My fitness journey after the injury – an update

As many people asked me about that, here’s a little update of my fitness journey now that I can say aloud I’m 100% recovered from my long-term injury.

my fitness journey update, olympics, injury, medal, first place
I might not have won any Olympic medal, but I won my race against my injury. GOLD MEDAL FOR ME ANYWAY

My terrible injury

That’s a happy ending story I like to tell people because for me it’s still a sensitive topic. I believe that the more I share my story, the lighter it gets. It’s like taking a piece of it out of my chest every time I talk about it.

A few years ago I sustained a very serious injury due to a massive overtraining. My entire right leg adductor tore apart, dragging down all my core muscles. The pain got quickly so chronic that it used to wake me up in the middle of the night.
I felt guilty and responsible for what I did to myself.

This terrible injury also nearly killed my ability of running and walking properly. I spent more than 18 months unable to walk without limping. All seemed lost, I was doomed! These past years (especially the first few years with this chronic pain) have been the darkest and lowest time of my life. Sometimes I struggled to get out of the bed and find something meaningful to do, but I did not give up. I started publishing my mystery books, and didn’t surrender to my chronic pain. I’d got to get over it.

After a long journey to figure out what the real issue was, and a very long physiotherapy and recovery path, which wasn’t a walk in the park at all, I can now run more than 50 minutes at a decent speed.

The doctors had been very clear about my sprinting career though: I will never be able to sprint again. That was for sure – and they were sadly right. Even when running longer distances, if I try to speed up my pace I get sharp and intense pain for days. I am still learning to accept this and to appreciate the longer, slower runs (and their endorphins).

I also learnt to love and enjoy everything else that’s not sprinting, such as weight lifting. I started with it to strengthen my stability muscles during the last part of my recovery, and I haven’t stopped since then. My fitness journey had just started.

The weight lifting adventure

After the injury, my body changed dramatically. It wasn’t as lean as it used to be, I met the infamous cellulite, not to mention all the strength and the muscles I’d lost. I weighted 43kg at my lowest point, but I was fluffy AF. If you sneezed you could knock me out.

I then focused on gaining muscles, and that happened incredibly fast. A balanced diet with lots of protein of any type and weight training 3 times per week made the magic.
My body didn’t let my mind down. I gained 5kg in 12 months, and other 3kg within the following 6 months.

Quads difference pre and post recovery

After more than one year dieting and training, though, I reached a plateau: no fat loss and no muscle gaining.
My (new) personal trainer Victoria put me on a reverse diet to figure out how my body would react to that. I initially lost lots of my muscle definition, and I felt a bit ashamed of my body (picture below). However the bright side was priceless: I was lifting like a beast! 🏋️‍♀️

You can’t notice the changes if you don’t look back.

I’m a perfectionist, and I hate that. I’m working on it, though. I keep blaming myself and my efforts because I never see myself lean and strong enough, so one day I had a look at my starting point with Victoria.

Left picture: Feb 2017, 49.4kg, having 750/1200 cal per day. Was following my own training program because I thought I was experienced enough to do it myself. What an absolute fool.

Right picture: Jul 2017, 49.7kg, eating 1312/1712 cal. Victoria guides me on my journey to get stronger, learn to love and accept my body, and be less tough with myself.

I feel blessed to have met Vicky in my way, she is really making the difference along with Franz. He’s the one who always balances my dark thoughts and remembers me that what I do in my daily life and my writing are more important than a six-pack.
I’ll always been a sprinter in my heart, but life is a marathon, isn’t it? 😜

My fitness journey vs my legs love/hate

And talking about Franz and his perspective.
Being too hard on yourself means not appreciating what other people might love about you.
My legs are short and sturdy, but strong and powerful. This, below, is how they look from Franz camera’s eyes (check his Instagram account, it’s gorgeous).
Have to admit this snapshot is pretty cool.

Beyond my fitness journey, I have a love/hate relationship with my legs. It’s not easy to live inside a 5″ tall (150cm) body with huge legs, when the world is much thinner and taller than you, and the beauty image suggested my the media does not exactly resemble yourself, of what you see in front of the mirror.

I can lift double of my bodyweight with my legs, and that makes me special, or a freak. I hate my leg as they’re so massive and bulky, yet sometimes it’s never enough. This reflects what I am, always chasing a perfection that doesn’t exist, but everyday raising the bar to keep me challenged. I know very well what my new goal is on my fitness journey, but I can’t tell you yet – watch this space, though!

I hope this recap will inspire you to follow your goals like a dog with a bone – never giving up until you got it. There’s something to learn also out of bad experiences, as they can make you mentally stronger.
This long recovery path truly made me a better person, and the stubbornness I showed towards the ups and downs made me stronger too. Life can be beautiful also slowing down things, pivoting passions and enjoying the heavy stuff to lift.

For more about my new fitness journey and my happy life, check and follow my Instagram too!