Patient Stories: Kareem Shaya Revisit

Editor's Note: Kareem Shaya was our very fist patient story over two years ago when we first launched our website.  We thought it might be nice to revisit his message.  

While experimenting with my nutrition a few years ago, I learned about the paleo diet. And you can't read about paleo for long before you stumble across crossfit.

Crossfit's intensity and class-based structure were interesting, and in some ways it seemed like the last thing I hadn't tried. I'd dabbled in running but never liked it, and going to the gym to work out by myself was an impossible habit to sustain. I spent months doing basic bodyweight exercises at home before I felt well-versed enough to sign up at my local crossfit gym.

The first few months of classes were bumpy. But they're bumpy for everyone. I'd assumed that as an amputee I'd have to make a lot of adjustments, but in those months I found that the closer I stuck to the form that everyone else was using on squats, cleans, kettlebell swings, and everything else, the better my results. Going once a week turned into twice a week, then three times, then four times and five.

It's been 18 months since I started. I've been amazed with the results. In the gym, yes, but more so outside the gym, in my day-to-day. Posture, hip strength, cardiorespiratory capacity, general physical awareness, and all the other things that important for walking around on a prosthesis all day.

But there's nothing magical about crossfit specifically. I spent years dabbling with workout programs — running, aerobics, weight machines, etc. — and never liked any of them, and I thought that meant I just didn't like exercise. But as the saying goes, the best workout is the one you do. So I'm hoping an amputee will see these videos and just do something. Crossfit, jogging, jiu-jitsu, yoga, ten sit-ups a day, it doesn't matter. It's so common to fret so much about doing the best thing that you end up not doing anything. Especially when you have to figure out how your prosthesis will affect things. But as it turns out, that's the easy part.

Check out Kareem at his local Crossfit gym: