Post Surgery and healthier than ever
By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here
Miko works in the tech field and works from home. So she sits all day, snacks, and finishes off her day with a cocktail. To balance all these things out, she does Jazzercise and line dancing. She's never had a personal trainer. And then she came to see me. I had to factor in all these variables that made her who she is/was.
I asked her, why she was here, when she had live her whole life without a trainer before.
Two reasons: first she never felt completely comfortable with her body, she never felt toned or fit and she's never been under a 150lbs as an adult. Secondly, she was going to have surgery soon. Very soon. Actually two weeks from our first meeting. She was having a myomectamy. It wasn't dangerous, but required a long recovery time. She was afraid she would gain a lot of weight, and never be able to lose it. So she decided to plan ahead.
I've never had someone prior to surgery (a lot of post surgery clients though) sign up for training, with surgery being the main reason. Sounded like a great experiment. What will happen when she starts training prior to surgery?
Height: 5' 7
Body fat: 33%
Waist: 35.5 in.
Hips: 42 in.
Arms: 12 in.
Thighs: 22.5 in.
Shoulders: 39 in.
Hip to Waist Ratio: 85% (ideal is to have your waist be 70% of your hips for a woman)
So I had 2 weeks. Only a handful of sessions to work with her. What could I do? I could try to give her a head start and try to get her to lose some weight fast, which is what most trainers would do...but I'm not most trainers. I spent all my time trying to make her more resistant to injury, make her body more supple and flexible, teach her movements she could do at home that were not stressful or load bearing, and I talked a lot about mental focus with her. A lot of sports psychology, of staying motivated, staying inspired, increasing desire, being patient, giving yourself tasks, making yourself a success.
The reason being, so that she would rebound from her surgery faster and not have it take as big of a physical and mental toll.
Out of surgery, I constantly gave her homework. I gave her books to read to keep her mind right. When she was bed ridden, I had her work on those shoulder mobility and range of motion drills I showed her. A focus was to minimize range of motion loss. I sent her videos to watch. It was a long recovery over 6 weeks before she cold start walking again for exercise. Then she walked, did all the stretches, read all the books, and took all the dietary advice I gave her. Even with all this, it was impossible not to gain weight. She could barely move, and she had to mainly eat mush and popping pills. This was why mental toughness was a huge part of the plan, because we couldn't stop this, only minimize the damage.
This was her right before she came back to training. She was now able to walk, move around, see friends. She gained around 9-10lbs.
Weight at time of photo: 162
She's trying her best though to cover up her size with a jacket in the middle of a sunny California day.
Now that she was back. I put her right back onto the program. We started off very slow even though she did well on her own. She read everything I sent her and did the best she could with the dietary changes I gave her.
We met twice a week. Each week a new phase in the program. 7 phases, each consisting of new dietary changes. One of those being, eating meat again...she was not resistant and open to it, but she did it very slowly.
All my clients are great, but they follow my exercise and eating and lifestyle guidelines to varying degrees. I can't make them, I'm not gonna pretend I'm a cop or a drill sergeant or any other job field that I'm not a part of. The ones who follow everything I say to the letter, have had very positive results. Miko was one of these people.
I think it has a lot to do with the mental prep work we did prior to the surgery. I am definitely convinced it is better to start before and not after any major life event. Not after a surgery but before, not after you had the baby but before, not after the wedding but before, not after the move but before, not after the new job but before...
Now after the 7 week program:
Height: 5' 7
Weight: 153 to 162 to 132
Body fat: 33% to 23%
Waist: 35.5 in. to 29 in.
Hips: 42 in. to 38 in.
Arms: 12 in. to 11 in.
Thighs: 22.5 in. 20 in.
Shoulders: 39 in. to 37 in.
Hip to Waist Ratio: 85% to 76%
(Let me just add, we just weighed her after she came back from a Vegas trip. That's some dedication!)
She told me that one of her biggest surprises was that, she lost weight after eating meat again. She always thought the reverse was true. It flipped her understanding of healthy diet upside down.
Now she's finally below 150. Well below. Her focus now is to get stronger, gain more endurance, change whatever physical limits her body has had before. She still wants to get to a 70% hip to waist ratio. She wants a stronger core...you know...it's the usual stuff clients always want. Getting toned, being fit, etc. etc. It's all the same to me. None of that is what's important. Her biggest change isn't that her core got stronger, it's that her mind got stronger. She came in a timid woman. Now she has the heart of a lion.
You can't expect to solve your problems with the same mindset that created them. And she has changed her mindset.
The goal for everyone is the same, you just don't know it. It's my goal, your goal, the only goal. To be as injury proof as possible, strong as possible, lean as possible, and tough as possible. Everyone's optimum level is different, but it's all about the journey of self cultivation and she is taking the journey with all out effort.
Miko a month and a half later is now 122. And this is after Thanksgiving! She is done trying to lose weight and is finally happy where she is!
My name is Sam Yang. I'm a martial artist, entrepreneur, fitness nerd, information geek, and productivity nut. For more useful information, join my newsletter. You can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter.