The horse may have run off without me, but I’ve finally caught up

It’s been six months since my last post and about as long without any weightlifting. What has happened to me?

Did I fall off the horse?

Not really. I simply had to get off after having developed De Quervain’s Tenosyvitis on my left wrist. The actual cause is unknown, but I suspect it was a result of regularly holding the phone in bed with my index and thumb in an “L” fashion (thus limiting circulation and keeping tension in an odd position). I know, stupid, right? When it happened, it had been over a month since I had weightlifted, so it couldn’t have been related to my gym activities.

post_300x300_wristAnyway, I developed this condition around the time of my 2-year anniversary post six months ago. I stayed put for a month to see if I’d get better, but I didn’t. After seeing the doctor, he asked me to brace my wrist and not lift weights for another month, but that too didn’t work. I was then given a cortisone injection which relieved the tension, and after another month, it started to feel normal again. I stayed off it for another month just in case, but then in August, the pain returned with a vengeance just before I got a chance to get back to the gym.

Getting another cortisone injection is out of the question because that destroys the nerves, and quitting all activity did nothing to improve it, so my only options are to:

  1. Get surgery
  2. Cast my wrist for weeks and hope it repairs itself
  3. Design a new workout plan to work around the injury and return to the gym

I'll take option 3 with a side of gainz

Six months. That's how long I didn't lift weights. I lost quite a bit of muscle and gained 5% of body fat, but it's not as if I let myself go either. I kept active, watched my energy intake and didn't stress too much over things. Overall, I did my best to enjoy my time off the gym, knowing full well that if a broken leg didn't stop me, this wouldn't either. I went on vacation, ate at some all-you-can-eat buffets, and fasted from time to time to control my energy balance.

To get a baseline, I got a body scan last month with Emma from Smart Analysis which put me at 19.2% body fat. The last time I was that fat was February 2014, but because this time I had a bit more muscle than I did then, to the untrained eye, I still looked in pretty decent shape despite having such a high BF percentage. This surprised somewhat, so I'm going to focus a bit more on building muscle form now on, since having a little muscle helped me keep looking all right despite having more fat.

After a month of training, my wrist isn't any better, but at least it hasn't gotten any worse. I'm upset that resting it for the past six months did nothing to help my wrist, but I'm also relieved that training again hasn't done anything to worsen it. The horse may have run off without me, but I think I've finally caught up with it. My Alpha3Active Spartacus Weightlifting Gloves have helped quite a bit because they have long wrist wraps which help me maintain strict form.

What I'm doing now

It's been a month since I got back, and last week, my body scan came out at 15.2% body fat with some very welcome muscle gain, so it's some of the fastest progress I've ever logged. Heavy weights are out of the question, but nevertheless, I seem to be making good progress with the adjustments I've done to my programme:

  • Dumped barbells and switched to dumbbells to keep my wrists in a more neutral position
  • Lowered weights and increased reps
  • Designed a new day-on day-off upper body workout with 13 exercises as supersets with 2 rounds each – no cardio
  • Train legs once a week with 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular MIIT
  • Fast 16-20 hours every day – some days longer (I often train fasted too)
  • Keep an average daily energy deficit of 3,000kJ – low carb

Nutritionwise, I'm not too fussed at this stage. I'm aware of my macros but haven't set any specific quotas other than keeping my carb intake under 50g per day on weekdays and 100-150g on weekends. My "cheat" meals have also been quite clean so far with no chips, bread or ice cream yet. But if I keep training like this, I will be able to take it easier later. For now, though, what I need is fast progress to reset the clock to where I was 6 months ago.

Overall, I'm happy with the way things are going. No idea how much longer I'll struggle with my wrist, but oddly enough, the only time during the day that it's not bothering me is when I'm a the gym. Go figure 🙂

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