Trampolines are awesome

Dodgeball is awesome

So why not combine them for something truly amazing?


Sprained ankles, that’s why.

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of heading to Skyhigh Sports for an awesome work offsite. I had been to Skyhigh a number of times both for work and for pleasure. I even threw a birthday party for my girlfriend there. This last time though I managed to really injure myself, though not while playing dodgeball.

I was innocently bouncing with a friend on a trampoline. This turned into a bit of the ever dangerous double-bouncing, but we were keeping it tame. Then it happened, I came down just he had jumped. The trampoline was still sunken from his jump. My ankle landed, compensated for the sunken trampoline and then continued to completely roll over itself.

And that was the last time I would walk for almost a week. Two weeks later I still have pain. This is by far the worst sprain I’ve had. I even went to the ER, where I thankfully found out that nothing was broken. In a weird twist of karma, the friend who took me to the hospital got appendicitis three days later and also found herself in a hospital.

Dealing with it

While laying on the ground at Skyhigh clutching a bag of ice to my ankle I knew I’d be out of commission for some time. I knew this wasn’t a sprain I could just walk off. Two days earlier I was achieving new personal bests in overhead press and sumo deadlift, and now I was realizing that I wouldn’t be lifting anything for a couple weeks (and what now looks like a month). Topping it all off was that I had planned to begin my running training that weekend for the Bay to Breakers race in May.

So how did I deal with it?

I knew this was a bad sprain so I had a doctor look at it. I know there’s a temptation to be macho and just deal with it. I’m really glad I had someone look at it. He did a 30 second test and knew that I needed an x-ray. Thankfully, the x-ray showed no breakage.

The other trick with any sprain is RICE – Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. Stay off the ankle as much as possible. Ice it 20 minutes at a time. Compress using an ACE bandage, and elevate the ankle above your heart when possible. All of these can help reduce swelling and improve the healing process.

I’m also a big proponent of using your sprained ankle. After a day or two (or more depending on your sprain) I’ve seen improvements in sprained ankle by walking. Walking helps with circulation and provides vital nutrients to improve recovery. You should expect some pain during this, but it shouldn’t be agonizing. If it is, stay off it for another day at least. Overdoing it will not help your ankle heal.

Not being able to exercise for the last two weeks had me concerned about my weight. While I’m certainly losing some muscle mass, I’ve managed to avoid weight gain by keeping to my slow carb diet. In fact, I’m closer to my goal of 200 pounds than ever. The other benefits of exercise are sorely missed though. I’m finding my energy level to be lower than usual and I’m having trouble focusing for long periods of time. Two areas that I know exercise helps with.

The lesson in all this is to be safe on the trampolines. Despite the injury, I hope to play trampoline dodgeball again soon.

Starting 2010 right

Today was my first day in the office of the year. My last day being December 18th. I’ve spent the last two weeks with my family in various parts of the country. First a week in Bronxville, NY with my brother and his family for Christmas, and then a week in New Orleans with my parents.

Coming into this trip I knew I wouldn’t have much of a chance to exercise. I also knew that I would be eating very well and, as is the case in my family, drinking a lot. Gaining weight over the holiday would pretty much be unavoidable so I gave myself a threshold. I allotted myself 10 pounds of holiday weight gain.

Well between baking cookies with the kids, po’boys at Parkway (who by the way has the most unnecessarily long domain name ever), beignets in the quarter, and *cough* two bottles of wine a night, I almost achieved my goal. I ended the trip at 219 pounds, 9 pounds more than when I left.

Returning to California I have given myself the goal to remove that weight by the end of January. I suppose it’s more of a deadline.

Resolutionaries Invade

Since I first started going to the gym in November 2006 (losing 35 pounds), I’ve held onto the workout habit. Over the years, I’ve noticed patterns amongst my fellow gym-goers. One of my personal favorites is the onslaught people trying to “start the year right.” These “resolutionaries” descend on the gym, mostly taking up the ellipticals and treadmills.

During the first few weeks of January, especially Mondays, the gym is slammed. But it doesn’t take long for that resolute determination to fade. Beginning a workout regimen is a great tax on the body and most people don’t realize, or remember as the case might be, how long the body needs to adapt to the new stress. Whether it be by over-training, injury, or the simple, “I don’t feel like it,” these folks burn out and within weeks the gym is again left to the dedicated. It’s fascinating to watch, but also a bit sad to see so few people carry on with the exercise habit. I’m a firm believer that you can’t be at your best mentally if you don’t take care of yourself physically.

How I’ll drop 10 pounds

Really the key to weight loss for me has been consistent workouts and watching what I eat. So I’ll be shooting for 3 strength training workouts a week (with a minimum of 2 unless I’m travelling). Running, which I took a break from in the late part of last year, will again become part of my week. I like to run 5-11 miles on Sundays.

Lastly I’ll be working on my diet. The last time I had lunch with Tim Ferriss he strongly encouraged me to try the slow carb diet that he detailed on his blog. It’s a very manageable diet, so I’ll try to continue with it through January. An added benefit of this diet is that you can enjoy your favorite carby foods (burritos, pasta, pizza) after a workout. In a way, it’s more incentive to hit the gym hard.

I’ll be detailing my progress throughout the month. There’s a couple other habits (one of which is writing on this site) I’m trying to pick up as the year starts and I’ll talk about those in future posts.

Goals for January 2010:

  • Drop the holiday weight
  • Increase my lifts
    • Squat – 245
    • Bench – 200
    • Overhead – 135
    • Deadlift – 250
  • Be able to run 8 miles again
  • Move into my new home
  • Meditate three times a week

Looking forward to a great 2010