New Year, New Me, Changing things up at the gym 4


With my lower back injury last fall, I’ve really had to change things up at the gym and modifying what I’m doing, to work with what I’ve got.  And the biggest challenge has been mentally, in al of this… While I am significantly improved, these things take time and, that, I think is the most frustrating part of it all.  For thirty four years, my body has been slightly rotated towards my left hip so now, I’m trying to train my body to work and respond differently and how it should, not how my anatomy and physiology decided to work or play out.  I have so much tension and flexion happening in my hips that it’s a daily thing I have to work on.  I’m trying to stretch for 30 minutest to 90 minutes a day and although that sounds like a lot, it really isn’t.  I can tell you right now that we ALL could stand to stretch more in our lives.  How many of you have a desk job?  How many hours are you actually sitting a day?  When I thought about how many hours that I sit every single day, it is truly staggering.  No wonder my body is messed up, on top of my anatomy and how I’ve grown up.

new year new me changing things up at the gym

So many people said to lay off or stop going to the gym when I first hurt my back, but do you know what hearing that is like for me?  It’s not in my vocabulary and it’s just not in the cards if I have any say about it.  I find it all very funny though, because I was never ever this athletic in my younger years and that has always surprises my caregivers when I tell them that. For some reason it’s always thought I was on this team or that team and the truth is, that was not at all the case. I didn’t really like gym class in high school, to be honest.  For a few years in high school though, I became obsessed with calorie counting and going to the gym for anywhere from 2-4 hours a day.  Somehow, though, that stopped and I’m not sure why, but thankfully it did.  Maybe I was in a better headspace, I’m not sure.  But like I said, I was never on any sports teams growing up – hello, I’m clumsy as shit.  And I never liked sweating.  LOL  Spoiler: I love sweating now and have come to embrace it.  These days, I truly enjoy my time at the gym and look forward to it every single day.  It’s me time. And frankly, when I don’t go or something comes up and I can’t make it, holy look out, I am a bear, just ask Jeff. :). Not only is fitness t good for your physically but I think it is also so important for your mental health. At least it helps with mine. It helps clear my head and gives me focus, a sense of accomplishment and pride.

And because I’ve seen so many benefits from working out and making time for ME, I’ve been on a roll now for over ten years now.  Recently, though, things have changed and that’s okay, sometimes you gotta roll with the punches.  Up until last fall, I was a maniac and doing HIIT classes anywhere from 2-5 times a week.  Which is wayyyyy too much.  Hello, how do you think I hurt myself?! LOL  Okay, HIIT is not entirely to blame, but still.  I find many of those HIIT and plyo classes focus on speed.  And you know what speed usually compromises?  Form.  I’ve always been told I have beautiful form and I tend to be a bit of a mirror whore at the gym only for the simple reason that I can check out my form and alignment in the mirrors. It has nothing to do with vanity or checking myself out.  Every single day I look around at the gym and I cringe because I see accidents and injuries in the making constantly.  Yet, how does someone like myself hurt herself like I have?  Well…..a few reasons.  One, that I mentioned above, is that my physiology and how I’ve developed growing up and that definitely played a roll in all of this.  Two, I’ve never stretched enough, so I’m always pretty tight in my hips and quads/hamstrings. Always have been. But I guess my body decided it had enough last fall and the nerve twitches I was feeling in my quad was actually issues in my L3-L5 area of my lumbar spine. The tightness and me doing the explosive jumps and tuck jumps and al that stuff would be extended muscles and fibers that were shortened already because I’m so tight to begin with. So what that means is that I have to strengthen and lengthen shit in my hip region so everything elongates instead of shortening and contracting. Does that make sense. And the body is such a weird but incredible specimen. To compensate for the lower back business, my thoracic area was hyper extending to compensate for the shortening below. By me getting aligned again by my osteopath promotes blood flow which promotes healing. Not only that, she’s aligned my hips, my pelvic floor, loosened my flutes and oh my gosh, I just can’t describe it or do it justice the magic she is. The last reason contributing to this injury: I push myself so hard and I don’t know moderation. I’m an all or nothing kind of gal, there’s no half assing anything over here and I’m super competitive with myself. And as equally as hard. There’s no need to be doing these crazy HIIT classes every single day, you know? I love them, but it’s taking a toll on my body.

So hurting myself has definitely taught me to slow down and realize that I don’t need to be killing myself to feel good and be healthy and well. I cut need to check myself a bit now a lot more and LISTEN to my body. I’m 34 now and when you get older, you don’t heal as quick as you once did and you start to realize that maybe there’s just some things you need to just take a bit of a step back from and sloooooow. This biggest thing in all of this has been being so, so self-aware now. How I stand, my posture, how I sit, am I leaning, am I “frozen” and tense.

I went ahead and got an ergonomic assessment at work and I’m waiting on getting a keyboard screen stand thingy-mabob that will allow me to stand or sit. So I’m looking forward to that. Because I can perch a lot in my chair at work, or I lean. I joke that I must’ve been a Great Dane in a past life because I loooove to lean or shift on my hips from one leg to the other a lot. Too much. Even sleeping, I’m trying to sleep more on my back, hips square, that sort of thing. I’m constantly assessing my body and how it’s working all the time. And it’s exhausting. I just have to persevere though.

So what do I do at the gym now? Well from September to beginning of January, I was solely spinning and working on abs and a bit of upper body, but not much. I’ve leaned out a bit and my happy weight is between 136-141 lbs. I’ve lost a bit of muscle mass all over and it shows, I think in clothing. And I also feel weaker. Since the new year, I’ve done a few Grit plyo classes, a few combat classes and a few BodyPump classes and holy shit they kick my ass. My stamina was gone, hour classes feel like two hour long classes. Lol! But my friends, it always gets easier and better every day. The body does not forget. So while I’m slowly easing back into things, I’m being super mindful of how I’m feeling and how my body feels and responds to movements. I’m realizing I can’t lunge with my right leg back as far or deep as I can with my left. That’s when it wants to twitch .. still. So modifying lunges is working for me and I don’t feel the twitch when I’m careful about it. I’m also easing back into weights and not going balls to the wall like I would’ve before. Sloooooow and steady wins the race is now my motto. Focus and slooow.

Monday’s I go to Grit Plyo, a half hour class that kicks your ass. My heart rate usually tops out at 160. After, I do ten minutes of abs and stretch for 20 because that’s all I have energy for.

Tuesday’s is usually spinning or BodyPump. The lunge track I do with no weights right now, I usually just stare at my legs, hips and ass in the mirror. The back track I’m going a tad bit light only because I don’t want to aggravate any hyperextension. Spinning is always a good Tuesday class. In this class, I jack my heart rate to about 140-150 and get such a good sweat on.

Wednesday’s I haven’t really firmed up. Depending on how I feel, I sometimes will opt for the 55 minute spin class, or I’ll try to go a bit easier than usual in Body Combat. But my stamina is shot to hell and a 60 minutes class feels like 2 hours and I’m drenched head to toe.

Thursday’s, I used to do a Grit Strength class but I’ve abandoned that for now until I feel a bit stronger. I usually go to a spin class or power yoga. But I really need to add more yoga in my life. Like really.

Friday’s, I like the 30 minute quickie spin class but I also like the 60 minute BodyPump class. There’s also a half hour body combat and a half hour CX to choose from. We’ll see what I settle in with…..

So that’s what I’m currently dealing with. We’ll see how the next few months shape up and adjust from there.

I hope you all had a great weekend! 🙂