I’ve talked a lot about running and lifting on this blog. If you don’t feel like getting totally caught up, here’s the story in a nutshell: I used to run a lot. Then I hurt myself. Now I lift a lot.
There. You’re basically caught up on two year’s worth of posts.
There is a part of me that misses running regularly. It won’t ever become my go-to exercise since I think I’m much more suited for the lifting lifestyle (and a much bigger fan of the results). But I find running to be extremely honest. If you run regularly, you will get better at it. If you haven’t run in a long time, you cannot fake being good at it. It will hurt. And you have to push yourself through the pain (but not too hard… otherwise you’ll end up with problems like me) over and over again until you get back in shape. And it’s humbling. And I like to be humbled.
But this year, I’m prepared. I’m of course going to continue my regularly scheduled gym routine (because I find it the most efficient and effective for me), but I’m also going to add back in little bits of running. Even if it’s just a mile here, a set of interval sprints there, ten minutes on the treadmill…whatever. And I’m prepared because I got a specialty running sock that supposedly helps when you’ve got a messed up club foot like I do.
It’s not a traditional club foot. I call it a club foot because it hurts like I’ve been standing in heels in da club for hours after ten minutes of running.
Anyhoo, I’m excited about it. And because I’m all about being reasonable this year, I think it’s a reasonable compromise between my present lifting self and my past runner.
It’s quite simple, really. Your back hurts. You’ve got a knot somewhere and you can’t reach it. You live alone. You’re too proud to ask for a back rub. You’re too poor to go get one yourself. So you figure out a way.
That way, for me, is to use a tennis ball.
You lie on the ground and roll around with a tennis ball beneath you. Find the spot it hurts the most, hold until you can’t stand it, then release and move on.
I used it constantly on my feet for my plantar fasciitis. And it works like a charm on all sorts of tight muscles.
I’d pretend I’m the first one to come up with this idea but there are hundreds for pictures that come up with you google “tennis ball massage”… so I’m just another of the believers.
My good friend Whitney (who has a hilarious website you should check out here) has this contraption. It’s for hanging upside down. Or maybe upsidown, depending on your education level. I had heard of these contraptions and heard they were good for you before, but I had not experienced it for myself.
Well thanks to Whitney, I got to experience it for myself. I got to hang upside down like a bat. It was kinda awesome. And very intense.
Whitney helped me flip over slowly. And truth be told, I didn’t go all the way upside down my first try. That’s pretty intense for anyone and I wanted to take ‘er easy. But my second try I did. For a total of 20 seconds. Then I got the giggles and had to come back up to catch my breath (thanks a lot to my hilarious soul buddy who got me giggling while I was hanging). But even just angled mostly upside down is very intense. The blood rushes to all sorts of places it’s not used to going and your body gets jiggly in ways you didn’t know it could jiggle.
If you’ll recall my last post, I had a minor back issue for a week or so. I tried this hanging thing to help it out. I didn’t feel anything at first except a good (and odd) stretch all over. Then as I was coming back up, there was a very specific point when I could feel my vertebrae screaming at me. We isolated the pain! I found the exact angle I needed to stretch it out a little on this terrifying medieval torture contraption. And I worked it out. And cried a little. But as a creative-type, most of my friends are used to randomly crying at any given moment, so everybody stayed cool.
And the next couple days I really felt great. I’m actually considering getting one of these contraptions myself sometime. It seems to work wonders and Whitney swears by it.
Plus, if people ask what you’re up to, you can say “Just hangin’ out” and then laugh uncontrollably at your own cleverness.
Mom, be cool. I’m fine. No need to call me and suggest I go to the doctor right now. This post was written about a week after I hurt myself and will be published about a week from the day it was written. By the time you read it, I’ll be absolutely back to 100%. Also I love you and please send money.
I woke up one morning with a severe pain in my lower back. I couldn’t figure out what I did. I have a pretty strong back and am careful about doing certain back exercises because plenty of people in my family have hurt their back through work injuries or dumbass crossfit instructors.
But this was a definite pain in my lower back that wasn’t like a pinched nerve or a tight muscle (which I’m unfortunately extremely accustomed to). This was like that dull, debilitating, feels like it’s coming from your spine pain. Yeah. It sucked.
I had to slowly get up and down from my bed and chairs for about a week. I hobbled around like an old man because the only position that felt comfortable was slightly hunched and walking slowly. I yelled at kids to “Get off my lawn!” even though I live in an apartment complex. I avoided back exercises and stretched as best I could I did whatever it took to felt better.
As I was trying to figure out what did it and a particular move came to mind. The day before I woke up in pain I had been doing dumbell deadlifts. I had used a higher weight than normal. It had been a while since I did a deadlift. I got cocky and paid very little attention to my form because I never had issues with them in the past. I made sure to really use my back and rely less on my hamstrings and arms to make up for it.
Basically… I over did it.
It took about a week to recover. I’m slowly starting to get back on track (BACK! HA! GET IT!? BACK on TRACK!? BAHAHAHAH… sorry). By next week I’ll probably start to reintroduce some back exercises to help strengthen it again so this doesn’t happen. And I’ll introduce them slowly. And carefully.
It’s like that old saying goes, “Once you go bad back, you don’t ever go back.”
I love Yoga and stretching but I’m absolutely terrible about making time for it. I’d rather lift or do sprints every time. Even though I know if I take the time to stretch, my body will be grateful and perform even better the next time I want to do life or sprint.
So I’m working on being better. Like all things I know I’m lacking, I try and make an effort to improve (even if it’s minimal at first).
I’m making time once a week to do an online Yoga video (there are so so so so many on YouTube for free!). I discovered this one by a lady named Yogi Nora. She smiles a lot. Which is good. Because her deep stretches are very painful so I’m cursing a lot while doing them. So we basically balance each other out.
We did approximately 6 stretches in 30 minutes and I was nearly sobbing from the pain in each one. And I was sore for three days after the stretching because it pushed my body in a way I haven’t been pushed in a very long time.
And now I’m making time weekly to have this smiling yoga teacher put me through self-inflicted torture so I can get healthier. Maybe someday I’ll even stretch twice a week. Maybe someday I’ll even have a thriving yoga practice. Maybe someday I won’t start crying because it hurts so badly to move into a certain position because it’s so tight and I never take the time to stretch it.
Maybe. Or maybe somebody can shoot me now and put me out of my misery!
I’ve mentioned before that I get a personal trainer every once in a while. It happened again recently. I was grateful because I needed a little physical boost. I hadn’t been great about getting to the gym so I figured a personal trainer would be a great excuse to really go hard and get a good workout in.
The result… I hurt everywhere for three days. This guy really did me in. He’s a good trainer. He’s excellent at intuitively knowing how to push you just past your limit. We did metabolic training. I don’t do metabolic training on my own. I was breathing hard and screaming profanities a lot. I knew it would hurt.
And it did. For a few days. I walked slow and went pee carefully. Everything was sore. Nothing was easy.
And I’m grateful for it.
It was the best workout I’ve had in a very long time.
I went to do squats and a girl took the only other squat rack right next to me. I thought to myself, “Game on” because I’m overly competitive and turn everything into a challenge.
We both put the same amount of weights on the bar. Then we both went to it.
And I got my ass handed to me.
This girl had the same weight on the bar as me, sure, but she went twice as deep into the squat as I did. And when I barely made it through my three sets of 10, she was just starting to add weight to do more sets.
She owned me. In a competition I made up. She wasn’t even paying any attention to me. She was too busy being beast.
So I did what I always do when someone hands me my ass… I decided to get better. I promised myself from now on, I’m gonna have better form for my squats. I’m gonna go deep into that squat. Even if it means I have to go down in weight. Even if it means I can’t do as many reps. Even if it means my legs shake and burn. I’m doing it. Then, when I meet again my squat rival, we can go toe for toe.
Or in this case, butt for butt. Like J.Lo and Iggy.
The latest Femoir: The Podcast episode was recorded during an emotional overflow. I think the most important things to remember from this podcast are:
2. Shortly after this podcast was written, I took some time, had some conversations with myself and others and got back in my normal, happier state. So don’t you worry- that Happiness Habits podcast is coming soon!
I go to a douchebaggy gym. It’s not the gym’s fault. It’s just in a pretty douchebaggy location.
Normally, I don’t mind it. For the most part, the douchebags are too busy staring at themselves in the mirror to notice me.
But there is one element about my gym I hate.
Douchebags wear a lot of cologne. And when they sweat, it smells. Strongly. And when a lot of douchebags are in one small location (aka a weight room) and they are all sweating together…it reeks of cologne.
I actually have had to start modifying which gym I go to (because I belong to a huge chain that has several locations all over the city) based on the time of day. I cannot stand to be in my gym between 5-9 pm on a weekday. It’s honestly unbearable.
It’s really just more motivation for continuing to get up early and get my workout in during the wee hours of the morning before all the douchebags have woken up and poured Axe Body Spray on their bodies for the day. The morning can be busy but bearable. And the smell is neutral. Which, it turns out, is important to me.
I literally just shuddered when thinking about how terrible that weight room smells in the evenings. Uggghhhh. The horror.