T Nation

Minimizing Post-Surgical Atrophy

Greeting everyone,

I ruptured my pec yesterday (confirmed by the best orthopedic surgeon in Austin). I have my MRI scheduled for tomorrow, so we don’t yet know whether the tendon tore from the humerus or whether the muscle tore from the tendon. Regardless, the road to recovery is going to be long and arduous. I’ve mostly come to terms with the fact that I could rehabilitating my chest for months if not years. My surgery is scheduled for Monday.

I’ve worked so hard to put on the mass that I have now, and I want to minimize the atrophy as much as possible.

I’ve already bought Biotest BCAAs and Creatine to try to limit the atrophy through supplements. I plan to train my lower body as much as possible without putting any stress on my chest (leg extensions, standing leg curls, body weight lunges, body weight squats, eventually moving onto Smith machine squats, safety bar squats, squats with a Manta Ray). Upper body training isn’t really an option generally until at least 8 weeks after surgery when I’m scheduled to start my physical therapy. I might attempt to do some unilateral work with my non-injured side insofar as it puts NO stress on my wound. I will not take ANY risk of rupturing it again.

I’ve accepted atrophy will happen. How can I minimize it?

How should I adjust my diet? I’m carrying about 18-20% body fat right now and had just started my summer vanity diet when I tore my pec. Should I keep my Calories high, adding a bit of fat to try to keep mass, or should I take this opportunity to try to lose some unwanted body fat since I’m going to be dropping weight anyway?

Can anyone recommend any other exercises that I haven’t mentioned that I can perform while recovering?

Here’s the big one, and what I need to most input with. I will be in an immobilizing brace for upwards of 6 weeks after surgery. Should I ask my doctor is he will prescribe me testosterone or another anabolic to combat the catabolism? If my doctor will not prescribe test, should I seek alternative means of acquiring steroids to combat the muscle loss?

I appreciate any feedback anyone can offer. Thank you.

My recovery was faster than I expected so don’t sweat it. Train your legs and the other side of your upper body. Your other side will catch up soon enough.