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Rolling Back The Years


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Hi All

 

10 years ago, I had the fitness and strength to do pretty much any sport to my hearts content. Football/Soccer being the main choice, with plenty of energy left in the tank after 90 minutes. If not that, then running, squash, badminton, tennis, cycling. Anything available, I could pick up and get competent at relatively quickly because I was just so damn fit. Even day to day life wasn't an issue for me physically, cycling 45 minutes either way to work, before coming home and being able to renovate the family house etc. I was never particularly strong, but my vast reserves of energy helped me overcome most obstacles

 

Last week, I could barely tie my shoelaces. I'm 30, my back hurts, and I am out of breath minutes within starting an activity

 

The decline has been rapid. Back pain, a loss of fitness and a lack of drive has seen me pile on the pounds, which then worsens the back pain, loses me even more fitness, makes it harder to maintain drive. You see where I'm going with this!

 

I posted for advice on the below thread and got some fantastic guidance. One thing has stood out to me however; regaining fitness is a radically different beast to maintaining fitness. I can't just go out and run a 5k like I used to. Yes I tried, and it took the best part of a week to recover

 

So, whats the plan?

 

As the title suggests, to stop the rot and get myself on the road to regaining my former glory. A journey of a thousand miles may begin with a single step, but this goal is solely to take the single step! It's taken the best part of half a decade to realise this, but my first step is to get myself in a position physically and mentally to be able to be regularly exercising. I'm less concerned about how hard I worked at the gym at the moment, more, did I go in the first place. Get the habit sorted, then build from there.

 

So, enough rambling, what are the specifics?

 

  • Main Goal
    • To prepare my body and build a routine for regular exercise
  • Individual Goals
    • Gym - Build a routing of going to the gym. Specifically, WITHOUT overdoing it. I go to the gym, work so hard I can't go for another week. Little and often
      • 5 gym sessions a week, minimum of 30 minutes each (I would normally do less visits but more intense workouts, but I'm expecting this to limit the strain on my body)
      • Limit myself to low impact exercise which works for me, specifically
        • Elliptical Trainer
        • Cycling
        • Stair Master
    • Pain - I have back pain, and I've done very little about it. I've gone to the doctors once, and that's about it. This limits my exercise options, so lets get this fixed. Understand what is causing this by visiting a doctor, chiropractor and physio. Is it a pull, nerve, a lack of strength etc. Maybe it's my posture
      • Visit Doctor
      • Visit Chiropractor
      • Visit Physio
    • Nutrition - I eat too much. Simple
      • Manage portions. Eat to when I'm no longer hungry, not when I'm full (I've done this before and lost a stone and a half through dieting alone!)
      • Bonus goal: reduce meat intake. More for my partner, who's vegetarian, than for me, but I eat a lot of meat. Whether it's the ethical side of things or not, I eat so much, that reducing this will help me manage my portions anyway

 

I've started this challenge a couple of days late. Still, 32 days is ample (I actually started yesterday!)

 

Lets see what I can do!

 

Andy

 

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5 hours ago, amackin said:

I'm less concerned about how hard I worked at the gym at the moment, more, did I go in the first place. Get the habit sorted, then build from there.

 

Awesome. This is a great approach. Hopefully if you take it a bit easier than you want to at first, you'll be really eager to ramp things up soon enough.

 

5 hours ago, amackin said:

Manage portions. Eat to when I'm no longer hungry, not when I'm full 

 

This sounds sensible without being punishing. 

I can't really say much about the back pain, because I'm sure there could be lots of different causes. But getting a bit of strength in the muscles that are important for good posture might well offer some relief. 

Let cheese and bread and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination.

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Day 1 of 32 - 18/02/2020

 

Woke up and had a horrifically stiff back. I was expecting this though as I played football the previous night. I play in goal, so the diving around and having a ball fired at me is pretty high impact. I've dialed it back as much as possible without letting people down on previous commitments. It's not ideal, but it's a lot better than it was

 

Weighed myself, 14'10, officially the heaviest I've ever been, about 2 and a half stone more than I should be! Didn't even pig out the night before, so this is a genuine weight as a starting point

 

Had 8 hours of driving to do for work. I tend to travel one or two days a week, so extended periods of sitting down aren't uncommon, although it's usually no where near this much. I got to the hotel at 7pm, so normally would go and eat way too much, have a couple of ciders, and go to bed. Not this day though!

 

Food

I managed my food portions far better than usual. I tend to skip breakfast, which is a habit I need to get out of, however I didn't go and have a huge lunch and dinner like I normally would do. Low calorie veggie options for both meals with plenty of greens. Certainly felt good for doing it, and was not hungry afterwards

 

Gym

Ended up spending an hour at the gym, which is a lot more than I planned. It was was super low intensity compared to what I'm used to though. After 20 minutes on each the elliptical, stair master and bike, I had built up a good sweat, but was in no pain whatsoever. I actually really enjoyed myself too, whereas I'd normally have to endure my workout. Something I hadn't planned on, but my heart rate stayed within 140-160, but previously I always tended to be at 170+ when doing cardio. It further confirms my suspicion that low intensity, low impact work is what I need at the moment. That being said, I burnt 500 calories over the 3 machines, so it was no walk in the park!

 

Back Problems

As work was so busy, I didn't have an opportunity to ring anyone to book appointments, but I have time tomorrow morning so hope to do it then

 

Really pleased with day 1. Lets see what day 2 brings!

 

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12 minutes ago, Lady Morbuks said:

I don't even know you and I'm proud of you! Great job getting back in the gym. If you can handle 60 min on cardio machines, that's a phenomenal start. I hate the stair climber, it is sent by Satan to torment us all.

Nice work! I'm working on posture & portion control too.

 

Thanks so much @Lady Morbuks! Genuinely means a lot!

 

I've never used the stair climber before, but I think it's fantastic! A low(ish) resistance and it builds up a huge sweat without me having a cardiac arrest! 

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Day 2 of 32 - 19/02/2020

 

Woke up in the morning expecting some pretty severe back pain...which there wasn't!!! :D 

 

Don't get me wrong, it was still stiff and had no strength, but the usual, eye watering, morning after work out agony, was nowhere to be seen! The theory as that low impact exercise would have this result, but to see it having it's desired effect is encouraging. I don't think it's a fix by any means, but I can now exercise without worsening the problem. Result!

 

Gym

For the first time in years, I did two days in a row at the gym!

 

Only did 40 minutes, 20 on the elliptical, 20 on the stair master. I would have gone to the full hour, but my partner was with me and she wanted to go home. The target is to go to the gym and do 30 minutes minimum, so it's another pass! I don't feel in any sort of pain either, and certainly had good workout. Burnt another 350 calories. Not bad progress considering I normally wouldn't be back at the gym for a week!

 

Food

A night away in a hotel means one thing; big, full English breakfast. With extra pastries added because why not!

 

Well, not today. A small breakfast, admittedly with 2 sausages and 2 bacon rashers, but about half what I would normally eat. Put it this way, I usually go for 5 sausages!

 

I ended up missing lunch because traffic meant I got home two hours later than planned, so only had time for a protein shake, but it's better than nothing or chocolate etc

 

After the gym I had a couple of these "Beyond Meat" sausages as a hot dog. Not a fan, but still ate a reasonable portion instead of my ridiculous binge eats!

 

Back Pain

Didn't have much time to sort, but booked myself into the doctors for this Saturday! Hoping to get a few moments to book a visit to the physio and chiropractor this week too

 

Felt like I maintained a good trend on all three areas today!

 

Tomorrow may end up being a rest day from the gym as I'm seeing a friend straight after work tomorrow, and may struggle to go before work as I have a busy day! Still, if I'm up early enough I'll go, and if I don't, I need to go on Thursday! Doesn't mean its a rest day from the other two goals though

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Woohoo, glad the back is doing better. And woot for working out  again, and smart food choices

Wisdom 22.5   Dexterity 13   Charisma 15   Strength 21  Constitution-13

Elastigirl:Luck Favors The Prepared - Current Challenge: August 1 to September 4 - Nerd Fitness Rebellion

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song, above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world" J.R.R.Tolkien

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Day 3 of 32 - 20/02/2020

 

Ok, a bit of a stumbling block today, with some light at the end of the tunnel! The travelling I've done in the past two days made me super tired, so I overslept and wasn't able to go to the gym in the morning. I then had a garbage day at work, so was really not in the mood to be behaving myself on watching what I eat. After having a mini pig out though, I realised that a bad day at work is not going to stop me doing what I want to do!

 

Food

Some porridge this morning, following by nuts and some fruit for lunch. Again, not much, but its better than having nothing which is what I tend to do. After a few arguments at work however, I then came home and had two of those "cook in 90 second" microwavable chicken burgers. I was in a bad mood so had to do something, and even though I feel I let myself down a little, that's 1 out of 9 meals I've not behaved myself on. Actually, all 9 meals would have been like that last week, so I'm not going to be too harsh on myself

 

Back Pain

After two days a row at the gym I thought my back would be in agony. Nope! Still sore, but actually it's feeling pretty good all things considering. There feels like a huge lack of strength, I have to push myself back up from a leaning over position, but the pain has certainly subsided. Still need to book in to the physio and chiropractor though. Hopefully I'll have some time tomorrow

 

Gym

As mentioned previously, I was supposed to be seeing my friend tonight, so when I overslept, that was my chance of going to the gym gone, or so I thought. After I came home and indulged on chicken burgers, my friend cancelled. I made a conscious decision that a bad day at work is not a write off for me though, so after letting my food settle for 2 hours, I was back at the gym. Another 20 minutes on the elliptical and another 20 on the stair master. 3 days in a row, one of which I was not expecting to do, so super pleased on that front!

 

I feel in a lot better mood now, so Im hoping to watch my food tomorrow. I play football at a relatively high standard on Saturday's, so probably won't go to the gym tomorrow. I think 4 days, and then high impact football, is a bad idea. It may be called off tomorrow though, so if it is Ill go to the gym again

 

Really pleased that, despite a bump in the road, I was able to stay on course. 10% of the way into the challenge already too!

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Ah, I see you, too grapple with the frenemy of stress-eating. For me, it's more stress-drinking (when not at work, lol), and it took some very pointed self-mental-deprogramming to replace the "I had a crummy day, now I get a drink" with "I had a crummy day, now I get to lay on my bed and breathe deeply and/or listen to something snarky/funny/aggressive" instead. I'm still in the process :)

Also, let me, a stranger on the Internet, nag you to go see a doc right away to get specific advice on capacity/limits. Especially with serious soccer, which is pretty intense if you've got any kind of injury imho.

Good for you for getting into the gym after all--that's awesome!! Go you!! That's what we're here for, right?

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On 2/20/2020 at 3:24 PM, amackin said:

There feels like a huge lack of strength, I have to push myself back up from a leaning over position

 

Ohh, that sounds not so good. Is that all the time or just right now? (just wondering... if you play football you must be somewhat strong/fit enough to move yourself around, right?)

Let cheese and bread and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination.

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Day 4 of 32 - 21/02/2020

 

Food

Porridge for breakfast, nuts and fruit for lunch, pizza for dinner. I always go to my brothers on a Friday for a few drinks and pizza, and whilst I've not stopped the habit, I'm eating and drinking less whilst there. Even the vices I don't want to give up, I can reduce, which is what I did here

 

Back Pain

No real news on this. I have my doctors appointment the next day, but I wasn't in much pain. That being said, I still lacked strength

 

Gym

Day of from the gym. I felt like I could have gone, but with football the next day, and having exercised the previous 3 days (4 actually before I started the challenge), I think its worth having a rest. I don't want to go into a match fatigued, but if it was called off, I would have gone to the gym

 

Feels like I've not achieved much this day, but I've done this before and it's about improving the trend each day. Ok, I didn't spend an hour at the gym, but I also drank and ate a lot less than I normally would!

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Day 5 of 32 - 22/02/2020

 

Back Pain

A big day on this front. I had my doctors appointment t 0930, and normally they're running behind on their appointments, so get rid of you within about 10 minutes. The doctor had a lot ore time and we spent a good half hour going through it. This felt like a really specific problem to me, but the doctor was telling me it's really not as uncommon as it sounds. I was going to skip through this, but have decided I'll go into a little detail in the event that it might help some stranger in the future. Essentially:

  1. Active person becomes inactive through an extended injury or their schedule changes
  2. That persons job also becomes sedentary
  3. On recovery, active person attempts to exercise as they used to and "over does" things
  4. Injury occurs
  5. Person is now inactive again
  6. Rinse and repeat

According to the doctor, the effect is atrophy within certain muscles, especially within the back.

 

As treatment, I was told to lose weight, and that the manner in which I'm going it is correct (light but regular exercise). I also need to stay away from weights (if my back can't support it's own weight, I don't need to add additional resistance), and have been given some stretches to do twice daily. I'll do these and add an extra section to this to track it. Finally, I've been given some stronger painkillers should and when I need them, but truthfully, the pain is subsiding anyway, it's just the lack of strength. Overall, I feel a lot more positive about this and feel we're on track to resolve going forward

 

Gym

No gym today, but I did have footy. This is the only high impact exercise I can't get out of, and felt my back seizing up towards the end. I also picked up a freak injury to my left shoulder. Basically I slid on the ground (which was pretty soft) to claim the ball, only to hit some firmer ground mid slide, spin over and land on my forearm, which then jolted my shoulder. Sometimes you just got no luck! It's going to hurt for a few days but won't stop me doing what I need to be doing, and I did have a long bath which loosened it up. Still, we won and I got 2 hours of exercise in

 

Food

Porridge for breakfast, a protein shake before footy and pasta and mince for lunch. I did try another meat free burger for dinner, but it was awful. I ended up binning it and just having a chip sandwich. I think the meat free diet is not for me at the moment, as I can only really stomach the mince in pasta etc. Still though, I'm not eating for the sake of it now!

 

Back Exercises

I did 4 of the 5 exercises with no problem. The fifth I skipped as it requires use of my arms, and I though that would be a bad idea after hurting my shoulder. it's all very light stretching, so we'll have to give this a week or so to see if it works

 

Disappointed to hurt myself today, but as my shoulder is not part of my exercises, I'm not intending to use it as an excuse for not working out. I'm also really pleased to make some progress on my back and we'll see how this evolves over the next week or so

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On 2/21/2020 at 6:36 PM, Lady Morbuks said:

Ah, I see you, too grapple with the frenemy of stress-eating. For me, it's more stress-drinking (when not at work, lol), and it took some very pointed self-mental-deprogramming to replace the "I had a crummy day, now I get a drink" with "I had a crummy day, now I get to lay on my bed and breathe deeply and/or listen to something snarky/funny/aggressive" instead. I'm still in the process :)

Also, let me, a stranger on the Internet, nag you to go see a doc right away to get specific advice on capacity/limits. Especially with serious soccer, which is pretty intense if you've got any kind of injury imho.

Good for you for getting into the gym after all--that's awesome!! Go you!! That's what we're here for, right?

 

Thank you kind stranger! Genuinely means a lot

 

After I decompressed after work (and after my binge eat) I came to the realisation that I'm not letting a rubbish few hours at work evolve into a rubbish 24 hours. That was ultimately what made me go to the gym, I'm not letting my progress be hindered or defined by people around hindering me

 

I came out of the doctors yesterday with really clear guidelines on how to get better, so we'll see how that goes :D 

 

On 2/22/2020 at 2:56 AM, Harriet said:

 

Ohh, that sounds not so good. Is that all the time or just right now? (just wondering... if you play football you must be somewhat strong/fit enough to move yourself around, right?)

 

The pain and lack of strength were both all the time, now the pain has subsided and it's just the lack of strength which persists. As I just posted about though, me barely using the muscles will cause them to atrophy. I mean, just exercising with them for 2 hours on a Saturday isn't going to stop the muscles weakening. I think of it similar to a builder who hurts themselves and stops working for a period of time. That person will lose the extra strength and benefit they have for activities outside of work, and when they return to their job, they have already lost strength and can now longer work without rehabilitation.

 

That's the bit I've neglected, the rehabilitation to get me back to the gym, to then improve my quality of life

 

In regards to being strong/fit enough for football, it's more a "mind over matter" element for me. I do what I need to do and get through the pain threshold mentally, at no small cost to my body. Essentially, the point I start to hurt is incredibly early compared to everyone else!

 

Hope that made sense!

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7 hours ago, amackin said:

The pain and lack of strength were both all the time, now the pain has subsided and it's just the lack of strength which persists. As I just posted about though, me barely using the muscles will cause them to atrophy.

 

7 hours ago, amackin said:

Essentially:

  1. Active person becomes inactive through an extended injury or their schedule changes
  2. That persons job also becomes sedentary
  3. On recovery, active person attempts to exercise as they used to and "over does" things
  4. Injury occurs
  5. Person is now inactive again
  6. Rinse and repeat

According to the doctor, the effect is atrophy within certain muscles, especially within the back.

 

7 hours ago, amackin said:

No gym today, but I did have footy. This is the only high impact exercise I can't get out of, and felt my back seizing up towards the end. I also picked up a freak injury to my left shoulder.

 

This all makes sense. Hmmm, numbers 3 and 4 stand out for me, especially after reading about your football. Sounds like football might be jeopardising your recovery. Is there truly no chance you can give it a rest for six months and focus on the strength? (Don't know about others, but I saw the most strength rapid gains in the first six months after starting lifting... after many years of doing nothing more strenuous than walking)

 

7 hours ago, amackin said:

After I decompressed after work (and after my binge eat) I came to the realisation that I'm not letting a rubbish few hours at work evolve into a rubbish 24 hours. That was ultimately what made me go to the gym, I'm not letting my progress be hindered or defined by people around hindering me

 

I came out of the doctors yesterday with really clear guidelines on how to get better, so we'll see how that goes :D 

 

These two things are great! I hope the following week is a good one for you.

Let cheese and bread and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination.

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2 hours ago, Harriet said:

This all makes sense. Hmmm, numbers 3 and 4 stand out for me, especially after reading about your football. Sounds like football might be jeopardising your recovery. Is there truly no chance you can give it a rest for six months and focus on the strength? (Don't know about others, but I saw the most strength rapid gains in the first six months after starting lifting... after many years of doing nothing more strenuous than walking)

 

This is going to sound like an awful excuse but I don't want to let the team down. I've been playing football for 25 years straight now, but retired last summer. Within a month however, all other goalkeepers barring one had left the club, so they asked me to help out for the rest of the season, and I somewhat foolishly said yes. Basically, if any other position has an injury, it's easy to get another player to cover, but in goal, it's so specialised that it's impossible to do.

 

The way I see it, I have seven games left to play, and then I'm retiring for good this time. For me and my body, I know it's the wrong thing to do, but I'm just not programmed to leave people in a mess, which is what I'll do if I decide to stop right now

 

That being said, there are hings I can do to make it less strenuous, which is watch my diet, exercise smarter, and limit my football to their bare minimum, all of which I'm doing

 

On an aside, I'm not fussed about what happened to my shoulder. It's been debilitating today and has stopped me going to the gym unfortunately, but it was a freak incident. Just as likely to hurt yourself falling over in the shower, so it's just one of them things

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I’m with @Harriet on this too. But I also get that football is a major social investment too, so it would be very hard to just drop. Glad you’ll have a break coming up. 
So happy you went to a doc and got the straight dope. Very logical. I find my back muscles get cranky just from my desk hunching, etc and daily stretches are immensely helpful.

It sounds like you have a really positive take on it: you know it’s treatable, and you feel positive about gradually healing up then jumping to warp speed.

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On 2/23/2020 at 10:40 AM, amackin said:

The way I see it, I have seven games left to play, and then I'm retiring for good this time. For me and my body, I know it's the wrong thing to do, but I'm just not programmed to leave people in a mess, which is what I'll do if I decide to stop right now

 

Fair enough. You have a finite number of games and an end date, so that's fine.

Let cheese and bread and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination.

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