When I was told I needed back surgery I made the conscious decision to actually listen to the medical professionals who would be caring for me. There’s a switch. I normally don’t listen to anyone when it comes to my body. Why bother? I survived childhood in the 1970s – I’m invincible. I was in the Navy – I’m invincible.
I have followed the post-op instructions as best as I can. I want to go swimming desperately but the nurse said I should wait two weeks after getting the staples out. They don’t want the incision immersed in water. I so miss my bubble baths. I may fudge this one a little bit and get in the pool a day or two early.
When I saw the post-op instructions on exercise I was mortified. No lifting of anything more than 10 pounds. No running. Nothing but walking. The good news on that is that I am encouraged to walk as much as possible. The bad news is that I feel like I am starting all over again.
Just over two years ago I decided to lose weight and get in shape. The easiest way to get started was to walk. A surgical procedure at that time forced me to consider that my only exercise for awhile. It took me pretty much an hour to walk three miles in January 2013. I cut back on the walking and developed a passion for weightlifting. Eventually I took up running and managed to run 3.12 miles (5K) in my neighborhood in under 27 minutes (once). My average run/walk mile pace is down to about 13 minutes. I had been increasing my distance and I even got a run in of over 6 miles just before the 115-pound deadlift that caused the herniated discs.
The bad news is that I feel like I am starting all over again.
Not that long ago I ratcheted up the research on the benefits of protein, how much should I be eating, what gives the most protein bang for the buck. I started taking creatine occasionally to power through workouts. Faithful readers of this blog know that I have an ideal body type and a goal in mind. They also know I have a long way to go. I really thought I was starting to see the progress I wanted to make and then I hurt myself.
I wrote recently that you don’t know if your metabolism is straightened out until you put it to a test. I have figured out that 6-8 weeks is about all my body can take of unnecessary carbs, not enough protein and no exercise before the scale starts to tick back up in the wrong direction. I gravitate to comfort food when I don’t feel well and my comfort food is carb laden. Yes, I have been drinking more than usual. Not to excess, but more than usual. Now, I have only gained a few pounds – best I recognize this now and keep the trend from continuing. The good thing here is that my portion sizes are reasonable and I don’t overeat or overindulge. Those practices have kept this weight gain minimal. What has been happening is an altering of my body shape that I do not like and the re-emergence of the skinny fat look. You can’t burn out the fat marbling in your muscles or visceral fat around your organs with cardio alone. Strength training and a high protein diet are required in addition to a good dose of cardio.
I wondered with this back injury and subsequent surgery if I would lose my motivation. I have marveled at my self-discipline and dedication the past 2 1/2 years. Yeah, I have my bad days. Yeah, I have my bad weeks. But they are few and far between. However, I have not had a challenge like this. Yes, I had a calf strain and hamstring pull that kept me from running for a month. Yes, I have minor aches and pains. Yes, I have had the recurring back spasms that knock me down a little bit. But I have yet to have an injury that required surgery and this much down time. After the last couple of days, I can tell you this, I am more motivated than ever.
How do I know this? For one, I don’t like that I have put on a couple of pounds. Two, I don’t like losing muscle and I don’t like losing what little definition I had managed to develop. Three, after a slow start after surgery – 1/2 mile here, 1/2 mile there, going back to work and not walking much at all for the last three days of this past week, I decided I would really get out there this three-day holiday weekend.
I asked the surgeon’s nurse how much I should be walking and she said whatever I was comfortable with but as much as possible. So, I have walked 15 miles the past three days. Two-a-days as it were, 3 miles in the morning, 3 in the evening. I got my 3 in this morning, and I’ll go again tonight at halftime of the basketball game. My body is telling me I need a bit of a break, but i think 18 miles in 3 days will pretty darn impressive for someone 2 1/2 weeks out from back surgery. I had read that 20 miles a week was the magic number for running or walking when it comes to burning visceral fat.
I’ll walk in the afternoons at work this week, or in the early evenings after work and back off the two-a-days. I’ll figure out a rest day. I really miss running and weightlifting. I see the surgeon June 17 and he’ll tell me what I can and cannot do. His nurse said I should have no restrictions after that.
I was hoping to have this Speedo body ready to go for Pool Season 2015 but that has been delayed. I’ll be 46 in a month or so. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do once I hit my goal weight of 180 pounds except maintain 180 pounds and then I decided to go for the body I want. My ideal is 47. So, I am a little delayed. The great thing about living here in California I don’t have to worry about not being able to run in the winter. I have a house gym so I don’t have to worry about trying to get out in the snow and go to a gym. But the debut of Cabana Boy is going to have to wait. The premiere of Knaak, Jerry Knaak, is going to be pushed back a bit. I wrote that line as I sit here and watch Thunderball. Funny, a I have a Thunderball poster hanging in my office/gym.
But I can assure you that v3.0 is going to be the best version ever. The other thing I can promise is that there will be no training montage set to Eye of the Tiger.
“‘Cause you can’t stop, you won’t and you don’t stop…”
I can just hear it now…”J-Rock, come and rock the sure shot.”