Hangin’ tough

Its been 4 weeks since my last surgery so I thought it would be a good idea to review my progress.

Going in to surgery, I had expectations that rehab would be difficult, I knew I would have to let go of the training and I knew I would have to just be patient and let nature do what it needs to do, I knew I there would be good days and bad days and days when I felt like throwing in the towel. But knowing something intellectually and doing it for real are totally different things.

Physically, its been very much a case of 1 step forward and two steps back. My shoulders are slowly improving I’m now working with therabands to strengthen my rotator cuff and I’m allowed to do rows, bicep curls and tricep kickbacks, so the static part of the rehab, in theory, is coming along quite well. However I’m still in constant pain – doing rows pulls the front of my shoulders, I get pain at the top of my bicep tendon when doing the curls and I’m supposed to be doing ‘push ups’ ย standing up against the wall, but any sort of upwards pressure is too sore . Day to day dynamic movements are also a source of consternation, for example, stretching to fill a cup of water from the tap, cleaning teeth, drying my hair, typing at the computer, any sort of lifting – plates, shopping, the kettle – anything that even comes close to involving engagement of my anterior delts feels like its tearing them. Any sudden movement causes crunching and shooting pains all the way down to my finger tips. I can’t sleep on my side because it presses on the shoulder joint, or on my front because I can’t use my arms to push upwards.

In addition to the shoulders, the physio suggested I work with the sports doc as well to co-ordinate my rehab. So having seen the sports doc 2 weeks ago and mentioned a few other painful parts, I was promptly sent off to have ultrasounds on my hammies and elbows – in for a penny in for a pound! ๐Ÿ™‚

The results of the ultrasounds have not been good – slight tearing of the hammy tendons and tearing and bleeding in my elbows, so blood injections and acupuncture look like they’re going to become a regular feature along with the physio.

Scratch bicep curls, squats, lunges, plyometrics, leg curls, and any sort of presses from my training. In fact I’ve pretty much had to scratch training altogether, I’m reduced to walking, leg extensions, abs and calves – not much to be trying to building a comp prep around and once I start with the blood injections I won’t be able to do anything at all!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Needless to say, ย its getting a little frustrating – I’m really missing being able to train – walking the 6 km to work doesn’t quite cut it in my book and I certainly dont count it as training! ๐Ÿ™‚

Physically I’m a bit of a mess, but physical issues are easy to deal with – it just takes time and patience. What I’m finding tougher is the mental side of this…and I have to admit, that in this respect, I’m really struggling.

theres that little voice, you know the one, the one that creeps up on you and chips away at your belief and confidence…

whats the point of doing this? why bother? everyone else will have had 9 months to work on their pyhsiques and I haven’t, I’ll be so much smaller than everyone else, they’ll look so much better than me, I’m not going to have enough time to put on any mass, I’m not going to be ready in time, I wasn’t big enough last year so I’m definitely not going to be big enough now, I’ll be even further behind than last year, what if it takes another 3 months for my shoulders to be ready? what if the surgery doesn’t fix them? what if my hamstrings don’t fix…

at what point do I admit defeat and quit…


its noisy in there!

it also doesn’t help when I read daily reports from my would be competition saying how they ‘smashed legs/back/chest today’, ‘did a deadlift pb’, ‘felt the burn’, had an ‘awesome session’ ย it all adds to the feelings of inadequacy, failure, envy and a growing sense that this years comps are beginning to slip away…

But as anyone who does this sport knows, you have to be tough, disciplined and strong mentally as well as physically, and I have a choice. I can choose to lay down, be the victim and let this get the better of me – I can let the voice win, or I can choose to ย hang in there, ride it out and keep going.

I will not quit. Some days its a real battle, I have to keep telling myself that this is just a temporary thing, and it will get better. I have to remind myself thats it’s only 4 weeks since my surgery and to focus on the progress I have made.

I remind myself how well I’m doing with my eating plan and how I’m leaning down at a perfect rate of 0.25-0.5kg a week, thats with hardly any exercise – what I’m learning about my body will be invaluable when it comes round to real comp prep.

A friend advised me to use my time well and become a student of the sport – and thats exactly what I’m doing. Next week is the ANB Getting the Edge workshop – which ย I’m really looking forward to. Getting advice and tips from Lindy Olsen? Yeah, thats going to be good! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m practicing my posing (symmetry and legs only!), I’m studying nutrition for sports performance, I’m planning my routine and maybe even a new ‘look’ to go along with my new bikini’s from Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

so I’m hanging in there and taking it easy, just like the doc ordered…and hoping that soon enough it’ll be one step forward then another step forward…then maybe a lunge…

I could get used to these lie-ins, though! ย ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Hello, google brings you up under my search for celiac bodybuilding. I have celiacs and did some bodybuilding in my youth, I am now 39. I was wondering if you think celiacs puts you at a advantage or disadvantage for gaining muscle. I have just started lifting again for the first time in 20 years and am hopefull that my gf diet will result in better gains than in my youth when I was symptomatic but undiagnosed.

    Cheers, p.s I am from Victoria Australia


    1. Hi Paul
      Google is correct! I am a bodybuilder and I have had coeliac disease my entire life. I am not a sufferer though and as far as bodybuilding goes I believe being a coeliac is a distinct advantage – why? because when you cut down for a competition, I can’t crave the things that I’ve never eaten! do I miss pizza? no – I don’t eat it. Do I crave cakes and biscuits? no, I don’t eat them. Do I crave bagels, doughnuts, sandwiches, wraps, pasta? no, I don’t eat them. I actually consider myself to be very fortunate – I can’t eat the crap that is afflicting western society and propogating the obesity problem.
      The bodybuilding diet or any sensible muscle gaining diet is the perfect gluten free diet – protein, fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruit, eggs – just like good old caveman used to eat. Dairy is fine if you know you’re not lactose intolerant, but grains – well why do you need to eat those? There are increasing numbers of studies that back up the theory that wheat is one of the worst additions to humankinds diet – ever. If you must have grains (I don’t) then quinoa, brown rice (definitely not crappy refined white rice), and amaranth are your staples, and better for you than oats! ๐Ÿ™‚
      There is a theory that when you are on competition preparation diet that you can’t put on muscle….I did. I put on 1.5kg in 5 weeks – impressive especially for a 42 year old female! The reason I think is because my diet was so clean, my body was able to absorb every scrap of nutrition from whatever I ate which resulted in muscle gains.
      I definitely believe that being a coeliac is a help when you want to get more into lifting weights and gaining muscle. I also know that there is one bodybuilding trainer in Melbourne who advises his clients to pretend they are coeliac…how do I know this? because a friend of mine had just started training with this trainer. Maybe this trainer has stumbled onto something that I’ve known my whole life…
      hope I haven’t rambled on too much! hope that helps…a bit!


      1. Hello, thanks for your reply, you are a real motivation for me, knowing what you have achieved as a celiac. I could give you some of my history but it probably a bit of a bore for you. Hopefully other celiacs will read your blog and take it for their own inspiration.

        I was wondering what your thoughts are on protein intake, I have read up to 2grams per kg of body weight but I don’t think my stomach can handle this amount. I am always going to be natural and wonder if these figures are for those on the juice.

        Best regards, Paul.


      2. Hi Paul

        You know I struggle with the concept of me being an inspiration to anybody, I’m just lil’ ole me doing what I do and its always very humbling to know that people think of me in that light. So thank you for your kind words and I’m sure your history is one that will inspire people too. One thing I’ve always tried to do is not to let myself be defined by a label. Yes I have coeliac disease, I also have asthma, eczema and allergies but I’ve never let that be an excuse or stop me from doing anything I wanted to do, I’m a big believer in what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! You just have to work with what you have and go round any obstacles.

        With regards to protein intake – the more the better in my book! ๐Ÿ™‚
        2 – 4 g/kg seems to be the accepted norm and that applies across the board. I am natural and always will be – why would I want to put some foreign substance into my body when I’ve spent that last 2 years getting into this kind of shape? Currently I’m averaging around 3.7g /kg! yes you’re reading that right. But lets break that down into a more easily digestible (intended!) picture.
        I have one post workout shake a day which contains 30g pure whey protein isolate Tonic Superfoods and Venom WPI are my favourite brands – they’re unflavoured and 100% pure, no fillers or artificial flavours.
        I have 30g of casein at night – casein is a slow digesting protein that aids muscle growth while you sleep – in fact when you sleep is when you do your growing, so giving your body something to help it, just makes sense.
        so in those 2 drinks I’ve had 60g of protein. That only leaves 150g to go /day.
        In every bottle of water I drink (about 3l/day) I add BCAA’s – branch chain amino acids…protein, so that gets me another 30g protein /day.
        So now I’m up to 90g of protein and I haven’t even started on my 5 solid meals a day!
        So next up is food. 100g chicken – about the size of the palm of my hand = 30g protein, so I eat 100g chicken as soon as I get up, another 100g at afternoon snack. Lunch and dinner tend to be around 150g chicken/kangaroo/venison/white fish which provides between 30-40g protein depending on the source. Then I tend to have 185g tin of tuna at morning snack or 120g kangaroo = both around 30g protein. This gives me between 150 – 160g of food based protein a day.
        Its easy once you get used to it, as long as you have some form of quality protein at every meal it soon adds up and when you see what 100g of uncooked chicken looks like and then you cook it you’ll be left wondering if its enough because it looks so small!


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