A Coach’s Thoughts on Healing After Surgery

On June 3, I had surgery to repair two small abdominal hernias. One of the things that I was concerned about was the fact that I would need to stop doing workouts for about 6 weeks. As a gym owner and as someone who uses physical movement to have a fit body AND a fit mind, the prospect of being inactive was daunting. Of course, I could still take walks, which are definitely beneficial in so many ways. However, I knew that a 6-week hiatus would mean I would also have to start back slowly once I could do CrossFit workouts again. Now at the midpoint in my recovery, I have narrowed down some of the concerns I was experiencing. 

Loss of Momentum

One of my biggest worries was losing the momentum I built up over years of consistent training. In fitness, momentum is crucial—it keeps you motivated and helps you push through tough workouts. The fear of losing this momentum was daunting because I know how difficult it is to get started again. Habits are in place for a reason, and I was concerned that taking a break would make it challenging to get back into my routine. I wondered if I would struggle to regain the rhythm and consistency I had prior to surgery. Furthermore, the daily habit of training has long provided a sense of accomplishment and progress that I didn’t want to lose.

Loss of Strength

Strength is something that takes time and effort to build, but it can be lost more quickly than gained. I was worried that six weeks without my regular strength training would result in a noticeable decrease in my lifting capacity. This concern was particularly troubling as I have celebrated the progress I’ve made in this area. I was nervous about how my body would respond after such a prolonged period of rest, and whether I would face significant setbacks. The thought of having to potentially lift lighter weights or struggle with exercises that were once manageable was frustrating. It is humbling to have to start over.

Loss of Endurance

Endurance is another critical aspect of fitness that I feared would decline during my recovery. Without regular high-intensity workouts, I was concerned about losing the cardiovascular stamina that allows me to perform well in CrossFit and other intense activities. Building endurance takes time, and I knew the effort it would take to regain it. The potential decrease in my aerobic capacity made me wonder if I would be able to keep up with the demanding nature of my preferred workouts, which rely heavily on sustained energy and resilience.

Loss of Muscle Definition

Maintaining muscle definition is important to me both personally and professionally. As a gym owner, I feel it’s essential to lead by example. I was concerned that my muscle definition would diminish during my recovery period, impacting not only my physical appearance but also my confidence. Muscle definition is a visible indicator of fitness progress, and losing it could affect how I feel about my body and my image as a fitness professional. The prospect of my muscles losing their tone and shape was disheartening, knowing how hard I had worked to achieve my current level of definition.

Looking Forward

As I navigate through this recovery period, I remind myself that healing is a journey that requires patience and self-compassion. My concerns about losing momentum, strength, endurance, and muscle definition are valid. I have noticed physical changes that don’t thrill me. In jest, I have stated a few times that I feel the muscle melting off of my body. However, I do recognize this as an opportunity to practice what I preach to my gym community: I need to respect the time that is needed for my body to heal, so that I can keep it fit and healthy as long as possible. It has also made me a better and more empathetic coach because it has given me the chance to appreciate the importance of rest and recovery in overall fitness. Furthermore, walking daily has been a valuable way to stay active. I received good news when my doctor gave me permission to do some limited workouts, and I have listened to him. I cautiously added a few gentle workouts in this past week. I am eager to jump back into our scheduled workouts of the day, but I am doing what I need to do for now.

Thank you for following my journey. I hope that sharing my concerns and experiences helps others who might be facing similar challenges. Remember, setbacks are temporary, and with patience and perseverance, we can overcome them and come back stronger.