Taking a Knee: 8 minutes, 30 seconds

I kept myself busy Monday writing and working on Let’s Change the Tape. Tuesday though, Tuesday was another story.

On Tuesday, cabin fever set in and I was climbing the walls. I couldn’t settle on a project. I was tired of lying around but I wasn’t really supposed to be doing anything else. I couldn’t even find good terrible TV to watch.

By Wednesday, I was so ready to do ANYTHING that I decided to go into work for a while after my PT session in the morning.

I’m a personal trainer who isn’t allowed to train people until March 9th which makes going to work sound a little crazy. However, there is a little more to my job than just training clients.

Not Just a Trainer

Along with training 40+ clients a week (30 min sessions), I write a bi-weekly wellness column for my company’s blog. I am currently running a six-week (read: one million weeks because of the weather) Synergy Challenge for which each week I write an article on a component of wellness and create a week-long challenge that coincides.

I host a weekly Healthy Eating meeting for a group of folks who used to be in Weight Watchers and like the accountability and group aspect of meeting to discuss strategies for “eating right” – whatever that means to them individually.

I am in charge of content for the giant bulletin boards outside the gyms. I rotate content, but at any given time at least three of the following are present:

  • Ask the Trainer: Index cards and pens are provided for people to anonymously ask questions, tack them to the board,  and answers are posted for them weekly.
  • Good Eats: Recipes, basic nutritional guidelines, articles like “The Five Worst Supposedly Healthy Fast-Food Items,” and this gem from Leslie Ann Quillen at LAQ Fitness, “Eat Drink & Be Merry: A New Approach to the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” If you haven’t checked out LAQ’s recipe box, you should. Mmm… This recipe for a broccoli side dish is a staple at Casa Ventura.
  • Trainer Tips: I post form corrections for exercises I see being performed, we’ll say, less than optimally, tips for getting the most out of a particular exercise or move and articles I find like, “ACE Study Reveals Best Biceps Exercises” (Spoiler Alert: #1 went to the concentration curl).
  • Frequently Asked Questions: Gym hours, training info, group fitness class info.
  • Everything Else: Anything else I feel is worthy of posting. Sometimes its the info from Lunch Hour Fitness. Sometimes it’s a copy of my latest blog post. Sometimes I find something amazing like this and it MUST go up on the board.

I am the fitness liaison to a sister building a few miles away. I visit once a month and provide one on one consultations. Some people want to workout. Some people want to talk about nutrition. Some people mistake the CPT (certified personal trainer) after my name for MD and I get a laundry list of ailments and “it hurts right here”s.  But it’s my favorite day each month because I get out of the cave (my gym and office are two floors underground. I’m Batgirl. Shhhh…), meet new people and help them decide on the next step or two towards their goals. Because of surgery, I won’t be returning until April, so for now I’m doing phone consults and answering questions via email. Not as fun as doing it in person, but still pretty rewarding.

I handle scheduling, marketing, participant registration and instructor hiring as well as equipment ordering and maintenance for the group fitness program in my building. I also teach four classes on the schedule.

I run Lunch Hour Fitness, a monthly outreach program where I choose a topic, set up a table in our massive cafeteria, and deliver information on said topic. It’s an opportunity to put a face to our fitness program (and of course it should be mine – have you seen this face? 😉 ) as well as provide a pressure-free, judgement-free chance for folks to ask any fitness/wellness questions they may have – without having to find me in the Bat Cave to do it.

In summary, without clients, there’s still plenty to do.

Physical Therapy: A practice in patience.

As I write this, I have had a total of three PT appointments. I told you about my initial visit in last week’s post. This week, I had appointments on Wednesday and Friday.

De-motivate Please

Wednesday I was was ready and raring to go. My knee felt so good and I really wanted to get to work.

PT Greg: You are almost a week out of surgery and we need to take things slowly to make sure you heal.


PT Greg: Yeah….I’m gonna need to you…de-motivate….

PT Greg rechecked my flexion and extension. I was missing 7 degrees of extension – he’s fairly certain I won’t get much more than another degree or two back. Boo. In flexion, I’m about 20-25 degrees away from what my right knee can do (140 degrees). He thinks we can get maybe 10 degrees back. That would allow me to do everything other than heel-to-butt movement like child’s pose. I don’t love it – clearly I want all of my degrees back – but I’ll take it.

I performed my favorite straight leg raises. PT Greg did some patella mobilizations (barf). I did some double leg calf raises and single leg balancing.

Snooze fest. Necessary, but soooooo snooooooozy.

Then PT Greg says, “You can cycle.”


“For 5 minutes. No resistance. Go slow.”


But it was something. And I get it. Inflammation is my biggest threat right now. I need my quads firing on all spindles (dorky anatomy joke – you’re welcome). If my knee is swollen, my quads can’t perform at 100% capacity and THAT is a problem when you’re patella has tracking issues. I absolutely need my quads doing the best job they can to keep me in proper alignment and reduce the friction between the patella and the femur. I can’t do anything that will aggravate the joint and while cycling might be ok, I won’t know until I try, so short, slow and steady it is for now.

Thursday I rode my little heart out (slowly and without resistance of course) for 5 minutes. It was a tiny step in the right direction.

Friday, PT Greg started me on the bike. After five minutes, PT Greg asked how I was doing. I was fine. No problems. “Go to 8 minutes.” WAHOOOOO!



I did more straight leg raises. More patella mobilizations (barf). More double leg calf raises. I also did some standing terminal knees extensions against the band and some standing hamstring curls. The hamstring curls weren’t weighted, but because it’s been so long since I could bend my knee that far, they were really tough.

PT Greg then gave me the go ahead to ride the bike for 8 minutes for the next few days and if I didn’t have any trouble with that – no swelling, no increased pain – I could increase to 12 minutes. Twelve minutes is almost half of a half hour. I mean – it’s almost a workout!

Slow and Steady it is

I know PT Greg is right – I JUST had surgery. I NEED to give my knee time to heal before I start pushing it. But GOOD GOD it is so hard to just do these little tiny exercises and not…sweat!

I will follow orders, though. I will do my straight leg raises and quad sets. I will ride the bike for 8-12 minutes with no resistance at a maddeningly slow pace.

And I will wait.


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