Taking His Medicine

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In golf, the term “taking your medicine” means chipping out into the fairway instead of trying that heroic shot between ten trees for the one percent chance of hitting the green.

It leaves a sour taste in your mouth to do the right thing, but at least you live to fight another day

Here at TwinTown, one of our members took his medicine and now is reaping the benefits. If you come to the gym in the wee hours of the 5:30 & 6:30am classes, you know who Scott Pollack is

Recently, I asked Scott to tell me about his journey from when he started CrossFit until now. I’m going to let him tell you how it all went down in his words.

“I started at TwinTown in February of 2013. In June of that year, I had to stop with an injury. I have a bone spur in the channel where the nerve root leaves my spinal column and starts to branch out in my neural network. There’s also some disk degeneration that causes narrowing of the channel that houses the nerve root around my C5 vertebra. Most people have disk degeneration of some kind. Disks stop receiving look during our early teenage years. The disks crack, leak fluid, and compress over time, especially if you’ve lived an active life.

Somehow I banged the nerve. I had immediate and constant tingling in my thumb and fingers, traveling up my arm the pain was less frequent, but more intense. I also had weakness and atrophy in my right arm – two neurological red flags. I went from being able to do scores of pushups to not being able to do a single one. I had an epidural injection of a steroid into my spinal column which relieved the symptoms. I didn’t know if I’d need spinal surgery. One doctor suggested I not ever lift anything more than 5 lbs. (A gallon of milk weighs 8.3 lbs.) Another told me his brother had a similar injury. He recovered and was able to resume all the activities he had previously enjoyed. It never happened to him again. He told me to go SLOWLY and LISTEN to my body. I decided to take this course, even though it went against my cement headed nature. (Surprisingly, the doctors let me play hockey. I wasn’t going to question it.)

I went to physical therapy, spending time in traction and doing exercises to strengthen all those stabilizing muscles in my back and neck. I worked a lot with thera-bands and a Swiss ball. Next I started doing yoga. Eventually, I felt well enough to ask Kayser for CrossFit style workouts that I could do at home. I started doing them in February of 2014. I weighed 278 lbs – too many pints of Ben and Jerry’s and too many pints of beer.

By summer of 2014, I felt well enough to return to the gym. I started in foundations 3x/week in July of 2014, determined to work on my form and to continue to strengthen all those stabilizing muscles that would help me do the required movements in a biomechanically sound way. I wanted to go really slowly as my doctor suggested. I stayed in foundations until February of 2015, far longer than most. It took me that long to pass the dumbbell push and pull, which was testing all those atrophied muscles from my injury. During the early part of 2015 I also did the nutrition challenge. The results speak for themselves. I now weigh 228, so I’ve lost an even 50 lbs. since February of 2014. My blood sugar went from pre-diabetic to normal levels. My cholesterol went from elevated to normal. I can now string together double-unders and I did my first unassisted pull-up since the early 1990s.

I continue to try to go slowly and focus on form. In the long run I’ll make more progress by going slowly and avoiding the injury/recovery/starting over cycle.

I’d also like to thank the coaches who hung in with me during my recovery. I’d only worked out for five months and then took me almost a year to rejoin the gym. They were supportive throughout. Getting back was important. I love the TTFitness community.”

Scott exemplifies what it’s like to have a goal in mind, to put it out there and then have the dedication and determination to reach it. Make sure to give Scott a pat on the back when you see him.

Members like Scott make this community what it is. We love having you as part of our family Scott! Keep working hard and keep reaching for those goals!