Hi Lisa, you look great! How are you feeling?
I’m feeling really happy! It’s absolutely amazing, after having been in pain for so long, for that pain to have gone. I know I’m very lucky - not everyone feels like this straight after surgery.
Can you update us on what’s happened since we last spoke?
I had my surgery 4 weeks ago. The surgery took 90 minutes and then I was in hospital for 5 days. I had my operation in the morning and then in the afternoon they got me up out of bed on crutches, and that was the hardest thing – both physically and mentally – to stand up from the bed. So I got up really slowly, and oh my gosh, it was the most incredible feeling! It felt like a new beginning and I was just so happy and excited.
On the recommendation of my doctor the day after surgery I was on the bike, just to get the blood flowing to the muscles. I’m working on getting the hip moving again and my body adjusting to my new hip.
I had the best surgeon, and that’s thanks to Jackie and Phillip. They organised the very best surgeon and the best care for me, so I feel very lucky.
What has your post-surgery rehab looked like?
I’ve been working with a physiotherapist named Andrew, who is also the technical consultant on BODYATTACK, and of course I’ve been working with my wonderful coach Mark Holyoake.
I actually made a lot of progress over the first two weeks and started training again with Mark – very simple stability and strengthening moves for my glutes and core. I have to wait for the muscles that have been cut and the bone that has been drilled to heal, so there is no flexion, twisting or impact at all - just very slow leg and glute adductions and abductions. I’ve also been able to find machines and exercises I can do to maintain upper-body strength. What has really helped me was that I had figured out – before the surgery – what I could still do without using my hips. I’ve been training my upper body for the last three weeks, doing strict shoulder presses, pull-ups, strict muscle-ups and gymnastic moves… I’m not trying anything new but I feel good because I know what my body is capable of.
What has it been like not doing cardio workouts?
The biggest challenge mentally is to accept that my workouts are different now and I’m training for different reasons. As long as I’ve got a training programme, then I feel satisfied. Mark changes my programme every day and he gives me postural and glute exercises, plus I do my rehab every day.
I haven’t had my heart rate up for weeks now and that feels hard. I’ve definitely put on a bit of weight – probably ‘cause I still eat chocolate every day! Everybody in the Les Mills office knows I have a sweet tooth.
BODYATTACK 103 was the first Masterclass you haven’t presented since you were pregnant for Release 73. Was that hard?
I didn’t feel sad because I was still a big part of it – I did all the choreography and had the release completely ready before it went out to the presenters. I coached the team during filming week with Dan (Maroun), and I got up on stage to introduce the release.
I absolutely trusted them to deliver the product as I had envisaged it, and they did a great job. I was really proud of the team.
But don’t get me wrong, I am really looking forward to being back on stage. It did feel a bit like organizing a party and then not being able to go – everyone else gets to have the fun! Of course I want to be a part of it.
How are you choreographing BODYATTACK 104?
I had already choreographed half of the class before surgery, so I only had half a class to finish – I worked really hard to get ahead before my operation.
It is hard not being able to physically do 104. I can still feel and think and see the workout – so I have a few people who act as my bodies, they try stuff out for me and give me their honest feedback.
Your big goal is to be back on stage for October filming in Shanghai. If this wasn’t an impetus, would your rehab be different?
No. It would be exactly the same. Exercise is in my blood and I love being fit and healthy. Whether I had Shanghai to aim for or not, I’d be striving to get back. I want to be able to run with my kids again and be able to walk downstairs to kiss them goodnight.
My number one priority is to get back to teaching BODYATTACK, and I want to teach some more classes. I had to pull back over the last 18 months because of my hip, but having this time away has made me realise how much I love teaching for the members.
I love being a fit role model for Les Mills. So that also motivates me. Shanghai is not my main goal. I want to be part of filming but my main motivation is to get back to my classes.
Your mantra is “adapt, react, and get on with it”. Can you expand on this?
It’s how I get through the tough times. It’s normal to have down days and it would be easy to say, I can’t do it.
Adapt is about adapting to the change. I understand I can’t do cardio at the moment, so instead I do my rehab, and strength and core work. I can’t use my hips, but I can do upper body stuff.
React is about how my body is reacting to the different types of training I’m doing. It’s responding to the different stimuli.
“Get on with it” is about keeping on going. It might sound a bit harsh, but if you really want something, you have to work for it. I’m pretty self-disciplined and I know I need to work hard to get back to being a role model for my classes. I don’t expect that I’m just going to come back and be in Shanghai filming.
It’s about knowing what you want, and focusing on that. I want to teach. So I will work on getting back to that.
You’ve had support from Instructors all over the world. How has this helped you to stay strong?
I’ve been so thankful and humbled by the Instructor support I’ve received. It’s really inspiring and has definitely helped me to keep going. I think it’s because my story is relatable. I’m not anyone special, I’m just like any other Instructor out there.
I think people like my story because it’s good to see something positive come out of adversity. I love watching those stories on the TV where suddenly someone is able to walk again. I was filled with happiness to be able to stand up after my surgery. And when I got on that bike I was like, oh my gosh, I’m biking! It’s about going from sadness to greatness. And I have to say, I love a happy ending.
If you are experiencing any type of pain while exercising, or you become injured, please consult your physician before continuing to teach and follow his or her advice.
WORD FROM THE PHYSIO: ANDREW NEWMARCH
Could you explain exactly what the surgery entails?
The surgeon has taken a posterior/lateral approach where they cut through the gluteal tendon and expose the hip joint. They dislocated the hip to remove the ball of the joint and replace it with a prosthetic, in Lisa’s case both the femoral component (ball) and acetabulum (socket)
How have you and Lisa worked together on her rehab?
Lisa is incredibly fit and strong so she has progressed much faster than other people would have in her position! We sat down together at the start and worked out some guidelines for her training.
Lisa and her coach Mark have been intelligent in their approach to her rehabilitation, I have only needed to provide some input occasionally to assist in their process. I get regular videos from Lisa in her sessions with Mark, which has enabled Lisa to progress to go seamlessly towards the first check at six weeks. They have worked safely from the get go; and it has been impressive to watch the team go to work.
We’ve worked on lots of isometric holds and targeted recruitment of the adductors, glutes and hip flexors, as well as her deep abdominals. She rides a stationary bike to keep the joint mobile and gain/maintain the range of motion and attempt to keep her cardiovascular system ticking over. This has been challenging, as Lisa's engine operates at an optimal level! We have regular sessions scheduled to discuss any potential issues arising from her work; and to work/release some soft tissue restrictions during her rehabilitation.
She has been really patient and intelligent with her training and her rehab, and I know this is a big challenge for her. But I believe Lisa's commitment to being healthy, fit and strong pre-operatively has allowed her to progress so quickly and safely. At times she has surprised me.
Lisa has her six-week X-ray tomorrow, and how we progress will depend a lot on what the surgeon says from this. He will be looking to check that the prosthetic hasn’t moved since he performed the surgery. If we get the tick from him, then we can move into taking Lisa into different planes of movement. She has been primarily working in the sagittal plane, but if all goes well with the surgeon we can start to add in lateral plane movements, involving some dynamic stability, and reactive neuromuscular control work.
Assuming the X-ray is good, we will start to introduce broken down components of BODYATTACK type movement patterns over the next six to eight weeks, and get her ready for her goal to get back to being on stage.
We know everyone recovers differently, so please always follow the advice of your own physiotherapist.
Lisa had great news following her six week check with the surgeon – everything is where it should be! Andrew will now help Lisa progress to the next stage of her rehabilitation journey.