Project HUGE has been somewhat quiet lately; and, it's half way through the year, so I'd thought I'd drop in with a little update. So far 2010 has seen some highs and some lows in my fitness journey. In the beginning of the year, I set the lofty goals of getting my deadlift back up to 405lb and my squat back up to 315lb. And, amazingly enough, I actually reached both those goals just a few months after setting them. Unfortunately, my strength in both of these lifts has left as quickly as it came.
When it comes to Project HUGE, it seems that my progress is constantly two steps forward, one step back. Whenever I start to make gains, my body finds a way to slow things down. Right now, my wrist seems to be on the up and up - finally! But, my shoulder is feeling very sore and my knee is hurting more now than it has in a long while. This has hampered my bench press and has brought my squatting to a complete stop.
I try to keep my chin up, but this is very depressing for me. Working out is not just a hobby, it is part of my nature - part of my character. When I cannot workout properly, I feel like I cannot truly be "Me." I accept the fact that working out is a life long journey and it's bound to have set backs. What's important then, is that I do try to keep moving forward.
Medically-Founded Steps Forward
Today, I went to meet with Dr. Jeffery Gewirtz, DPM. He's a podiatrist here in NYC that I wanted to consult with regarding my knee and foot pain. I have flat feet due to girly ligaments that cannot support my body weight. When you have flat feet, your feet pronate which throws your entire leg out of alignment. This misalignment stops the joints from being able to work properly and puts undue stress on the joints.
Dr. Gewirtz's took plaster molds of my feet such that I could get custom-made orthotics for my shoes. Without surgery, there is no way to change the physical structure of the foot; but, with the right orthotics, you can sort of wedge the foot back into its proper position. And hopefully, once in its proper position, my leg will be back in better alignment and my knee will be able to handle the unrelentingly abusive stress that I put on it at the gym.
NOTE: There are several ways to have orthotics made. Dr. Gewirtz took an unweighted mold of my foot. Meaning, I was sitting down. I asked him what the difference was between unweighted and standing molds; and, what he told me was that weighted (standing) molds are mostly useless because they take a mold of your foot when it's already flat. They fail to capture all of the information about the underlying structure of the foot that is required to make the most appopriate mold.
In addition to seeing Dr. Gewirtz, I'd also like to see an orthopedist to make sure there is nothing physically wrong with my knee itself. But that requires a visit to my general physician and a referral perscription (I love the healthcare system). More on that to come.
I am also continuing to see Dr. Christopher Anselmi occassionally for Active Release Technique (ART) to break up the scar tissue in the muscle around my knee. If the scar tissue in my muscles is exhasterbated by the poor alignment of my leg, then hopefully my orthotics will only help to make Dr. Anselmi's treatements all that much more effective.
The Following Steps Forward Have Not Been Approved By The FDA
In addition to seeking medical treatment for my ailments, I am also taking a variety of supplemenets that are supposed to be helpful. Recently, I started taking GNC's "Mega Men" Joint Vitamin Programs. The program contains Glucosamine and Chondroitin which are supposed to be very good for joint health. It also contains several Omega-3 Fatty Acids as well as a general vitamin.
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I have also started taking Curcumin 500 by Biotest (T-Nation). Curcumin, which is the active ingredient in Turmeric, is a curry spice that has gained much notariety as a powerful anti-inflammatory. Even health gurus, such as Dr. Weil, are excited by the diverse and promising health benefits demonstratted by this supplement.
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An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away
On top of my joint problems, I happen to have a really crappy diet. I don't eat any real junk food or anything too destructive. But, I don't really eat anything that's all that good for me either. As such, I'm going to make it a real point to start eating more fruits (and some veggies) in my daily routine.
So anyway, that's my situation. Like I said, the year has seen some great progress and some unfortunate regression. The important thing is that I am constantly trying to take steps to better my position in this lovable journey that I refer to as Project HUGE.
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You must have known someone was looking for an update. Just stumbled upon your blog looking for HIAH blogs this morning. Saw your last post was in February and figured you fell off the wagon. Glad to see your still in it to win it!
As we all get older, it gets harder to maintain our bodies. That is just how nature works. From your previous blog, you are getting more sleep which is definately good for you, now if you can get your diet on track, you will be all set.
One resolution you could consider for next year is to work on eating a healthy diet. You don't have to go extreme, but that has a lot of advantages other than just general health. You can get all the nutrients you need through a good diet.
This is FDA's take on it <http://www.fda.gov/food/dietarysupplements/consumerinformation/ucm110417.htm>
Always in it to win it my friend :) Just a few set backs, nothing to keep me out of the game. Heck, maybe this is the perfect time get better at pull-ups!
The extra hour of sleep has been very nice. And, I have really been sticking to that. Hopefully it will have some great pay offs.
Yeah, I really do want to try to eat healthier. I got through little spurts here and there, but it's so easy to get lazy about it. Plus, it requires more work, and typically more money in my experience. But, I'm gonna keep trying.
Those photos gave me a chuckle.
Ha ha, thanks :)
I am also taking "Mega Men" about 2 years ago haha, recommended! Good luck!!
Greetings from Mexico xD
Thanks my man! Fingers crossed :) Although, it's probably good to take some vitamin even if I don't find any acute pain relief or anything.
Not sure if you do a lot of stretching Ben, when you mentioned your shoulder hurting it reminded me of an old injury I once had.
I would say listen to your body and focus. Its your body, slow down and really listen to what its telling you.
Me, I've found doing a combination of 'Yoga' / Freeweights really helps...used to have shoulder/back problems and I'm about 95% better. One day was at the gym and my body just wanted to stretch, so there I was for about 30 minutes just stretching. I can't underline how important it is to properly, gently stretch especially since us computer types are so sendentary. But its not the quick 'let's get it over with' stretching... its the eastern, mental focus and feeling the layers of muscle slowly unlock themselves until you get to the problem area which usually is helped by more stretching.
As I am getting older, I am really trying hard to listen to my body and to not let my ego drive me into further injury. When things are hurting now, I'll either go SUPER light or just cut things out for weeks at a time. I even just got custom made orthotics for my [flat] feet. I'm hoping this finally helps me make some better headway with my knee tightness.
I have thought about doing yoga lately. Perhaps it's time to see if my gym has a beginners class.
Cool story man. Wondering if your orthotics helped you out as I'm in a similar situation with feet pain and trying to reach my deadlift goals. Cheers