Posts Tagged ‘muscle atrophy’

Blog 5/2/12 (day 370)

Even at 5 mg of prednisone, building strength is not easy.

I hiked 7.5 miles carrying weight last week and it took a about three days to recover. When I did the same hike this Monday, it seems to have only taken two days to recover. I also did the hike in less time than the first time doing it so I can’t complain.

The problem is I need to eventually be able to hike twice as far and also hike the very next day. It seems that getting to that level is so far away.

Too bad very few people really understand the adverse side effects of prednisone. I mean I know I am at risk of damaging tendons but just how far can I go? Even I can’t tell if working out in pain will do damage or help build strength sometimes.

I am being fairly cautious at this point because I am running out of time to recover if I damage anything.

After the hike Monday, I totally rested Tuesday and did not exercise at all. Wednesday I did workout but only exercised the chest and shoulder muscles. I did zero leg exercises due to the pain in my hip and knee. So that I have totally rested my legs two days in a row now.

After six weeks, I did get back to bench pressing 205 lbs again. The minor throat surgery really set me back. I had a goal of benching 225 lbs next week but it seems like I set the bar a little too high. Also I am resting the pectoral muscles at least three days between exercising them. I feel this is a pretty safe way to go. However, if I really wanted to be even more safe I would never exercise with weight that I can’t do at least 8 repetitions with.

Today I also went to my natural healing center and received a chiropractic adjustment, physical therapy and acupuncture. It turns out, that carrying the 10 lbs of water is affecting my posture.

If all the pain goes away I will do leg exercises Thursday and hike again either Saturday or Sunday. I really want to hike two days in a row next week but that may be unrealistic. Only time will tell.


Blog 1/27/12 (day 275)

Although it seems like I succeeded in minimizing the adverse side effects of prednisone, I cannot seem to lose the weight I gained.

On one hand I am happy that I only gained 15-20 lbs during the 9 months I have been on prednisone but on the other I am amazed that it seems like I need to be totally off of prednisone before I will lose the weight I gained.

I don’t mean to complain about such a minor thing but I just don’t understand why I am able to build muscle, and rehabilitate injuries while on low doses of prednisone but yet cannot lose one pound.

At this point I am only on 5 mgs and I am very grateful that I can exercise the way I did yesterday. After being on 5 mgs for a week I am finally able to workout like I used to (before going on prednisone). Of course I am not back to full strength but I can workout as long as I used to. In fact, yesterday I did a full leg and shoulder workout in the morning, and then 6 hours later went back and did a complete cardio workout.

I am at the point where I am ready to start walking a 6 mile trail (to see if my foot has healed as well as I think it has), and if all goes well, head to the Old Rag Mountain. If I manage to hike a 2200 foot mountain (at least 8-10 miles of walking) before even getting completely off prednisone, I will be extremely happy.

The last time I completed prednisone therapy, I was in such bad shape that it probably took 9-12 months before I could hike the small mountain. I could not even do one squat on the vibration plate after completing the prednisone therapy.

What a difference a little knowledge makes.


Blog 10/12/11 (6 month mark)

After being on prednisone for six months I can report that I minimized almost all the adverse side effects.

I started at 80 mgs per day but I am now on 20 mgs.

Weight gain is minimal but stomach looks bigger. I weight 4 lbs more than when I started the prednisone therapy but after losing water weight I was 10 lbs lighter. Therefore, I may be about 14 lbs heavier from the prednisone.

Moonface is lessening but was never as bad as the first time I was on prednisone. I noticed the moonface going away when I got down to 25 mgs of prednisone.

There were no psychological side effects, no depression, and no rage nor mania. My mood is good. I have stayed very optimistic the whole time. I have stayed focused and on task.

There were many times where I would break out in a sweat even if when I was not consuming caffeine, but not lately.

I can now consume caffeine without sweating, and at 20 mgs, I now need caffeine to get through the day. However, I have not gotten to the point where I need to take naps in the middle of the day.

Sensitive skin is minimal or non-existent due to maintaining a healthy level of vitamin D. I took 50,000 IUs per week and tried to get sun exposure every day.
I kept my calcium levels in the healthy range, and had no broken bones.

Cholesterol levels are good. The total number is slightly high but the ratio was always in the healthy range. I ate oatmeal most mornings and did cardio exercise when possible.

I was always able to get 7+ hours of sleep per night but at higher doses, I would wake up 3-5 times per night. At 20 mgs, I only wake up once per night.

Muscle atrophy was not severe. My legs are just as strong as when I started the prednisone therapy but most other muscle are weaker. Two weeks into the therapy, I tore a chest muscle (ruptured a pectoral tendon). My endurance is lower but I can workout in the gym. I can walk three miles but do not do that as often as I would like. I avoid jogging, the treadmill, and the elliptical for fear that I will injure a foot. I have booked hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim in July 2012 so I don’t want to jeopardize that.

I use to [bicep] curl 115 lbs but now curl 95 lbs; I used to flat bench press 300 lbs but now can only bench 105 lbs (due to injury); I used to leg curl 130 lbs and now can leg curl 140 lbs; and my back muscles are somewhat weaker..

There are many reasons why I was able to minimize the adverse side effects of prednisone. Some of them are exercise, nutrition, forcing myself to get 7+ hours of sleep per night, staying positive, monitoring my vitamin D, using acupuncture, a whole body vibration plate, and doing hip adductions.


Blog 9/14/11 (5 month mark)

To celebrate my five month anniversary on prednisone, I went to the health club.

I am extremely happy that I can still workout in any capacity. The last time I was on prednisone it was pretty devastating. I ended up with pains in all my joints. It was impossible for me to use an elliptical machine or bench press at all. I could not even open a jar of sauce. When I did go to the gym, I felt terrible when I got there and felt just as bad when I left.

It has now been about 4.5 months since I tore the tendon in my chest muscle but I am doing all I can to rehabilitate it. I am now working the chest muscles every 3-4 days and seeing a lot of improvement.

For the first three months after the injury I did not exercise the upper body at all. Then I started to work the shoulders. Now that I have been going for physical therapy and deep tissue massage on the scar tissue, I am seeing more improvement.

I tried bench pressing the empty 45 lb bar about 7 days ago and doing 12 repetitions was nerve racking but doable.

Today I did 15 reps of 45lbs, 15 reps of 65 lbs, 12 reps of 75lbs, and 10 reps of 85lbs! It is a far cry from benching 285 lbs but I’ll take it.

To be healing and getting stronger while still on 30 mgs of prednisone is a miracle. I believe I am proving that exercise and proper nutrition can clearly minimize the muscle atrophy caused by prednisone.


Blog 8/19/11 (day 114)

Got another decent workout in today.

Although I did not walk in the morning, I did do 35 minutes on a bike at the end of my workout.

Today I did lat. pulldowns with light weights, and never went under 10 repetitions on any set.  I had stopped doing these after noticing swelling and bruising in the area of my torn chest muscle.  After going to a orthopedic doctor I was told that I can and should be working all muscles.  Of course this means to build up slowly and use a physical therapist’s guidance along the way.

After hearing this I tried working the pectorals directly.  I did one repetition with an empty bar (45 lbs) yesterday.  I felt ridiculous but even that one rep. made me nervous.

I also did 5 sets of hip abductions in both directions.  These exercises helped me rehabilitate my knees after getting off prednisone the last time, and have kept my knees healthy this time.  I have not lost strength with this exercise since being on prednisone.  I do set of 12 reps with 80 lbs, 10 reps with 90 lbs, 8-10 reps with 100 lbs, and 8-10 reps with 110 lbs.  When I got of the prednisone last time, I was not able to do even 20 lbs on this exercise.

Hip-Abduction/Adduction Machine video tutorial


Blog 7/11/11 (day 75)

Been getting to the gym every day before breakfast lately.

After not working out for over a week, I became weaker and got more sore after working out.

I seemed to injure my foot doing calf raises after not working out for the week, and it took me two weeks to recover from that.

Today I was able to walk on a treadmill for an hour but did not jog nor run.  I only waked at 4 miles per hour at 1% incline, and 3 mph at 15% incline (alternating every 1/4 mile).

I also exercised my abs, and shoulders today.  My chest muscle never recovered from being torn but working the shoulders does not seem to bother it.  Whereas exercising the back muscles does.  Both only activate the pectorals as secondary muscles.

It is getting more difficult to stretch but I am almost about as flexible as I was when I started the prednisone therapy.  The last time I was on prednisone, I became a lot less flexible and stretching became very difficult to do.  This time around, I am trying to stretch every day, as much as possible.

I am not really monitoring the muscle atrophy since I am more concerned with not doing sets of exercises of less than 12 repetitions.



Blog 7/6/11 (10 week mark)

At the 10 week mark, it feels like I have been on prednisone for months.

I am clearly losing strength, muscle tone, muscle mass, and gaining fat.

My weight is increasing but I still weigh 4 lbs less than when I started the prednisone.

I tore my pectoral muscle, and damaged my foot already.  However, I am still working out most days.

The prednisone is causing irregular sleeping but I can still get 7+ hours of sleep per night.  I do not seem to have any mode swings or other psychological effects.

The Cushing’s Syndrome is in affect and the fat redistribution is causing fat to be deposited in my face/checks, and neck.

I had an alternative medicine visit today, and used the vibration plate.  It is becoming more difficult to get through 4 sets of squats on the vibration plate now.

Afterwards, I worked out at a heath club and did leg extensions, leg curls, leg presses, bicep curls, tricep push downs, and 10 minutes on the elliptical machine.

I did lat pull downs yesterday and that totally did not agree with my torn chest muscle.

It maybe that I can exercise my arms, and shoulders but not my back (until my chest muscle heals more).

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