Progress Log: Week 05

Weekly Weigh-In

250 lbs

I dropped another pound on the scale, which had me pretty happy. This is the rate I like to see. Low, slow, and consistent.


My low weight/high rep week started off pretty good on Sunday, despite some residual neck pain I had from my make up core workout the day before. You might be asking how a core workout affected my neck…let me explain…

Jonah week five progress
Despite some setbacks this past week, I actually still feel pretty good.

Back in 2011 I blew out, not one, but two discs in my neck. It affected my C4, C5, and C6 vertebrae. As a result, I have a 4 in x 1 in block of titanium, and associated hardware, clamped down, surrounding that vertebral fusion.

Aside from the limited mobility I have turning my head from side to side, it doesn’t normally give me much of a problem other than occasional aching when the weather is damp and cold. It’s bearable.

I had been noticing some increasing crepitus…you know, that grinding, grating sound old bones make when they rub together? It’s been increasing there in both my shoulders and my neck, but nothing really hurt. I just took it as being more of a warning that my body was giving me. So I stopped doing things like butt-ups in my core workout and exchanged them with other movements that would give me equal positive effects without the potential for injury.

I have a thing for sit-ups, however. I really do. I hate them. I hate them because they’re hurtful and humiliating but they’re still a great ab exercise that also really hits those hip flexors. Since I have a sit-down job, my hip flexors and hamstrings suffer for it and I’m pretty sure that all of that sit down mess helped contribute to the serious and scary problem I’ve had with my legs, in general, for the past 1.5 years.

So, long story short, I’ve been trying to add movements that involve both of those muscle groups in my workouts for awhile now.

Given that I hate sit-ups with a passion, I wanted to confront this and defeat it.

So, I pushed out four sets of 10 sit-ups on my make-up core workout. They were not graceful sit-ups, mind you. I never lace my fingers behind my head when doing any ab workout, because of my neck, but that doesn’t mean my neck and shoulders weren’t straining to gut out all of those sit-ups.

The next morning, last Sunday, which was the beginning of my next workout cycle, I felt more than the average amount of tightness in the right side of my neck and shoulder (the area most affected by my disc blowout). I felt the light spasms in both my biceps and triceps that indicate something is wrong in my neck.

I ignored the subtle hints my body was throwing at me.

(Folks, let me tell ya, when you’re in your 50’s, do not ignore the subtle hints that your body throws at you. Don’t be a Jonah.)

I figured I’d get it loosened up a bit with some yoga, so I started my day out with an hour long yoga workout. I was feeling kind of iffy about things still, after all the stretching was done, but I figured I’d give it a go since it was a light week.

No big deal, right? Light weight, chest and biceps, do as many reps as comfort allows. No problem.

I put in a 2.5 hr workout. I felt achy, but most people feel achy after a 2.5 hr high rep workout. No big.

The next morning I woke up and could not move my head. Getting out of bed was a tragic comedy. A scalding hot shower did not help. The Aleve I popped after breakfast helped a bit with the throbbing in the back of my head, but did nothing for the stiffness.

I couldn’t take any time off of work because I’m in the middle of a big project right now and I really need to be focused. It sounds silly, but trying to sit erect, focused, and pleasant with a locked up neck while video conferencing consultants and customers is a hell of a lot harder than it sounds.

By the end of day one, it felt like the back right side base of my skull was going to explode.

There are a group of different muscles that attach there. I don’t think it was the big ol’ burly trapezius that was affected, I think it was deeper…like the more delicate group of Capitis muscles that attach kind of closer to the back of the ear.

I tried sleeping in my bed the first night. I spent an entire night struggling to get comfortable. Just rolling over in bed was challenging. I found myself awake and wanting to cry at 3:30 am, then in for a hot shower at 4:00 am.

By Tuesday night, it hurt to the touch. Forget Aleve. Flexiril couldn’t cut through it. I maxed out on my Gabapentin, which helped with the spasms in my arm but not much with the pain. I couldn’t lay in bed. I had to move to the couch, propped up, with the base of my skull precariously balanced on the edge of a firm pillow.

I “slept” like this for two nights. By Thursday night the throbbing at the base my skull had subsided, but it still hurt to try to turn my head.

By Friday I was finally able to gingerly sleep in bed again.

By Saturday, there was some residual stiffness, but I was able to go to breakfast with Alicia and our friend Jami, and carefully drive down to Albany to get my taxes done and visit with my Pops for a bit. Saturday night was the first good night of sleep that I had in a week.

Which puts me at today, Sunday, the start of new cycle. I’m a day late with my progress report because, quite honestly, I didn’t feel like sitting in front of my computer yesterday.

So we’re calling Week 05 a total wash. It was a wash movement wise and it was a wash diet wise. I’ve probably undone the weight loss gains that I had, but we’ll see today in the gym.

The plan is to redo my low weight/high rep week, since I missed most of it last week. I may just end up doing yoga and cycling today and maybe tomorrow. Right now I’m going to play it by ear and actually listen to the subtle hints my body is telling me.

Onward and upward (?) for Week 06!

Published by Jonah Sheridan Fenn

Nerd herder, word wrangler, working on the next chapter...

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