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Ted Talk 206: How Can I Adapt My Training For A Knee Injury And General Aches And Pains? – Ask Ted

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Ted Talk 206: How Can I Adapt My Training For A Knee Injury And General Aches And Pains? – Ask Ted

Are constant knee pains or persistent injuries disrupting your fitness routine? It’s a frustrating scenario: you’re committed to staying active and healthy, but that knee injury or those unrelenting aches refuse to budge.

You’ve probably tried a bunch of fixes, checked out loads of advice, and might even be considering drastic changes. But what if there’s a smarter way to handle it all?

In today’s Ask Ted episode Ted is going to answer the question: “I’m 52 and grappling with a knee injury along with general aches and pains. How can I adapt my training to suit these issues?”

He dives deep into understanding acute versus chronic injuries, emphasizes the importance of seeking proper medical attention, and suggests tailored exercises to strengthen muscles around the knee without exacerbating the injury.

He also delves into the significance of diet, body fat, stress, sleep, and targeted supplementation in managing inflammation and promoting healing. Listen now!


You’ll learn:

  • Acute vs. Chronic pain: How to identify the type of injury
  • Aggravating exercises you need to avoid
  • How to incorporate physical therapy-style exercises
  • The importance of diet and managing your body fat
  • How sleep and stress are influencing inflammation and pain sensitivity
  • Prioritizing health before it becomes a necessity
  • And much more…


Related Episodes:  

322: How To Get Back In Shape After An Injury 

Ted Talk 158: “I Hurt Myself Working Out. What Should I Do?” – Ask Ted 

431: How To Stay Active, Stronger And Injure Free As You Age With Dr. Chad Waterbury 


Links Mentioned:

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Podcast Transcription: Ask Ted: How Can I Adapt My Training For A Knee Injury And General Aches And Pains? 

Ted Ryce: On today's Ask Ted episode, we're going to be covering adapting training when you have a knee injury and general aches and pains. If that is something that you're struggling with or know someone who's struggling with it, or perhaps you want to avoid having an injury to your knee, this podcast is going to help you. So, let's dive in.

And the first thing I want to welcome you to the show. I'm your host, Ted Ryce, health expert and coach to executives, entrepreneurs, and other high-performing professionals. And we produce this show for two reasons. Well, really three reasons. I love doing this show. It's a labor of love.

And the second reason is I fell into a lot of marketing, let's say, people; I found a lot of advice in 24 years of being in this business that didn't give me good results.

And as a result, I thought there was something wrong with me. Then to come find out that a lot of these people, they were super confident and charismatic, but just weren't very science-based. And so, what I want to do is bring you the best science-based information on fat loss, health, fitness, and longevity.

And the second reason or third reason, rather, is if you're a high performer and you're looking to have as much success with your health as you do with your career or wealth, and you know that a coach can help you just like they've helped you with your business or in other areas of your life, you can try out what I share with you and know whether I'm a good fit for you or not. So, let's dive into it. Today's question is:

"Hello, Ted, I'm 52 and grappling with a knee injury along with general aches and pains. How can I adapt my training to suit these issues? Specifically, what's the best way to engage my lower body without aggravating my knee?” Now, before we go on, I just need to remind you, I'm not a doctor. I don't have your MRI, I don't have a diagnosis, knee injury. General aches and pains, that's not a diagnosis.

So always seek professional advice when it comes to these. However, I want to tell you this, I do have personal experience with injuries, unfortunately. And I have a lot of, let's say, knowledge regarding this, not only from dealing with my personal experiences, but also, I've taken many courses, including one on post-rehabilitation training, post-rehabilitation exercise.

And I'm going to share with you that. Oh, I forgot, I'll add this too. I've worked with a lot of physical therapists and I've learned a lot from brilliant people. So these are six things that I would do if I were in this situation. Let's jump in.

Number one, determine if it's acute or chronic. So acute injuries arise suddenly. For example, when I was doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I got caught in a joint lock. I was a purple belt. The guy who got me was a blue belt. I didn't want to tap because he was a lower belt and he got me in this move that attacks the knee joint called a knee bar. And that was my signature move. I had literally won tournaments using that move and I didn't want to tap.

And as a result, I got out of it, I didn't tap, but I ended up with an injury from it that day. That's an example of an acute injury. Another example is I was talking to someone recently and he had told me he was playing basketball. And a guy who's much bigger than him, kind of ran him over while he was going for the basket. And he ended up getting his knee hyperextended. That's another example of an acute injury.

Chronic injuries are different. Chronic injuries may have started with an acute injury, like that issue with my knee, the knee bar situation, that's still with me. It's something that I deal with in my left knee. So now it's chronic. But they could also be from something else.

In other words, you don't have, you can't think back, yeah, I was in a car accident or I played a sport and there was an injury, but my knees just started hurting. So chronic injuries can come from an acute injury or general wear and tear and just all of a sudden it starts hurting and you don't know why.

This is why this is important. Number one, if it's acute, prioritize medical attention. For example, when my back was hurting, and I was in Orlando, Florida, I went and saw a physical therapist there.

And very important, I chose a physical therapist who had experience working with athletes because there's a very big difference between physical therapists, doctors, and other medical professionals who deal with athletes versus old people. Because what an athlete is going to deal with is going to be very different than someone who's in their 70s 80s and they're suffering the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. It's a very different situation, very different approach.

So, I made sure I found a physical therapist and this particular physical therapist, they had experience working with the Cirque du Soleil performers in I think it's Universal Studios where Cirque du Soleil is if I remember correctly.

And she sent me to an orthopedic surgeon who she also worked with. As a result, I got some really good information from both of them, although I... Yeah, it's a story for another time, but it didn't help that much. I had to get help from someone else. But it's just an example.

Go and find medical professionals who help people who are active and stay away from the ones who help people who are inactive because the root of those issues and what you're able to do and the approach that you can take, it's going to be very different.

So that's acute. But if it's chronic, then I want you to keep listening because now we have a bit more of a situation on our hands.

So that's the first thing, determine if it's acute or chronic. And the action step is if it's acute, go see a doctor. Don't wait, please. When something is acute and it doesn't get treated properly, it turns into something chronic and you'll be coming back to this episode and listening again and again, maybe.

And if it's chronic, then you've got a different situation on your hand. Keep listening.

Number two is stop doing exercises that aggravate your knee. Here's why this is important. If you have damage in your knee, you probably also have inflammation.

Or maybe the inflammation has calmed down, but let's say you do an exercise like a lunge, for example. It's something that people with knee injuries have to be careful with. It can cause inflammation again in the damaged tissue because it's easier to re-injure damaged tissue.

The tolerance of damaged tissue is less So if you're noticing that Be wary because if you're continuing to cause damage in a joint, let's say your knee that's how you end up with a knee replacement.

So, stop doing exercises that are creating more inflammation more damage and what you do is you make a list, pay attention. For example, I've got a client right now, his knee was swollen. I said, oh my gosh, we got to change immediately.

And so, I took out all the exercises that could be, even that I even suspect might be causing that. And in my defense, you know, I didn't—he's, I didn't give him exercises. He was having to do a test, a combat physical test, where he needed to perform certain exercises, where it's just like I he had to do them to pass the test.

So, we needed to be training those exercises. But now that he passed the test, with flying colors, I might add, we started to change his exercise plan. We need to get rid of this swelling right away. You do not want to exercise with a swollen knee. Or you can still exercise and we'll talk about that next, but you need to be super careful with what you're doing. Inflammation or swelling is one of the key signs of inflammation along with redness and pain.

So, stop doing exercises that aggravate your knee. Sounds simple enough, but how many people continue to work through pain and it keeps the pain going. So, the third step is to implement physical therapy style exercises.

So, I'm going to give you some examples here, but what I really want to tell you to do is sign up for my newsletter. If you want to see some explanation of physical therapy exercises, I'm going to be doing a lot of this in my newsletter.

So, go to and sign up. I'm going to be sharing exercise videos of me. I'm going to do a video shoot. I'm going to film a lot of these exercises. I've already filmed a lot of exercises.

You want to go to and sign up if this is something that you're interested in.

So, implementing physical therapy style exercises, because what we want to do is we want to strengthen the surrounding muscles that aid the knee in support and stability.

For example, you may not be able to do squats or even do knee extensions or leg extensions as some people call them. But what you can do for sure is you can do things like clamshells with bands as an example and you don't even need the band. And if you don't know what that is, Google clamshell exercise or go to YouTube.

And again, sign up for my newsletter. I'll be sharing this. Clamshells is something I use all the time with myself and with clients. You can also do calf exercises. Calf exercises, I think are underrated with the knee. Glutes are certainly underrated, but I think calf exercises as well can really help doing either standing if you can do it or seated calf raises also work.

Another group, muscle group that you want to train is hamstrings. Doing leg curls on a machine is probably what I'd go with in a situation like this. There are some other exercises that I would do personally, but they're really hard to explain. So, leg curls. I want to say something else. What we're looking to do is we're looking to get high reps with these; we're looking to get, let's say 20 to 30 reps.

We're looking to get high reps. What will that do? It will lower the amount of weight that you're using and it's going to build more endurance. That's all I'll say about this. I don't want to turn it into a deep dive into exercising for injuries. Maybe that can be another podcast, but leg curls.

So, a seated leg curl machine, laying leg curl machine using a weight, lightweight. And the idea isn't that you're training hard and trying to build your hamstrings. What you're trying to do is you're trying to exercise your hamstring muscles in a way to keep them strong without causing further injury.

Now, if you feel like you can't do it, in other words, your knee hurts while you're doing exercise or after, could be an hour after or the next day after, get rid of these.

You're either doing it wrong or your knee is too busted up to handle this right now. But I tell you, if you focus on your glutes, if you focus on your calves, you can get back to exercising and doing these other exercises that are currently bothering your knee.

But you have to be patient here. And last are quadricep exercises. My favorite quadricep exercise is called a terminal knee extension. And I do that with a ball, not a band. You'll see if you Google terminal knee extensions on YouTube.

You'll see a lot of people doing it with a band. I don't think that's a very good idea. It can be okay, but a better option for the majority of people is going to be putting a small inflatable ball like a Pilates ball or even an exercise ball behind your knee and extending into it. So, Google terminal knee extension with ball and you'll see what I'm talking about.

So those are some examples of physical therapy exercises. Again, if you want to hear more about that, you want to hop on in my newsletter.

Number four is diet and body fat. One big lesson that I learned about injuries, aches and pains, inflammation is that it's not about exercise or taking the right supplements or we'll talk about supplements in a second, but it's about understanding physiology and one of the things that I've learned more recently in especially around organs. So, for example, do you have a belly? Well, you most likely have this real fat that goes whether you're a woman or a man.

Now, if you're a woman, and your fat is more in your hips and butt area and hamstrings, you're actually there's actual evidence showing that that's not as big of a deal. You may not like it or you may like it. I don't know.

But it's not a big deal when we're talking about belly fat. It's the worst for your health because what belly fat does is two things. Number one, it causes something called oxidative stress. Now you may remember from a decade ago or maybe even two decades ago, there was a lot of talk about free radicals and that's why you take antioxidants, as an example.

And what happens is the fat gets inside cells and it causes problems with the mitochondria that leads to higher reactive oxygen species, in other words, these free radicals, and causes oxidative stress. Again, that leads to inflammation.

The other thing that happens is that fat cells release, especially fat cells around the organ, so visceral fat, release inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. We're not going to get into it, interleukin 6 and a bunch of others, tumor necrosis factor alpha, things like that. Probably things you may or may not have heard of. Releases those chemicals, not good. So, getting rid of fat.

In fact, if you've ever been on a diet and you lost weight and you don't know why, but you just started feeling better and maybe the aches and pains started getting better. It's because it lowered the level of inflammation in your body. So, lose the excess fat. Again, I don't know if this person has excess fat, but just a general recommendation. It's like get rid of excess fat.

If you're a man, we're talking about getting to 18 body fat or lower. If you're a woman, getting under 25% body fat. And the other thing that you can do with your diet is make some changes. One, you want to reduce inflammatory foods. Now, I know, if you're in the low carb group, saturated fat, everybody's like cook everything in butter. It's such good fat, it's not.

There's nothing wrong with butter or saturated fat in moderation. But if you eat too much of it, saturated fat leads to higher levels of visceral fat not if you're in a calorie deficit, and I don't want to get too deep into this, but removing saturated fat from your diet and removing ultra processed foods is going to help lower inflammation.

And you want to increase anti-inflammatory foods, for example, blueberries. Having 200 grams of blueberries a day is something that can help a lot, making sure that you're getting enough fatty fish or taking an omega-3 supplement, using olive oil, green tea, those are all things that can help. Walnuts, another example of something that you can take or choices that you can make to help with inflammation.

So, number five is stress and sleep. I just saw a study recently, I'm going to do an episode on this because I need to read the study to get into all the details. But what happens is one of the things that is most correlated with injuries is sleeping seven hours or less. Now that was for competitive athletes, but what I would say is we know that consistent lack of sleep boosts inflammation.

So, if you're thinking you can just do a few physical therapy exercises, eat some blueberries and walnuts and sleep five and a half, six hours a night, it's not going to work. You must take care of your body. So, you want to bump up your sleep to seven hours. That's the goal, or you might have to decrease the intensity that you're training at because not only does sleep boost inflammation, it also causes something called central sensitization of your nervous system.

So, what that means is that you feel more pain because of a change in your nervous system. Your nervous system becomes more sensitive because of a lack of sleep. So, some of the pain that you have isn't even from what's going on, it's that your nervous system is a bit more sensitive.

And is that because of the inflammation? I don't know, it's really a good question in case you're asking that right now. But it's just understanding that this is something that's important to consider. You may even notice the days that you sleep better, you feel less pain, pay attention to it.

The other part is stress, manage your stress. And I've talked a lot about stress and when I say manage stress, everybody says that but I feel like nobody, nobody really does much. Right? But anyway, I'll talk about it anyway, briefly.

Prolonged stress heightens inflammatory responses, straight up. So high stress is going to slow your healing, going to slow your recovery. What does it look like to reduce stress? Well, it could be a part of it. The first place I would go is just improve your sleep. And if that isn't enough, then we're talking about, well, how often do you get massages? Or do float tanks or spend time in nature? Do you have a, you know, we could go deep into this.

Do you have a social group that you hang out with? You may notice that when you're hanging out with your friends or family, you feel better, your pain is less. That's actually a physiological response going on there.

So, make sure that you prioritize stress management. For example, I had a massage yesterday, I feel so much better. I walked out of that massage feeling different. So, anything that you do, where you maybe may even be hanging out with people, and you come out of it, you're like, I just feel re-energized. Just feel great. I don't even feel my pain.

Pay attention to those things because it's a sign that it's lowering your stress and making you better. Now the last thing is probably what you wanted to hear at the beginning, targeted supplementation. Now I want to say this, if you think you're going to pop a couple pills and that's all you're going to do and you're going to skip all the things that I said, try it, probably ain't going to work for you though, okay? Because supplementation is supplemental. Supplementation supplements the things that I've already talked about.

Just want you to keep that in mind. Now I could talk a lot about different supplements that have been proven to help arthritis or knee pain or whatever, but I wanted to share two that I'm really into right now. Things that I'm taking personally, things that I'm suggesting to my clients.

Number one is glycine. Glycine, if you don't know, it's an amino acid that can mitigate inflammation and Glycine is one of the big amino acids, one of the most predominant amino acids in cartilage.

And there are some studies that are suggesting that it may support cartilage regrowth. In fact, all the collagen supplementation, I've stopped taking collagen. There's too much mixed research on collagen and it seems that glycine, which makes up one third of collagen, might be the thing to focus on.

So, what I've been doing, I've been actually, I'll tell you what I've been doing. I've been doing 100 milligrams per kilo. And so that works out about eight grams a day. That's what I've been shooting for. But you can experiment three to five grams, up to 10 grams. But I would start with a lower dose, see how you feel and go from there.

It's very non-toxic. It's again, you want to check with your doctor if you're taking medications and that type of thing. But it's something that if you're experiencing inflammation, it's something that I would recommend that you look into and experiment with. Very safe and a lot of research backing it up.

The second one is something called N-Acetyl Cysteine. Now I've been back and forth on N-Acetyl Cysteine for years. More recently though, because I joined a mentorship program that really has me in the studies and reading a lot of studies and reading the quality of the studies and what the dosages are and all. It's just an amazing mentorship program that I'm in right now.

I've started to look at N-Acetyl Cysteine differently. So, there's a great study. I'm not going to talk about it too much right now, but again, it talked about using the same dose of glycine. So, 100 milligrams per kilo. And again, I'm like 80, 85 kilos at the moment. So, I've been taking about eight grams or close to it, six to eight grams because I'm running out right now. I need to order more so I've been trying to make my stash last a bit longer. But I've been taking grams of this stuff.

So, but if you look at the studies for inflammation, we're talking 600 to 1200 milligrams taken one to two times a day.

So, I told you what I'm doing. I told you what a lot of studies have used, go and experiment for yourself and see what you notice.

So those are the six things. Let me recap. Number one, determine if it's acute or chronic and make sure you get the proper care if it's acute. And if it's chronic, then it's still worth going in to talk to some professionals, but understand you're going to have to approach it from a much broader, more holistic approach.

Number two is stop doing exercises that aggravate your knee. For example, people will say, "Oh, you're not working out unless you're doing barbell back squats," but barbell back squats are aggravating your knee. Don't listen to people, listen to your body. It's way smarter than any health and fitness influencer. That's all I can say.

Number three, implement physical therapy style exercises. And I gave you a rundown of it. Make sure you listen to this again if you want to hear those exercises and definitely get on my newsletter. I'm going to be really sharing a lot of exercises in that newsletter.

Number four, lose excess body fat and make some changes to your diet. Reduce the inflammatory foods and increase the anti-inflammatory foods.

Number five, dial in your sleep and your stress. And number six, use targeted supplementation.

Now remember, what we're learning about health in general is that issues like knee osteoarthritis, it's more holistic, there's more going on. So, start to wrap your head around that. It's not, for example, I'll give you an example. I used to say that running damages your knees. And what the studies are showing is that runners actually have better knee cartilage. That doesn't mean you should go out running, especially if you have a knee injury.

But it's to say that a lot of what we thought is wrong. We're learning, we're getting more clear. And that has more to do like knee osteoarthritis, it's an inflammatory condition. So, it's not about running or not running or doing squats or not doing squats is inflammatory. So, where's the inflammation coming from?

Usually, it's coming from a lot of different ways: stress, poor sleep, excess body fat, eating foods that are pro-inflammatory, not getting enough anti-inflammatory foods, and it could be from too much exercise.

So, take a holistic approach and you'll notice a much better result. And what I want to tell you is stay patient and be persistent and proactive when taking care of your health. Be proactive.

The thought I want to leave you with here is that health will always become your number one priority. There will be times in your life where it will become your number one priority. It's just a matter of are you choosing for it to be your number one priority or are you on the reactive side because now you have had a heart attack or diabetes diagnosis or cancer diagnosis or knee osteoarthritis that you just can't handle anymore and you think you might need to have a knee replacement. Be proactive. All right, keep at this. And the one thing I want to tell you is we're living in an amazing time in terms of what we're learning about taking care of the body.

So, you may be struggling with some things right now. However, stay positive because with the types of information that are coming out, the studies, the medical advances, we're going to be able to solve so many issues, but avoid doing stupid stuff, all right? And take care of yourself.

Make sure you last long enough so that you can benefit from the breakthrough technologies that are coming out. That's what I want you to keep in mind as we close out. And what I'd say is if this podcast hit home for you today and there's someone you think could benefit from listening to this, make sure you share it with them. It's the highest compliment you can pay to the podcast. And that's it for this episode. Stay legendary and see you on the next episode.

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