The past couple of months (since my last blog post) have been rather action packed with lots of new and different work and business opportunities, travel, fun, friends, new connections and parkour classes. Yes, finally, after struggling for ages to make it happen it all very suddenly came together and I was able to have a go at a sport that I find fascinating and reminds me of my early childhood’s shenanigans.
I have been preparing for it for the past 15 months or so since discovering the Metabolic Effect style of training which helped me reverse my aging process and gave me back the strength that I had in my late thirties. (By the way, I am one of a small group of ME trainers in the UK). So it wasn’t that surprising that I didn’t particularly struggle during my first lesson except for what I would class as normal when learning a new skill or movement pattern.
My confidence in my abilities paired with my determination to succeed and the wisdom to sit things out or ask for help when I feel out-obstacled have served me well and I feel I made outstanding progress in a relatively short period of time. Unlike some of my naughty clients I also followed the training suggestions from the chief instructor and did my homework and guess what? it worked 😉
Unfortunately last Saturday my fun times at the gym were to come to a sudden and very painful end (for a while) when, as I was doing a very simple and actually safe exercise, my left knee decided to implode in a symphony of cracks and pops leaving me effectively one legged and unable to do most normal things unaided. During the first 48 hrs post accident I couldn’t stand up or hobble without getting dizzy, nauseous and shaking uncontrollably. Hell, I couldn’t even stay awake for longer than an hour or two! But I managed to eat a Sicilian cannolo (food of the Gods) which I know will be key to my 100% recovery. 😉
Thankfully I have a wonderful partner and support network which allowed me to get everyone and everything organised with just a few phone calls so that I could take some time out to recover especially during the initial most acute phase of pain and inflammation of any type of injury. Plus it doesn’t often happen that the neighbours cheer me on to complete the treacherous task of hobbling across the car park with my other half chasing me zombie style. This was the moment when I truly understood how each part of our body is connected to the rest. I never knew that laughing or coughing could make your knee hurt!
So what have I learned so far from my misadventure?
1. Treating your body like a temple and learning to listen to it when you are healthy truly pays off when you suddenly are not. In my case I suffered a mechanical failure and my health is otherwise intact. I don’t yet know the extent of the damages from my injury but I am very grateful to be strong and athletic enough to be able to somehow navigate what in my situation are almost unsormountable obstacles: staircases? Triceps dipping up and down is a doddle and quite fun. Need the loo? One legged squats + triceps dip will get you on and off easily. Getting in and out of bed? Plyometric pushups + rolling will take care of that. Changing clothes? Toes can be almost as useful as fingers when it comes to grabbing and manoeuvring garments up the other leg.
2. Don’t give in to panic and keep smiling in the face of adversity. Keeping a cool head during a personal disaster is probably the most important thing to do in the aftermath. It’s ok to cry when it hurts but not because it’s happened. My time and energy are better spent trying to understand my injury in as much detail as possible to get a headstart on recovering before I am fit enough to go to a hospital and have to listen to hours of bullshit just to get a scan or x-ray. For example, I now understand that the excruciating pain I used to feel in my knees up to four years ago was most likely cartilage related. I learned that dietary habits, specifically acidic foods, can cause the cartilage to become thin but, contrary to popular belief, it can repair itself over time. My personal experience supports this theory: after eating a mostly alkaline diet for a few years I haven’t experienced that type of pain again. Until my incident on Saturday. Still, it’s important to stay positive as self inflicted stress will alter my body chemistry unfavourably and will let this situation drag on forever.
3. Make a plan of action and follow it through.
The research I carried out so far has allowed me to identify a few key elements that wil help me get better: L-Lysine is an important component that the body needs to make new cartilage and repair broken one. We usually find this amino-acid in red meat, Parmigiano, pulses, eggs and quinoa among other foods. Or can be bought as a supplement for very little money. Vitamin C is another important ingredient in the making of cartilage as it supports the production of collagen as well as ensuring oxygenation of the blood whereas Omega 3 oils help fight inflammation and prevent enzymes from destroying the cartilage. The amazing thing about these 3 targeted items is that their combined cost is a fraction of that of some joints supplements that don’t necessarily provide all the building blocks required to support healing. In the same way that it’s good policy for carpenters to measure twice before cutting anything, it’s also good policy for anyone to research reputable medical sites and read journals to try and learn as much as possible and then go shopping.
4. Embrace the downtime instead of fretting about it. How many times have I put off writing a blog post, writing a plan of action, catching up on paperwork, reports, sleep, etc. because I was too busy with other things? Too many to count so it’s actually great to be able to catch up on all that stuff during my enforced rest. I actually have time to interact with people on social media and maybe even do the occasional Periscope thing too once I can get my hands on my makeup bag.
5. Be sensible and respect my limits but never give up on the opportunity to push my boundaries a bit. Did you know that drugs like Ibuprofen slow down the healing process? I do now. So I decided to only take some if my sleep would be compromised because good quality rest is also very important. This means that I truly have to pay attention to what I am doing when I venture away from the sofa for a little walk as whenever I get things wrong I feel a wall of pain but if I do things right I am fine and so I can go a bit further every time until it hurts and then I can retreat a bit to the comfort zone before I push it a bit further. In my specific case I find that if I endeavour to keep my best supermodel posture when hobbling I don’t get exausted too quickly, it hurts less and it’s generally more comfortable.
6. Eat for healing, not for my country. I had 3 biscuits since Sunday which is more than I had since the beginning of BST. Although nice I find them disgustingly sweet and really not all that appealing but they are within easy reach and will provide the “food” to go with my supplements. The rest of the time I am managing to eat a high protein diet with fresh vegetables and just enough starches to make sure there is enough sugar in the blood stream to provide the extra energy I need for team body repair. It’s very important that I don’t get fat or my other knee will also implode. So far I haven’t been able to get any crutches but as soon as I do I’ll be out and about for a longer hobble and might be able to resist the temptation to do handstands on them.
Moral of this story is: when shit like this happens try to find a positive spin on the situation as soon as you can and focus on that. Listen to your doctor but do your own research first so you can ask lots of questions and help them help you.
As this is going to be a massive learning opportunity for me I will document my recovery and share it on this blog and social media channels so that in the future it might be useful to someone in similar circumstances. 🙂