People of Proximal: Doug’s Story

I started at Proximal50 with Proximal Priority. I felt that sitting down with a Dietitian would be worth the time, there’s so much information out there on nutrition it’s easy to get confused or lose faith in a plan after a couple weeks. It really helped sitting down with someone, making a meal plan, and having to be accountable for 90 days. I quickly learned I don’t have to be super strict or very restrictive to see results.

It also really helped to stop and think of the ‘Why’. What is my personal motivation? Getting past the ‘I wanna lose weight’ or ‘I want to get lean’ crap but get to down to what truly drives me is what has made the biggest difference. I hunt, fish, hike. I want to be active and experience the outdoors. There are hunts I want to do: mountain hunts, backpacking trips- the top of my list is a sheep hunt.

In North Dakota, you get about a 2 month notice for a-once-in-a-lifetime hunt for bighorn sheep. I wasn’t putting in applications for those hunts because I knew I had slipped far enough out of shape I wasn’t capable of properly hunting and retrieving those animals. And that’s why I wanted to lose weight and improve my cardio and strength.

That’s what makes me get my lazy ass out of bed and go to the gym. That’s what makes the nutrition choices easier.

I injured my lower back a few years ago snowmobiling. I bottomed out the suspension on a sled and my low back absorbed much more than it could handle. I had re-injured or aggravated the injury so many times, I was to the point of being unable to walk upright for 2-3 days every other month. Then it would take 2 weeks of little to no physical activity to nurse my back into a tolerable condition so I could try to work back into working out.

I had a nasty flare up about 6 weeks into the Proximal Priority program while picking up something off the ground that I felt was well within my ability. I decided it was time to get some help, get the physical therapy and have help designing workouts in a way that I don’t keep hurting myself in and out of the gym.

Each incident was getting scarier, I was sliding by at work and surgery was looking imminent, so being a good patient, listening to a professional and following directions was easier at this point in my life. When I started PT I was told I don’t have to live with pain every day, which from my point of view at the time I thought, “bullshit but let’s give it a shot”. PT started with office therapy and transitioned to mild prescribed workouts. Over time, the workouts increased in intensity.

After about 3 months I graduated to working with a trainer who was briefed on my situation and we discussed my goals, which included learning how to safely structure my own workouts. That went on for a little over a month, it was nice having workouts tailored to my needs and I got to keep an email with all of those workouts. I’ve been doing my own thing since February. I’m not going to say it was a miraculous recovery, and I know I will have set backs in the future but since I started working with the PT I have only had a minor flare up and occasional muscle tightness, which I work through with movements and stretches shown to me by the PTs. Add in a day of active rest and I can resume my workout routine with little downtime.

For those not sure about seeing a PT, I’ve been the stubborn “I can do it myself” type. Don’t wait till you feel like it’s a last resort, you’re not out anything by trying to feel better.

My message for others: Starting something new is tough. Men don’t like not knowing what to do or asking for help. But the atmosphere at Proximal is really a big help to go from newbie to competent. It’s not all eyes on the new person here. Plus the friendly vibe makes you not feel like you are going to make an ass of yourself in front of others. Hire a trainer to get some basics. Try a group class. It’s kinda like going to a new bar by yourself, you’ll find someone to talk to, it’s not hard.

As for Physical Therapy, here’s what I have to say: I remember hearing as a kid, “everyone has aches and pains or soreness. Nobody gives a shit, suck it up and quit whining.” I know I’m not alone there.

But why not sit down, quit being a tough guy, and discuss what’s really going on with a friendly PT? (They are friendly). I wish I would have incorporated the PT into my workout program much sooner instead of just trying to push through the pain. All I was doing at work and the gym was making things worse. Now I have the tools to improve. I don’t hurt everyday, I’m doing movements I wouldn’t have tried a year ago, it’s pretty nice. If I take a step back I have resources to help. From my perspective you are out nothing by going in for a consult, nothing.