Today I am going to talk about a recent personal account when an operation threatened my fitness plan, and how I ultimately dealt with it. You see, as an author, I have written about how to stick to your fitness plans when the circumstances are rather limiting.
However, I did not expect that I would be faced with such a situation barely half a year after writing about it in the Lifelong Fitness Blueprint. Nevertheless, I hope this will inspire and have meaning for you, especially if you are on your own weight loss or fitness journey.
In my case, I had a sebacious cyst in the middle of my chest which had been there for almost a decade. I ignored it because it never caused me any problems. It just minded its own business and increased in size. However, one day it got badly infected and inflamed.
The surgery to remove the cyst was not a major one. It was, however, a psychologically draining one as the local anaesthesia did not seem to work. But that’s another story. After the operation, I was faced with a recovery period when the wound would be bleeding and discharging pus. Needless to say, I was not allowed to exercise during that period – doctor’s orders!
Of course as a fitness junkie, I was not pleased with the news. But how did I handle it? Well, if you have acquired any of the Granite Fitness products, you will know that my philosophy for long-term fitness is anchored on three principles – a strong mindset, a good diet and a proper workout program. In fact, I have written an entire book on each of these three aspects.
The first thing I dealt with is psychology. I had to acknowledge that for this period, I would not be able to exercise at my usual intensity. However, I told myself that I would do everything in my power to be as healthy as possible – even though it would take more effort. This bit was not too hard for me to accept, as I had gone through periods of not being able to exercise before.
Next on the list is my diet. I knew that since I will have to keep a watchful eye on my diet during this period. To be honest, my usual diet isn’t completely “clean”. I do eat junk food once in a while. However, I will be more mindful about what I ate during this period. I also had to be more mindful about my body’s natural signals.
You see, since I’m not exercising that much, it would make sense that my body would need less calories, and it responds by becoming full with less food intake. Someone who wasn’t mindful will eat his or her usual portion out of habit. Of course, more food and less exercise equals weight gain. Keep that in mind when you go through an injury recovery period!
Okay, now comes the exercise bit. This is where I will struggle. But it is also where I can put my thinking cap on. I have preached in the Lifelong Fitness Blueprint that one should always examine their own circumstances and take steps towards their goals. People can go to either extreme – defy doctor’s orders and keep on exercising or use it as an excuse to not exercise at all.
In my opinion, both options above are not ideal. So the question I had was whether I could still perform some exercise while recovering. I rationalised that there were two reasons why I was discouraged to exercise during this period – because sweat would be harmful to the wound, and because any action that stretches the affected area would also be harmful to it.
With that in mind, the reality is that I could still exercise, as long as it does not result in excessive perspiration, and that it does not affect the wounded area. With that in mind, I made an exercise plan which would result in me getting some physical activity, yet not violating the limitations imposed upon me.
After careful consideration, these are the exercises I could do – walking, cycling, and strength of leg muscles, biceps and triceps. The caveat, of course, was that I must do these at such a low intensity level that I do not break a sweat. So, of course, I dd these exercises in the gym with a fraction the intensity of my usual load. Problem solved.
Now, some of you might be criticising my method, stating that since I wasn’t perspiring, all of this was an exercise in futility. I vehemently disagree. You see, I strongly believe that some movement is better than none. At least I’m still working out the muscles and causing the blood to flow. What else should I have done instead? Stay at home eating corn chips on the couch?
Which brings me to my final point – the routine! I was used to spending 45 to 60 minutes each day on exercise. If I completely slacked off, the act of re-acclimatising to the routine would be difficult once I am fully recovered. So the mere fact that I was still sticking to the routine, albeit at a much lower intensity, is a discipline in itself. Think about it.
I think I have adequately covered the changes I made during my wound recovery period. I hope this encourages you to do what you can towards your fitness goals even if there are temporary roadblocks in the way. Don’t forget to check out the Granite Fitness Solution, which has everything you need to get in shape in the long-term. You’ll find it useful for sure.
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