RehabD2 – Bench is back

marge benchI benched 275 today which is my full operating weight!! I also was able to do some pullups without the crunching and searing pain in my shoulder so all in all things seem to be moving along. I did maybe 12 sets of bench with various weights from 135 to 275 and probably a total of 50 or so pullups in varying sets of 3-7. Certainly not impressive for a healthy person, but pretty epic for me! I was at physio which left me a little sore, but other than that I felt OK during the day.

Gym conditioning

60s per item, 2 min rest

box jumps or pushups
in and out
squats or military
walking lunge
jack and jill
frog jumps or burpees


lunge walk + squat 10 lines with 20lb collar
5 stairs with collar
5 double stairs with collar

RehabD1 – Catchup. Let’s call my rehab August.

It’s time to start recording my workouts, although I use that term loosely, so that I can see exactly what progress if any I am making. Also I want to record the work my girls are doing at gym now we are all back.

The latest from the gym:

4 rounds:
20 hip lifts on box
15 box jumps
10 box pushups (decline and incline)
5 box jump burpee
10 box dips (plus leg us)
15 box runner taps
20 vsnaps

5 pushups
10 vsnaps
15 squats

5 rounds of 10:
burpee/pushup burpee/clap push burpee/pushup and in and out burpee
high box jump up / box jump squat
Frog jump / FJ jump full turn /FJ tuck jump
pop squat / pop half / pop jump full
full situp
military pushup / military clap / military shoulder touch
v crunch / jack and jill / vsnap crucnh double
Bonus: Walk of pain – Weighted walking lunge plus stairs x5

The latest from  home:


135 x 10 x 3
185 x 10 x 3
225 x 5 x 3

Oly lift @ 75lbs

Deadlift x5 x3 then x10 x2
Hang Clean x5 x3 then x10 x3
Clean x5 x4
Clean and press x5 x2
Kettlebell squat @55lb x 10 x 3

Leg day

rehab leg work for right quad, partial squat and leg extension
air squats 10 x 5
KB squats @55lb 10 x 4
calf raises singles and doubles x20 x5


BSRD90 – Breaking The Silence

Silent smiley faceI am not ashamed to say that my frustration and fears have prevented me from even venting here. There was a time not more than a few days ago when I was almost convinced I would be back under the knife in the every near future. However someone asked me whether I was getting better week on week and I think that was the one thing that brought me back to my painful reality. My initial recovery had been so fast and so impressive that after my “incident” I was incredibly disillusioned with my situation and although I am far from happy now, I am slowly accepting that my road to recovery may be longer and slower than I thought it was going to be.

I was  hoping that my day 90 would be like my old P90X graduation days, a celebration of achievement and a plan for the next level of participation. Not so. The only silver lining I have at this time is that I am not on painkillers any more and I am, at least occasionally, able to do some weight bearing workouts. I am resigned to the fact that things are going to be suboptimal for the foreseeable future, however that has not stopped me from planning for said future.

It’s time for me to drink the Crossfit Kool-aid. The new Crossfit box near my house, Crossfit Ark, has a half price sale, the membership is only $75 per month with unlimited use for a year so I bit the bullet and signed up. I realise it may be a while until I can really use the facility but I am confident that during the coming year I will get fair use out of it especially during the winter when I can’t really work out in my garage or on the deck.

I am happy to report that my humble little website has surpassed a MILLION hits this past month. Yup, it’s taken 4 years but I finally got there! Thanks to everyone for participating and at least pretending to be interested in my fitness journey. Let’s hope it starts to get a little more entertaining again now.

I have picked up another injury, I have a very sore shoulder, so bad in fact that for the first time in my life I am unable to chinup because of the pain. I guess I will be seeing my new friend Jonathan at Align to see if he can fix me. It is pretty bad though, I am hoping I will be back in action on the chinup bar in a  couple of weeks. Especially since I want to finally learn the bar muscle up.

So for now I will put faith in my body to heal, albeit slowly, and I will deal with the extra 30 minutes it takes me to get up in the morning. I don’t really have a choice in the matter, so I will make the best. That said, the reality is that for now, week on week, I am slowly improving and as long as that continues, the silver lining will continue to inspire my confidence.

As far as actual workouts go, I have been extremely careful but also diligent in making sure what I do is recorded and the after effects documented. Here is what I have found out so far.

Bench – I am able do do 250lbs bench which is a reasonable working weight for me at any stage. That makes me happy. That said, I have to be very careful since bench is what crocked my shoulder, and I am not sure how or why.
Squats – Not real squats, air squats. After several attempts and cycles I find I can go all the way down to my heels and still be OK. I also find I can squat holding either 50lbs in kettlebells or a 35lb wall ball and still be fine. This is also good.
Deadlifts and Cleans – I have tried, but so far this makes me far too sore to make them part of my workouts. However I have successfully worked briefly with 70lbs without a long term injury.
Pullups – These would be a staple of my workouts at the moment if I could do them but since my shoulder injury I have not been able to get on the bar at all which is a major glitch.
Kettlebells – These make me very sore indeed, too much to do anything at all.
Work – Standing at work is torture. This will improve once my stool arrives but all I know is sitting would be worse. I am now working 6 hours 4 days a week so I am almost up to full time but it’s the worst thing that I am currently doing for my pain level. Figures, right?

That’s is for the review. I have 4 days work next week then it’s back to full time by which time I hope to be able to push through and resume at least most of my previous life.



BSRD74 – Handling The Fear

lookouttruckThere is a saying that says that the light at the end of the tunnel is sometimes an oncoming train. I would like to add to that by saying that if you are way ahead of the curve, you are probably on the wrong side of the road and are about to get hit head on.

That’s how I feel right now, like I have been hit head on by the Karma truck. I don’t know what I did, but 2 weeks ago I felt like I was almost back to 100%, my back was fine, I was working out, sleeping well and everything was perfect. Then I spent a day at the computer for work and suddenly I am 10 days into a recovery that isn’t going anywhere. It is serious enough that I mentioned it to my surgeon during the follow up. He basically ignored my complaint but he did say if it happened again to go back. I feel like if someone goes to a doctor and tells them that they got bitten by a rabid dog the answer probably wouldn’t be “if it happens again, come back”. In fact, I am having a hard time reconciling that attitude with any condition. Still, I trusted him (something I said I would never do after the last surgery) and here I am. In the mornings my back is so painful that I can’t stand up. It takes at least 10 minutes for my list to go away, and it’ s as pronounced as it used to be when my back was completely out. I can’t find a solution as far as how to lay down or sit since both seem to be making me sore. The worst thing about it is that after an hour or so of moving around, I feel OK, in fact, I feel pretty good but I can’t bring myself to do anything workout wise in case I actually have a damaged incision or internal scarring that I may make worse. I am officially in limbo.

I certainly can’t go on waking up this way, it’s just too painful, so much so that I have gone through my last few percocet during the last 2 weeks which I swore I would not do. I am not sure what to do and how much time to give the issue to resolve.

I have had this pain before during this rehab as noted here:

I woke up today, Sunday, and found that my back was mysteriously sore. I didn’t really do much yesterday, we went to Wonderland but only walked for about 30 mins with lots of resting and sitting. I also didn’t do my regular walk since Saturday and Sunday are my walking rest days so I am not sure what the deal is. The thing that is scary is that the pain isn’t incision pain, it’s tight muscular pain that in the past has led to the disc compression. So I am understandably cautious this morning.

However that was back on day 20, I am now on day 74 and forgive me for thinking that I should be past this.

I am going to keep walking and of course, working my 4 hour days this week and I will report on Monday how I am. If I am still in the grips of this issue then I am deciding right now that on Monday I will call the surgeon and schedule an appointment.

BSRD63 – The Inevitable Setback Arrives

only-a-flesh-woundYesterday I was in the kitchen and stooped to pick something off the floor. The tightness I immediately felt vertically along my incision site alarmed me and inevitably angered me once again. I spoke of my anger and bitterness when this happened after my first surgery 10 years ago and it’s really no different this time but there are a couple of things to note. First, this is not the soreness and regular pain I have been having for the last few weeks. That was some workout pain and physio pain but just general muscular soreness. This is more of a nerve pain, a shooting stabbing and restrictive pain that alters my mobility and causes me to feel physically nauseated. I can’t really describe it, it’s not the nerve pain from the disc that I get when my back is “out” but it’s a precursor to that. It’s as if I am too tight and the muscles are pulling my vertebrae together causing a bulging of the disc. All I know is that today I feel like I did 2 weeks after surgery, immobile, in a boatload of pain and absolutely intolerable to be around. All I can hope is that with a couple of careful days I can be ready to get back to my life on Monday with a well earned day off work and a short work week!

I’m sure it’s just a flesh wound. I am keeping my fingers crossed, I would appreciate if you could cross yours too, to be safe.

BSRD46 – Busy Week / Change Of Direction

crossfit-logo11I am in limbo with my decision regarding how to approach my rehabilitation. I am at the point where I have stress tested myself with very light weights and very basic movements and as I move towards the inevitable return to work I need to make sure I am up to the task of sitting in the car to work, sitting or standing for 4 hours and driving home PLUS then doing my rehab work whatever that may be. Given my history with P90X that would be an easy place to start, but I am not sure that doing a round of P90X or P90X2 at this point would give me back the functional fitness I am looking for. As good as it is, and it is an excellent program, I am not quite sure that it will suffice. That is where Crossfit comes in.

Before I go into any details I want to quickly address my concern with Crossfit as it stands. For the most part I think it’s a wonderful system, it’s heart is in the right place and the quick format takes care of many of the issues people claim with not having enough time to work out (nice excuse!). I did write a piece not too long ago about the Crossfit Nonsense article that probably was a little harsh but let me take a second here and demonstrate what I meant at the time. I called it Crossfit Caution and I stand by the idea that I presented but before I start let’s look at what would have had you do last week for workouts:

Monday – Run for 30 minutes
Tuesday – Rest
WednesdayAMRAP 20 minutes: Row 250m + 25 pushups
Thursday – 50-40-30-20-10 Double Unders plus situps (Double Unders are simply rope skipping with 2 revolutions of the rope per jump, you could sub tuck jumps)
Friday – An Actual workout:

Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
5 Handstand push-ups
7 Chest to bar pull-ups
35 pound Dumbbell squat snatch, 10 reps, alternating

Saturday – Rest Day
Sunday – Another actual workout:

21-18-15-12-9-6 and 3 rep rounds of:
Sumo deadlift high-pull, 75 pounds
Push jerk, 75 pounds

So there you have it, for your 7 days of Crossfit membership you would have stumped up probably in the region of $200 per month for unlimited use only to have 2 days of what anyone would reasonably think of as a “workout” and have only used equipment that most people probably already have at home (save the rowing machine).

What about body parts? How do these 7 days stack up and what happens if you are only able to work out 4 days? Let’s say like me you are busy this week and due to your commitments only have Tuesday Wednesday and Saturday to work out. That means you are unlucky enough to hit 2 rest days and a day of pushups. Even if you were able to follow the program for the 5 active days let’s just look at what you would have worked:

Monday: Cardio
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Cardio plus chest and triceps
Thursday: Cardio and light core (150 situps is light core, yes)
Friday: Shoulders, Upper back, Traps (If you can count a 35lb snatch)
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Traps and shoulders

My question is this. Where is the leg work (except the cardio). Also, where is the bicep work knowing that pullups utilise a small amount of bicep work which is reduced by the infamous Crossfit Kipping pullup. How about some oblique or lower abs work? You could argue that the snatches do work the abs to a degree but that’s like saying a squat snatch works the legs with 35lbs.

I am probably going to get a lot of flak for this (thank goodness nobody comes here!) but honestly relying on Crossfit boxes as your fitness all-in-one is just not a great idea. You know what is the best idea? Get some equipment of your own and make sure you are getting a well rounded workout each week. I am sure some people would say that taking a week is not a fair measure but I think spreading your whole body across 2 weeks or more is laying it a bit thin.

So what is the solution? Well, for me, Crossfit is the solution. But it’s a home grown hand picked version that allows me to take the workouts from the last month, pick the ones that are most appropriate for me and do them on my time with my own equipment. Sure, I don’t have the camaraderie I would get at the gym but then again I don’t have to keep telling people not to talk to me while I work out. As I have posted many times, I have made some of the stuff I needed to accomplish this, I got cheap chin up bars, a decent olympic bar and some bumper plates, I made a wallball and some dip bars and bought some kettlebells. That is all I needed to invest in order to give me the workout I wanted and avoid the problems that Crossfit inevitably has in scheduling around busy lives. At what cost? The Newmarket crossfit box wants up to $200 a month for a membership. For the price of 2 months I have an unlimited use gym in my house. You can Crossfit if you want, and I would suggest you do, but I also would suggest that you can do it on your own.

By the way, if you are new to Crossfit and Olympic lifting etc. then I would suggest you take out a short 2-6 month membership and have them teach you how to lift. Then hit the discout fitness store and buy some stuff for yourself.

By the way, this is not meant to be a Crossfit bashing entry, just an eye opener for some people who may think that they can’t Crossfit because they can’t afford it or who think that they can’t Crossfit because they can’t commit to specific non-rest days at their box.

BSRD40 – The Danger Zone

keep-out-of-the-danger-zoneIt was around this time after my last surgery that I had my first relapse. I remember it well, I had decided that I was well enough to try and fix the toilet and in lifting the lid off the toilet I felt that overwhelming burn of nerve pain shoot through my back. My first instinct was anger. How was this possible? After all, the surgery was supposed to have fixed me right? The anger was quickly replaced by an overwhelming and long lasting bout of self pity during which time I flirted with the notion that I would never be better and that I may even be permanently broken despite the operation. Surprisingly this feeling lasted only as long as the residual pain which was a few days however it made an indelible mark on my psyche of which I am still acutely aware. I was suddenly aware that the surgery was not the end of my problems and that not only was I going to have to submit to years of care and diligent awareness of my movement but the notion of a repeat surgery was already growing inside me. This time around I am very much more careful with what I am doing and I am refusing to take risks with my recovery. I do need to go and see my Occ Health department to discuss my return to work but my mind will be firmly stuck in that small bathroom almost 10 years ago when my invincibility was certainly permanently damaged.

With that in mind here is an update as to my status for various activities.

Walking: I can walk 3km max but I require at least an hour recovery afterwards.
Bodyweight workouts: I can do most of the exercises with the exception of burpees but again, I require lengthy rest after only 10-15 minutes.
Weights: I can handle some weights as long as my back is protected and there is no bending. Resting and soreness for at least 3 days after this.
Running: Nope.
Pullups: Not yet.
Sitting: I can sit for about an hour or so before I start to cramp and get sore. Requires at least another hour of laying to recover.
Standing: Standing is not a problem mostly and is my preferred state at this time given that my shoulders ache if I lay too long. Yes, welcome to my hell, even laying down makes me sore.
Driving: Same as sitting even with the heated seat on.
Sleeping: Sleep is generally OK without the memory foam topper we had. The hardest part is getting up, not because I hate my life but it just takes a while for me to warm up to moving again.
General Housework: Impossible.

There you have it. A general outline of how I am doing.






BSRD37 – Plateau or Slipping Backwards?

plateauIt’s funny, I had a lot more confidence in my recovery a few weeks ago than I do now. There was a time there where I was recovering fast, I was making progress every day and feeling really good, however as the last week or two have passed I find myself having weakness in my back which is causing me to doubt my recuperation.  The problem could be related to not working out with weights or bodyweight at all last week. I was so focused on walking and getting my 3km per day in that I did sacrifice the other parts of my rehab. I am hoping, therefore, that the lack of pushups and core work, bench and arms has contributed to an overall weakness in the mobility of my lower back muscles. The specifics of the issue is a weak feeling in the lower back, a tightness that causes me to think that I may strain something at any moment. It’s not just a feeling of not being able to move certain directions but rather a feeling of being on the brink of hurting myself. Obviously this has caused me great concern and so this week I have once again begun to focus on movement and whole body rehab rather than just walking.

This decision really only came to me as a conclusion yesterday so this week has really been about the walking up until then:
Monday – 3km walk
Tuesday – 3km walk
Wednesday – 3km walk
Thursday – 2km walk plus bench (15 sets)

The plan for the next 7 days should look something like this:

Double workout days
Friday – 2km walk plus triceps and biceps
Saturday – 3km walk plus Shoulders
Sunday – 2km walk plus core and light legs
Monday – 2km walk plus chest and tricep
Tuesday – 3km walk plus deadlift practice
Wednesday – 2km walk plus clean / clean and press (barbell)
Thursday – Long walk (Possible 5k?)
Friday – Off

This should transition me into the regular schedule of workout weeks that looks something similar to this:

1. Chest and tri or bootcamp workout
2. Deadlift and Pullups
3. Core / Whole body light day or cardio
4. Off
5. Clean and press (barbell or RKC day)
6. Bench and pullups
7. High intensity cardio and core





BSRD30 Action Brings Pain

I stuck with the program for the most part this week with the exception of Thursday which I took off completely after feeling a little wobbly after doing some full body weights on Wednesday. It was also pretty crappy weather here so I was indoors on the treadmill on Tuesday and Wednesday but managed to do 3.2km each day. Monday I did 3km outside but left the bicep work until Tuesday. Today is Friday, I just got in from a 2km walk still feeling sore and a little nervous after Wednesday’s workout. The good news is that the shoulder work and squats didn’t completely wreck my back and even thoug I am sore, I don’t really feel much the worse for wear. It was a good stress test and one which I think I passed, if not with flying colours then at least with a healthy grade. This is good news since I am getting a little stir crazy at home not being able to work out and so the coming couple of weeks will hopefully see a return to regular, if extremely light workouts.

BSRD25 – Updates

Day 20 – 3,2k on treadmill and light bench
Day 21 – 2k on treadmill and light WOD at gym
Day 22 – Walk / speed walk 2.3km
Day 23 – Treadmill 2k
Day 24 – Walk 3.2k treadmill
Day 25 – off (Saturday)
Day 26 – Today

Light bench usually means starting at 135 and going up to 165 then 185. I have tried going up to 205 but lifting the 25lb plates is still not a great idea. It’s tough because I crave teh feeling of the workout and I want to push it but I just can’t. The WOD at the gym means a few pushups, reg and military, some dips on the dip station and most recently a few air squats which is basically the same as sitting on the toilet and standing up again. Certainly I am not able or willing to go any further down as of yet.

I woke up today, Sunday, and found that my back was mysteriously sore. I didn’t really do much yesterday, we went to Wonderland but only walked for about 30 mins with lots of resting and sitting. I also didn’t do my regular walk since Saturday and Sunday are my walking rest days so I am not sure what the deal is. The thing that is scary is that the pain isn’t incision pain, it’s tight muscular pain that in the past has led to the disc compression. So I am understandably cautious this morning. Also, yesterday I cut my finger quite badly trimming a tenderloin and that is hurting like hell. I probably could have used a stitch or two but I don’t have time for that.

Last week I also went to work to see the Occupational Health department to discuss my recovery. I am going to revisit them after my follow up appointment on June 2.

It’s a long weekend this weekend and it’s also time for me to get more orgainized with the walking and workouts. Here is the plan for the coming week.

Monday – 3k walking plus biceps and air squats
Tuesday – 3k walking plus Shoulders
Wednesday – 3k walking plus chest and triceps and air squats
Thursday – 3k walking plus abs
Friday – 3k walking plus biceps and air squats
Saturday – Shoulders
Sunday – Chest and Triceps