Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Challenging your body vs. breaking it

Exercise has been a consistent part of our lives since 2009.  Like I'm talking not missing any days unless we were on vacation and were just more active in lieu of "formal" workouts or we were severely sick and even that probably adds up to a week over that time.  It's a habit for us.  It's like brushing our teeth.  I'm not saying we always love doing it.  There are nights where we go down and ask "what do you want to do?" and the other answers "honestly, nothing" and the other agrees and then we pick something and do it.  Those are the times when you need to do it the most...when you're both on the same page in your lack of want and motivation.

After a while, the workouts that used to challenge you are now easier and burn less calories.  You begin searching out newer, harder workouts to get the calorie burn up and give you that soreness that you both love and loathe.  We went from doing things we thought were hard back in the day like Tae Bo, Powerstrike, Turbo Jam and even a few of the higher impact Gilad videos to upgrading to higher impact.  HIIT and tabata workouts became the goal.  They put your body through the paces with high impact for a shorter amount of time.  We added things like Turbo Fire (which have workouts varying from longer medium impact workouts to HIIT workouts up to 30 minutes), Supreme 90 Day, Power 90, Amy Dixon and others. For a while, it seemed to be working but instead of losing weight, we were leaning out.  That's fine when you're closer to your goal but when you're still close to 300 lbs, a lean 300 lbs isn't gonna get you on a zipline with a weight limit of 240 lbs.  The Mr and I would throw ourselves into these workouts and give it our all.  If we weren't soaked in sweat and feeling like a rag doll afterward, it didn't feel successful.  The problem was then we'd spend the rest of the week feeling broken...literally broken.  Hobbling around, sore every day to the point we uttered the phrase "I feel like I've been hit by/dragged behind a truck" more often than I care to recall.  Even a full rest day wouldn't give us the relief we hoped for.

Everything in the media was telling us that unless you were breaking your body down to build it back up and make it harder, faster and stronger, then you weren't doing exercise right.  Well that was fine...until it wasn't.  I finally broke my body when I got Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome and muscle issues.  I was forced into non-weight bearing exercise for a time and then a slow build up with low impact.  When I wasn't blowing it on the weekends, I was actually losing weight.  Could this crap we're being fed about exercise needing to be extreme and all pain for gain not actually be right for the average person?

That mentality seems to dominate our exercise culture these days.  I see stuff like this pop up in my feed all the time...

(via)

I might've believed that even as recently as a year ago but I'm sorry that mentality does not fly with me anymore.  While I get why some people respond to that kind of message, I feel it's actually a little irresponsible to promote it.  I mean look at her.  How many people do you know that look like that??  How many extreme athletes do you know?  I'm pretty sure the majority of us are just looking for workouts we can easily fit into our busy schedules and if they can be fun over feeling like exercise, then bonus for us.  But instead we're spoon fed this mentality that we're not exercising with some extreme attitude then why bother?  That mentality may be how true athletes train but not the average person.  I'm not saying do something so light that you're not out of your comfort zone and sweating but I don't need to "put my body through the pain", thank you.

I'm finally over that injury I gave myself from our New England vacation and know how to keep it at bay.  I'm not going to go back to some batshit mentality of 'break it down to build it up' again.  Frankly, I'm too old for that crap.  Maybe if I had the joints of a 20 year old it would be okay for a time and if I gave a crap about being 10% body fat.  But I don't.

If I put intensity in my workout without doing box jumps, slamming down on my knees like a jackhammer and trying to see how far I can push my body before I end up back at the chiro...I can still lose weight.  I have been doing low to medium impact and three strength sessions with focus on legs and upper body without feeling like being dragged by a truck and seeing results.  Adding speedbags or punches in places where an instructor is babbling or there is a lull does a lot to keep my heart rate up and burn more calories.  It also helps that I've cut 100-200 calories daily in places I didn't need extras.

I still do Turbo Fire (not the HIITs), Walk Away the Pounds, Power 90 (modified if need be), Tae Bo, Gilad, Powerstrike and Fitness Blender workouts and while we do feel a little burnt out since we can recite dialogue...they get the job done.  Over the summer, we plan to add more outdoor activities to shake things up but when it's zero outside, we can't even think about that right now but it's something to look forward to.  No...they won't be high impact but I can assume we'll be sore and work our bodies in new ways.

It's fine to try out fitness trends to see what may and may not breathe new life into your fitness routine but it's not worth breaking your body over.

Have you ever tried a more extreme workout or fitness fad that was detrimental instead of helpful?

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14 comments:

  1. I took Krav Maga classes and they offered a class at the studio called "Power Strike"
    There were jump lunges, jump squats, bag squats, burpees, soooo many burpees. That class was the major push that brought me back to an orthopedic doctor about my knees. It just killed my knees. I'm a runner so I need my knees.

    I won't do jump squats and burpees anymore.

    I do mud races on occassion and those hurt but only the next day and it's mostly because I keep picking ones up small mountains lol

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    1. Ooh yikes, my Powerstrike isn't like your Powerstrike! I couldn't handle that kind of stuff and jump lunges are the devil.

      I hear those mud races can be fun. I'll cheer you on from the sidelines! LOL

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  2. I remember reading somewhere that the very doctor who invented the burpee basically says we're all doing it wrong and essentially overdoing it from what his original intent was. I don't entirely blame The Biggest Loser for some of this but they do take some heat from me because ever since that show has been on it's like people expect that to lose weight you need to spend half your life in the gym and that just isn't the case at all.

    I think, in the end, we all need to find the right balance but also need to find the exercises and workouts that we can do not only now but even when we're old because these joints have got to carry us through every single one of them.

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    1. Why does that not surprise me about the burpee? You take one simple move and you have someone else modify it slightly, teach others and then it's goes from something beneficial to something dangerous. Yes, TBL has really helped warp what the general public can think someone needs to do to lose weight. Heck even when I decided to do two workouts a day for two weeks, I gained three pounds and that was only 90-120 minutes.

      Yep, I agree! I don't plan on doing mountain climbers when I'm 80.

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  3. I ordered "Insanity". What was I thinking!?! I love to try new things & challenge myself (I'm starting cross fit in a couple of weeks), but I am always quick to modify to low impact on my joints and equally quick to speak up when something is uncomfortable.

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    1. We have Insanity too but I don't think we've done it. Last night we did Shaun T25 Cardio but did a modification somewhere between what Tanya the modifier and the others were doing. I always appreciate when they provide a modifier on those over the top workouts.

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  4. I see people running all the time that look miserable, I can't see what they get out of it. I totally agree, that we buy into what the media feeds us, we have to be a certain weight, if you don't burn thousands of calories your not going to reach your goals. Your right, if we are not athletes in our lives, why do we have to train like one. I know for a fact that is not true. Sure, I could push myself harder, I have the stomach jiggle and cellulite to prove it, but at the end of the day, I lost weight buy changing my life style and finding an exercise routine I am willing to do long term. I keep myself motivated by adding hiking and training to "walk" half marathons by improving my times. You have to do what keeps you motivated, what will fit into your lifestyle and what you will do long term!

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    1. Oh girl, I hear ya on the runners. There's no way at this weight I could justify putting my joints through that but even my chiro (who was a marathoner and is a personal trainer) said that running is the fastest way to ensure you'll likely need a knee replacement as you get older. No thanks.

      Long term ability to do your exercise is so important. There isn't anything we're doing now that I don't see us being able to do well into our 60's and 70's as long as we keep up strength training as well.

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  5. I agree we don't need to be pushing ourselves to break in order to get healthy. Just going from sedentary to active was a shock to my body as it is, and when I started at the gym that was another shock. But it's paying off. The fat is going away slowly but surely and there are non scale things I am seeing happening. But my knees hate lunges and I will never do one. I even had to have my trainer (free birthday training, I don't pay for that) change the lunges he put in into something else. And it works. I get all the benefits and can change up what I am doing without leaving the gym feeling like I need to swing by the ER first. Some days I don't break a sweat, but then the next time I will up the intensity and get more of what I need out of the workout. Every day I work out feels like a good day, and that's what counts.

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    1. Yep definitely don't want to push yourself into the pain zone especially on those knees. I will do small lunges but I don't know how people do the whole knees to the ground thing do it. That just feels painful and I still work muscles doing a half lunge. I may not want to workout some days but when I'm done, I'm always glad I did!

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  6. Bottom line it's about listening to your body, not trying to bully it into being something it isn't (or forcing it to change too fast).

    Yoga taught me that. You can't get much more low impact than yoga but trust me, you can wreck your body if you don't listen to it and back off when it tells you you've reached your "there" (and your "there" could be different every day).

    Thankfully, I've never wrecked myself from yoga, but I have tweaked this or that and it's a painful reminder that it's not always "mind over matter".

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    1. Very true. It's finding that balance between not going too hard or to easy on ourselves during our workouts.

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  7. For the most part, I've always done moderate exercise where I'd sweat like crazy, but wouldn't be overly sore the next day. That being said, when I'm at my sorest is about an hour after I'm done exercising and I go to stand up again. My ankles REALLY give me a hard time and I'm very stiff. I think my feet are just in protest from having any impact that I shuffle around for a few hours afterwards. The next day I feel fine and can do my workout again with good form and no issues. But I know my body is in protest with my weight and it lets me know it soon afterwards. There were a few times in the past where I tried high-intensity stuff, but I wasn't coordinated enough and knew it wasn't something I'd stick with long term. I can tell when it's time to step it up a bit when my breathing gets a little easier by the end of a workout. I've never done a workout where my breathing has been normal and calm, so I know I'm still getting a benefit, and that matters a lot for my heart. But once I don't have that same labored breathing, then I know I need to go a little longer or try different moves here and there and integrate things that will challenge me. But with my knees, I know I'll never be able to do some of the things I've always wanted to do (such as do a 5k for my mom and wear a shirt that says "Jogging for Jackie"). Heck, right now I have to walk down the stair sideways because my left knee is a dental floss tear away from disintegrating. Eek.....

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    1. I am always sore from the harder workouts the next day (or that night if it's going to be REALLY bad) but the Mr takes two days to feel his soreness. Though we both still seem to be paying for the snow shoeing/skiing in the arches a few days later. Arrg! I pray for the day you can get the muscles around that knee strengthened so you can hopefully do the 5K for your mama.

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