Working out, staying fit or feeling fit were not concepts I understood for the longest period of my life. I had fantastic metabolism. I could eat anything and not gain weight. I was not a foodie and so I did not eat much. But I grew up to be tall and was terribly underweight. For years, my family stuffed food down my throat, with the hope that I would gain weight. My grandmom thought my mom was not feeding me right. So my mom challenged my grandmom during my stay at my granny’s to do my masters. Sadly they all failed and my metabolism won.
Years later I was diagnosed with a condition that made me gain weight in a very unhealthy manner. I went from being 45kgs to 62kgs. With medication we managed to bring my condition under control and I came down to a nice 55 kgs. Finally I was in my required BMI zone. But as luck would have it, earlier this year, I had an accident that nearly killed me. Being bedridden for months and an extreme overdosage of antibiotics took me to a weight I never expected – 80kgs. I had three tires, my clothes didnt fit me and it did not help that doctors said no to working out and food restrictions. I could not walk and I had busted my spine and pelvis. Everybody was just happy I was alive.
Life has been a struggle ever since. But I learnt my lesson. Before that day I had never experienced a fracture, a dislocation or any kind of disability. But suddenly there I was, lying broken in several parts and I had lost a few cms on one leg. The accident left me with a slight limp. As I lay there in pain, dependent on others for everything, I decided to change my lifestyle. I could only think of getting up and getting healthy.
My workout routine
I had a bunch of restrictions from the doctors. But they were nice enough to give me the best advice that has worked out for me till today. They said I could workout but my danger light was pain. I was allowed to push myself only till a point when the pain was bearable and I was the best judge of my pain threshold. So I mixed up my workout routine. I started slow but in a consistent manner. I wanted to first get back my metabolism. I also allowed myself rest and cheat days.
- Yoga – Light Yoga with a lot of breathing. Suryanamaskars were not possible but I tried one every now and then. I would just do stretches in every yoga position I had learnt. This also helped with my digestion as I my insides were acting funny from an infection I picked up at the hospital.
- Cycling – We had a cycle at home. I started with just 5 minutes of cycling and tried adding 5 more every second day.
- Walking – I walked around the house a lot. Just cleaning up or moving around to get my own stuff.
- Weights – Just 2kg dumbbells. I started with smaller sets. It really depended on how my health was on that particular day.
- Pool Therapy – Luckily I had access to a swimming pool. I would just walk around in the pool, do lunges and underwater cycling. Trust me, this one is some serious stuff. For tight muscles after fractures, pool therapy is the best.
- Meditation – Oh this one was tough. I would just breathe. My mind honestly has no idea of how to take a break. So I would just constantly do focused breathing for a few minutes. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 7 and breathe out for 8. Sometimes it was so relaxing I would just fall asleep. Staying mentally peaceful is just as important especially after a traumatic accident.
- Hypnosis – As I reduced my PTSD antidepressants, I could hardly sleep. Sleeping is a huge part of staying fit. If you do not get your due sleep, you will not just be unhealthy, you will also gain weight. So I downloaded a really nice app called Deep Sleep Hypnosis (the only one that worked for me). I would put my phone on aeroplane mode and tell everyone at home not to disturb. The hypnosis sessions are usually about 30 minutes atleast. But for some reason, I found it so relaxing that I would be out in like 10 minutes. Not really hypnosis but I was game for anything but medication to sleep. However, I never really could give up my medicines. I stayed on a smaller dosage as recommended by doctors.
- Food – As my medication reduced so did my hunger. I stopped eating boxes of doughnuts. I did not starve myself. I had a reasonable portion of food three times a day (carbs included). But I started drinking a lot of water, ate more of nuts and allowed myself cheat days when I would indulge in whatever craving I had that day.
- Basic exercise – This was something I did all day. I would do crunches (could never do more than 20-30 a day), wall push ups (if thats what they are called, sorry I dont know the fancy terms) and a little dance-workout routine. I downloaded a video called pump it up. It was a one hour routine but I could just about clumsily manage the first 15 minutes.
- Workout timings – It was spread out through the day. I never could do everything in one shot because everything ached. My immunity system was down and I had everything in the air attacking me. I actually just stayed in my workout clothes for most of the day. Whenever I found he tenergy I would pick one of the above and check it off the list.
So this is how I started off after my accident. Physiotherapy was part of the day and it was scheduled for an hour. I am sharing this hoping to inspire. We all take our health for granted until we get a very rude reality check. Our body is our temple. If you look good you feel good and vice versa. Whatever your health condition, all you have to do is start really small but be consistent. Trust me when I say I was in permanent pain and agony from the day of the accident. I would howl, cry, throw stuff at people and just give up on some days. I was depressed that I could not go out, noone came to visit, lost my career and everyday was a nightmare. But it is only for so long that you can do and feel all of that. So I let myself feel it because I had almost died and I was allowed to,until, a good portion of the grief was out of my system (it never goes away completely).
All the 10 steps given above was level 1 for me. It was only after I could walk without a support (a walker) that I took it up. I did not stress myself out by looking at people who could do 500 crunches in one shot. For me my 10 crunches was equal to a 1000. I felt like an olympic champion after doing them and gave myself credit for the effort.
I will tell you how I progressed from there to slightly more intense workouts in the coming posts. I have never been to a gym. I managed to get where I am without one (no offence to gym goers). I could not because my doctors would not allow it. I managed with what resources I was allowed to have. I listened to my doctors, asked questions and then figured out solutions. I also read and researched a lot. I discovered the Alphabet Physio Routine for my fractured ankle on my own and it worked like a charm.
So if you are wondering what was my exact body state a few months before I started following this routine ( workouts started only 3-4 months after surgery date when I could walk).
- Right leg – severe ankle fracture, was in pieces
- Left leg – ankle fracture, not so severe
- Spine fracture
- Broken pelvis, fixed with a large screw
- Lung wounds
- Head Injury (resulted in some amnesia and still struggling with memory problems)
- Massive Internal Bleeding (controlled)
- A million infections I picked up at the hospital
- Severe, like super severe PTSD
I am honestly the laziest person I have ever met. If I can put my mind to it and do this much. You can too. People love you and want you around. I know I certainly do. So…
Stay healthy. Stay Fit. Stay Happy.