He once had the knees of an 80-year-old. Now he’s in the best shape of his life
You know what they say: No pain, no gain. But that old training mantra is outdated, says Men’s Health Fitness Director BJ Gaddour.
There’s a fine line between the moderate discomfort that’s normal during a hard workout and being in actual pain. As a weight-room junkie and former football player who constantly pushed himself past his limits back in college, Gaddour learned that lesson the hard way.
“By the time I was 22, I had four knee surgeries—two on each knee,” says Gaddour. “Doctors told me, ‘You’ve got the cartilage wear of a 70- or 80-year-old.’”
So Gaddour set out on a journey to earn back the physical capacity he had lost.
“Now I’m thriving in my 30s more than I ever was in my teens and 20s,” he says.
How did he reach this point? By discovering several ways to kick pain’s ass, including:
• Maintain a rigid hydration regimen. Drink plenty of water—between 2 to 3 liters—throughout the day. A steady stream of H2O will send plenty of nutrients and oxygen to your muscles and prevent your joints and tissues from stiffening.
• Cut your loads in half and double the time-under-tension. During your workouts, lift lighter weights but do more reps. You’ll get the same muscle-building stimulus you need to make gains, but with less wear and tear on your joints.
• Follow a “Netflix and Stretch” plan while watching TV. Too much couch time can compromise your movement and mobility, which saps your strength and boosts your risk of injury.