Training around an injury. 

Hello all. For anyone that has been following this blog you should be aware that I recently was diagnosed with a pernanal abscess. On June 11th I had surgery to drain the abscess. Everything went well but since it was an emergency surgery I did not know anything about my recovery since I had not had a chance to talk with the Doctor. 

I knew prior to going in that there would be a good chance that I would be too drug up to remember anything she would tel me about my recovery time. So I asked my wife to ask her about lifting which she did. It turns out that I can not do anything that will cause a lot of stress to the glute area of my body. This was not good news at all. That pretty much eliminated every lower body weight lifting exercise that I could possible do. 

This was a major disappointment as due to the pain with the abscess I had not been able to do a lot of lower body work anyway. I was not even sure that I would be able to bench any heavy weight. So fast forward to Friday the 17th and I am finally feeling good enough to try a workout. This is one of my regular scheduled days with my personal trainer. 

By the way in past blog I have referred to my trainer as just “D” as I did not have his permission but I remembered to ask him for permission today so from now on he will be listed by name which is Davin Greenwell. 

Ok back on topic. I head into UFit to meet with Davin for my training day. This is where it pays off to have a trainer that knows what the heck they are doing. We talk for about 10 minutes on just the topic of my injury and possible limitations. 

After hearing about all that is going on we start out with some seated overhead dumbbell presses. We did this seated instead of standing to eliminate the normal lower body component of the overhead press. Normally we do an overhead barbell push press which engages the lower body including the glutes. I also managed to hit a PR for this particular exercise today of 40 pounds per hand. 

We did super sets working an opposite muscle group to allow the first to rest. When we did anything that could cause some strain on the posterior area we went with a lower weight and high rep range. At the end of the workout I felt great. Things were right in the world again 

I had walked into that Gym feeling disappointed and upset that I had already missed a week of training. To top it off the last two weeks I have not been able to lift as often as I have wanted to because of this injury. After sitting at home for a week I was scared that I would regress into the lazier person I used to be. I needed to get back into the gym and lift some weights. I was fiending for it like an addict. 

I wrote about intrinsic motivation a little while ago and this just reenforced my belief that I was a changed persons. I could not stand the thought of not working out for a week. Thanks to Davin I was able to still get in a good workout without risking further injury. 

I am hoping next week the doctor releases me to start working my lower body because I plan to get in a lot of squats. 

This brings me to the main point of this blog. You can train with an injury! You just need to be smarter than the injury. If you do not feel confident setting up your own routine than please contact a personal trainer that knows that they are doing and let them help you so that you can be back on the road to a stronger life. 

And as always….

Keep striving for a stronger life. 


Bumps in the road to gains

So about three weeks ago I am lifting one day when I feel a quick sharp pain in my glute. I was squatting at the time…nothing real heavy. So as I am always conscious of injury I rack the barbell and assess the situation. I do not feel any more pain through any range of motion so I continue on with my workout. 

Fast forward two day and I sit down to use the restroom and feel a little pain. I immediately think back to when I am lifting and think that I got a hemmroid as they can occur when lifting. Well the pain was not bad so i figure I will take it a little easy but work through it. 

I do this for another week and a half when I notice a large lump in my left glute. I know at this point that it could not be a hemmroid. So after a couple of doctors visits and being sent to a specialist I learn that I have a pernanal abscess. So I say to myself well that sucks big time. All I can think about it how this is going to effect my training. I am enjoying lifting so much that I do not want to have to put it on hold, but I know that I need this fixed. 

The specialist recommend that I take an antibiotic and see if it clears up in a week. Three days into the antibiotic treatment the abscess is large and angrier. I call the specialist back and explain to her what is going on. She immediately tells me to drive to the surgery center as they are going to drain the abscess before it gets too bad. 

Again I was worried about how much lifting I was going to have to miss. This abscess was literately and metaphorically a pain in my ass. So here I am two days after surgery with a drain plug installed and a small constant leak I can expect for at least a week or more. 

The only good news I learn from this is that it was not caused by my weight lifting its just one of those things that happens. Not sure why fate choose the one time in my life I am actually working hard to be healthier but there you have it. 

I am going to try doing some upper body on Friday and see how it goes. I am going to make it a technique day more then a heavy lift day. The last thing I want to do is aggravate this injury. If I have my way I will be right back on track here in just another week or so. 

My advise if you start feeling persistent pain get it checked out by a professional. I feel like if I would have gone a week or so earlier to a doctor that maybe this would have been cleared up by now. The last thing anyone wants to do is aggravate   an injury miss lifting for even longer. 

Keep strivingn for a stronger life. 

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation

For most of my life I hated working out. When ever I knew I had to I would dread it dragging my feet as long as possible before finally starting. Sure sometimes after the workout endorphins would kick in and I would feel good…but that never carried over to the next day to work out. I always need an outside push to actually get going. That was either from a drill sergeant, coach, or my wife. I never woke up and thought man I wish I was exercising right now. This was probably one of the biggest reasons for my failure to ever keep up with a workout program. Finding motivation to workout was by far harder then the actual workout.

Than it happens. A few months back I start learning to perform powerlifts. I quickly fell in love. I never knew that working out could be this fun and rewarding. I had a daily measure to show that I was getting stronger and stronger. I was lifting about three times a week at that point with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. I found myself wishing for Monday to come around just for a workout. I could not believe what was happening. I was looking forward to the end of the weekend just so I would workout again. It had finally happened. I was motivated to workout without anyone else driving me to do it. I found that I had Intrinsic motivation.

For most of my life it was always external motivation that got me doing something positive for my health well for the first time I did not need anyone to motivate me. I used to think people that were so eager to workout everyday were crazy. I have now figured out how they feel and it is one of the greatest feeling in the world. Do yourself a favor and find something that gives you that intrinsic motivation. Once you have it you will be on your way to having a stronger life. Do something you love and love doing it. Speaking of which I am going to go pick up something heavy.

Choosing the right trainer for you

If you are anything like me than you probably stopped and started more training programs than you can count. The earliest one I remember doing was Tae Bo….do not let that be a reflection on my age. So after doing so many programs and nothing working you have to be extremely frustrated. I know I was. So one day my wife and I are talking about my health and she asks if I ever thought about getting a personal trainer. I pause for a minute thinking about it and realized that I have but always thought it would be too expensive. So I immediately think about the LA Fitness just down the road. So the next day I drive to LA Fitness and sign back up…I had been a member before for a year and used it about six times. While talking with sale rep I express interested in a trainer and I am introduced to “L”. I am just using a letter as I am sure she will come up in a later post. So I schedule an appointment to do an assessment with “L” in about three days.

After I leave I get to thinking that maybe I should actually do a little research before plopping down a large amount of money on this. So I go online and look up LA Fitness personal trainer reviews. To say they  were unflattering would be an understatement. I then cracked my knuckle got my “Google Fu” working and started looking up personal trainers in my area. Immediately the number of choices is astounding. It looks like everyone and their brother is a personal trainer. This made me think long and hard about how to narrow down my choice.

The first thing I thought of was location. I knew that at that point in my life I needed something close to home or I would never go. If I had to commute and hour each way I would be making all sorts of excuses not to go train. So I picked placed within 15 minutes of my house. This narrows it down to about 10 in my area. Going down the list I start clicking on websites. For about the first four I notice the same think…pretty people in really good shape working out. This made me feel intimated as the last thing I wanted was to be the only slow fat kid in class.

Then it happens click number five and I come across UFit. The first thing I notice is that every single photo is people of all different shapes and sizes. Older people…younger people…people that look like they are just trying to live a little healthier life. I click through the page further and am liking what I see. So I contact the owner Mike. I set up an appointment for an assessment.

The day of my assessment I go in and I am greeted at the door with a smile and firm handshake. I am given a short speech about what the goals are at Ufit and how their classes and programs work. I am really impressed at this point and decided that I want to give it a try so I sign up. Mike then introduces me to “D” who is that man that helps to begin my transformation. When I meet “D” I sit down and talk with him for about 20 minutes. Besides being in phenomenal shape “D” is very smart.

I work with “D” over the next few weeks and I have learned more about human anatomy and exercise science then I ever did during all of high school or college. It is very easy to simply put together a routine that will make people tired and feel like they are accomplishing something it is another thing to start creating a program to make someone successful in their fitness goals. At Ufit they do not expect you to be a life long member. They are going to teach you how to be self sustaining.

So to make a long story short my advise for those looking for a trainer would be to first set yourself up for success. Think of all the excuses you have used in the past and solve those issues. Next find somewhere that regularly work with people at your fitness level. There is nothing more disheartening then going to work out and feeling like an outcast. Find a trainer whose goal is not to create a steady paycheck but to make sure that you are capable of training yourself when you are done. Lastly for anyone who is a trainer do not just post pics of the pretty inshape people on your wesite. Post the pics with your average Joe working toward their stronger life.


Fixing past mistakes….knowledge is power

train your mind

I accomplished something I never thought I would be able to three years ago. I lost 75 pounds. It took me a total eight months but I did it. I thought I could not be happier I was losing weight and looking good. Then reality hits me in the face. Over the next month I lost nothing…not one single pound. I did not understand I was only eating 1400 calories a day how could this be. Another month goes by and the same thing I am completely stuck at 240 pounds. I was hungry all the time I had little to no energy and I was not reaching any of my goals. Once more month passes and nothing happens. I do not lose one more pound. By this point I am exhausted I did not know what to do. I had tried working out but was too tired to get through one thirty minute routine. Turns out that if I had done a little bit of research I would have found out about metabolic damage.

My knowledge of exercise science was pretty much nil. I knew nothing except their was a food pyramid and that to lose weight you had to eat fewer calories. I knew very little about metabolism. It would drive me up a wall when I would see one of my skinny friends downing pieces of cake and eating like crap while I saw in the corner nibbling on a carrot. They would still be the same skinny person and I would be heavier than before.

So naturally what happens when you are stuck like I was and feeling like crap…you fall off the wagon. I figured if I was not going to be able to lose any weight I might as well eat some really tasty food. For two years I went like this every few months eating healthier for a week or so and then right back to fast food and high calorie meals. Over the next two years I ended up at 316.

Again I was miserable just on the other end of the spectrum. So at my wife’s suggestion I go get a personal training (I will talk more about choosing a personal trainer in another post). I am introduced to “D”. I will refer to him as “D” until I get his permission to use his name. So “D” is a very highly intelligent individual who is working his way through his undergrad and already looking toward his PhD in exercise science. Think of a shorter Layne Norton and you have a good idea what “D” is like. During our first meeting “D” sets up my fitness pal with how he wants me to ear. I thought for sure I would be back at 1500 calories a day but instead he tells me to eat 2500 calories and explains the percentage breakdown between proteins, carbs, and fats I should eat. I was in shock 2500 calories that could not be right. There is no way I am going to lose any weight eating that much. At the time “D” gave me a brief explanation of metabolism and how it works. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of my love for exercise science.

I very quickly learned that the past mistake I had made was the damage I caused to my metabolism. I made my body think that it was in survival mode and starving. This caused my metabolism to slow way down which prevented me from losing any more weight. There was an article written about “Biggest Loser” contestants that experience this very same phenomenon. While this is more of an observational study it still has a lot of merit. I posted the link below.

Biggest Loser study

After talking with “D” I came across the “Biggest Loser Study” and could not believe what I was reading. That happened to me! I now understood that it was not weakness on my part. It was not that I just couldn’t do it. There was an actual reason I failed. I then started doing even more research and learned from “D” about a person named Layne Norton. Dr. Norton has a Youtube channel where he discusses many issues from coaching to nutrition. Dr. Norton has five great videos that deal with metabolic damage and ways to fix it. You can check out all five video of his metabolic damage series by clicking the link.

I finally understood what I had done wrong. I was gaining more and more knowledge as fast as I could. I did not want to fail this time. I do not know if I could come back from another failure. I have been struggling with this my whole life and it is time for it to end. I want to be healthier and live a stronger life. It does not matter if you are new to working out, starting again, or already in fantastic shape do yourself a huge favor and do not forget that knowledge is power. The more you know and the more you understand about how your body works the better results you will see I can promise you that.





Journey to a stonger self

Journey to a stonger self

Let me introduce myself.  My name is Mike. Since high school I could have been described many ways. It started out with chubby, big boned or heavy…but what it really came down to is that I was fat. Things did not get any better as I got older. I had an all time low after basic training of 154 and a high of 316. To say I had a weight problem would be a major understatement.

This current journey started a few years ago. I took a trip with my family to Kings Island. Everything was going great we got to the park early the lines were short as it had just got done raining and I was having a good time. Then reality hits. We go to ride “The Beast”. I get all the way to the top of the coaster sit down in what I thought was a way too small seat and pull the bar across my lap. The only problem is that it will not close enough. So there I am trying to suck it in and pull this bar a little further down. As I am struggling to fit myself into this seat one of the attendants come over to help. By this point I am holding up the entire ride with everyone and their brother staring at me. To say that I felt like a jackass would be an understatement. The attendant also started pushing on the bar to get it to click just two time. She pushed down getting one click. I was in pain because this bar was pressing so hard into my stomach so I told her to just let me off the ride and they could go without me. She would not give up though and gives one more big push getting the second click. I felt like ten pounds of mashed potatoes shoved into a five pound sack. The ride starts and off we go. Every turn and bump being extremely painful. Then the ride comes to an end and I thought my misery was over…except to get out of the cart they need to push the bar down to release the lock. We start all over getting me out of this cart with an attendant pushing so I can finally get free. I grab my stuff and walk away more embarrassed then I have ever been in my life. Right then and there I knew something had to change.

Fast forward one year I had been using myfitnesspal to keep track of the food I eat. I was down to 240 and feeling pretty slim. The problem being I was always hungry and my energy levels were low. Turns out that a 5’8″ adult male should have more than 1400 calories a day. Since I was not working out I needed to keep eating 1400 calories just to maintain that weight. I wish I had the knowledge I do today back then things would have been much different. So what happens to someone in this situation…they bounce back. In my case I bounced back hard. I started eating like crap and put on all my lost weight coming to rest over a year later at 316.

I stayed at 316 for months feeling like crap. My knees hurt just to move me around my ankles were killing me and I again had no energy. Something had to give and I was afraid it was going to be my heart. Well my wife was thinking along the same lines and after encouraging me to eat better and workout she came up with another option. Knowing my personality like she did she knew that I needed someone to drive me to workout and that it was not a good thing for a marriage if that was her. So she recommended I try a personal trainer. I had been thinking about something like that myself but was worried about the cost. Well we just decided that living a long happy life was worth a little bit of money now. So after a search of the internet for personal trainers in my area I found one that was close by and had a philosophy that I liked. Too many of the personal training sites I went to had pictures of high intensity workout with all these athletic looking people working out. All I could think was that I would be embarrassed to workout there and would not be able to do it. So along comes this one site where no one looked like they could be a model in their part time. They were real people trying to make their lives better. I gave them a call set up the appointment and started two days later.

Fast forward another 3 months and here I am down 28 pounds and 8 inches across my midsection. I weight 287 and still losing. The best part I have finally fallen in love with working out. For the first time in my life I was introduced to strength training. I had never lifted a barbell in my life before this and never see myself stopping.

So this has been a long intro but I thought I needed to cover some basics on how I got to where I am at. I intend for this blog to cover the journey of my stronger life. I hope I might be able to inform and inspire people to work toward a healthier life style. So long for now.