T Nation

Project Meningitis: Recover and Rebuild


Long Story made Short:

  • Have been training now for almost 10 years.
  • Went to Bolivia on a Missions Trip
  • Got extremely sick, didn't sleep or eat for almost a week, came closer to dying than I want to admit to myself
  • Managed to make it back to California, then got worse, ending up in Stanford Hospital for 4 days
  • Diagnosis: Viral Meningitis

I don't need to tell you where I was before all of this, but let's just say I lost enough weight to make it back to my high-school weight of 152lbs, my current starting point. From now on out, I take on the long road of healing, then the long road of rebuilding. There is no treatment for viral (meningitis unless they want to run a million tests to figure out what virus), so I was sent home with 2 types of morphine and told I would heal on my own, with time. I just ran out of my morphine and chose not to renew it. It's come-back time. Be it months or years, I am going to surpass where I was before I stepped foot in Bolivia. The point of this log is so I can look back and say 'take that' to the worst experience of my life (yet). A few encouragers and nay-sayers are always welcome.

The picture is me after a while in a Bolivian Hospital, having not eaten for...a long time.


2nd attempt at the gym since discharge

Standing OH Press

WG Pullups

CG Cable Rows

Seated DB Curls
30s x 6
30s x 8

Alt DB Front Raises
15s x 10
15s x 10

Wow, it's worse than I thought. My muscle have basically forgotten how to contract. However, it felt amazing to actually put my joints through their ROM and it felt even better to be back in my realm. It has been a month and a half of shenanigans in South America and the hospital here, it felt FAR over due to move some iron, even if my gramma moves more than me now.

Another strange thing happened. Apparently Spinal Taps have a residual effect, because my back did NOT appreciate movement in the area. I don't tend to touch my low back often, but when I reached around to palpate the area, it actually felt swollen and puffy in an area of the circumference of a tennis ball...strange.

FYI: this is not what my normal workouts look like, I just don't have enough muscle control right now to load up a squat or DL (I tried a few days ago and things didn't turn out so well).


Good luck on your recovery man. I'll be following and pulling for you. Your determination is damn motivating, stay strong.


Gluck man!

Keep at it and just go at a pace that doesn't over tax you at first...

I'll be following this to see how your doing.

How is your diet looking?


Thanks and welcome.


I know now not to tax myself. I tried to go to the gym last Friday and almost passed out after 3 reps with 135 on squats. It was somewhat embarrassing, but I learned my lesson.

As for my diet, I am just trying to learn to eat again for now. I am having a hard time with what I get, which is around 2800-3000 cals a day. My appetite is improving everyday, so it shouldn't be long for that to be back to normal. In a matter of 2 or 3 weeks, I should be eating my usual of around 3500 cals of clean food. Once things are back, maybe i'll post up the eating plan.

Thanks for dropping by.


will be following this one closely. love to see when people stop whining about their plights and do much about it. god bless ya guy!


Just a quick update guys. I am in Long Beach right now at a Functional Training Summit. I am loving it so far. There are some names that you guys will recognize giving presentations and hanging out in the crowds. Mike Boyle? Dan John? Chuck Wolfe? Stuart McGill? Steve Cotter?

It's been great. Going to see some Gray Cook, Lee Burton, Alwyn Cosgrove, Sue Falsone, and Aaron Brooks tomorrow/sunday.

I would normally update a little more, but I am out doing some learning for the weekend!

My appetite is getting better everyday. I managed to scarf a good amount of grub for lunch and dinner, so hopefully another pound or two will come back over the weekend.


Had another great day of lectures here on the West Coast. My energy has been very low, and I keep having to take a lot o breaks just to keep my brain active. It is pretty easy to pay attention, though, when it is some of the brightest minds in various industries bringing forth their latest and greatest discoveries and research. I have already learned quite a bit of interesting info which I am going to apply to my training and patients, especially in terms of hip, lower extremity, and core.

On another note, I FILLED my face today at lunch. I took an extra long one with my wife for a little bit of a date. I managed to fill my face with bacon-wrapped steak, potato skins, and some brownies for dessert. It was a dirty meal, but it felt good just to hold it down and feel full for the first time in a while.


For those who don't know who he is, Dr Stuart McGill is pretty much the final say on the back and core. He literally wrote THE books on Low Back Pain as well as core performance. I met him this weekend in Long Beach, and he was very excited to sign the inside cover of one of his books that I own (Low Back Disorders).


So, I trained with a friend a few nights ago, but it wasn't particularly a "training" session.

We took a while to do some Functional Movement Screening. I have had a lot of injuries and imbalances in the past, and so we took about 45 minutes running through some tests and coming up with some parameters by which to train for the remainder of the summer.

It was a great time to do this, since I am basically "reset" right now anyway. Here are the deficits we found with me:

Bilateral Hip Mobility
Right-sided Hip Stability
Bilateral Scapulothoracic Stability
Thoracic Mobility
Right Rotation/anti-rotation Stability
Hamstring Flexibility
Adductor Flexibility
Hip Flexor Activation
Glute Max Activation

Some of these were major, some of them were minor, but now I have the daunting task of addressing all of these with a new prehab and workout program

Will be doing a full-length workout tomorrow, and I will post up some thoughts on a lifting program. I was suppose to train tonight, but the guy I was suppose to go with bailed with not enough time left for me to go alone...I hate relying on others.


Today's workout:

  • 15 minute warmup following the NASM's Corrective Exercise protocol

95 x 5
115 x 5
135 x 5

Incline DB Press
50s x 10
65s x 4

Cable Crossover
100 x 8
100 x 10
100 x 10

Abs Circuit of 50on/10off
-Ball Rollout
-Side Plank form knees
Bottom's up Kettlebell carry


Well, it felt great to workout again. The weights are pathetic still, but sweating without feeling like death was great. I have a lot of re-arranging to do it my workout plan to make sure I am addressing a lot of my problems right now, but I think it should be fun.


Sunday's Session

Warmup: 15 minute CES session with Boyle Workout Muse 50:10

Explosive BW Rows

CG Pulldown
100 x 8
100 x 12
100 x 12

Skullz to bridge of nose
40 x 10 5
40 x 10 5 5
50 x 10 5 5
Seated alt DB Curl
30 x 12
30 x 14
30 x 12

Preacher Curl Machine
? x 8
? x 10
u/l alt DB OHX
20 x 8
20 x 10

Offset DB Shrug
40/65 x 10/10
40x65 x 10/10


Holy CRAP my body is sore from yesterday. It's gonna be a while before I am used to doing work. I feel likeI am relearning to contract my muscles, though, especially in pulling motions. Today's workout went very well, and I am sure the progress will be coming along sooner than later. I am gaining weight back quicker than expected, but I think I need to slow it down until I can burn a few more cals, because more than I want is coming back as fat.

The warmup program that I have written for myself is PERFECT, and I am stoked on Mike Boyle's Workout Muse music for timing purposes. I am addressing a lot of problems, getting the blood flowing, moving my joints through their full ROM, and getting it all done in about 15 minutes, tops 20 mins.

Also, today I wrote my new program in between sets (I need long breaks until my work capacity comes back, so why not use the down-time, right?). It is going to be very CORE INTENSIVE and very PULL DOMINANT. This is the way it needs to be for me to achieve some real balance in my physique while I am aiming for some athleticism. My shoulders, my hips, and my strength will all thank me for it later.

Some more thoughts:

Got an email from my Mom today, saying that she keeps getting upset, thinking of how close she was to "losing me" in Bolivia...dem apples is strange-flavored, I tell you that. I keep forgetting that people die from that kind of thing. I am very blessed to be alive, none-the-less working out. God is Good.

and yet some more thoughts:

I would like to start competing in boardercross this year. I have been snowboarding for about a decade now, and the need for speed is seeping further and further in. After watching lots of boarder cross on the Olympics, I decided I need to start doing it. Hence, you will see lots of endurance work in my leg workouts, a little bit now, a LOT in the fall. This is one of the major reasons I am trying to create a "punctum fixum" (as Dr McGill would put it) to aid in my hard and explosive movements during training. I am hoping to find a partner to do Hill Sprints


No training today. I've got a lot of catching up to do in other areas of life, but I'll be back to training on Wednesday evening.

On another note, I need to get my nutrition in check. I have been eating sloppy in hopes of re-gaining some poundage, but I think it is not helping me feel better. Next week I will likely make a nutrition plan to follow and start eating a lot cleaner again, as before the meningitis.

Also, My arms are retardedly sore from yesterday. My back is not sore a all, but that is no surprise, cause I didn't exactly do much hard work on it. The new workout plan has 5 pulls plus deadlifts, so once I put that into effect the back will be getting hit harder than anything else.


Today's Session:

5 mins rowing
20 minute stretch and warmup

Standing BB Military Press
65 x 9
85 x 5
95 x 5
65 x 13

Pullups (wow, since when do I suck at these so hard?)
Bw x 5
BW x 5
BW x 3

HS U/L Rows
90 x 10/10
90 x 10/10
90 x 10/10
90 x 10/10

Seated Offset DB Shrugs
75/60 x 10
75/60 x 10
75/60 x 10
75/60 x 10

Reverse Cable Crossover
60 x 10
80 x 10
80 x 10

Alt DB Front Raise (Hammer grip)
25 x 10
25 x 10
25 x 10

EZ-BB Curls
60 x 10
60 x 10
60 x 10
60 x 10
Seated U/L DB OH X
20 x 13/13
25 x 10/10
25 x 8/8


Work capacity is slowly getting up there. I remembered today that I am, in fact, a lanky kid. Things like wide grip Pullups lose strength in a matter of a week for me. I am considering ditching them for good and switching to pullups, which feels better on my shoulders and put me at more of an advantage biomechanically. I am not planning on entering a show again any time soon and shouldn't really care about my v-taper much at this low of a BW anyway.

It felt good to get a shoulder pump going and feel a little more solid up top again, since I have lost a lot of stability in my shoulder girdle.


I'll be following your logs closely also, a few years back I became deathly ill and was pretty close to resembling a vegetable for about 7 months straight. Atrophied a lot and had to go the a physical therapist quite often. It sucks and i know how you feel, but you're kicking ass already so i'm excited to see how you progress.


Thanks for joining in, dude. Illness can really freaking suck, so I say "screw you, meningitis".


SO today was fairly uneventful. Went to Church, ate a lot, and went for a 1.5 hours hike, nothing big. My legs are still sore from DLs a few days ago, so I am not gonna push it and lift again today. My back is VERY sore from yesterday...which feels awesome .


Today's session:

5 minutes rowing for shoulder girdle
Workout Muse warm-up

135 x 9
155 x 5
175 x 5
200 x 3

bar x 10/10
65 x 10/10
85 x 8/8



On a new note, I went to the hospital this week for a checkup. They said I was doing a LOT better than expected. They were amazed that I stopped the morphine after 1 bottle and kept trying to get me to take more.

Also, they told me that I went into kidney failure, which I did not know. I was pretty out of it while in the hospital, but i think i would have known something that significant.