Monthly Archives: January 2014

STRIKE AND STRIKE AGAIN

Ever tried boxing?  It is not for everyone and several years ago I was pretty convinced it was not for me either.  Background information is that about 4 years ago I was working with the same trainer I am currently working with and body that  was not nearly as strong.  My shoulders were weak, my hands hurt almost all the time, and I didn’t have the mental strength that I have now.  What I did do was a ton of cardio, I was running and actually running races, I was spending hours on the elliptical machine and treadmill. I was taking every cardio based class the gym offered and jumping in once a week with this trainer.  I was not ready for this trainer back then because I wasn’t even sure of myself and when we would try to do push-ups I couldn’t do them.  When I had to press stuff over my head I was worried about my shoulders.  I could push that sled up and down the turf without getting too winded which is kind of interesting considering that thing is heavy and I needed, shoulders, chest, core, legs and everything else to push that beast but that just shows where the brain can be challenging as well.

Each time I saw him we would work out and end each session with boxing.  I would be wrapped up tight and my purple fingers would be sticking out under the wraps but I would also put on the gloves and box with him.  It would be me striking his gloves not him striking back at me.  We typically had a couple minute rounds but I would usually give up before the time because my hands would hurt during and after striking and I was so worried about shoulders.  I don’t remember if they hurt but I remember my hands hurting.  Present day I was talking to some girlfriends and they asked if I would ever strike again and my initial response was no it hurts my hands.  Well the universe has a weird way of making us question everything and on Monday when I walked in for my training session we did our warm up which is just as hard as the training honestly.  He looks at me as I’m already starting to sweat and breath heavy and says “how do you feel about striking” I could feel my body posture change and I wanted to say I was worried about my hands but the thing I have learned after being with him for many weeks now is that he doesn’t ask me to do anything he doesn’t think I can really do.

I said ok, terrified inside and growing even more terrified with every wrap of the cloth.  I put the gloves on and he says just give me the 1 or jab in this case until I get used to that feel. I was so gingerly at first, expecting the worst, and creating this immense story in my head.  Then he says give me 1, 2 which is jab, cross.  Then all of a sudden I got out of my head and really started to throw the cross.  He tapped my legs to make sure I was moving and tapped my cheek to make sure I was protecting my face and all the while I’m laughing, sweating, striking harder and harder and again and again.  The amazing thing after that is that the rest of my training I wasn’t questioning myself. I was tired, I was breathing hard, lots of noises were coming from me in forms of grunts but I could do it all and I knew I could do it all.  I deadlifted 75 lbs. but I know I can do more and I can’t wait to try.  The story of worrying about my joints, my hands and my mind were done for that day in that moment. I’m not saying I won’t ever create stories for myself again but I can remember that the story isn’t always true and focus on fact.

I have already told myself that today when I get to training I’m giving more. I don’t know what that equates to just yet but I’m giving more. I also don’t think I have been slacking but I believe I have more to give and today is my day.

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DAY 23 OF CHALLENGE

Today is day 23 of my push-up challenge and my arms are so sore. Not only am I doing a lot of push-ups but keeping up with my weight training and Insanity classes is putting a lot work upon my triceps, shoulders, elbows and chest area.  Never mind the fact my entire body is sore and tired.  I have 2 more training sessions this week and then I am just looking to do some Bikram over the weekend and rest.

Yesterday morning when I woke up my legs were fatigued so I actually took some magnesium in order to help that soreness and fatigue. It could have been the magnesium or the just the fact I was moving around but my legs felt better and I was able to proceed with my workouts.  My trainer is having me work on the stair climber at the gym and that machine could be the death of me.  You wouldn’t think it by looking at it but it turns on the sweat factor and gets the heart rate up faster than any other machine in the building.  My hope is that I too will feel more comfortable on this machine and it won’t feel like such a killer in a few weeks.  I don’t remember if I felt this way when I first started using the elliptical machine but now an hour on that machine is very accomplishable and 6 minutes on this stair climber feels like climbing Mount Everest. Not that I have even thought about climbing the mount!

Today is another Insanity class and I’m really looking forward to it.  Although I’m tired, sore and feeling like I could use a break I really enjoy this class and the energy from the people in as well as being able to work out with my trainer so I keep going and keep pushing this body a little more every day.  No doubt there will be push-ups involved but I’ll be ready.  I’m getting stronger and gaining strength every day so the more push-ups I do as well as the triceps work is helping in many facets of my life.

DAY 16 OF CHALLENGE

Today I’m on day 16 of my push-up challenge and although one might not think this challenge is that hard it feels hard to me.  I had a training session yesterday so I was already fatigued this morning but when I got up I did my regular exercise program and knew I had to get in 16 push-ups. No shock that the first handful was fine and form as good then there was a moment when I knew my form had changed drastically.  At that moment I am working on focusing all my attention back to my form and pushing out the remaining reps.  My shoulders were so sore and it was only 16 thus far.  To make things even more challenging I have Insanity today which just happens to be my “push” day so there is a lot of chest, triceps and pushing involved.  This is how I will get stronger and strength is a big goal of mine. I am glad I chose this challenge but if I can be honest I really dislike push-ups.

On a different subject, I have been working with my trainer now several weeks and since I supply him a weekly journal of my diet, exercise, rest and sleep he has a good sense of who I am and how my days look. I am a creature of routine for the most part and each week starts to look like the prior week. With a sense of my how I have structured my day it gives him some ideas as to how to help me and one thing that has become clear to him and me also is that I do not eat enough.  I am at a point in my life where I really don’t get hungry.  I eat by a clock but not because I really feel hunger pangs all that often. Sometimes I truly do feel hungry and sometimes I have cravings for food that feel like hunger but the amount of work I put my body through and how I nourish my body does not coincide.  I’m working on taking in more calories but more importantly learning when to take them in.  After my Insanity class today I have to force myself to eat which will not be easy but I have to learn to get over this mental issue.

Many people think are probably thinking that after an Insanity class or a training session with a trainer or even just working out on your own hard for 60 they would be starving and food would not be an issue.  However, when my trainer brought it to my attention the truth is my stomach is empty, I feel light after an incredible workout and food is not something that is on my mind.  The problem is mentally I need to get over that idea and nourish my body so that the muscles I just worked can start to repair. The mental game is overwhelming and although I have known for a long time that I’m metabolically broken which is why I have turned towards a more clean, Paleo type diet I wasn’t connecting the fact that I might have mental issues around food also.  I look at my diet and it is so clean plus I eat much more than most people around me do. The difference is that many people around me don’t eat enough themselves and then I have an increased calorie burn during my day so the amount of nourishment needed to replenish is much greater.  I have spent the last couple of days focusing on this aspect of my life and it is not easy but I’m really trying.  My day supply of food looks very different this week and I hope this added food means added energy as well.  It is helping greatly having another person keeping track with me on my food and exercise and keeping it all balanced.

TRAVEL MAKING MCTD REACT

 This past week I had to travel for work and when I travel I don’t feel my best. There are a few things I do that help the situation but I have to be so diligent about my routine. For most people when they travel there is very little routine or not a routine that they are used to. If they travel a lot they may find a routine on the road that will work for them. For me I travel so infrequently that when I travel it is in my best interest to keep my routine as close to my home routine as possible. A few things I do to try to keep my normal routine is I get up the same time every day even while traveling. On Monday that was my travel day and since I try not to eat in airports I did intermittent fasting and ate at a nice restaurant that night when I got to my destination. It does make for a long day without any food but I don’t have low blood sugar issues such as light headiness and dizziness just hunger pangs. There is nothing wrong with feeling the hunger and taking care of the hunger when I have a place to sit down and eat some good food.

I found a nice place to eat and talked to them about me eating gluten free and that I liked to keep my meals and ingredients simple. I opted for a salad with steak and mushrooms on top and some dressing on the side that I didn’t use. I felt great and went for a nice long walk before heading to bed at my normal time. The next morning when I got up it was the same time as when I’m home and went right down to the fitness center for a workout. I looked at my options for breakfast and didn’t see anything I was really interested in so I opted to wait until lunch and had a nice grilled chicken salad. For dinner I had some chili and went for a walk again to end a very long stressful day.

The next day looked very similar to the day before and Thursday mirrored my other two days. Friday was my travel day back home and again I did some intermittent fasting until I got home and ate food at my own home. I went to Bikram yoga when I arrived home and got back to my normal routine at home. Some MCTD symptoms that popped up for me are fatigue and still today I am dealing with fatigue but it will take a few days to get over that. My hands are very swollen and my body is a little sore. I’m not in flare but I feel it in my body that this past week is different then other days. I try to spend as much time in the Bikram studio as possible when I get home so that the swelling in my hands and feet can decrease as well as my mind can start to rest. I tend not to sleep well when I’m on the road but when I get home I can sleep very well again. The fatigue I feel should be gone in another day or two.

I’m fortunate that I don’t travel a lot and every time I do travel I try to keep as close to my normal routine as possible. When we travel for vacation I still have similar symptoms but the difference is there is no stress when we get to our destination so I can relax. When I travel for work I have some stress and some long days to deal with. Now I’m home for about a month and will travel again. The good thing is I’m traveling to the same place again so I have found myself a yoga studio and the restaurant is familiar with my diet as well as the place I stay has a nice fitness center so the next trip may go better. 

THE NEW YEAR HAS KICKED OFF

Happy New Year to everyone. As you can imagine I didn’t make it to see the New Year actually ring in but I was up early to enjoy the New Year as it was destined to start one way or the other and mine just happened to start at 4am. Although I have had some time off the last couple of weeks and really trying to sleep in and gain back some very much missed sleep my body is programmed to wake early and get started early. In the last several weeks I have done a lot of Bikram and my practice feels really good. Not to mention that Bikram in the middle of winter makes these very dark, cold, unbearable months seem almost bearable after all.

My Challenge started 5 days ago and yes I am up to 5 push-ups at this point. The first day was a little hard to take seriously so I turned my 1 push-up on January 1 into a push-up with a 2 minute plank. The next day I did my two and this one I was very conscience to really watch my form on both push-ups. My form is really bad with the more I do and I can instantly feel it in my elbows and shoulders. Day 3 was similar as well as day 4 and 5. Tomorrow is 6 push-ups and doing 6 while really paying attention to form is where this challenge will push me.

Some people may have started a similar challenge on January 1st and maybe you decided on that day that you didn’t want to really do a challenge. I completely understand I was thinking maybe I hadn’t thought this out and really how hard can it be. I have learned in just 5 days how challenging this is because of the focus I am placing on each and every push-up. I do them first thing when I wake and then complete my day with a work out or a Bikram practice which has been my preferred choice. In Maine we are reaching some incredibly low temperatures and although I have lived through many winters and they all seem really cold this winter really is the coldest I have ever experienced. Yesterday we were -12 degrees Fahrenheit and that is just cold. I got up early did my push-ups and went right to the Bikram studio.

Once I get in that warm studio I could stay in there all day. If only there were chairs and I could just read or something after my practice, how great would that feel? Of course I would sweat all over my book but I really wouldn’t care. I have been spending a lot of time in there before my practice and after so I usually spend about 2.5 hours in there but I could use some more time. During the holidays we had special 2 hour practices so I really could be in there for about 3 hours at a time and that was fantastic. The issue becomes when I leave the studio in a wet and sweaty manner. I step outside and instantly that cold weather hits me. My first second of exposure is a bit of a relief but it doesn’t take but a minute to quickly change to being uncomfortable. I just hurry to my car and hurry to the shower to warm up yet again. This may be the routine of my winter if we continue to have these unheard of low temps but I’ll be ready.