Posts Tagged ‘Fitness’

Day 1 New Gym Membership

Posted: August 16, 2016 in My workouts
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So I found a gym near me that has a pool, and it’s open 22 hrs/day. Membership is quite a bit more expensive than the YMCA would be, but the hours are much better compared to limited lap swim hours in the morning at the Y.

I sent a request online for price information and they got me to come in after work to tour the facility and I decided to go ahead and sign up right away.

Then I went  back at midnight for my first time swimming.

I was very happy that at midnight there was only one person in the lap pool who was getting out just as I got there, so no worries about having to share a lane and getting in anybody’s way.

I took a swim class my senior year of high school  (as required at my school) and then swam laps once in college at the pool there (which had limited hours and was always filled).

So needless to say I haven’t done much swimming in awhile.

And I forgot how much of a workout it is! I always think of swimming as relaxing, but a lap in and I was breathing so heavily. I spent a lot of time resting between laps, both to catch my breath and because I was having trouble getting my goggles fitted well.

Also my swimsuit is obviously not great for lap swimming because I had to keep stopping to pull the bottom piece back up over my ass (uh-oh!). Getting a new one soon so hopefully that ends up being better.

At one point while I was catching my breath and adjusting my goggles a guy walked by and said “slow down, speedy! you’re going to get a speeding ticket!” Obviously I wasn’t actually swimming fast. But I laughed. I’m not really sure what the intent of the comment was?

After about 15 minutes of laps (and resting) I decided to call it quits for the night as I was feeling a bit sick. I headed over to relax and stretch in the “spa” (hot tub). In there was I think the same guy as before and another man. One of them greeted me with “how you doing, speedy?” then the other made the same joke that “you’re going to get a speeding ticket, speeding up and down those lanes like that!”.

I laughed and mentioned that I’ve barely down any swimming before today since high school.

 

All in all though, I am very happy! I have missed exercise, I love swimming even if I’m awful at it, and I have really, really, really missed the endorphins that come with exercise! After the swim I felt like my brain was just being showered in happy chemicals!

Hopefully my experiences remain as positive.

I haven’t been posting here much recently but it’s hard to have much to say on a fitness blog when I’m not able to do much in the way of exercise!

I finished up my PT this week.

The good:

I seem to have recovered a fair bit of strength in my left leg (at the start I had apparently lost a lot of strength in my left leg due to favoring my pain free right leg).

Primarily from the rest my pain did go down from around a 7/10 to about a 5/10 (averages). I hardly ever limp anymore, but there is still pain when walking.

The bad:

I am still not cleared for any exercise that involves putting weight on my foot. No walking more than necessary, no running, no krav maga, no heavy lifting.

According to the physical therapist I saw last (I saw 3 different therapists over the time I went), it just takes awhile to heal and I have to wait for it to heal and can’t start doing any of these things until I’m fully pain free.

 

Which is really frustrating. I’m getting very frustrated at the lack of exercise.

I should be able to bike or swim though since that puts no pressure on my heal, so now I need to investigate a way to afford membership somewhere I can swim and/or a bicycle. Looking on amazon it might actually be cheaper to get an indoor exercise bike before buying a new bicycle.

Until then though… more rest!

I’ve read a lot of things about letting go of your ego when lifting. I have always thought that isn’t much of an issue for me. I am not competing with anyone, I don’t care if my weights aren’t impressive sounding, and I have no trouble lowering weight to work on form…. right?

Physical therapy is teaching me that is not right though. The truth is, I definitely struggle with my ego with my physical therapy right now.

I can’t do much workout wise to begin with right now, and what I am doing for physical therapy is basically all body weight focusing on form.

What’s been really surprising to me though, is how sore I can get just from these body weight exercises.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was squatting 200lbs, now I’m doing body weight squats according to the PTs guidelines and feeling sore. And I get really sore doing the calf rises how she has me doing them, when I used to feel like I could do bw calf rises all day without feeling much anything from it.

It’s surprising how some minor tweaks in how I do an exercise is making a huge difference in how it feels. Which, of course right now these tweaks are all specifically designed to target my weak spots.

So, I have to work on letting go of my ego, and the mental view I have of myself as someone who lifts heavy weights, and accept that right now I have to rest and focus on the uber basics right now in order to rebalance my body/strength so that I can safely progress from there.

One part of Krav Maga classes is that they almost always involve pairing up with a partner because you need that- having a target to hit and learning defenses you need someone to attack you.

This part of the classes however always causes me anxiety, and I’m starting to think now even more than I’ve admitted to myself.

Growing up I was fat, not very athletic, nor particularly poplar. So of course, back in elementary and middle school gym classes I was always picked last, and there was a cyclical aspect of this. I would get picked last, which made me think “why bother trying?”, and lead me to view most sport activities negatively.

I also still have a fear of no one wanting to be my partner for fitness activities.

On one hand, with time, I’m learning that pairing up for Krav Maga classes doesn’t have to be so scary for me. But it is still something that causes me a bit of anxiety.

I wish I had some great advice to add in here about how to get past this kind of anxiety for anyone else who might have it, but I don’t really have any great advice besides that it’s actually not so bad, and thus far everyone I have met and paired up with has been incredibly nice.

This is just a post about me, and my health. I haven’t been particularly active recently between the plantar fasciitis and asthma.

So to catch folks up: turns out I have exercise induced asthma. Found this out after severe coughing following a krav maga class lasted several days rather than the several hours it used to. Went to my doctor, got diagnosed, prescribed an inhaler to use before exercise.

Inhaler helped but didn’t completely eliminate the coughing and trouble breathing. I then started having panic attacks when working out from panic that I wouldn’t be able to breath which just exacerbated the asthma.

Well, I finally got back to my PCP today about this. She prescribed a daily maintenance inhaler in addition to the as needed on I’ve been using. She also informed me that the as needed inhaler (albuterol) increases heart rate. Since I was (and am) supposed to use it before exercise, I think this as part of why I was having panic attacks (my fear + the physiological response to the albuterol). I feel a lot more relieved and in control knowing this.

Between this and improvements with my foot pain I’m hoping to get back to a higher activity level again.

So this post doesn’t directly address any big important topic, other than I think it’s good to recognize that health stuff happens, treatment is good, and if other folks are having trouble with a physical issue that is making it hard to exercise, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Often it’s easy to put it all down to personal failing I think, especially breathing problems which we often attribute to “I’m just not in shape enough”. This is especially a problem for fat people because when our health problems are so often boiled down to “lose weight” regardless of what they are, it encourages people to not see doctors. Yet sometimes, medical intervention is necessary to allow people of any size to exercise safely, and there should be no shame in seeking that out.

And of course ignoring health problems because “I must just be out of shape” or “I’ll see a doctor after I lose weight” can be deadly. 

There is a very common belief that it is important for people to see their bodies as part of themselves, not something separate from you, not just a vehicle you are in, but an intrinsic part of you.

I think there is a lot of value in this, specifically when talking about body image and harmful “diets” (or eating disorders masquerading as diets), the idea of one’s body as separate, and an object to fight against is part of the harmful mentality encourage by these.

I also know that for myself one of the best feelings I get from fitness is a deep sense of connection with my body, and an appreciation for what it does.

On the other hand though, I just read something about loving yourself even if you are unhealthy. My initial thought to that intro sentiment is that I see no contradiction there because I am not my body. My body can be ill and difficult, without me seeing those as inherent to who I am.

When it comes to being chronically ill, my feelings toward my body are very divergent from the mentality often encouraged in body positive spaces. I do often see my body as the enemy. I also do not love my body most of the time (in terms of function, not appearance). I also do feel like this depersonalization of my body is a mentally healthy approach to chronic illness at times. When I can’t do as much as I want, not seeing my body as intrinsic to who I am is part of recognizing “this is because my body is ill, this is not a reflection of me being a failure, or me being a weak person”.

Thus my limitations reflect back on my illness and by extension my body, not on me as a person.

I mentioned that I did a Krav Maga class recently, but I thought maybe I should write a whole post about my first class experience. It was a while ago now, unfortunately it takes me awhile sometimes to get around to writing up blog posts.

So a few weeks back now I did my first trial Krav Maga class. I’ve been wanting to learn Krav Maga for a while but it’s expensive so I hadn’t ever gotten around to actually doing it. So the closest Krav Maga studio to me has trial classes where you can come in and do a free class to see if you want to sign up. So I signed up for a Thursday evening class.

Before the class:

I got off work about 5pm as planned, rushed home because I still needed to dry the clothes for class. Rushed around to make sure I had shoes and water, only to realize that it was still over an hour before I needed to leave even for planning to be there early. So then I just relaxed for a bit, lost track of time, and ended up leaving later than planned in workout clothes with jeans over my workout capris, separate shoes (as required by them), and a water bottle. Put the address in my GPS and headed out.

So I got to the Krav Maga place and was still early for the class. I had signed up for the trial class online so when I walked in and heard “Erin?” at first I just thought it was someone who had seen an “Erin” sign up for the class, it took me a minute to realize the person who said my name was actually Claire, who I had gone to high school with!

After that I got a tour of the building from a staff person, then chatted with Claire a bit. A Krav Maga level 2 class was wrapping up so I watched for a little bit as they did some disarming moves. Honestly from the little I saw I was surprised that was considered level 2 moves, but I only saw the tail end of the class.

Level 1 Class:

Then the level 1 class I signed up for was going to start, and I certainly felt nervous. I set down my stuff in the back of the room, quickly retied my shoes and rushed to get lined up at the start. We all formed a line in front of the instructor, he asked if it was the first time for anyone and I raised my hand. Two other people in the class were there for the second time I guess, but also doing a trial. He asked if anyone had any injuries and I considered if I should mention my issues with my foot but I didn’t want to draw much attention to myself and it’s only really a big problem if I run, so I decided not to mention it. We did some bowing thing to the front then back of the room, then he says to make a circle of the room, and it took me a few moments of seeing what others were doing to realize we were being told to run laps of the room.

Oh.

“Only a problem if I’m running” and what do we start with? Running.

I was clearly not expecting a Krav Maga class to involve running.

I started out at the back of everyone but keeping pace, after a lap or 2 though I started falling behind, I was out of breath and my foot was killing me, but I kept pushing through as much as I could. I was being lapped by several people and definitely feeling embarrassed and out of shape. Then we added various arm movements while running. Then a weird sideways shuffle around the room which felt awkward and I was out of breath and just thinking this is clearly not for me.

After all this we are instructed to find a place around the room and I think, ok, warm up done, now we do krav maga, right?

No.

The downside of writing this so long later is that I don’t remember all of what we did. But there were ab exercises on the floor, jumping to the floor and back up, and then we did some punching at the air. It felt like just another standard fitness class all through this and I’m thinking to myself, just get through this hour long class and be done with it, this is not what I was looking for. I want to learn krav maga, if I wanted just generic fitness classes I could join a random gym closer to me and for cheaper.

Then we do some punching at air, fast paced, so still very aerobic and I’m still out of breath and struggling.

The instructor then makes a comment about how this isn’t some fitness kickboxing class, this is Krav Maga, punch like you mean to hit something. And I’m thinking in my head “is this really any different than a generic fitness kickboxing class?”

Seems though that this was just the warm up, though it was a long warm up in my opinion. I’m not used to a warm-up taking up a full quarter or longer of the class/session time.

Then we were instructed to get a pad from the corner and pair up. A woman comes to me and asks if I want to pair up with her. I was thankful she came and asked me because the “find a partner” stuff always makes me feel uncomfortable. I was feeling awkward and out of place already and asking to partner with someone for fitness endeavors brings back too many memories of being the fat kid in gym class who was always picked last.

I got the feeling that she was probably also an instructor though just taking the class at that moment. We started off then with taking turns one person holding the pad and the other punching it. I finally felt like I was doing what I came there for but was still out of breath and feeling very out of shape because of it. But it was getting fun for me finally, and the woman I was partnered with was incredibly nice and helpful. She kept giving me pointers on everything, showing me how to hold the pad for her to punch, and offering encouragement. After punches we took a water break and then did some kicks. Again, the woman I was partnered with was being helpful showing me what to do and giving advice. The instructor came around and corrected my stance for the kicks.

After kicks we put away the pads and in pairs practiced breaking away from someone trying to choke us from behind. I kept having to be told to be rougher when I was the one doing the pushing/choking from behind. I struggled a bit since my only time doing things like this was a required training at work on safety and getting out of chokes, what to do if someone tries to attack us, et cetera. But being a required work training, even faking everything I was apparently the most rough person in the class. Was hard for me to adjust to a situation were people weren’t afraid of being rough and wanted to practice with more realistic force.

We ended after this lining up again and doing the bows.

After class:

I hung around after chatting with Claire and waiting because by then I had had fun and decided I was going to sign up. I sat down with the two other new folks to go over the membership options. They were a lot less sure and had more questions for me whereas by then I was just like “let’s do this!” This is when I started coughing. At the start just a bit here and there, by the end of the meeting and sign up  a lot more.

I ended up signing up for the krav only option, with a year long commitment. They also do some other classes like yoga, weight lifting, and so on, but you have to have a more expensive membership to do those. I was tempted, mainly for the weight class as it would give me a change to lift with someone in person who could check and correct my form. But it was already super expensive and already going to be a struggle to fit just krav maga classes into my schedule, so I just did that.

Of course I’ve mentioned the rest in other posts- by the time I got home my coughing was pretty severe and kept getting worse all night. By morning I was still coughing constantly and ended up calling in sick to work because I couldn’t imagine trying to talk to people when I was hacking constantly like that. Not only was I coughing though, but after a coughing spasm there would be a few seconds were I felt like I couldn’t start breathing again. Coughing kept up though it got marginally better over the weekend and so I went into the doctor and was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma and prescribed an inhaler.

Oh, and after I got home Claire posted a video on facebook:

At first I hated how I looked, but after a bit I liked it.

I just got back now from my second class. Went fairly similar to before. People are nice and helpful. Had a bit of a panic attack for fear of not being able to breath after. And despite the inhaler I am coughing again :-\

Still, it is fun.

My first introduction to Jillian Michaels, before I really knew about the biggest loser or anything related to that, was looking at workout videos that were available for streaming on Netflix years back and I tried one of hers, and I didn’t finish it because her mentality pissed me off so much. Specifically what pissed me off was she stated at one point something along the lines of “I know you feel like you’re dying, but you aren’t, so don’t stop”.

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Image of Jillian Michaels with a quote “I want you to feel like you’re going to die.”

Excuse me?

Are you in my living room with me? Do you know my health background? What makes you talking to people you don’t know and can’t see qualified to actually say that none of those people are actually in danger if they push through feeling like they are dying?

That attitude and disregard for the well being of people so disgusted me that I couldn’t stand to finish the video with her. I later learned more about her and discovered that her entire fame as a trainer is based around a total disregard for the well being of others

This is also an attitude that I see often put forth  in“fitspo”- encouragement to just push through no matter how awful you feel, and the insistence that feeling “bad” is always normal.

The truth is though, not all kinds of bad feelings during workouts are normal, ok, or safe! Pushing through some of that “I feel like I’m dying” can be dangerous! “I feel like I’m dying” sometimes is the precursor to death!

The thing is, not only can someone who doesn’t know us, what we are feeling, and what our health is, say for certain if we are really ok when we feel bad during a workout, sometimes we don’t know enough to make that judgment either!

I’m thinking about this now following my brand new diagnosis of asthma!

See, after a krav maga workout last week I started coughing, which is not very unusual for me. Though the coughing kept getting worse, was far worse than ever before. and lasted longer than usual. Maybe or maybe not related to me working out around others and feeling embarrassed to stop and take a breather when I felt like I couldn’t breath.

After this I started looking up info on coughing after workouts and talked with a few people about it, since like I said- it’s far from the first time I coughed following a workout. I’ve always before though just thought that was normal. One woman replied to me online telling me she was the same, until it was so bad she ended up in the ER and found out the coughing was not normal but rather asthma. Thankfully I got in to my pcp for the diagnosis and prescribed an inhaler before ending up in the ER.

It reminds me that sometimes feeling like you can’t breathe isn’t normal out of breath from a workout, sometimes it is a serious (if not treated) medical condition!

It is really dangerous that we have this mentality that workouts should make you feel like you are dying and the correct response is always just to “suck it up” and push through anything and everything no matter what. People absolutely can get hurt by this.

I’ve already written a bit about resolutions, but I have a few more thoughts on them. I was thinking about them last week and started thinking about shifting focus from the idea that resolutions should be something we do consistently from Jan 1st through Dec 31st to thinking of them as habits we want to have achieved by December 31st.

I’ve been thinking about this even more the more I hear people talking about failing their resolutions already- not even the end of the January and they already failed at their resolution. Hearing this, I just think “how can you ‘fail’ a resolution when it’s only the first month of the year? You have another 11 months to still work on this!”

Which has me thinking this is a needed mentality shift for people. If you resolve Jan 1st that this year you are going to go to the gym before work every day, and now it’s the third week of January and you haven’t gone to the gym at all this week, so you failed because you haven’t been to the gym before work every day since January 1st on. Since you have already failed, just throw in the towel and give up on that goal because you already failed. Except there is no reason just because you haven’t gotten this resolution down to a habit after only 23 days in, you can’t make it a habit. You have lots of time left to still work on making it a habit!

If your resolution hasn’t gone perfectly so far, that doesn’t mean you failed, it means you still have room to improve it.

So I was feeling better recently and getting back to lifting and I started thinking about this issue….

I feel better when I work out.

Or I work out when I feel better.

Which is it?

Of course it is both, I do believe that working out can make me feel better. I also know that working out depends on how I feel, so I need to feel well enough to workout. But to say how much is a vs how much b is impossible for me to say. When I’m working out and feeling better physically… how much of me feeling better is because I’m working out? How much of my working out is because I just happen to be doing better physically at this time.

 

I don’t really have much more to say on this issue, but wanted to throw it out there. I was thinking about this recently and meaning to post about it and never got around to it until now. Which is a bit ironic that I’m posting it now since I’m actually feeling terrible because of a workout right now. I finally started Krav Maga but after the class I started coughing terribly and I’m still struggling with it more than a day later. I need to go see my doctor, it seems from my googlings and talking with others I might actually have a form of asthma. I’ve often had coughing fits that last hours after runs but I thought that was rather normal, maybe normal-normal, but at least not a problem. Turns out I might have been ignoring serious issues.