Appreciation for Movement

Some of you know I have been dealing with back issues for about fifteen months. Although I thought I never had any major issues throughout life, I do recall the first time my back "went out." It was 2006 and I reached down to grab a dumbbell off the ground, and came up in pain. It was like an old peep moment as the weight wasn't anything strongman heavy. Ha! From that point, my back "went out" maybe once every fifteen months or so. Apparently I seem to have short term memory loss, as I hadn't remembered that this was the start of back issues or that I've actually been dealing with a back issue here and there for some time. It was probably overlooked by my ever constant knee shenanigans.

Over the last fifteen months, I had had three separate episodes of back issues. The first two were extremely painful and I was laid out for some time. I had an MRI after the first episode and it showed a few things. 1) a herniated L5-S1 disc 2) two discs above were slightly bulging 3) there was some degenerative loss of disc fluid. Although not good, it sounds scarier then it was. The herniated disc was an issue, the other two were not quite as shocking with my athletic background over the years. It happens. I was appreciative to get an actual diagnosis and visually see what I was looking at. At the time, I had a meltdown in the chiropractor office while looking at the MRI because I had been the most active and best shape of my life. I didn't want to stop doing the activities I loved to do.

It took a good six months of recovery before my back felt good again and I could train at the level I was training previously. Then five months later, back "went out" again. Seriously?!!! Ain't nobody got time for this! I was in serious pain, but knew the protocol of what to expect. Although it did get better and felt ok, this past February I started getting serious sciatica down right hip and leg. With the two previous episodes, I was in serious pain, but couldn't walk well and was more contained to being laid out flat on my back. This time was different. I was fine walking and moving around, but the sciatic nerve pain was so uncomfortable. I couldn't sit or drive for over ten minutes without being in a pain cave!


After three months of waiting, hoping it would get better, it didn't. I got another MRI that confirmed that the original herniated disc was worse and pushing on the sciatic nerve root. Well that explains it. I had tried physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, prednisone, blah, blah. After three episodes, and this time no relief, I opted for microdiscectomy surgery. I not only want to still be an active person, but more importantly, I want to be able to play with my kiddos, travel, and just enjoy movement. It was now about quality of life!

You do not appreciate the ability to move, until it is taken away from you. Talk about debilitating when the simplest things cannot be done comfortably or at all. Quality of life is extremely diminished. In the grand scheme of life, there are people who deal with far much worse, and I really just tried to reflect on my gratitude and appreciation for movement. It can definitely be taken for granted.

This is the first of a series to document my recovery process. In researching before surgery, I couldn't find much information on specific recovery for the truly active person. I still think of myself as an athlete, and look forward to getting back to CrossFit as strong as ever. I'm hoping that this series can help others that are active and looking to get back to their previous intensity and activity levels.


Find The Beauty In The Battle

3-2-1… Go! The red seconds on the black timer ticked off like gunshots in the ensuing battle. Two competitive athletes, one male and one female, were going toe to toe on the Hero WOD “DT”. You could feel the tension in the box because neither athlete would back down. Rep was matched for rep. The female athlete assumed she was the favorite and had this in the bag, but the dude would not go away. In the last rounds the heavy barbell weighed down the favorite, and the male athlete, seeing this, reached deep and manhandled his bar to victory.

Hold up! While this glorious clash wouldn’t appear to be a sight uncommon in the field, the circumstances must be viewed closer. Upon further examination, it was discovered that the male athlete had one leg in a medical boot propped up on a bench to attack that WOD. It was a nail biting carnage in a restrictive boot. Yep, the female athlete just ate humble pie as she was served a beat down in warfare by the one legged wonder.


Six weeks previously, Matt Lantz snapped his tibia and fibula in half with a complete break at the ankle in a freak accident at the box. His injury required immediate surgery that included two plates and 12 pins. The doctors informed Lantz it would be four months before he would be back walking, let alone participating in regular WODs again at the box.

“Prior to my injury, I felt stronger and faster than ever,” Lantz says. He had previously been making huge strides and progress over the last six months as a new CrossFit athlete. Lantz would not be discouraged, and he would not back down. He was determined to keep up his strength and fitness levels, and not let this be a disparaging setback.

After five weeks of laying low for recovery, he was back at the battleground with his infamous knee scooter. His warhorse scooter helped him zip around almost Matrix style, while he fluidly set up barbells and made his own battle zone on the pull up bars.

Lantz owned one-legged deadlifts, one-legged push press, and L-sit pull ups! If there were a way to modify the movement without weight bearing on his injured war leg, he would find a way. People would discredit his ability to do the exercises for a while, and his reply, “actually, I can.” He was determined and driven to not let this setback take out his fitness and health progress.

His first attempts back at the box on his warhorse scooter weren’t all pride and glory, as could be imagined. Lantz felt like his “lungs were the worst. I had fire lungs and sticky spit from 2-3 minutes of work.” He has continued to keep clawing away for progress, eventually becoming more comfortable with the workloads.

With the experience of Lantz’s war wound, he has had an abundance of time to think. Through reflection of this assault, he has learned some valuable life skills and nuggets of wisdom to continue the fight. He gained perspective, evaluated his priorities in life, and examined his healthy habits. Lantz realized, “This injury made me have healthy habits. I acknowledged that I truly needed to focus on my mobility and also my nutrition.” Mobility would be critical to his technique, and key to being more efficient and safe in daily WODs. Nutrition would be key to fueling his performances. Both are crucial to fighting the daily fight.

The battle isn’t over, and the warrior spirit hasn’t disappeared. Every day Lantz gets healthier and stronger. He has chosen to positively learn and find the beauty in the war wounds, and strives for continued progress in ensuing battles to come.

The Rest In The Music

The Rest In The Music

As I glance forward, I commit to living life by being intentional and training with purpose. I choose to be thankful for the forced rest time, even if it wasn’t part of my plan. Sometimes the man upstairs has a way of knocking the legs out from under you to refocus your direction and get new lenses to see a different perspective. I relinquish the selfish part of me to enjoy the rest in this song that was given to me.

© Dynamic Edge Nutrition 2018