Injury Update –
Tuesday marks 4 weeks since my Grade II Pectoral tear. Recovering from my first major gym injury has been interesting. A time filled with frustration, triumph, setbacks and a focus on recovery and business.
After I posted the last photo from 5 days post injury, the swelling and “bleed out” really took an interesting turn. My entire bicep, shoulder, chest and the entire left side of my body was black and blue, then purple, then green, then green and yellow. There is still “bleed out” but it is just about gone. At its’ worst, I was telling everyone that I got into a fight with sharks with laser beams on their heads. Surprisingly, I won!
Overall, and amazingly, I have not experienced much pain besides the occasional move where I have forgotten that I have a serious and significant injury. I used anti-swelling pharmaceuticals for the first 4 days but decided to cease that action. I have been going to Physical Therapy at least 3 times per week (most of the time 4 times) and doing everything in my power to facilitate the healing process. Being on the other side of the discussion is at times difficult, however, I feel as though I am behaving as a patient.
Interestingly, there is not much information at all on treatments and/or protocols for Pectoral Tears. Most of the information surrounds post-surgical protocols for complete ruptures, not partial tears, so, my Therapist is partially making this up as she goes. We are considering creating a case study. I think that would be fun and certainly would make a good use of the injury.
I have experienced moments of anger and frustration but for the most part I have accepted what is and I am moving seamlessly through my rehab with anticipation of a strong return to lifting and life.
Here is a look into my current mindset and the observations and changes that have stemmed from it –
Strategy for Dealing with Injuries: (adapted from Train to Win)
1. Accept “WHAT IS” and move forward.
2. Examine how the injury happened so it never happens again and research all you can about the injury and its rehabilitation and use every method of rehabilitation that makes sense.
3. Be consistent and thorough with your rehab (including Nutrition and Rest)
4. Find an outlet and determine what training you can do around the injury.
5. Focus on areas that you needed to improve pre-injury.
6. Don't forget what you learned from the injury for the future.
Below, I list a few of my observations from the last month -
- The most significant disappointment from this injury is that I cannot just pick up my son Nicholas and throw him in the air over and over while he laughs his little baby head off! This makes me sad and it upsets him. He asks every single day. I am finding ways to play “rough” with him but it’s not quite the same.
- While working out I constantly remind myself that this is temporary - I am in rehab mode. Not training mode. It is a different mindset and it is necessary work to recover the best and fastest that I can.
- Workouts are very slow and boring but very interesting. I am fascinated by the things that I can do and very surprised by all of the things that I cannot do.
- My incremental strength increases are small triumphs for me. As I am cleared for more motions and increased load, it is exciting. Today (Sunday), I did a workout that almost resembled what I would consider a real workout. It was awesome.
- I have to consider movements before I do them. I practice motions before I attempt them loaded (like a golfer practicing his swing prior to striking the ball). I CANNOT just pick up whatever I want and do as many as I want to right now.
- I need a lot more sleep. Recovery places high demands on the body. I am used to 5 hours per night and have been for years. Now I sleep around 7 hours.
- My nutrition has not been this good in years.Nutrition is a vital component of recovery during normal training, however, during injury there are more nutrients and Protein needed.
- Glutamine supplementation is my new best friend as well as Protein supplementation. I have a Protein mix with Glutamine, Dale’s Raw Foods Greens and Frozen Berries at least twice daily.
- My weight loss has stabilized at 16 lbs. It is a little muscle, a little fat and a lot of water. I look like I am down a full clothing size and feel like I am down about 5 sizes. Not being as “big” as I normally am has taken some getting used to. As long as I do what needs to be done it will all come back.
- I have given over control of my rehab to a professional.
- Dr. Courtney (my Physical Therapist) is a godsend and a pain in the ass! She keeps me moving and pain free but she also tells me “No”! I am not allowed to do this or that… blah, blah, blah…
- So, I listen because she is awesome and she is right. I will wait to be cleared before I attempt any chest dominant moves.
- P.S. Deep tissue therapy on an injury hurts. Having your arm moved where you don’t want it to go while someone shoves their elbow in your chest hurts a lot.
- Getting off the table after therapy hurts.
- Being able to get my own shirt back on makes it worth it.
- I have to THINK about moving. “HOW am I going to do this?”
- Here is a decent example – When we get a water delivery of say 8 cases, I would just lift 4 of them up and move them to wherever I need to then go get the others. Now, I have to figure out who is going to move these cases…
- Last week we received a delivery of Bumper Plates – it was 200 lbs. Normally, I would just take the box off the back of the delivery truck, walk with it, open the door with my foot and put the delivery down wherever I need to. Last week I humbly asked another two IFS coaches to do it instead. That sucked.
- The injury shows up in a ton of day to day activities like cutting vegetables or opening a door or not being able to go rollerblading or on roller coasters etc…
- This setback has also brought perspective on a few business items:
- We always do warm-up and cool down, but, now it is mandatory. We have established protocols for warm-up and if a client is late to a group session they need to go through the warm-up before jumping into the workout.
- We spend more time discussing recovery – sleep, hydration, rest days and recovery weeks and the role of supplementation.
- We have expanded our Body Alive schedule (recovery, regeneration).
- Update as of Monday 8/27
- I had a Rehab appointment today and was observed as I performed 3 lb. Chest Presses on an incline (when I was injured I was performing Alternating DB presses with 115 lb DB’s)… I could not believe how fatiguing this “simple” movement was. My shoulders and triceps were on fire as they were doing the majority of the work. However, this is great news and in my eyes and my Therapists eyes – VERY good progress.
- I was also able to do 3 sets of 30” Push-up planks and ½ pushups off of a wall.
- This is very exciting and motivating!
I hope you enjoyed my ramblings and observations. I will give another update in one week or so.