After remaining pain-free for over two years and being able to workout consistently, I decided to share with you exactly what I’ve been doing that has allowed me to remain injury-free and pain-free.
The goal of this post isn’t to force you to follow what I’m doing but to give you an overall idea on how to go about working out especially if you’re currently triggering piriformis pain or getting lower back pain when you attempt to exercise.
A quick disclaimer: What I’m gonna be sharing is my personal routine. I’m hoping you’ll get some insights from it. If your doctor explicitly asked you not to exercise for a short period of time, listen to your doctor. Rest has its place.
You can scroll down for the full blog post if you can’t watch the video right now!
Also, you’ll find all the resources and supplements I show below the video.
My Fitness Routine After Back Pain
One thing is for sure…my current fitness routine looks nothing like my older one.
Of course, throughout the years I’ve evolved and gained more knowledge and experience…mainly through listening to my body. Throughout the years I’ve been able to know what works and what doesn’t (for me).
Know and Listen to Your Body
You have to know your body so well and figure out your current limits. Of course, you’ll slowly increase that threshold line…but right now… what are your limits? Once you know how much you can do before you start feeling pain, you’ll be able to structure workout routines that don’t trigger pain.
I wouldn’t push beyond pain, or beyond exhaustion…because then, I can easily injure myself.
If I haven’t had enough food and I feel completely drained, or if I’m starting to get sick with the flu and I’m feeling weak at the gym, I’ll immediately take a break from my workout or switch to an easier lower impact exercise.
I Stopped Bulldozing my workouts!
Before, I’d just push through. All I cared about was to get a killer workout each and every time.
I would lift heavy for an hour, followed by Plyometrics, then high-intensity intervals on the Stairmaster. I did this each time I started to feel better. I just couldn’t wait to get back to the gym so I can train hard.
Right now…I do almost no plyometrics. I lift heavy but I structure my workouts so that I have enough rest in between each workout to fully recover.
My Warm-ups Are Different
Currently, warming up is the most important part of my workouts. I don’t spend more than 10 minutes warming up (because I don’t want to get tired too fast), and I don’t walk on the treadmill or do any cardio machines…
I know you may be asking…
Well, how do you warm up if you’re not walking on the treadmill?
My warm ups are all rehab, corrective exercises…
I want to make sure all my muscles are properly engaged, awake, and my joints are mobile. I also do some postural exercises to make sure my posture is on point when lifting weights.
‘Smart’ Heavy Lifting
After properly warming up (which takes about 10 minutes), I transition into a strength based workout routine which lasts about 45 minutes. I structure my routines so that I’m not doing more than 4-5 exercises. My routines are VERY challenging but have fewer exercises.
I lift heavy weights (with proper form) and I make sure to rest for at least 1 minute between each set. I usually do a warm-up set, 2 sets as heavy as I can (with proper form), and a 4th medium weight set.
My goal is good quality repetitions and enough rest time to allow me to check in with my body.
I never text or use my phone at the gym…
Between each set, I’m standing and walking around to check in with my body. Texting with a flexed spine and a forward head posture adds loads to the spine. Add to that the weights you’re lifting:
high risk of pain and injury.
How I Do Cardio
Now after I’m done my strength based routine, and depending on which body part I’ve trained that day, I like to do a 10 to 15 minutes incline walk. I never run!
I used to HATE cardio…but I found a way to add it in without wanting to kill myself after 2 minutes. I made cardio more enjoyable by starting to read my Kindle e-books.
I do all my readings while doing cardio and time seriously flies by. My kindle Voyage contains some amazing books and I get so much reading done while doing a bit of cardio every day. This has been so helpful especially in the winter when walking outside was impossible…talking -40 Celsius.
Yes, I read physical books too but it’s not very practical to read them at the gym.
I’ve been buying all my self-development and motivational books in Kindle format. One major benefit to having a Kindle device is the fact that it saves you so much space in your luggage when traveling. In addition, books are heavy. I mean you can literally have thousands of books in your Kindle!
Here’s a link to check out the Kindle device I own (Kindle Voyage). There are many options too!
Oh…and you don’t have to buy a Kindle to read Kindle books. Amazon actually has a free Kindle software you can install on your computer or phone, and you can access and read all the Kindle books you buy – Kindle books are way cheaper than physical books. And you can even find books that are under $1 or free through the Kindle Unlimited Plan.
Alright, so you may be wondering what I do after I’m done.
Well, I don’t rush into stretching. I let my body slow down on its own for up to 10 minutes before doing any stretching.
I also love using my acupressure mat to relax my body.
So it really depends on the workout, I’d either stretch, foam roll or use the acupressure mat a way to slow down and recover.
Nutrition and Supplements
When it comes to nutrition, I keep it super simple.
I include as many anti-inflammatory foods as possible in my meals. I’ve also eliminated certain foods that I found have increased inflammation in my body. For me, these foods are mainly beans, wheat, and fried foods.
I don’t buy any packaged foods. The only packaged food I bought recently was a box of cauliflower pizza crust from the organic store.
One important rule I always follow is…
If I don’t recognize or can’t pronounce the ingredients..I’m not buying it.
I also have 1-2 go to places for dining out that I trust. They’re very transparent with their ingredients and they’re okay with making adjustments or substitutions.
Overall, I make most of my meals. I keep things simple. I have the same breakfast (egg omelet with spinach and mushrooms) and my lunches and breakfasts all include some type of meat, vegetables, and healthy fats.
My go-to sources of carbohydrates are sweet potatoes and brown rice.
The key to being consistent with eating healthy is to keep it as simple as possible. Don’t complicate your meals.
Every now and then I pick some new recipe from Pinterest for fun! But 80% of the time, I have about 4 go-to meals that I recycle.
The only fitness supplement I take is whey protein. And I use it as a white flour substitute when I’m baking muffins, making pancakes or waffles. This is the whey protein I use. It’s Grass-Fed Whey protein, non-GMO and hormone free.
When it comes to other supplements, I’m currently taking spirulina, vitamin C, magnesium, and cod liver oil as well as ashwagandha. To make it super simple, I take them all at once in the morning. I also take probiotics on and off throughout the year.
My clients also know that I love Aloe Vera and I always add it to my smoothies…it’s an amazing anti-inflammatory superfood.
I know it may sound like I’m doing a lot but it’s all about being disciplined.
Personally, health is my number one priority. When I was living with chronic pain, every area of my life suffered. If you don’t take care of your health, you’ll have no energy to function at your best level.
Discipline will help you stay consistent and build strong healthy habits you can rely on.
My workouts are part of my life. The way I eat is a lifestyle. I don’t know any other way.