The Three Ways Hip Surgery Has Changed My Approach To Fitness

The other day I decided since it’s March and March is technically spring that it can’t be cold anymore.  So I packed away all of my winter clothes just to make it really official.  Unfortunately the weather didn’t get the memo and last night, as it snowed, I found myself buried under two blankets, wearing knee-high socks, and surrounded by a pillow fort that I built, because I’m five.   I was also pretty much dressed like this:

Rosey Rebecca snow

Except imagine me with short hair and inside on the couch surrounded by a pillow fort.  I would have taken a  picture but I was too cold. So instead you get this glorious picture of me from six years ago. You’re welcome.

This is the exact opposite of how I felt Thursday morning at spin class, where I was dripping in sweat, with my hair tied back with a headband because I forgot a hair tie (don’t do that).  If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen this tweet:

Luckily I was in the back row and no one had to see my butt.

Speaking of spinning, I promised a post about my workouts lately and how they differ now that I’ve had hip surgery.  So enough talking about how I mooned everyone in spin class and let’s get to it, shall we?  (But first, if you haven’t seen this Flash Mob Spin Class Wedding Proposal, you need to get on that ASAP)

The Chocolate Moose, Greenville, SC

I’ve learned a lot about my body since it first started acting up in March  2014.  Up until then, I’d had my fair share of sports injuries but nothing compared to what I went through with my hip. I’ve been pretty active since I started my blog in 2009 and I’ve tried a lot of workouts: spinning, body pump, yoga, pilates, road biking, running, crossfit.  So I was beside myself when the right side of my body just stopped working all of the sudden.  What made it worse was that the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me for so long.  Working out is my outlet, my stress relief.  I’ve always struggled with anxiety and not being able to work out and not knowing how to fix it was really hard on me.

On top of that, the weight that I had worked so hard to lose when I started this blog in 2009 had crept back on and I felt like I couldn’t control it at all.  By the time my doctor realized I needed hip surgery it had been seven months and I could barely walk, let alone work out.  I was really mad at my body. I felt betrayed by it  and as though I was being punished.  I thought it was unfair that I was stuck in my predicament despite the fact that I tried to do all the right things to take care of my body. Even though these weren’t rational thoughts, it’s how I felt and I couldn’t control it.

Physical therapy after surgery was very humbling.  Three times a week for three months I learned how to use my lower body again. I felt my hip get stronger with every session. I felt almost back to normal.  I celebrated tiny accomplishments like I’d completed a marathon.  Fitness goals for me then were SO different from what they were before I injured my hip.  All I wanted was to feel normal again, like my body wasn’t working against me.   So a year out from surgery, the way I think about workouts is very different.  My main goals now are to lose the weight again, but also to prevent hurting my hip again (and other injuries) and to feel strong enough to do normal, everyday things, like bending down to pick up a box or walking for even half a mile.

There are three very important ways in which I work toward these goals and I want to share them with you because I feel like they’re helpful even if you haven’t had hip surgery.

The Three Ways Hip Surgery Has Changed My Approach To Fitness- roseyrebecca.com

I LISTEN TO MY BODY AND UNDERSTAND ITS LIMITS

If I didn’t understand this before, I definitely do now.  My body is much more sensitive post-surgery; It speaks to me and lets me know when I’m pushing too hard or if its had enough. I struggled a lot with this before I hurt my hip.  Part of this is accepting that there are some things my body just isn’t ready for or straight up can’t do anymore.  For example, my hip completely rebelled last month when I was doing BodyPump a few times a week, so I stopped going.  As much as I love BodyPump, my body just isn’t there yet. I’ve also accepted that there are some yoga poses my hip just doesn’t like anymore. Spinning is OK for me because I can control the resistance on the bike and take breaks when I need them.  Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred is OK some days and not others.  My hip LIVES for rest days. and, as a whole, my body ALWAYS feels better when I listen to it.  Listening to my body has made not care as much about what other people are doing in the gym. I know what is working for my  body and that’s all that matters.

I ASK FOR HELP WHEN I NEED IT

Part of the reason I love group fitness classes so much is that most of the time I have no idea what I’m doing.  I absolutely adore my yoga and spin instructors at Gold’s Gym. They all know about my hip surgery (my spin instructor has even had both of her hips replaced) and they are so open to helping me find modifications and making sure I am doing things correctly. As I said above, a key part of healing for me is knowing when to stop if something doesn’t feel right and all of my instructors are so in tune to this. It really makes me feel supported and like I’m taking extra care of my body.  Just the other day I mentioned to my yoga instructor that my hip had been acting up during one of the poses. She not only took the time after class to show me modifications but also referred me to a physical therapist  that specializes in therapeutic yoga. Now I have an appointment with her and one more person on my team to support me. You will never regret reaching out and asking for a support system when you’re having a tough time with something- this goes for anything in life- not just fitness.

I AM MORE PATIENT AND GRATEFUL FOR WHAT MY BODY DOES FOR ME

This might be the biggest part of how my approach to fitness has changed since hip surgery. I am not a patient person and I get discouraged pretty easily, especially when it comes to fitness gains.  I am very much an all or nothing type of person. But when trying to snap back from such a huge setback, I’ve learned that time and patience is the only thing that will really help me heal. It took me THREE months post surgery to be able to walk a mile without pain. Instead of getting frustrated I focused on being thankful that my body was working with me, not against me. I am grateful for each day I wake up and my hip doesn’t hurt, that I can hike a mile or more, that I can take a spinning class with no pain.  It’s really true that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone and for me, it took a major injury and surgery to appreciate my body. I’m not mad at it anymore for breaking. If anything, I am so grateful for the lessons its taught me throughout this whole process.  As I mentioned above, I celebrate tiny victories. Three squats is better than no squats and I know with time and patience my body will reward me with strength and perseverance.

Robert Frost Quote

So there you have it. The three ways my approach to fitness has changed since hip surgery. I think that what I’ve talked about can apply to anyone in any fitness situation. Of course I am not a doctor or a personal trainer. This post is about my experience and what has worked for me. I sincerely hope that is has helped or inspired you in some way.

Your Turn: What fitness mantras do you like to follow? Do you listen to your body? How has your approach to fitness changed over the years?

Have a great weekend! <3

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14 comments

  1. Oh my gosh your tweet made me laugh out loud! Good thing you were in the back 😉

    I’m fortunate that I haven’t really had any major injuries but I’ve definitely had to understand my limits as I get older. I do gymnastics and it’s a whole lot harder on my body at 27 than it was when I was 7 😉 haha. I’ve learned that I can’t always push myself as far as I want to!

  2. I’m still working on knowing my body’s limits. When I first started doing yoga, my main goal was to do Crow pose, and grasshopper pose, which seemed crazy to me. I practiced SO hard that i reinjured my previously broken wrist. So I couldnt practice for a while. Not with anything arm balance related. After I healed (about 2-3 weeks), I started slower. :) Now I’m focusing on the proper way to do a handstand and working up to it.

    1. Yeah I definitely think it’s important to move slowly when working toward a goal like that. And proper form is more important than getting into the pose right away or holding it for a certain amount of time.

  3. All awesome, awesome advice! And what every athlete should be doing regardless of having gone through surgery. I totally related to that feeling of being angry at your body, too. I have felt that way when injured before. And OMG I am SOOOO happy for you that you were in the back row of spin class!!!!
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted…The Best Running Books for WomenMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Carly! Glad you can relate! I agree that this advice can apply to anyone in any type of fitness situation.

      And, believe me, I’m happy for me that I was in the back row of spin class too. Although it would have made for a much funnier blog post if I was up front. Haha!

  4. Thanks for sharing this post! I needed this advice because I tend to ignore aches and pains in my body and push on. Luckily I’ve never had any serious injuries, but I need to learn to listen to my body and not push myself too hard.

  5. hahaha, I like your resolve! I hope it’ll be summer weather soon too! Too bad the weather didn’t get the memo! I do love blanket caves and pillow forts though!

    That sucks about the shorts! :O Glad you were in the back! ;P

    I think the lessons you learned from hip surgery are super super important and valuable, not just for fitness, but just for life in general. And yay for celebrating small victories! I love that quote at the end too!

  6. I so appreciate you sharing your personal experience with hip surgery and your recovery process afterwards. My mom is about to get hip surgery so I wanted to learn a little bit about what she will be going through so I can comfort her. It’s good to know that you felt like your hip was getting stronger with every therapy session and that you were feeling almost back to normal about a year after the surgery. Thanks for sharing!

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