Down But Not Out

As a competitive bodybuilder I believe the offseason is where you make your most gains. It is a time to put on some extra body weight and with this comes increased strength and added size. Up until a couple weeks ago my offseason was in full swing. I was sitting around 265lbs and life was good, until I heard that fateful snap every bodybuilder worries about. Yes, after all these years of training and competing I had my first major injury to date, a pec tear. I was on my fifth set of smith machine incline press, with a weight of 405lbs. This is a weight I’ve grown comfortable with through the years, but this day would be different. I was on my seventh rep; I came down slowly, tapped my chest, and exploded up. Soon followed a sound and feeling I will never forget, fortunately my training partner was close by to rerack the weight to prevent further damage. I immediately grabbed my gym bag and son, Brady from the gym day care and headed home. I applied ice to my left pec and called my family doctor, who was able to make a few calls and get me in to see an orthopedic surgeon the next day. I kept looking in the mirror to see if any bruising had started or worse yet any deformity, but nothing. Many thoughts ran through my head, such as, will I need surgery and most importantly will I be able to compete again.

I took some ibuprofen and laid down to rest just hoping that when I awoke things would be better, man was I wrong. I took off my shirt and there it was, the bruising of a tear I had only read about and seen pictures of on the internet. This bruise encompassed my left bicep, shoulder, and pec from sternum to ribs. Holy crap, now I was concerned.

The next day I got into see the orthopod and a MRI soon followed. Let me tell you, I do not fit in a closed MRI and for forty minutes it felt like I was being buried alive, a horrible experience. I could have requested a open MRI, but I knew they do take longer and the resonance imaging is of poorer quality. I endured, and received the results immediately and much to my relief all tendons were attached. I had a large muscle tear in the belly of the left pectoral, along with a small tear in the lower medial bicep region. I was very relieved, this was the best news possible after what I was seeing and feeling.

Closing on three weeks post injury, I have started massage therapy with fascia stretching. The swelling is much improved and the bruising has almost completely subsided. I can’t wait to start training again, I was completely out of the gym for two weeks. I was able to train quads and hams at the two week mark, and will continue to hit legs twice a week. I probably won’t begin any upper body for another 3-4 weeks.

My competition plans for 2010 are now contingent upon my recovery, but I do have 2010 Nationals on the map next November. I am thankful for all the support from the 1st Phorm team. I’m down but not out. I will keep you informed of my recovery and as the attached picture indicates, it will be a slow process. I am looking very forward to this blog as it will provide a great platform for me to give back to the reader in the many facets of what we call bodybuilding. Until next time, be consistent, and stay balanced!