OK Back, Listen Up…

*Boring fitness post! No need to read unless you’re really interested!*

Anyone who has been reading my blog for any length of time might remember that I have a bad back.  For the first time the other week I’ve managed to convince the seventh different physiotherapist I’ve seen to suggest I go for a scan or an x-ray to rule out a Pars Fracture.  Of course, I let him think that he’d come up with that all by himself despite me talking about it nearly relentlessly for the last few months and the previous time I saw him at the end of last year.

The problem is that I have all this physio and my back gets better.  I can be fine doing sport, playing football and then some little innocuous movement happens and I’m back to square one.

As I type, I’m suffering.  Not with my back, but with muscle ache! Physios generally give me stretches to do and suggest some planks and bridges to do to build core strength which was by no means lacking when the injury first occurred.  However, because the injury recurs anyway and I may or may not have some imaging in the bank to find out what the problem actually is, I’ve decided to up the ante.

Before the injury, I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in.  I had a goal that I needed to be able to physically manhandle around 60kg of non-uniformly distributed weight.  Use your imaginations and you’re probably there!  (I may have mis-judged that weight by the way.)  This time it’s been hard to define a training goal other than injury prevention.

In my last training plan I proved that I’m able to get much stronger in only three or four months.  That plan involved doing heavy sets of squats, deadlifts and bench presses.  The problem at the moment is that I don’t trust my back enough to do squats or deads with any great weight at all, and they were my favourite too!  It would also be pretty stupid of me to go in at the deep end with those anyway, so at the moment I’m going to leave them alone.

After that part of the plan I also proved that I can get down to single digit body fat within two months even with a Friday night pizza!  That involved twenty minutes a day of as many push-ups (and their variations), body-weight squats, lunges and pull-ups as I can do in a specific order that I forget at the moment!

Being an ectomorph, or a skinny fat guy, I find it hard to put on muscle.  I have to eat loads and it’s easy for me to overtrain.  So I’ve come up with an idea.  With my back the way it is, I’m tempted to “undertrain”.  I’m going to build up to heavy bench presses (it’s depressing what I’ve lost since I last did this!) or pull up combinations and I’m going to supplement those with “vanity” isolation exercises which I’ve never really done before.  Each session will be finished with a core circuit of body weight exercises including lots of planks and bridges.

The downside to what I’m doing is that I don’t want to do anything dynamic or anything with core rotation.  Not doing the dynamic bit sucks!  I used to enjoy jumping around and bending and crawling and whatever else but I don’t want to add any risk to my back.

Each session, and for a second time that day, I’m going to stretch properly.

As my back starts to get stronger, I’ll add in some short runs and see how those go.

I am struggling a bit with my diet plan.  I need to start being good and not eating any chocolate, biscuits and sweets (on a regular basis at least), but I think that’s the only limitation I’m going to impose as long as I get all the macronutrients I need.  As I said, losing fat is quite easy for me and I have the diet for that pretty much down.  My thinking is that if I undertrain (as it were) and eat normally at 5-6 meals a day, it might be possible for me to put on some size in the right way.  Bodyweight circuits and “good” fats in my diet generally take care of “bad” body fat, and getting enough protein and decent carbs should take care of muscle build and repair.

I’m not going to use scales and I’m not going to take measurements.  I’m just going to go by how I feel primarily but maybe also make some adjustments based on aesthetics.

So we’ll see how it goes.  The goal is injury prevention, but doing some other things properly too shouldn’t hurt!  It’s been a decent start.

Comments 5

  1. Have you ever researched or considered trying the Whole 30? It’s definitely a bit extreme.. But focuses on following a whole foods diet for 30 days. The thought is to eliminate those foods that cause inflammation and chaos in the body.. Pain, etc. I’ll be honest in saying I have a love /hate relationship with it, and I might be biased because I’m starting a round today; but it may be worth looking into to help build muscle and reduce back pain. Good luck!

    • Hey Natasha! I’ll certainly check that out. Is it relatively easy to stick to (especially eating out)? The only problem I have with anti-inflammatory diets is that they exclude dairy and, while I am better with limited dairy, I don’t think I can eat enough meat and eggs to fulfill my protein requirements (especially without beans either!).

      • Hm this may not be the best for you then! There’s no dairy allowed, as well as legumes, grains, sugars, alcohols, etc. I’ve found it’s easy to stick to once you’re in the groove.. But having said that, I’ve never actually gotten through the full 30 days!

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