There Is (An Active) Life After Hip Replacement

By H&W on 9th Mar 2018

Bruce Gust

Faced with two hip replacements in his 30’s former marine Bruce Gust (pictured) was determined it wouldn’t slow his quest for physical fitness. Two marathons later he’s shown that these major operations don’t need to slow you down.

Here, he tells his story:

Just prior to undergoing hip replacement surgery you’re required to attend a class that walks you through the things you need to be sensitive to as you recover: Being diligent with your physical therapy; being mindful of not lifting your leg up above the plane of your hip – simple but important things that you’ll want to keep in mind.

I hated it.

I didn’t want to be there. Everyone in the class was either old or very overweight. At the time, I was in my early thirties. I had been dealing with a lot of discomfort in my hips and knees but it wasn’t until a friend of mine took some x-rays and confirmed that I had arthritis that I was now obligated to embrace the fact that I didn’t have a mere chronic case of tendonitis. Rather, I was going to have to get my hips replaced at some point and here I was now, a few days away from going under the knife and listening to people a full generation older than me lament their difficulties and limitations.

My surgeon, on the other hand, was awesome.

“I’ll take care of you.” This is what my surgeon said as I was trying to wipe the tears from my eyes and get it together. The thing is, I don’t know if he could’ve said anything more perfect. Nothing patronizing or overly compassionate, just a solid articulation of a resolve to get me on my feet.

And that’s exactly what happened.

With the go ahead from both my surgeon and my physical therapist, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon six weeks after I had my second hip replaced. I had a new lease on life and I couldn’t have been more thrilled as I ran across the finish line!

In the Marines, especially in boot camp, you are constantly being held to a standard when you exercise. With the exception of timed runs or specific training regimens, you are almost always training as a unit with someone up in front of the platoon dictating the exercise, the number of reps and – most importantly – the pace of those repetitions.

Most of the more popular apps and workout programs will have you glued to a DVD or a computer device while you follow along. But, again, without someone or something “insisting” on a rhythm and a regimen, there were gaps that could be subconsciously exploited and you could you find yourself perspiring but not really sweating  – even with the image of a fitness guru modeling the recommended routines.

A while ago, I was vacationing with my family on the beach. One morning, I went out by the pool and started doing some calisthenics when I had an epiphany: Rather than just doing a predetermined number of repetitions, I broke out a metronome and allowed that pulse to function as the equivalent to a Drill Instructor barking out a cadence.

I grabbed a pen and a piece of paper and started documenting tempos to go with different exercises. By this point, I had become certified as a Group Fitness Instructor at the county Recreation Center, so I had whole routines that I was now going through and assigning tempos to each exercise.

Not long after, I went into the studio and performed various grooves at specific tempos and then recorded a voice-over each rhythm that guided the listener in what exercise was being done, the number of reps and the pace of those repetitions. I then assembled those tracks into different workout packages and imported them as unique playlists into my iTunes. Now when I workout, I’ve got some legitimately challenging exercises lined up that I’m hearing in my ear buds. I don’t need a gym, a computer monitor or a DVD player. And I don’t have the option of just going through the motions because I’ve got an objective standard being imposed with each audio track. Plus, I can mix and match those tracks however I want to so I can, not only keep things varied, I can also focus on specific muscle groups.

I ran my second Marine Corps Marathon this past October and I earned my black belt in Tae Kwon Do not too long ago. I teach two exercise classes during the week and I’m just as engaged athletically as I was when I was serving.

I have since built a website and a book around this program but however it might be engaged by the masses, it’s proven to be a truly effective resource for me in my quest for a regimen that requires a “best effort” every time.

Head out to, and download a free sample of the “Burpees” exercise and get a taste of just how deliciously miserable this program can be. Give it a try, buckle up and experience the workout that comes from a Marine Corps drummer with two titanium hips and a passion for showing others the difference between getting through it and getting to it!

Bruce Gust served for nine years in the USMC, the last five years of his enlistment were spent as a Drum Instructor at the Armed Forces School of Music. He’s a Certified Group Fitness Instructor and author of the book, “Muscular Christianity: 90 Day Fitness Plan” that features the “Loose Cannon Fitness” audio workout system. The book is available on

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