Category Archives: Motivation

March in like a Lionness

… Perhaps not really marching, but looking at the calendar, I couldn’t resist using the phrase.

I woke up this morning eager to be moving.  However, my achy hip is still limiting my ability to move much.  But this morning I had plan.  I headed to the gym about 8:15 am, walked past all the cardio machines (each one taken), headed downstairs to the locker room.  Once there, I stripped off my street clothes, down to the swim suit I had pulled on at home.  Then I padded my way to the pool.

The pool wasn’t quite as crowded as the cardio section upstairs.  I quietly eased myself down into the heated water (though not THAT heated) and started walking.  I kept on walking for the next 20 minutes. Something I have rarely been able to do since the middle of December.

I wouldn’t call it a highly aerobic workout.  Not that I could have moved any faster – when you’re neck deep in water the resistance is significant.  Not to mention that I was bouyant!  Most of the length, my toes were the only thing touching the bottom.

I will have to remember that this is a legitimate rehab option to keep in my bag of tricks.

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Can We Talk Functional??

Talking with a friend about my workout philosophy I tried to explain that I’m about every day functional fitness.  It confused her, as I’d just bragged about Monday’s workout.

“What is there in your life that resembles deadlifting 120#?”

A LOT!  My bad-hipped dog Katy need picking up and lifting into the car.  Katy is about 65#- far short of that 120#- but she also wiggles and waggles as I lift her.  Also? grocery bags and laundry baskets and dog food bags, heavy cast-iron casseroles, bags of dirt.  While few of these things are the exact shape and weight as a barbell loaded with weight plates, they are all lifting.  And, because I can lift heavier weight, I CAN lift Katy up.  I can pick up friends’ kids who have fallen, and carry grocery bags from the car to the house without needing a nap afterward.  The heavy lifting makes the rest of my life easier.

That is the essence of functional fitness- exercises to make your day-to-day life easier.

Besides lifting heavy objects, I also make myself workout in controlled but unstable ways – working with stability balls and air cushions and 1/2 foam rolls.  I used to use the BOSU at the gym before it broke.

Do I like these workouts?  Not particularly.

Do I do these things well?  Nope

However, we’ve all read and heard the stories of people who’ve fallen and broken bones.  People whose injuries have made them alter their life forever; older folks who’ve died from a broken hip.  In many of these circumstances, the person didn’t know how to recover.  By training my body and mind in these “predictably unpredictable” situations I am training my brain and body to recover.  To fall without doing too much damage.  To catch myself and stay upright.

That too is functional fitness.

Some of the most “functional” exercises you can do?

1. deadlifts (you guessed this one already, right?)

2. lunges (work those glutes and the abductors/adductors/ obliques)

3. squats (strong glutes/hammies/quad and a different plane from lunges)

4. pushups. Your whole body working as one unit?  And getting yourself up off the ground?  Hello!

5. pullups.

6. step ups.  Yeah.  step on a bench and hold it.  Don’t fall or dip a hip or shoulder while stepping up.  Your whole body works this to get coordinated.

7. side shuffles. Balance, adductors, obliques.

8. Farmer’s carries.  Basically pick up something heavy and carry it.  Because we do this ALL THE TIME.

What physical (functional) challenges do you face every day?  And what exercises make it easier for you do these things?

Tale of the Scale: Losing Faith

I was working out yesterday – having another hard time – and I realized: I’ve lost faith in myself.

Months ago, I knew that parts of my workout were hard for me. There are things I don’t like to do (as there are in life, so there are in the gym).  I would do them anyway.  I’d put the things I like least at the top of my workout, and reward myself for doing them by doing something that I felt competent at.  Almost something fun.

Other parts of my workout would be challenging, but the reason to do them is for the challenge.

Somewhere, I’ve lost the fun.

Somewhere, I’ve lost the reward.

Somewhere, I’ve been beaten by the challenge.

With it, I’ve lost faith.

I still go to the gym and work hard.  But as soon as an obstacle presents itself, I get impatient and move on.  Someone using a machine I want?  Fine, I’ll do something else.  Can’t find the handle I want for a cable move?  Forget it.  Weight feels heavy?  I quit.

Then I hate myself for giving up.

I’ll get it back.  It will take time, but I’ll find my confidence again. Until then, I have to give myself a break.  I can’t quit and then hate myself for quitting; that only compounds the problem.  I have to accept that whatever I’m doing is more than I did 2 years ago, each day what I do is going to be enough.  Even if part of me thinks it sucks.

And any inspirational thoughts you have to help me over this hump are well and truly appreciated.

I also blog at: <a href=”http://astitchintime.blogspot.com/”>A Stitch In Time</a> throughout the week and <a href=”http://blogher.org/”>BlogHer</a&gt; on Mondays and Saturdays.