In March, I posted My 2022 Fitness Plan. How well did I stick to the plan? Mostly, pretty well, but I had an injury that slowed my progress.
I did return to the gym and most weeks I went 3 times, which was the plan. I focused on exercises for taller lifters (goblet squats and incline DB presses) as well as some classic HIT machine work (super slow and static holds). My recovery continues to get worse every year, so I’m reducing intensity and volume below what I want. 😢
I failed this year on Zone 2 cardio. I’m only doing exercises in my gym where I can nasal breathe. And although most of the year, I walked 10,000 steps a day outdoors, I would consider that to be less than Zone 2 requirements.
I continued doing a yoga workout every single morning. I also substituted pilates and stretching routines some of the time. I started with Amazon Prime courses and then moved on to YouTube. My flexibility, mobility, and posture have all improved this year. I only wish I had started this daily practice 20 years ago.
Injury of the Year
My injury this year was “turf toe”, which I got from doing a yoga toe stretch. It is the pose where you are sitting back on your glutes, which are resting on your heels. This stretches the toes.
I did a routine where this stretch was held for about 40 seconds. If you are a 100-pound pixie yoga girl, that is probably fine. If you are a 6′ 2+ dude weighing 180, maybe 40 seconds is too much for a beginner?
I then made the injury worse, by misdiagnosing it for a few weeks, and straining the toes further. Eventually, I bought some pricey carbon fiber insoles for my shoes to prevent the toe from bending. And almost two months later, I was healed.
During this period, my step count dropped to under 4,000 a day. I worked around the injury as well as I could at the gym.
My Rapamycin Experiment
I mentioned this May 2021 injury in a recent post.
I had the opportunity to try and kick a field goal after a fancy dinner held on Century Field, which is where the Seattle Seahawks play. Although I made the field goal, I got a high hamstring tear. It still isn’t fully healed.
After hearing Dr. Matt Kaeberlein on Stem Talk #139 and Tim Ferriss #610, I decided to try Rapamycin to see if it would help clear up the inflammation from my hamstring injury. I was out of ideas and since I am near the same age as Kaeberlein and he was able to clear his injury with Rapamycin, I had to try it.
I used a 10 mg dose once a week, which was the same dose Kaeberlein used. I did this for about 3 months. During this time, I felt no improvement in my hamstring. The only thing I noticed was I needed to shave daily (instead of on alternate days) and my fingernails were growing faster. I stopped the cycle and my “turf toe” injury got better quickly and my shaving schedule went back to alternate days. I did read a Reddit post where someone suspected their injury was slower to heal on Rapamycin.
Rapamycin may be amazing for longevity, but it failed to help me with my issue of concern. I don’t know if my right hamstring will ever be 100%.
I tried a massage gun to help with muscle tightness. Even at the lowest setting for a minimal time, it produced soreness and no relief. After a few weeks of experimenting, I sold my Theragun at a small loss.
I fixed my numb feet and toes via calf stretching. 🙌🏻
Although my flexibility and mobility have gotten much better, yoga has taught me that my balance needs a lot of work. That will be a focus in 2023. If you have any tips or resources on balance improvement, please drop a comment.
If I’m going to do cardio, I need to find something that interests me that I can do outside. I was stumped for ideas until I heard Peter Attia #225. In that show, they discussed rucking. Of course! This will be perfect for me since I already walk a lot and I’m not interested in running at this time. I rucked in the military. Cardio with core strength and no pounding on the knees. I’ll start rucking in early 2023 with a backpack and some books. I believe in earning your gear, so I won’t consider buying a dedicated ruck until I build a habit with what I already own.
I continued daily cold showers.
Another year has passed and I continue to be lean and weight stable at 180. Effortless. The potato hack was a great teacher. 🙏🏻
Dec 31, 2022 — 6:20 pm
I started rucking in November after reading Michael Easter’s book The Comfort Crisis.
Pretty much all my walks around the city now are with a ruck plate in my backback (20, 30, or 50 lbs). I’m car free, so this normally amounts to 10,000 steps / day rucking.
At first it was hard on my shoulders, but now I’m super comfortable with it.
It’s such a convenient way to exercise! And it’s pleasant walking around the city. And the sunlight helps train circadian rhythms. I can’t recommend it enough.
Jan 1, 2023 — 3:15 am
What determines which plate you use on any particular day? Speed? Distance? Course ( flat vs hills)? Or a combination of the above plus other factors?
Or are you just briefly detailing how you have worked up to 500lbs over time? If so, do you plan to go any heavier?
Do these weights take your heart rate into zone 2 territory?
Jan 1, 2023 — 6:04 am
@Stuart – Do you mean 50? Not 500. That would be rucking for a horse.
Jan 1, 2023 — 11:23 am
I don’t plan to exceed 50 lbs. Too much for me! Would also start worrying about injuries at those hefty weights.
I don’t overthink anything (weights, terrain, etc.). All just intuition. E.g. if I am shopping groceries, might just ruck with 30 lbs because I’ll have 10 lbs of groceries on my way back. If I am going for a walk in the park, might take 50 lbs. Start small, listen to your body.
No idea about zone 2.
Jan 6, 2023 — 9:15 pm
2 meaningful changes for 2022
1) Dr. Kirsch shoulder hangs
Complete rehab of my left shoulder
No pain of impingement , gone
No, Nada, overhead shoulder pressings
2) Fulcrumator cardio weight swings
Stay within Ventilatory Threshold 1 for several minutes and occasionally exceeding VT1 for a few seconds only. (Zone 2 cardio )
Done once every 7-14 days.
Assault bike adversely affected my groin.
Fulcrumator is a standing Concept rower, made with a wight loading pin, carbinger, and a roller bearing revolving handle. Awesome piece of cardio equipment.
Jan 10, 2023 — 8:39 am
@Marc – Thanks for sharing. I was unaware of standing rowers. I’m guessing that it would be easier to maintain proper form?
Feb 18, 2023 — 10:23 pm
Greetings again from a fellow ectomorph. We briefly chatted on this blog back in 2020 while lockdowns were going on. Great that you’re still keeping healthy while making the best out of being an ectomorph. Me? I also do some cardio by walking around in downtown before and after work and I occasionally follow martial arts tutorials. Even an ecto has to learn how to use force, right? As for diet, I also try to eat more potatoes whether they’re boiled for curry soups or made into french fries. I prefer the latter, personally.
If I may, I still wonder if putting on any additional size naturally is still possible for me. I managed to only gain 15 pounds or so since 2020, for instance. I sometimes ask if I should increase my portions or lift heavier than usual weights. There’s also the possibility of already reaching my natural limits without my knowledge. Whatever the case, I have to live with the fact that I can never compete with others whose genetics give them better muscular leeway. My former classmates, for instance. Male AND female.
Finally, I’ll ask you if you could give quick advice to other fellow ectos out there who are just learning how to come to terms with their body types.
Feb 19, 2023 — 4:12 pm
@Tony – Have you experimented with high volume and higher reps? I suspect that path might be better for us ectomorphs at least part of the year. Maybe devote one quarter of the year.
Check out Ryan H’s YouTube channel. He is funny and smart. I don’t agree with some of his exercise choices, but he makes a case for higher volume.
I’m no longer looking for size. I started to cover that view in this post. I may expand on it later this year.
Feb 19, 2023 — 6:10 pm
Hi again, MAS. I can implement higher reps for a change since I noticed that I can curl 30-pound dumbbells more easily than 35-pound dumbbells. Thanks. I also skimmed through your other post about bodyweight wisdom. While being lighter is sound, I’m still stuck in the phase where I must weigh close to 200 pounds in order for changes to my 5’9″ body to be noticeable. Since I’m an ectomorph, that’s a pipe dream. I still crave some size even though my stick-boy genetics forbid that.
Feb 20, 2023 — 8:09 am
@Tony – 200 pounds is impressive. Not even close to being a Stickboy.
Feb 20, 2023 — 2:50 pm
I’m aware, MAS. Many lifters whom I met have either reached that number or surpassed it. Being an ectomorph who’s past age 30, I know that 200 pounds are a pipe dream.
If I may, I found this funny remix on YouTube that sampled MMA fighter Nate Diaz’s steroid comment. I imagine that hardgainers like myself would blast this in their heads: