After waiting 12 weeks from my surgery, I started working out again. I went back to my trainer, Blake Parado at Parado Power. His gym is really awesome and if you’re in the Honolulu area you should definitely consider training there. This is an unsponsored endorsement. I just love the place. It’s not the meat market type scene you get at the regular gym and the people who work out there are really great. Okay enough gushing about my gym. 

When I went back, I talked to Blake about my new goals. Whereas before my surgery my goal was to loose weight, now my goal is to not loose weight, and if anything I want to try to gain weight, particularly muscle weight/mass. 

My first day back at the gym was comical. I had the muscle and mind memory of what I could do before, but the reality was that I couldn’t do it. I’d been able to do an unassisted dead hang pull up and squat 150 lbs with a trap bar. Given my recent surgery Blake, understandably, took it easy on me. Really easy. I was doing sets of exercises without weights I’d seen his sexagenarian and septuagenarians clients doing. It felt ridiculous to watch myself do the exercises, but at the end of the session, I was wiped out and sore for days. I only went once that first week. 

Before my surgery I was going to personal training three times a week on my off weeks since I work one week on and one week off as a hospitalist. On my weeks on, I was working out at home before going in, getting up at 4:30 in the morning to squeeze in a quick one hour workout before work. It was a nice routine and I had been seeing and feeling positive changes in my body. 

When I found out about my mutation and when I decided to have the surgery, I continued to work out and push myself harder. I was eating terribly though, because I wanted to eat all the sweets I could eat before I couldn’t eat them anymore. So while I was making small gains at the gym, I started to gain weight. It was a hard thing for me to do. I felt torn by it. In the year before surgery, I had been on specialized diet where I ate macros. This is a diet where I focused on eating equal portions of protein, carbs and fats. I was also trying to eat “clean,” which for me meant eating less processed and a more whole food diet. In the two months leading up to surgery I was eating whatever I wanted. Literally. At lunch at work, I would get a piece of cake everyday. I would go to Starbucks and get the full fat, full sweet version of my favorite drinks. I would buy one pound bags of peanut M&Ms and eat the entire bag in a couple of days. It felt good to eat everything, and while I knew I needed to gain the extra weight, I hated to look at myself and see the extra weight gained after a year working hard to try to loose it. There were times I almost went back to my healthy diet, but now I’m glad I didn’t and instead enjoyed the things I can no longer eat. It was also crazy to see how quickly a years worth of work could be undone by few weeks of a  junk diet. 

Just hanging around at the gym.

Over the last few weeks I’ve gotten back to a partially normal schedule at the gym. I work out on my days off, but haven’t gotten to the point where I can work out on my weeks at work. While my weight has been holding steady at 115lbs, I tend to loose weight on my weeks on at work. This is because it’s hard to eat on the regimented schedule I need to keep to ensure I get all of my calories. So the last thing I want to do is add extra exercise to the mix and loose even more weight. 

Now that I’m working out for weight gain, I have given up cardio. I can’t say I’m totally sad about it since I was never really a cardio super fan. Although there are a few exercises I do miss doing and I hope Ican add some of them back into my workout regimen if I continue to do well. These include battle ropes, pushing and/or pulling the sled. If I’m really lucky, I can add back rowing some day, but I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon. 

This last week at the gym has been gratifying. I was able to lift weights like I doing before, just not as much. The pain from my surgical sites is gone and only on occasion I’ll get twinge of pain at the incisions. Most of the aches and pains I feel now are the post work out pains from sore muscles and age related knee issues. So, I’m back to normal. 

The biggest change has been in my body and how it looks. For the first time in my life I am seeing real definition. It’s particularly noticeable in my arms and back. Dare I say I can even see a hint of my abs, but it only a hint. I’m feeling stronger and healthier. It’s a great feeling to have. It really also makes me think about how much of getting in shape is what you eat. I once heard someone say 80% of weight loss and getting into shape is eating and the other 20% is exercise. I always thought that was a bit of a stretch, but now having had a surgery that restricts what I eat, I can definitely see how these percentages are completely accurate.  

Still using wimpy weights, but making progress.

With the 6 month anniversary of stomachlessness fast approaching I am looking forward to what continued gains I can make in the gym. Maybe this years goal will not just to do a single dead hang pull up, but how about if I could do 10 of them? Whatcha think?