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    Registered User SmithJLee's Avatar
    Join Date: Sep 2019
    Age: 49
    Posts: 20
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    My sad story that will hopefully have a happy ending

    My story thus far (the very brief version):

    • I lifted weights for a couple of years in high school and read the bodybuilding mags like they were the Bible
    • Joined the military and worked out but never touched a weight: my routine was alternating sprinting & long distance running, pushups, and pull ups/chin ups
    • Started working out again with weights seriously in my late 30s
    • Became a certified fitness trainer in my early 40s (I never actually worked as a trainer with the exception of freebies for friends and some volunteer work at a center for kids from broken homes)
    • I hurt my back outside of the gym (smashed two lumbar discs) and exacerbated that injury in the gym by being stupid and thinking I was a superman doing standing calf raises with over 500lbs. Two of my lumbar discs are so thin they are almost bone-on-bone.
    • During recovery, sustained nerve damage in both armpits and injured right shoulder

    A little more than 10 years later, I lost all hope in terms of fitness. I let myself get fat. I went from about 165lbs with single digit body fat %) to more than 239 lbs. I say "more than..." because I had already started losing weight for a couple of weeks before I weighed myself and I was 239. I am only 5' 6", so 239 is very obese.

    During a cross-country train ride, I met a Hollywood stunt woman who told me that her career was ended because of a lumbar spine injury but that she got artificial disc replacement surgery and is making a comeback. I researched this surgery and found a video online of a guy who had that very surgery on his lumbar spine doing powercleans with 135 lb about a year after the surgery. I knew I had to have it.

    I went to the Texas Back Institute and talked to Dr. Scott Blumenthal and learned that I'm a candidate for the surgery... well, I will be soon. Turns out that because of my decade of eating like a slob, laziness and babying my back, I have osteopenia (see Wolf's Law of Bone Density). It's improving with diet, exercise, and a terrible drug called Forteo. My shoulder is just about totally healed. My pinky fingertips still tingle once in awhile from the nerve damage but that's mostly healed. I've been working out for about a year, but not very intensely: I'm just trying to put enough of a load on my back to help increase the density of the bones of the lumbar spine without putting so much of a load that I'm unable to walk for a week. So far, I've only squatted with about 130lbs max (for about 9 or 10 reps). When I was 165 lbs in my early 40s, I was squatting 305 lbs for 4 or 5 reps.

    My short term goals:

    1. get my back fixed
    2. Get certified as a trainer again
    3. Open up a personal training studio (not a large gym, but a studio in which I can train a client or two at a time)
    4. Quit my day job

    P.S. This section of the forum invites us to post our pics and introduce ourselves but when I tried it indicated that my post count isn't high enough (this being my first post). I'll update this post with my pics in the future after I'm over 50 forum posts.
    Last edited by SmithJLee; 11-04-2019 at 01:29 PM.
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