Thursday, March 24, 2011

Illness, I STAB AT THEE!

This was me, except for the robe...I prefer tighty whiteys

Been a bit since my last post I was met with a slight hiccup in my plans.  It happens to the best of us, the dreaded flu!  Aches, fever, chills, cough, chest congestion, you know all my favorite things...Needless to say it was a stubborn illness that persisted for quite a few days but I, in the end, prevailed.

That being said, I did get a very good three days in at the gym before I was sidelined.  As I mentioned in my last post I was able to increase the weights on all my exercises, even the leg exercises that have provided a little trouble for me.  I was extremely happy with my performance, and I even added in one new exercise to each of my routines.  I am really getting back into the swing of things, and it truly is a great feeling to get close to my previous levels of activity.  Even though I am seeing improvement I do still have some issues with exercises such as squatting, etc and I have just come to except that.  I'll just keep plodding along, doing the stretches and routines my physical therapist taught me and hope for the best.  As for the walking portion of my work outs I noticed no real regression or progression, just kinda stayed in the same place.  I only increased the inclines used slightly, and I stayed at the 3.3 mph I had worked up too (and not reported on in this blog about my progress LOL).  As for the days I was stuck at home I did get in one good work out with my kettlebells, oh those magical kettlebells!  It's a great way to combine weight training and get a little cardio at the same time, although it did result in me coughing for near five minutes straight.

As for the adjusting my diet thing, it's a work in progress.  Going with gradual changes towards a healthier diet.  I found I enjoy raw spinach leaf salads so that's an option for me, and I can eat the hell out of some baby carrots.  I also decided to give up junk food snacks, oh those bundles of sweet deliciousness.  I have replaced them with almonds, which so far I enjoy just as much.  Not sure what vegetables I will add in this week, and honestly I am not excited about the prospect.  I love to eat, and second only to eating is drinking beer while I eat.  I truly do have my work cut out for me in this endeavor.

Mouthful of nuts...that's what she said.

Nonetheless my grand experiment continues, I am back full force in the gym this week after my bout with microscopic foes.  I will have to adjust my normal schedule and cover a day on the weekend but that shouldn't be a problem (weekends are normally just reserved for neighborhood walks and light home work outs).  Other than that things couldn't better, save for one slight problem.  Remember the stinky old man I discussed a few posts back, well apparently he has a son and his stink is full on horrid as well.  Oh well, time to go the gym and battle the forces of stenchitude.
Police sketch of the culprit

Monday, March 14, 2011

Survival of the Fattest

The first week has come and gone and I survived the onslaught called gym.  I wrapped up the week with a simple home work out (I have various sets of kettlebells at my disposal and a few other plates to use for exercises).   I tried to hit as many muscle groups as I could, getting close to a total body regimen.  All in all it was a decent work out, nothing to brag about although I did not get in my full three mile walk.  Missing my walk bothered me a little but as the weekend progressed it was probably for the better, as I was really feeling the soreness in my ankle.
Magical Kettlebells

Since I have yet to start my second week I figured I would just spend a little time discussing the positives and negatives I gleaned from my first week.  The first and foremost negative, I am horribly out of shape as far as cardio is concerned but this was to be expected.  The second negative would be that while my ankle is holding up well I do notice an increasing stiffness and soreness as the week progressed.  I am hoping this stiffness and soreness dissipates over time as my body adjusts to the procedure performed and the increase in physical activity.  As for the positives to my return, I have not lost a large of amount of strength in my absence.  In just one week's worth of time I saw an enormous leap in strength and muscular endurance.  And as I mentioned earlier my ankle is holding up through all of this so I do consider that another positive.  This week will be the real test, I plan to increase the weights on all of my exercises and increase the incline on my walking (I might even add another 5 minutes or so on the dreaded elliptical).  Also after reading The Running Viking's post on nutrition I might adjust my diet a little.  I already have a high protein diet to compliment my weight lifting (tuna, salmon, cottage cheese, yogurt and the occasional peanut butter) so I guess it couldn't hurt to add in some more veggies and maybe a little fiber.  Here's to surviving, and here's to progress!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

So far so good

Days two and three at the gym are complete.  Day 2 I opted for back, biceps, and abs along with my usual three mile walk.  Now normally I do various forms of pull ups and chin ups during my back work outs but that is just not a possibility yet.  After doing jack shit for nine months (and gaining 30 pounds in the process) pulling and chinning up anything besides food just isn't going to happen, so I had to make due with other exercises.  I took advantage of the various lat pull down devices spread throughout the gym and found a couple I liked that I could do varying grips on.  I also used a t-bar to perform wide grip rows, and mid grip rows, then moved to a cable machine to do my close grip rows.  To wrap up the back routine I did back extensions for my lower back, doing crunches on a decline bench right next to the apparatus after each set.  For biceps nothing fancy, just three different types of dumbbell curls (normal I guess you would say, hammer, and a modified hammer curl).  Just as my previous days routine all sets were 10 reps and completed four times.

Day three was a little trickier than the previous two, it was time to work out the legs.  Now as you know this blog chronicles my return to the gym after a very serious ankle surgery, and even though released from my surgeon's care I am not 100% recovered.  This limits the exercises I can perform and the amount of weight I can use in certain exercises.  To start things off I used the squat sled, I don't trust my ankle to do free squats yet, and it went ok.  My ankle was a little tight at the bottom of my full squat but it managed for the four sets.  Next I chose a more ankle friendly leg press, no complications whatsoever on this one.  After I rotated between leg extensions and leg curls, which provide no problems for me due to my ankle not having to move at all.  To wrap things up I did some walking lunges, and a three-way lunge routine my physical therapist showed me.  Hopefully I will be able to increase the weights used next work out.  I would like to note that I do calf raises every day, not because I love them that much but rather as a strengthening exercise for my ankle.

As I stated earlier each days weight routine is followed by a three mile walk with increasing incline intervals.  Due to ankle soreness I have had to dial back the inclines used but only lost a minimal caloric burn.  These walks are going fine and I am still close to averaging 1000 calories burned a day.  I am worried about today's walk after my leg work out and walk yesterday, not quite sure how the ol' ankle will take it.  On a side note I did add a 10 minute warm up on the evil evil elliptical machine these past two days.  Slowly but surely I am making progress towards my goal of someday jogging again, my poor neglected running shoes must be lonely...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dear smelly old man

Happy smelly old man
Before I talk about the gym I would like to address a possible epidemic.  If you already stink, I mean really bad sour smelling stink, you might need to do some freshening up before you go to the gym.  I'm sure you might not mind your pungent aroma, but believe you me I do not care for it as much as you.  Also I do not care to be stuck next to it for an hour on the treadmill.  It's one thing to sweat and get all nasty during your exercise, but if you are starting off that way you are only compounding the stench.  Have a little common courtesy for the other gym dwellers, but I digress.  Besides the smelly old man convention my first day back in the gym was very productive and quite enjoyable.

I started the day off with a complete chest, shoulders, and triceps work out using primarily dumbbells (I am working out alone so I prefer dumbbells over barbells).  I was able to do 4 sets of flat bench, incline bench, decline bench, fly's, shoulder press, lateral raises, front raises, a modified clean and press while seated on a balance ball, and tricep extensions.  All in all I had a fantastic work out and I am suffering from minimal soreness in the muscle groups I targeted.  I was afraid I would over do it on my first full day back and be entirely too sore but thankfully I avoided that.  After I finished my weight routine I ventured over to walk on the treadmill, I am not ready to run or even jog on my surgically repaired ankle.  I know what you're thinking "Jordan, why not run on the elliptical machine?" and I have a perfectly good explanation, nunya.
Evil Elliptical

So far my ankle performed just fine carrying dumbbells around but this would be the real test, walking 3 miles with the incline increasing on timed intervals.  I stretched my short stubby legs out, and did the stretches prescribed for my ankle by my physical therapist and began my hour long trek (I can only handle walking around 3.1 to 3.2 mph hence the hour long walk).   I would say I handled the task so so, not good but not bad.  I had some soreness in my ankle during the walk, a little stiffness still lingering around, and I still walk with a slight limp after several minutes of walking.  The limp is a formed habit from the stiffness and the months spent in casts and the walking will help me get rid of it.  By the end of the hour I was really feeling it in my legs and I was sweating like "insert your own simile".  When all was said and done I had walked a little over 3 miles as planned and burned near 1000 calories.  All in all I survived the first foray back into the gym and I am feeling positive in repeating yesterdays performance here in a few hours...but I am not looking forward to the smelly old man.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Let the grand experiment begin!

I know, I know...from reading the title of this blog you have one burning question.  Well a gym is a building that houses various pieces of exercise equipment that people pay a monthly fee to visit and use in fitness routines.  Over the past 9 months I have been unable to attend my gym or do much of any physical activity due to a medical condition that had developed in my ankle.  A previous unhealed break in a bone had turned into a lesion and after two previous surgeries I was left with one option, have the bone removed and a cadaver donor bone grafted in.  After several months of waiting on a donor list my graft finally arrived and I had my surgery September 8th 2010.

My fashionable hospital gown

The Zombie Foot

Now that I finally had a dead person's ankle bone grafted into my body it was time to rest and recover, namely spending two months confined to bed.  After several casts and the end of my lengthy bed rest I was given a walking boot cast and I started my many months of physical therapy (Shout out to my physical therapist Amy, she kicked my ass).  Blah blah blah, I can't walk, physical therapy, I can walk, and finally I am released from the doctor and allowed to return to physical activity!  Which brings me to the purpose of this newly found blog, chronicling my progress (and or tribulations).  After nine months of pure inactivity, and having my foot cut open and a dead person's bone shoved in I am returning to my weekly gym visits!  Today marks day one of the grand experiment.