. The doctor said that my surgery went very well and that he thought I would feel much better when I am recovered.

This surgery was elective and I didn’t have to get it done, but the pain was getting so bad, I could not take it any longer. I was not excited to get surgery since it would keep me away from the weight room and training clients for a while but I knew in the end that it would be worth it. I just wanted to feel good again when I worked out and when I would sit down.

This is the first major injury that I have sustained since I was 16 years old. This was right around the time when I also started to lift weights seriously. When that injury occurred, it founded a new beginning for me and motivated me to overcome the odds and bounce back, fast.

To me, this injury is a life changer. Sure, its not that serious of a surgery and I will recover just fine but for someone that lives and breathes movement and fitness, the impact is dramatic. So instead of giving up and simply waiting for my injury to heal, I am going to outline a plan to get me back to where I want to be as fast as possible. Sitting around and doing nothing is not an option, so I will deal with the cards that have been dealt and make the best of it.

Not only can I not walk for 4-6 weeks, I will also have to watch the intensity of my workouts for the next 4-6 months. For a bodybuilder and fitness professional, this is not good news. We tend to want to go full throttle most of the time. I will have to be intelligent and consistent with whatever I do on my own and with a physical therapist.

I will also admit that I am too vain to get fat. I do not want to lose muscle, shrink like a raisin in the sun, nor gain body fat. I would not say I am scared to get out of shape, just aware of what I need to do if I want to maintain my physique the best that I can.

Since I will not be lifting as heavy of weights for a while and moving less in general, my body will not rip through calories like it once did. This means that I will have to keep tighter with my eating. I am not going to go on a diet per say but I will be realistic with where my body is at with my current activity level and adjust accordingly.

I will keep my eating very simplistic and just enough to where I get the nutrients I need to repair tissue, recover and have energy. Cheat meals will be reduced to a minimum.

Typically, I could get away with more cheat meals than the average person who did not workout as much, so this will be an adjustment for me. I love to eat and eat a lot at once. Figuring out my food volume will be the toughest part of it all!

jg

This topic leads me to something else we should discuss. Should you reading this take into consideration your activity level when eating? Absolutely! You should be very mindful and honest with yourself about how much you move in a given day, how often you workout and how intense your workouts are.

My eating recommendations are simple to those that are

A – laid up from an injury and can’t exercise as often,
B – can’t exercise as often due to time constraints, or
C- those who just don’t move that much

• Eat a baseline of protein and fat and adjust carbohydrates based on your activity level.
• Only eat one cheat meal a week, if any. Eating clean in the proper portions is a must.
• Drink lots of water.
• Eat vegetables and protein in every meal.
• Eat 3 times a day with NO snacking.
• If you are a male, give intermittent fasting a try.
• Take fish oil, a green food supplement and utilize a grass-fed whey protein.
• If you are injured, consider supplementing with Turmeric and other natural anti-inflammatory supplements.

I am not one to get obsessed about how many calories I am consuming and if I am getting my macronutrients in perfect balance. I like to accomplish certain habits way before I start getting too crazy with the numbers. Use the above habits list as your guide before you become a mathematician. Habits always stick longer and have a larger impact than short-term caloric and carbohydrate restriction.

My Comeback Plan

The only way I was going to put my plan on paper was if I wrote a blog about it. I am the type of person that is always reading and writing about fitness and nutrition, so I have always kept most of my eating and training that I do in my head. It is always on my brain so I usually would memorize each workout with every set and rep, and remember what I ate last week in detail. I have not kept a journal of my nutritional intake since 2006 and the last time I kept a training journal was in 2013, when I prepared for a weightlifting competition. That was the first training log since 2006!

I must admit that not keeping a journal only works for so long and to truly have a bulletproof plan to succeed, you need to write it down. I think a journal is long over do.

Now let’s take a look at my projected plan. Here is my simple eating and workout plan while I make a comeback:

Eating and Supplementation

This is not going to change that much for me. I am going to stick to what I normally do with a couple of considerations. The habits are where it starts. Let’s take a look at my rules that I will be following:

Eating Rules

• I am not going to eat after dinner (no kids cereals, my weakness).
• I will only eat 4 times a day or less, unless I choose to fast that day.
• I will have at least 30 grams of protein each time I eat.
• I will have vegetables at 2 or more of my meals.
• I will drink at least 100 ounces of water a day.
• I will only eat ice cream once per week.
• I will only have one cheat meal a week, most likely a restaurant meal or pizza.
• I will only eat veggies, fruit and protein when I do get a meal on the go. If I do choose a carbohydrate, it will be rice or potato. I need to leave room for lots of veggies.

Supplementation

This will not change very much either. I have always been consistent with my supplementation and don’t take anything different than I did a few years ago. Basically I am taking the same stuff I recommend in my book, with a couple extras for recovery.

Here is the list:

• Fish Oil, Progenex 2 caps a day and SFH oil 1 tbsp. a day
• Turmeric, ginger, Boswell and Celery seed complex by Standard Process
• Vitamineral Greens and/or Amazing Grass Greens
• Probiotics (various brands)
• ZMA
• Juice Plus
• SFH grass-fed whey protein and their Fuel product
• Vitamin D Drops
• Branched Chain Amino Acids upon awakening and pre-workout
• Creatine

I won’t have an exact meal plan at this stage in the game. If I decided to train for some type of competition then I will get more specific.

Here is an example meal plan I would follow.

Wake up and take 15 grams of Branched Chain Amino Acids with all my supplements except whey protein, ZMA, green food, one of the fish oil doses and creatine.

Meal 1: Either 6 whole eggs with fruit or a super shake with grass-fed whey protein, berries, banana, greens, extra virgin coconut oil, and peanut butter.

Meal 2: I may skip this meal all together, or consume meal one in the afternoon. It just depends on my schedule that day. If I do have meal one in the morning, I will most likely have a large salad with various greens, veggies and some protein.

If I don’t have a salad, I will have some leftover veggies and protein that we made for dinner the night before. I will opt not to have any starchy carbs as I find that if I do eat too much food, in particular starchy carbs in the afternoon, my energy levels drop. I like to save the starchy carbs for dinner.

Meal 3: I will always have a protein component (beef, chicken, and sometimes eggs are the staples), a salad with various veggies and a cooked vegetable. If I don’t have a salad, I will double the serving of the cooked veggie.

In this meal I will add a starch. Sweet potato, white potato and white rice are my staples.

Pre and post-workout:

Once I start to workout, which will be very soon, I will have a serving of BCAA’s or whey protein before a workout and another after a workout. I will include creatine in this mix. Once my activity and intensity level goes up, I will add a pre-workout carbohydrate to the mixture.

Nothing fancy or different with my eating. The only big changes will be quantity that will be adjusted to fit my energy expenditure and less cheat meals. These will be tough enough for me. I can fast for a long period of time but when it is time to eat, I want to eat big!

My Training and Rehab

I took the first few days off and have not done much at all. I have started to do some quad sets, glute firing exercises, transverse abdominal firing, as well as some circumduction of the hip with the help of someone else. This weekend I hope to jump on a bike and get moving even more.

I have a 7-week rehab protocol that I received from a friend of mine who is a chiropractor and had the same surgery. This will be a great guide for me to follow and I will add and take away things as I see fit.

I will also be working with another physical therapist to see what else I can do to improve the process. Between the two, I am sure that I will devise a sound program.

Once I feel comfortable, I am going to start to do some light upper-body lifting.

Right now, I plan to do just some muscle activation techniques, circumduction, light stretching-range of motion exercises and some bike. I will also be trying out the upper-body ergometer and see how that feels.

Rehab protocol – everyday on my own or with a therapist 3-4 weeks after surgery
20-30 minutes on the bike – everyday
Upper-body strength training – 2 movements each day taking days off as needed

I will keep the upper-body strength movements safe and simple. I will play this by ear and do what I can.

Note: I will perform the bike workout and rehab protocol prior to each upper-body lifting workout.

Right now this is all trial and error, guess and check. I plan to do what I can do without any pain. I want to do just a little bit each day and not do too much where the next day I cannot do something. I may have to back off as I go but I will adjust as needed. Time will tell.

I am hoping by 3-4 months out, I can get back to normal workouts. If I do my homework up front, I should be able to achieve this goal.

The Journey

I have been trying to explain to my clients and members that fitness is a lifelong “journey”. There is a beginning but there is no end, unless you quit. You must accept the highs and lows, ups and downs, victories and defeats. Not everything will go according to plan. You will have obstacles in your way during the whole entire journey. How you work with those obstacles will defy your success. If you embrace the “journey” and understand that you will always be a work in progress, you then will truly experience true improvement of your quality of life through fitness.

comeback

I am going to use this experience to improve my lifelong “journey” of fitness. I will end up being better than I was before the surgery. Obstacles like injuries are not defeats. They are springboards to help launch a new beginning. They show you what you are made of and how bad do you really want it. It is not going to be easy but I am going to embrace this experience and push past the toughness.

I like this quote that I read once. “Your setback is the platform for your comeback”. I am ready to comeback…better.

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