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Beginner workout w/ old injuries. Please help.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 08, 2013 at 2:40 PM

I just finished my first whole 30 and I'm going for 60 now hoping to improve upon my shortcomings in my first 30, like eating 3 meals a day and not snacking so much. I love this diet. I feel MUCH better and I am very interested in the issues that come along with natural farming and buying local. My cravings for fake food and sugar have turned to disgust and moral outrage.

Now it's time to start working out. And I'm lost. I wish I could afford classes, trainers, or even a doctor, but for now I have an affordable basic gym membership. I was once fairly lean and muscular, I worked as a bike messenger in Philly for over 10 years. I tore ass around town by day and drank cheap beer with my work buddies by night, those were the days. Then finally I was involved in a horrible accident, intensive care for 3 days, jaw wired shut for months, you don't even want to know what else. That was three years ago, I work as a bartender now (that quit drinking and smoking to go paleo!) and I am left with a fun grab bag of injuries. An AC separation in my left shoulder and two ACL replacements in my left knee are the biggest hinderances when trying to exercise. Especially my knee, it's weak and crunchy and the few times I attempted running it swelled up like a grapefruit.

So I'm just a few days into the gym, I'm awkward and confused. I'm trying to ease into it and not hurt myself. I'll do 20-30 minutes moderate walking on the treadmill or stationary cycle. Nothing crazy, barely breaking a sweat but I still feel it. Then I'll go around to the weight machines I'm not scared of and do just one set of 12-15 reps and then another set if I felt good doing it. Then I do my pathetic attempt at stretching for about ten minutes and I'm done. It takes about an hour. Does this sound ok or am I wasting my time? I'm worried about not doing it right and not getting results.

I am also confused about what's best to eat before and after a workout and how long to wait before and after. I have also noticed I get heartburn shortly after a workout, weird. I could really use some help here, I think I have the diet down pretty good, now I'd really like to focus on getting back to my former shape. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Cc7df20d02a20925ada0d92202a403a9

(5)

on January 08, 2013
at 05:59 PM

Wow I didn't even mention the chronic pain in my left hip and left ankle! During that decade as a courier, I always dismounted my bike on my right side, loaded/unloaded packages, took my big heavy bag off and on, etc. Perhaps this is the culprit. I so wish I had acess to a pool because I love to swim, but my gym is $10 a month and the one with the pool is $80. I guess I'll just keep taking it easy until I start to see improvement and then reevaluate my finances. Thanks for the help.

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6 Answers

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0
61ffe1d9d605d57a14e521a2ebb3b76b

on January 08, 2013
at 03:27 PM

I think you're doing fine. Just stay with it (that's the key), before you know it, things will start to get easier. I know how frustrating it can be dealing with old injuries, remembering how you "use to be" and finding a starting place - it can be frustrating. Been there and still dealing with it, but I know for a fact, if you just stick with what you're doing and it WILL get easier; THEN you can start changing things and adding more stuff.

For someone who is cash strapped, I recommend combing different websites for exercise plans for beginners, weight lifting for beginners or just find some plans to print out and follow. Do a search "weight lifting with knee injuries" and such...

Sometimes recumbant bikes are easier than the regular up right bikes for knee injuries - crank up the resistance, keep the pace slow or moderate and you can break a sweat while building the quads - which will take some pressure off the knee.

Hope this helps. Just keep doing what you can...persistence WILL pay off.

1
B2634bf90fa31b48a60e7c4f06761200

on January 08, 2013
at 03:27 PM

I would keep up the light walking as well. Also if your gym has a pool, take up swimming. It is low impact, which will be good for you especially with the knee issues.

You may need to avoid things like the elliptical since that can cause altered biomechanics with knee movement.

And I support what the two say in terms of finding a good personal trainer. Even though it may be costly initially, the knowledge they can provide you, especially in your case, would be priceless.

You don't want to mess around with doing something like squats or deadlifts without first having someone show you proper form. Your prior injuries may also limit your movements, so you need a professional to help you with doing things correctly within the limits your injuries allow.

Another thing that caught my eye is the fact that your shoulder and knee injuries both occurred to your left side. That probably means that you've been spending a good amount of time compensating with your right side and have developed some amount of right-left asymmetry. This set you up for future injury if you are not careful.

Once you have the funds, this is another thing you can have evaluated. If your body is moving dysfunctionally and there are a lot of asymmetries, then piling strength on top of that, without addressing the underlying movement dysfunction will only make things worse.

Best of luck.

Cc7df20d02a20925ada0d92202a403a9

(5)

on January 08, 2013
at 05:59 PM

Wow I didn't even mention the chronic pain in my left hip and left ankle! During that decade as a courier, I always dismounted my bike on my right side, loaded/unloaded packages, took my big heavy bag off and on, etc. Perhaps this is the culprit. I so wish I had acess to a pool because I love to swim, but my gym is $10 a month and the one with the pool is $80. I guess I'll just keep taking it easy until I start to see improvement and then reevaluate my finances. Thanks for the help.

0
85ab8328de1aabccf880f050983b6f03

on January 08, 2013
at 06:43 PM

I was supposed to never walk normal again after a bad leg accident at the age of 17. My muscle calcified to my femur. The x-ray showed that it became like bone, and I could not move my leg very much. I went to a physical therapy clinic that started me off slowly with things I could do without pain. I used ultrasound, electric stimulation, stretching, and a lot of limited range-of motion work with the quads. Partial leg raises for endurance (hold in position) and strength (add more weight and don't hold as long). I did the same type of things on knee extension. I rode an exercise bike, adjusting the seat so that I felt no pain when I pedaled. I iced the affected area after working it, to keep swelling down. Every day I did this, under supervision, for about 1.5 hours. And I trusted my body to heal. The supervision of experienced physical therapists was critical or I think I would have pushed myself too much too fast. I very slowly gained range-of motion and control. It took 3 months, going every day. Not only was I able to walk normal, I excelled in athletics afterwards.

Regarding issues with natural farming,etc: http://www.nu-gen.net/securing-best-food-sources/

0
60a45c627fa2c5d2c8e2359b27f6ea02

on January 08, 2013
at 03:37 PM

I had an ACL replacement a few years ago, and I found that one of the best exercises was swimming and/or running in the pool. (Hopefully your gym has a pool.) Low impact and takes a lot of weight off of the joint. I hope you find something that works for you!

0
197651282ddd8d675b974ee811d2269e

on January 08, 2013
at 03:01 PM

I think walking and stretching is a great way to start. On sunny days, try to walk outside to get vitamin D. I feel strongly about this. That's about all I did for the first month and I felt great, lost 5 lbs. As my body became more conditioned, I added in weights and HIIT 2x per week. Since you have old injuries, I would consult a therapist or personal trainer before starting with weights and running. However, walking and stretching are fine to start with for now. Good luck!

0
C8a5c6d2804326646bb274e491f7f21b

on January 08, 2013
at 02:46 PM

I would recommend finding a good personal trainer who is aware of your previous injuries, maybe someone with a PT background.

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