May | 2011 | True Fitness Blog

Motivation…we all find it in different places and some of us have more natural motivation than others. I wish I could say I was super motivated everyday but that is hardly the case. I generally find an event of some sort is a great motivator for me. For example my record PT test was a huge motivator for me; I wanted to prove to myself that I could attain one of those truly exceptional scores. Though I feel short of my goal score by one point, I was still over the moon with my performance.  And now I am slightly ashamed to admit that since the test in mid April my motivation has been pitiful. My workout routine has fallen by the wayside and my diet has not been much better.

I have three weeks left in my course and I intend to use that time to refocus and re- motivate myself to get my back on the workout routine and healthy eating bandwagon. As an aspiring trainer I believe I need to be a role model to my clients; if I cannot keep myself motivated and on track why should my clients listen to me. None of us will be perfect all the time but as long as the effort and desire is there most of the time what more can you ask for. I also have two weddings coming up right after my class ends; as I said before for me it often takes a specific event to keep me motivated and I intend to use them as my short term motivators.

My first step in the process is following “The Look Better Naked Two Day Cleanse” from Women’s Health. I used this cleanse about 8 weeks ago and enjoyed it. It is by no means one of those crazy water and paprika diets, it is just clean eating. I’m still on the search for the workout that I want to follow but once I figure that out I will let you know!

As someone who has done a great deal of cycling over the years and the fact that last Friday was National Bike to Work Day, I thought I would go over the benefits of cycling and some tips for getting started.

One of the best benefits and the most obvious is increased cardiovascular health, riding at least 30 minutes a day meets the American Heart Association’s recommendation for a healthy heart.  Of course cycling is great overall exercise and can burn up to 500 calories an hour with no impact, while building muscle and raising your metabolic rate.

Being outdoors provides benefits from the sun itself in the form of vitamin D, which has been proven to help prevent prostate cancer, breast cancer, and osteoporosis.  But, of course, don’t forget your sunscreen to protect your skin.  Cycling is also a great stress reliever and helps build a stronger immune system while lowering cholesterol and helping to reduce blood pressure.  It causes you to sweat, which is a great way to the get the toxins out of your system.

Maybe the best part of cycling is that it is very easy to learn and get started.  Just go to your local bike store, get yourself a bike and start riding.

There are many types of bikes, and many types of cycling pursuits.  I personally like mountain biking and the cycling aspect of triathlons.  For most beginners who will be riding occasionally, a hybrid may be a good option.  Better bikes for more advanced riders can be quite expensive, but you can easily pick up a bike for a couple hundred bucks.  Do your research and see what the best match is for you.  Then discuss it further with a reputable bike shop so they can help you chose (some shops may sell used bikes) and get you properly fitted.  It is extremely important to have the bike shop fit you – your ride will be much more comfortable if your are positioned correctly.

You way also want to check out Cycling Magazine, Triathlete Magazine and Dirt Rag for helpful tips on getting started.  And, last but not least, remember the golden rules – Always wear gloves and a helmet, obey the traffic laws, drink at least one bottle of liquid an hour, and make sure to have fun.

So the story of the knee continues, I had the surgery and the meniscus repair went extremely well…now what.

A meniscus repair is a fairly simple operation for the most part but it can be quite painful – all surgeries and all knees are a little different.

Here is my two cents on how to best recover from a meniscus repair.

The first step in the process is to handle your pre-op work.  The stronger you go in the faster you come back and the only way you can reestablish integrity in a joint (other than surgery) is to increase the musculature around the joint. This can be tough because your knee as was the case with mine hurts almost all the time.

My personal approach was to get acupuncture, which helped with pain management and in-turn allowed me to continue working out to keep my knee strong – training at my martial arts school, lifting weights, and running.  My knee still hurt but the pain was manageable.

When I did finally decide to get my surgery (if you have been following my blog, you’ll know that I waited for 9 months) I was still very strong. It was two week ago as of last Tuesday the 19th and I am already working out again, I was able to skip more traditional rehab work such as hip planes with cuff weights, terminal knee extensions (TKEs), wall sits, and jump right into light leg pressing the first week and light squatting the second week.

I was lucky this time around, when I had my left knee repaired (also meniscus) I had much more pain and I did have to approach my rehab much more delicately and started with the hip planes and the other aforementioned exercises.

The only thing left for the knee is to work on my proprioception (your body knowing where it is in space).  This was about the same as the last surgery for me, and I will approach the rehab in the same manner – wobble board, 2 person ball tosses to the four quadrants and stepping ball tosses.

I realize that some of the rehab I have explained is a little technical and if anyone would like further explanation please feel free to contact me directly at eric@jettllc.biz and I can answer questions or get you connected with good physical therapy center.

Thanks for listening and I hope this helps anyone that has a meniscus tear.

For those of you that have been following the saga of my knee the next chapter has been written.  If you have been following my blog, you’ll know that the die had been cast and the decision was made to go through with the surgery.  The injury to the knee happened last August while I was sparring.  A very hard round house kick while I was tired without my leg turned over completely, and there ya go – instant medial meniscus tear.

I have been rehabbing it ever since and was going to have the surgery done in October, but after starting acupuncture treatments, I held of.  I really owe a debt of gratitude to Tom Kong at Mindful Healing Spa (www.mindfulhealingspa.com); he was able to keep me going with the acupuncture treatments.  I should be more specific when I say “keep me going”, I am referring to training intensely at my martial arts school (Tai Yim Kung Fu www.taiyimkingfu.com), which involves lots of low stances, twisting and turning for the knees, jump kicks, spin kicks…the list goes on.

Knowing that I always push myself physically and love training in the martial arts , I knew I’d eventually needed to get this meniscus repair.  I was also afraid of what further damage I might do to my knee if I didn’t have the surgery.  A colleague of mine waited for years to have his meniscus repaired and the damage that he had in the knee was quite advanced.  He needed to have a micro-fracture to help with the cartilage repair and this put him out of the game for almost six months with a knee that has significant wear and tear issues well beyond his years.  That being said it was time to get the surgery done; I had been working on a belt test for almost nine months and really wanted to pass the test before my surgery, but the date was already set for May 3, 2011 test or not.  About three weeks , surprised myself and passed the test (I say surprise because this sword form was very difficult and our school is very traditional…you need to be able to take that blade into battle).

So hear I am the day after the surgery to tell you how it went.  The surgery was yesterday at 8:30 in the morning.  I got up at 5:00 AM and showered up, and my lovely wife and I went to the Washington Hospital Center.  First I was admitted, and then taken to the pre-op area where I was given my gown etc.  Then one of my nurses (there were several) came to put in my IV.  I requested the arm, as the hand can be quite uncomfortable.  I have the luxury of having fire-hoses for veins but that was not quite enough it seemed, and the IV missed the vein and all of the subsequent fluids to hydrate the tissues in my body and the pain meds were actually going in my arms.  I was starting to wonder why arm was swelling so much.  The dead give away was me being too alert in the operating room after the heavy stuff that was supposed to put me out wasn’t working.  Finally on the fifth IV attempt they got it, and then it was show time. I do have to add though that the overall operation at the Washington Hospital Center is very well run, and I couldn’t have had nicer nurses and surgical team.  The entire process was quite pleasurable from beginning to end.  Enter my savior: Dr. David Johnson, who is truly a fantastic orthopedic surgeon and also did the repair on my other knee 3 years ago.  I made sure to get in my one corny doctor joke (what do doctors and 20,000 pound ducks have in common…they both have very large bills.)  Got a little chuckle; then it was down to business.  Once I was out, (it only seems for about sixty seconds), the surgery was performed and then the dressings and bandages etc. were applied.  It actually takes as long to bandage up the knee as the surgery itself.

So then it’s off to post-op, where I got to see the best nurse ever: my wife, Marianne.  Within an hour of the surgery, I was cleared to go home.  The whole process was very fast and efficient, and I was home by 11:30AM.

The surgery went extremely well, and in addition to the meniscus repair, Dr. Johnson scraped a few things that made for better knee mechanics that made the knee stronger and more resistant to future possible tears in the meniscus that may come from ongoing active lifestyle.

So I am already doing some walking and should be able to ride a bike by this weekend and running within two weeks.  Solid twisting and turning (martial arts) in a month.  This is faster than expected, and so the overall recovery will be faster than the last time.

I am enjoying the time off, and being able to spend it with my wife playing nurse with a sometimes-difficult patient (I always try to do more than I should).  I have also gotten a ton of work done as well and am reading and watching movies like a mad man.

Well there it is.  The saga of knee(s) continues.

Thanks for listening