Is your body screaming at you?

Is your body screaming at you?

“Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel”Kevin Trudeau

I hurt my low back badly a couple of weeks ago. In the last couple of months, I had increased my training volume a lot. Before going to the megaformer class up to three times per week and Orangetheory one time per week, I was weight training three times per week and doing vinyasa yoga three times per week. This means that I doubled up on three days of the week (on my non weight-training days). I knew that I was exercising A LOT more than I was used to but I was eating more to fuel the additional exercise and I did not feel too sore or worn out so I thought I was doing everything right. I started having low back tightness a few weeks ago but it always felt better after any of the workouts. Two weeks ago during my weight-training session, I could feel that my low back felt a little tighter than normal while I was doing Romanian deadlifts and while picking up weights for another exercise. I felt great by the end of the workout. When I got home, I bent down to pick up the food processor from a low cabinet (which is very heavy and awkward) and when I stood up with it, I felt something pinch in the center of my low back. All I wanted to do was make pesto sauce! About a half hour later, I started having severe pain down both legs and could barely walk because of how painful and weak they felt. I have never felt this much pain in my whole life. I don’t remember what my pain was like after my back surgery 18 years ago but I’m sure it was pretty close to this. I felt defeated and I felt like all of the hard work I had put into making my body feel good would be quickly img_1316reversed. One of the daily practices that all of the trainers and chiropractors at the gym stress the importance of is breathing with the legs supported at 90 degrees. Zolie was keeping me company while I was doing this practice to relieve some of the tension right after I hurt myself. Isn’t it interesting how our pets know when something is wrong? He always makes me feel better even when I am in severe pain 🙂

Since reducing my weight training and overall exercise volume over the last couple of weeks, I have found peace with my lower intensity exercise routine. I have incorporated upper-body exercises and walking in my pool and am doing several rehabilitation exercises every day. These gentle forms of movement are peaceful and almost meditative because they are performed slowly and require concentration. Even though I am not sweating or working my body to exhaustion while performing these exercises, I am still able to find joy in moving my body in a way that makes it talk a little more quietly.

As the quote above indicates, a lot of people don’t realize that their body is designed to move well and feel good on both the inside and on the outside. Both people who have not adopted an exercise routine and healthy eating habits and those who exercise a lot and eat a nutritious diet have the privilege of experiencing what a healthy body feels like. There are downsides to extremes and our bodies may ultimately feel the best somewhere in the middle. My body doesn’t feel healthy right now but I know it will get back to normal soon because I am listening to its cues and giving it what it needs to heal including plenty of food and rest. I plan to reintroduce the classes slowly but take one or two rest days which I was not doing before the injury. And when I do go back to the classes, I will give 50% effort to avoid re-injury and to determine if those classes are ultimately beneficial for my mind and body. Even when we feel like we can take another class or complete another set of an exercise in the gym, it is important to rest and to pay closer attention to our body’s cues. A little low back tightness can eventually turn into something more extreme if it is ignored.

My Journey to Health

My Journey to Health

 

“I cried the moment this happened because I finally realized that this is what healthy feels like”

My journey to finding optimal health was not a straightforward path or an easy adventure. Body confidence is not something that comes naturally for me and I will admit that I am still working on it. When I was in high school, I was overweight and envied my two sisters who were thin and were both cheerleaders. After I graduated high school, I knew I needed to do something about my health. I started using the elliptical machine at home every day over the summer and lost about ten pounds on my own. Then during my second year of college I started weight-training three times a week with a personal trainer and learned how to eat healthfully to fuel my body. Over the two years that I was training at this gym, I lost almost 40 pounds and kept it off until a back injury caused from training kept me from working out for almost a year. I put most of the weight back on during this setback.

I started rehabilitation training for my back at another gym where I learned more about eating healthfully. Over a couple of years, I lost almost 40 pounds. At one point I got too thin but did not realize that there was a problem. The nutritionist and a couple of coaches at the gym recognized that I was too skinny and that I was obsessing over what I was eating. I also lost my period for about nine months, wasn’t sleeping well, and had very little energy. They reduced my training load and told me straightforward that I needed to gain weight as fast as possible. Hearing this felt like the end of the world and it took some time to process but I was eventually on board. Eating a ton of food was difficult, but I eventually gained about 10 pounds and got my period back. I cried the moment this happened because I finally realized that this is what healthy feels like. Losing your period is no joke and should not be taken lightly. It might be a convenience but it is not healthy and can lead to serious health problems down the road such. I kept the weight on for a couple of years but then dropped to a low weight again about a year ago. I lost my period again for about six months and realized that this is not healthy and that I needed to do something about it. It took a second time of being in an unhealthy state for me to accept that being “skinny” comes with consequences. I am happy with a few extra pounds because my energy is better, I’m building muscle, and I have a better self-image. My body feels strong and healthy.