Barbells, Food and Jojo

Join me as I navigate through my love for Olympic Weightlifting, Flexible Dieting and Life

POW16D7 (Post Op Week 16 Day 7) – I suppose I will keep tracking this until I am back to 100%?

Did you see that? I’m four freakin’ months post hip arthroscopy surgery!

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First of all, a quick, “My baaaaad…” for taking so long to update everyone on how my recovery has been going. I haven’t blogged in over five weeks. Oops.

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Strength

Back to my recovery. In the last five weeks during my blogging hiatus, a lot of improvements and clearances were made. As of my last post I was still not cleared to do the full snatch or clean lifts, squatting, and I was to keep jerking extremely light, but now?

I AM CLEARED FOR THEM ALL 

Not only am I cleared for them all now, but I can even begin to go up in weights and start building back my strength, which will be a long road in itself. But I am so thrilled to begin regular training! In the last four weeks or so I joined WarHammer Athletics barbell team and have began to re-introduce the lifts, get a feel for them again without prescribed weights, all under the guidance of my new weightlifting coach, Jeff Vinzon.

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I met with my surgeon for my Post Op Appointment #4 and he is thrilled on how I’m recovering and told me that I “essentially have the all clear.” What he meant by “essentially,” is that he still would prefer if I avoided certain movements for a couple more months, such as cutting agility movements that are common in sports such as soccer and basketball, since the hip capsule is still biologically healing. Well, I’m not about to go pick up a game of either one of those anytime soon, so safe to say I have the all clear. Oh, he also said he’d rather I not run too much just yet, too. NOT A PROBLEM.

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Every time I meet with my surgeon, he expresses his concern for my non-surgical hip (left) since I have the same bone structure (Femoral Acetabular Impingement) on that side, too. And since I love “deep squats” (as he puts it), he worries that the same thing will happen to it. He clearly has daughters in his life because he made sure to tell me, “I’m not going to tell you not to do what you want you to do, but just expressing my concern,” haha. Then added, “At least now you know what symptoms to be on the lookout for just in case.” I gotta admit, though, every time I hear him say that, it makes me paranoid about that hip and begin to question it, “Did I just feel clicking in left hip? Did it just catch? Was that a tug?”

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But bottom line, if I have no pain in that hip, there is no reason to investigate it.  All I can do is hope for the best for that hip.

So far, I have not had any pain in my right (surgery) hip in any of the lifts or in squats, which is great. No pinching, catching or clicking there. It just gets sore and achey at times, but I figure that is expected from lack of use for a long while. I definitely feel and am weak. The weights I’m doing are baby weights and that makes me a little sad, but at least it’s progress!

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I’m also way overdue to pay Quinn Henoch, DPT a visit, so thankfully I’ve booked my appointment to see him tomorrow afternoon. My DPT, Franklin, has been great in getting me properly recovered, but as an athlete in weightlifting, I definitely trust Quinn’s perspective on where I am and where I should go at this point in training.

I can’t wait to start a real weightlifting cycle again, but it looks like it may have to wait until May since my April is jam packed with work travel. I’ll basically be home one week that month. Ugh.

Nutrition

I’ve been debating for a few weeks now if I should post about this or not. Do I let it go? Do I just move on and not share my experience on here? I’ve decided that I should share my experience because it has ultimately been a part of my recovery that I did not expect, and should have nipped in the butt sooner than I did.  I briefly touched on the subject in my last post here (scroll to the bottom), now, allow me to elaborate.

As I previously mentioned, back in September I had decided to bring a new flexible dieting coach into my life because come surgery, the last thing I wanted to think about was calculating my own macros. Furthermore, I didn’t really know how to calculate my macros for post surgery. I knew my macros needed to be cut down quite a bit due to inactivity but not too low since my body would need fuel to properly heal. So I decided best thing to do would be to pay someone qualified to do it for me so that I can maintain weight during my recovery. And not gain like most people tend to do post surgery.

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Let me preface this by saying it is not my intention to bad mouth this coach. I simply want to share my experience and where my mindset was. 

Come surgery, in November, my macros were rightfully cut down fairly low since my life was on the couch for that first week specially. With very limited activity for the first few weeks, my macros remained pretty low, which I expected.

Right around Christmas time, I got off crutches, and started to do more physical therapy, is around the time my coach decided to put me on a reverse diet. What’s a reverse diet, you ask? After a quick Google search, I found this for you all to look at if you’re curious, but there is a lot more to a reverse diet. Anyway, sure, I understood that I needed to get my intake back up after being so low for weeks. Before I get into what happened, let me preface it with a few thoughts and rambles I need to get across:

  • I know my body pretty well at this point and it does not respond well to big macro increases (I’m not that lucky).
  • At this point I was only about one month post op, therefore, not very active at all yet and only doing seated exercises.
  • I have one weight that I vowed to never get back to after getting well under it a few years ago.
  • I was focused on my physical recovery, therefore, just doing as I’m told nutritionally.
  • I really did not go over my macros often during the holidays. I was too busy being depressed about being crippled.

Having said that, my first increase in my reverse diet, I remember thinking, “Hmm, that’s a pretty big jump.” But, honestly, who was I to question a qualified coach’s methods?

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Fast forward to about three or four check-ins later, a couple hefty macro increases and I had definitely gained. And no, I was not going off the deep end with my macros. Of course there were handful of days where I had gone over whether it was an anniversary or a special outing, but nothing too outlandish. In this time, I expressed my concern and shared the vow I had made to myself and how I feel I am dangerously close to that weight I had vowed never to get back to. After each check in, coach did respond to my concerns, but I honestly felt coach didn’t really realize how much that vow meant to me.  Coach claimed that my body, “responded extremely well to a reverse diet” – wait, how? I gained steadily. And not just a little. On a reverse, minimal fat gain is expected, I knew that going in, I’m not a newbie to macros. After I claimed that my intention was never to go into a bulking phase, specially when I’m not training at full capacity, coach also said, “By no means is this a bulking phase. It’s a metabolism rebuilding phase.” Well, I bulked. And definitely not muscle.

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Just to be clear, I am not trying to point fingers here. I have no doubt that my coach had the very best intentions and had no malicious intent. I just think that the big #GainingWeightIsCool movement was happening on Instagram concurrently had an impact on my coach’s views since coach was a part of this movement. Coach had successfully reversed diet straight into a bulking phase to gain muscle mass and did so very successfully. Got much stronger and looks great. No chub. In my opinion, “gaining weight is cool,” if you are training, lifting heavy weights a lot and gaining sweet muscle but it ultimately does vary by person. And you don’t see people using that hashtag when what they gained is fat and not muscle, because that’s not cool. 

It baffles me that I was put on such an aggressive reverse diet when I’m not training with heavy weights at all and only three months post op (at the time).

I got to a point where I was eating more than I was pre op back when I was full training. That does not make sense to me. Needless to say, I got to and PASSED the weight I had vowed to never get back to and that made me both angry and sad. It was awful to see the scale make a steady climb. And I shared this graph with my coach. Though coach had good advice about needing to be “mentally invested” and not so focused on a number, the facts were still there. My intake was increased rapidly in a short amount of time, and the scale went up with it.

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I was not in a good place mentally. Once I was over that weight I had vowed never to get to again, I decided it was time to part ways with my coach. I am almost three years into tracking my macros and do know how to calculate my own, so I knew I could get the weight I put on back off, it will just take time and patience.

Just to reiterate, this coach is very knowledgeable. A great coach overall. And I realize I am a very unique situation. Not only was I recovering from a surgery, but I have some hormonal imbalances I need to get sorted, and have hypothyroidism (it is leveled, thankfully). I just wish this coach would have taken my concerns, which I expressed numerous times, more into consideration. Soon after I parted ways with this coach, I saw Sohee (one of my favorite and most respected Flexible Dieters out there), post this article on what makes a good fitness and/or nutrition coach. Here is an excerpt of it that spoke to me:

– Adjustments: When I speak up about some facet of the program not working well for me, does my coach listen and make adjustments accordingly, or does he/she simply tell me to suck it up? Does he/she set appropriate boundaries with recognizing red flags and knowing when to hit the brakes with my fitness goals? – Sohee

To be completely honest, if I gained weight because I was being careless with my nutrition and going on benders, I would not be upset. I would understand why I gained. But I gained under guidance. That is where my frustration lies. But what is done, is done. Time to move forward.

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So, where am I now with nutrition? Ever since parting ways with that coach about a month ago, I calculated my own macros, and have very closely been tracking intake and weight and making weekly adjustments as needed. I’m a data nerd. Had began to finally see small changes. I also just re-joined Avatar Nutrition a couple days ago because, well, honestly? I wanted to see if I was on track with my calculations in relation to what their algorithm would calculate for me, and I’m happy to say I was VERY close. So for now, I will follow Avatar and hope my body cooperates. I am hoping combining more training with more appropriate macros will yield the results I am after.

Well, until next time folks, thanks for sticking around.

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