Fitness Loss Post Surgery

I want to thank Coach Simon and others who gave me some good advice on my post septoplasty recovery. It was a longer recovery than I first expected. The good news is that I am now 6 weeks post surgery, feeling great, and have some hard rides in. At week 4-5 I really was able to sustain some longer hard efforts on climbs and it felt good.

With taking the time to really recover what is the best way to get back into training. Specifically yesterday I did a half monty to see where I was. I lost ~5% FTP and MAP. I expect this will bounce back fast. My guess is that I should train on these new lower values and if things feel easy retest. As a mountain biker I am thinking of using the MTB in season plan as it builds in weekend trail rides which is what I love to do. Note that at this point I think I want a 4-6 week training block before a FF as I don’t expect to learn much from it yet.

My other question is on strength. I was at intermediate 4 before surgery. After 6 weeks I am thinking I am back at intermediate 2 for a bit to build up, but would like some thoughts there.

I think the main thing would be focusing on a build that doesn’t introduce big increases in effort quickly. It’ll probably take 6 months before the tissue in your nose and the blood vessels are at full strength - so you don’t want to rupture by trying to nail 9 Hammers. If you’re building steadily (well we’re all supposed to do that anyway, right…?) that should give your body time to actually grow and respond (for example - it’s not just your muscles that are growing - it’s your vasculature and other systems as well).

Only dropping 5% FTP/MAP is awesome, that’s really not a lot of ground to make up. I think your gut feel of “train on these new lower values and if things feel easy retest” sounds like a sensible way to approach it.

Strength - I think if you approach it the same basic way - just build up and be conscious of not getting too much pressure up top…? The gradiation with the strength is not steep - slowly increasing the length of sets & overall duration. I think this should give you a good way to gauge how things are travelling without putting yourself at too much risk?

@MichaelG I don’t have any answers for you but the following blog post from @Coach.Mac.C has outstanding guidelines:

The following podcast is also well worth digesting … and should help us feel less concerned when life keeps us off the bike for a while:

I’m now 3 weeks post right shoulder rotator cuff repair following a fall so am following these post-surgery posts with great interest as I plan my return to #IWBMATTKYT! All the best with your continued recovery.


Hey @MichaelG Great to have you back in the saddle!
I think you’re right on the money. Dropping your strength level to Intermediate 2 should be sufficient, and you’ll regain that strength very quickly.
Doing what you enjoy is a huge component in training, so the XC MTB plan sounds like a good one for you. Just keep tabs on your body and if any of the indoor intensity sessions feel like too much, back off on the intensity 5-10%. You’ll get that 5% back faster than if you over-do it and have to take a longer recovery break.

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Interesting post. I’m wondering if anyone out there has had experience recovering from laparoscopic cholecystectomy - that’s medical speak for removing an inflamed gall bladder through an approximately 1 cm hole around the navel. I just had this done a couple of days ago and have to say that in his wildest dreams Grunter von Agony couldn’t come up with something as painful as an attack of acute cholecytitis. Can’t say that I’m sorry to lose this organ; even just a day or two post-op it’s obvious that this has been causing me grief for the last few months.

I’ve at least gained a humorous anecdote from the experience. The triage nurse in the ER noted that my resting heart rate was low and upon hearing that I was a cyclist noted this in the file. After I was hooked up to a heart monitor every medical professional who came by while I was being diagnosed (and there were many…) first noted, with some mild alarm, that my heart rate was low, then looked in the file. “Ah… a cyclist”. Chalk one up for Sufferfest training!


Yes, +1 for Sufferfest! And yes, attacks of acute cholecystitis are a step above what GvA dishes out. (But don’t give him any ideas!)

As a surgeon myself (but not a general surgeon) I’m going to give you the bog standard answer - “Speak to your surgeon.” Every patient and every lap chole is just that little different and your surgeon is best to guide you advice on how easy YOU need to take it after YOUR surgery. Once you have those general guidelines from your surgeon then you should be able to work that in with Coach Mac C’s advice from his post and possibly the help of a good sports physiotherapist - worth their weight in gold.

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I will follow this sage advice and take a (hopefully short) Couchlandrian holiday until my first follow-up appointment with the surgeon.

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I’m recovering from cancer and two surgeries, including spinal surgery. I did the fitness kickstarter plan and now I’m doing the Couch to Crusher plan. With the 2 surgeries and 4 hospital stays I lost over 50 lbs, most of it muscle. I’m back up to riding 35 miles, but still have a way to go to get back to where I was last summer.

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Sounds like you are well and truly on the way. Well done and good luck!

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Wow, that’s a lot to have gone through. So glad to hear that you’re back in the saddle and able to start training again! Slow and steady is the way to go, and doing the strength training program would be a great way to regain some strength and lean mass as well.
Best of luck and happy training!

Best wishes for continued recovery and health.