T Nation

Help With W/O After Heart Attack

I have been reading T-Nation for about 6 months and I figured now is the time to tap into all of that knowledge that is out there.

I’m 32 yrs old and I was a Muscle and Fitness disciple for years. When I was 27 I suffered a massive heart attack while lifting weights - totally unrelated to the weight lifting by the way. I ended up going through cardiac arrest, lung complications and all sorts of other goodies. The end result was pretty severe congestive heart failure.

After about a year of light rehab, my cardiologists gave me a kick in the ass and told me to get back to the weights. Things went pretty well and I was able to work hard in the gym and get back to normal living. Unfortunatley, I had another heart attack last October so I am back to square 1.

I have just started getting back into weights and thought I would begin with the old Bill Starr 5x5 routine just to build up a solid strength base and learn the core lifts all over again. My problem is fatigue, it seems to take me much longer to recover. I am also unable to complete the full Starr program so I am currently trying 3x5.

Am I wasting my time by tweaking the 5x5 to this extent? As well, any ideas on how to manage fatigue?? I have seen some of CW’s stuff on CNS fatigue but am unsure what my problem is. Is it just my heart, or CNS, or the shitload of meds, or that I am so out of shape?? Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

Be very careful. Wear a heart monitor and stop exercising when too high.

Go very slowly into any program. Progress the workload very gradually.

You have to learn what it is that caused the problem and monitor that problem.

Check with your doctor about any program you do.

many people will probably disagree with me, but since you have had two heart attacks I would devote your time to cardio and just do some staple weight lifting like pullups, dips, squats, etc. There is a lot of research regarding reversing heart disease(and obviously I am not a cardiologist and don’t know you) but I think you would be better served getting into rowing for example which has amazing cardiovascular benefits. Just my 2 cents.

another thought is something like boxing or martial arts(obviously taken slow). Every time you workout you are getting a great cardio workout, which cannot be said for weight training.

As smart as people nay be on this board(or at least think they are) unless they are a qualified medical professional, they have absoluely no room to advise you on this.

You need your cardiologist to very clearly specify what is OK and what is not, stress tests, training with PT’s for several months, stuff like that.

[quote]BradS wrote:
another thought is something like boxing or martial arts(obviously taken slow). Every time you workout you are getting a great cardio workout, which cannot be said for weight training.[/quote]

Sorry BradS, don’t agree entirely. Being a Karate Black Belt myself, I wholeheartedly agree martial arts are good cardio workout. However, training in a class may not be ideal for a post heart-attack person for the following reasons:

  1. You don’t always train on your own pace;

  2. Some school don’t ask for medical clearence;

  3. The sensei needs to look after the whole class not just you, even you have told your sensei that you are post heart-attack.

However, if you can do some solo or one-on-one training within the workout heart rate zone your cardiologist suggested, it would be good. I agree pure cardio would be ideal for CHF as a starting point.

CHF, I agree with seanc and suggest you to find out more from the medical people. If you are cleared by your Doctor and are looking for gym or martial arts school, tell them your situation and ask if they have a defibrillator and have someone (or ideally everyone) who knows how to use it. If they don’t know what you are saying or being uncertain, you better walk away.

No problems with working out hard and lifting heavy. It is just that heavy for me is a lot lighter then heavy for others.

As for the reason for the heart attacks. I had a disection in an artery (sort of a tear on the inside) that caused a clot. The clot was cleared out and a stent was inserted into the artery. The second heart attack was a result of poor circulation through the damaged artery thanks to decreased cardiac function.

My docs set me up with a personal trainer a few years ago who was quite good. He had me working my ass off and I made some decent progress. Unfortunately he was quite expensive so I am now on my own.

My docs feel that it is vitally important for heart failure patients to build some good muscle as it improves circulation and makes the body work more efficiently. That is why I am trying to find a good program that I can recover from and make decent gains. Basically my goal is to achieve pre-heart attack performance in the gym. Lofty but attainable I am sure.