T Nation

Amputee Beginner


#1

Let me start by giving some background info. I’m 50 years old, 5’10” and 195 pounds. I’m a 22 year retired Army Paratrooper and I’m an amputee. Lost my left leg 4 years in a very bad motorcycle accident. I lost it very high above the left knee so I only have about 6 inches left. I also broke my pelvic, both bones in my left forearm were compound fractures, and two vertebrae. It took me almost two years to learn to walk again but with the help of a bionic knee I’m doing it and working a full time job as a construction superintendent.

I’ve never been a quitter so, in April of 2015 I joined a local gym for the first time in my life and started trying to figure out what I needed to do to not just get into shape but to transform my pudgy deformed body into something I would be proud of. I learned a lot in the past year from others in the gym but, I’m still in the same shape I was when I started.

I lost about 20 lbs up front doing mostly cardio and then started lifting weights. I gained most of my strength back and even saw some progressive gains in my lifting and I got hooked on it. I really enjoy it!! But, I see very little results from my efforts when I look in the mirror. It’s almost as if at my age (50) and with my limitations I’m never gonna get to where I want!!

That’s why I’m here now. I’ve followed your page for quite some time now and have seen so much info that for a man in my situation I just don’t have a PLAN or know where to begin and what I should be doing. I’m lost!! I still have my belly fat that I just can’t shake. I’m very limited on what I can do with legs and back. Squats, deadlifts, cleans, etc. are almost impossible because of my one leg. Balance is good. I’m just tired of looking the way I do. Not sure what supplements if any I should be taking. I don’t want to put stuff in my body that isn’t good for it. Just need some genuine help here.

Thank you.
Barry


#2

Yo Barry,

So what have you been doing up until now? Talk us through your routine (or whatever) and diet.


#3
  1. I agree. Some more information about your current training would be helpful. That way you’re not getting advice that you already know.

  2. You’re a badass. Thank you for being a badass.


#4

I’ll do my best but keep in mind I don’t even know the lingo that well.

After doing some reading on several different pages, talking to several lifters, and working out with some of them I basically was lifting 5 days a week then tapered off to 3-4. I had no real structure or plan that I went by other than your typical chest Monday, back Tuesday, arms Wednesday, etc. I changed things up occasionally but tried to stick to somewhat of a weekly routine. After working all day and being on my prosthetic all day and it grinding in my groin the gym was the last place I wanted to be but I went regardless. After about the first 8 months I noticed my strength in my left arm was coming back considering that arm had shrunk to half the size and strength of my right one after my accident. Even push ups were hard at first. I couldn’t do one single dip or pull-up. I’m pretty good with body weight dips now but struggle with pull ups, even with one leg. I have low back pains almost daily from walking with a prosthetic. My core and back are definitely lagging way behind. It took a while but I finally reached my first goal of bench pressing my body weight and maybe a little extra with some pushing.

As for diet, I started right away on whey protein and trying to eat healthier. I wanted to lose the fat and gain muscle but have since read on T-Nation that I should focus on one or the other. I just don’t have a good idea of what and how my diet should be structured to burn the belly fat and build muscle properly. I don’t eat a lot because I’m afraid I will become obese and besides I don’t have a big appetite anyways.

I have never received and solid guidance from successful lifters atleast that’s my thought.

I know there is no get big quick miracle pill but if there is I want a bottle LOL:)


#5

Do you swim or have access to a pool? That can be a fantastic option as your major form of cardio. Not only is it great cardio, it builds up your core and lower back strength in a pretty low-impact way.


#6

I don’t have any pools near me unfortunately.

Barry Carlton


#7

3 or 4 days training is plenty.

So what leg exercises can you do, if any? I would think a very basic push/pull routine would be best. If you help me out with what exercises you can actually do I’ll happily put one together for you.[quote=“bmcarlton, post:4, topic:219909”]
I wanted to lose the fat and gain muscle but have since read on T-Nation that I should focus on one or the other. I just don’t have a good idea of what and how my diet should be structured to burn the belly fat and build muscle properly. I don’t eat a lot because I’m afraid I will become obese and besides I don’t have a big appetite anyways.
[/quote]

If you eat good, nutritious, minimally processed food then you will do both; it doesn’t have to be one or the other.

What does a typical day of eating look like for you?


#8

Here are some good pointers for diet/nutrition…


For supps just get the basics: some fish oil (ideally krill oil or Flameout) and a BCAA/amino drink to have intra workout, krealklyn creatine also good stuff.


#9

I can do leg extensions, leg curls, and leg presses, and calf raises. I can do squats and deadlifts with the smith machine but due to low back I’ve been overly cautious not to re-injure it by not doing these. I’ve read all about the advantages of big lifts but I’m just cautious.

Keep in mind I’m on my sound leg all day and so it gets worked really hard just walking and standing. I don’t have much left in my tank at the end of the day.

Also, my primary question is about overall body (mostly upper and core), not just legs.

My weekly routine looks something like this:

Mon- Chest/Tri’s
Tue- Back/Bi’s
Wed- Arms
Thu- Chest/Tri’s or shoulders

I have worked out in two months now due to several personal issues but I’m anxious to get back at it but I want to get off on the right foot…ironically I only have a right foot lol😂

Thank you for your willingness to help.

Barry


#10

I am personally not a fan of having an “arms” day. Some people are and may tell me I’m wrong, but that’s my take.

Consider a Push/Pull format, similar to what you’re doing now.

Day A: Leg press/Leg extensions/Chest/Triceps

Rest

Day B: leg curls, DB RDLs/Back/Biceps

Rest

Day A

Rest…and so on, and so forth.