“How’s recovery going, AJ?” is a question I receive all the time and you would think that I would eventually become burnt out talking about it. Instead when I discuss my recovery, I am able to recall the moments where I pushed through THE PAIN. My objective with this post is to make you, the reader, understand that the perceived pain you experience during an intense workout is not pain at all! It’s growth.
A few weeks ago, I underwent a third open-heart surgery to remove a dangerous clot. So naturally, I needed to remind myself of a few things to help me fight through my recovery:
Having your chest sawed open hurts. Fighting the inner demons that want to hold you back from your full potential...yea, that is you working through perceived pain. You can’t take a pill for that. Understand the distinction between being uncomfortable and actually being in pain.
Just like your physical wounds, your emotional and mental wounds require time to heal. So yea, be patient but also remember not to look at the next person and wonder why they seem to be recovering at a different pace than you. This is your chance to clear a new path, climb a new mountain and claim it as yours.
Don’t pretend like you are not in pain. In my 27 years of existence, I have seen maybe 27,000 examples of someone attempting to be something they are not. This fear of being vulnerable has led people to more turmoil and more problems. Before my most recent surgery, I was told that I had re-gained my size and strength and I will admit that it felt good to hear that. So am I going to sprint back to the gym and try to crush the weights with a freshly severed sternum? No, because that would be asinine. People will respect you for respecting yourself. You don’t have to swallow your pride, just snack on it.
Finally, encourage others. I like to share my story with as many people I can reach. Not because I am trying to show-off but because motivation is recyclable. The people who allow me to motivate them motivate me.
So now that you are finishing up that C4, get into the intrepid mentality. You know this workout is going to burn. You know you will have to push through being a little uncomfortable. Remember; don’t associate your workout with pain. Only growth.
And if you are one of those gym people who show up without a plan and think you can just “wing it” try this one instead. This is one of my favorite conditioning routines. It’s not painful, but it will hurt.
THE “PAINLESS” ROUTINE
Complete each circuit twice with 60-90 second rest.
Jog on 2-4% incline 10 minutes
25 Barbell squats
30 Deficit calf raises
20 Deficit DB straight leg dead lifts
20 Body weight lunges
DB bicep curls (both arms simultaneously) 25 reps
DB overhead triceps extensions (both arms simultaneously) 25 reps
DB shoulder press 25 reps
Battle ropes (alternating arms) 30 seconds
Push-ups to failure
Pull-ups (assisted pull-ups or lat-pull down) to failure
Burpees 45 seconds
Sprints (60% effort) 30 seconds on 30 seconds off for 10 minutes total
Walk 2-3 minutes
Andrew Jones (AJ) is a fitness model, heart transplant survivor, founder of Hearts at Large and inspiration to those who need that extra boost of motivation to overcome obstacles and reach their goals. Follow AJ's journey on Instagram ( @FitnesswithAJ).