Whatever does not destroy me…

… makes me stronger.

084I’ve been struggling with injuries again in the last couple of weeks. Missed workouts, no running, pain, physio, massage, dry needles, pain killers, more massage. All the fun of the fair.

And then there’s the head. I know I’ve written before that I can be black and white in my thinking – and injuries really bring that out. I get disheartened, feel out of control – my eating plan takes a hit, and I’m left wondering if I can keep this up, whether it’s even worth it. Straight away I’m thinking about how I never hurt myself when I didn’t work out. And maybe this life isn’t really for me – that maybe I won’t be able to sustain it. And that I’ll fall off the wagon, and go back to the girl – the fat girl – I was before.

My trainer, as usual, has been fab. Encouraging me to keep moving, doing the things I can do, and working on fixing things so I can get back to working on the longer term goals. To understand that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. To get back on track. He’s had an injury recently too – we’ve been able to compare notes on the relative benefits of treatments, and the frustration of not being able to train properly.

But it was one of my CrossFit coaches who really helped me out this week. His words of wisdom were something along the lines of that, unfortunately injuries are part of training… it’s the price you pay for not sitting on your arse and being unhealthy.

It would be better without the injuries. Before I started to train, I didn’t get injuries. But he’s right. Because I also didn’t get the exercise highs, or the satisfaction of setting goals and achieving them. Of being fit and strong. And healthy. Of being able to do things that most people can’t. And hell, I’ll say it, I certainly didn’t look this good!

So… I’ve worked out that I need to take time to get better. To get back into it gently – not to rush and ruin all the healing. To take some time to reassess the goals, and figure out an alternate route to get to the same place.

And to keep trying to shift this all or nothing thinking. Not to be quite so hard on myself. Forgive myself for the slip-ups, and remember that it’s the long game that’s important. That this is the new normal. The challenge is, of course, to remember this next time it happens – and not be beating myself up for two weeks before I figure it out again. *Note to self.*

I’m also on twitter.

Also – shock – I’m not the first person to deal with this… there’s some good advice in here.

If it doesn’t challenge you…

… it doesn’t change you.

Lazy Girl Fitness – a personal trainer based in Sydney – has issued an ab challenge. A chance to spend 28 days focusing on your core… instead of throwing in a couple of rounds of crunches at the end of a session (or sit ups with a big barbell when your trainer MAKES you, like this morning) – 28 days where you focus on improving core strength and abs. Just because you want to.

For me, it never hurts to do some extra core work… a stronger core helps to keep my back happy. And who knows, I might start to love crunches so much, I just start busting out random sets while I watch TV. They are one of those exercises my trainer loves to point out you can do anywhere – no equipment required!

I’ve even done the whole “take-a-photo” thing. I have previously resisted all attempts by my trainers to record this journey of mine photographically… and I have to say that taking a photo of my bare midriff tonight may prove to be the most challenging aspect of this challenge. I’m certainly not brave enough to share it yet!

In my life as the fattest girl, I made a conscious effort not to be in photos. I learnt how to take photos, and bought really expensive cameras so I could be the photographer, not the subject.

Back when I started going to the gym, I wouldn’t let them take my photo. There is no classic before shot of me. I haven’t let them take it anytime since. The tape measure came out once, but I almost went catatonic, so that never reappeared either. I hated weighing in too… the humiliation of weighing in on that first day was almost overwhelming, but that was the measure I understood, the one I had reconciled myself to, so that’s what we went with.

But lately I’ve been thinking a lot about measuring success – the scales just aren’t moving like they did in the beginning, even though my jeans feel different. What is success now? Is it the elusive number on the scale? Is it a body fat ratio? A set of measurements? Or some physical feat I aim for and achieve (handstand push-up?!?)?

At the moment – aside from the very specific handstand push-up target – the goal is something like stronger, leaner, fitter. I am loving challenging my body to do new things, I am loving feeling stronger, and I’m kind of marveling at how much the shape of my body is changing without actually moving the numbers on the scale very much at all – I am developing some serious muscles! I have even consented to doing measurements in my session this Wednesday – I now want to know what those numbers say over time.

And tonight, the photo. With midriff bared. I have decided to embrace the  challenge in all it’s photo-collecting glory. Who knows, maybe by the end I’ll be brave enough to post the photo. That would be a completely unanticipated new normal!

I’m also on twitter.

PS You can join in too… no special equipment required, just visit Lazy Girl Fitness for all the details. I look forward to seeing your photo too… good luck!

Your mind will quit 1000 times…

… before your body will.

Ain’t that the truth.

When I first started working out, I was worried about so many things – but one of the biggies was that my body wouldn’t be able to keep up. I learnt pretty quickly that the body adapts fairly fast. I mean, I couldn’t run 5km straight away, or do 100 push-ups (ha! I still can’t do 100 push-ups!), but there was plenty I could do, and learn to do over time… plenty to keep me busy, keep me challenged and keep the kilos coming off.

 The mind on the other hand… the mind fights. It is dragged along kicking and screaming. It has all the excuses for not getting out of bed. It has all the reasons that a glass of wine or a cupcake is ok.

I have a friend Sarah, who I’ve recently encouraged (some might say nagged…) to join my gym. Like lots of us, she’s got a few kilos she wants to lose. She’s a single mum, she works fulltime – life is busy. She started with a bang – was starting to get all competitive with herself, pushing herself to do more – and then it got hard. Work ramped up, lots of stuff going on with her daughter – things were feeling out of control. And what was the easiest thing to control? The workouts.

She called Kirky to talk to him about it. He does a pretty good line in encouragement, and she’s changed her schedule around, and she’s back into it. And sometimes that’s what we need – someone else to show us a way through. Bless trainers and gym buddies.

Sometimes we’ve just got to rely on ourselves – dig deep. But there’s lots of websites and blogs – facebook and twitter. I’ve become the queen of the motivational quote. I have one for every occasion. I save them onto my phone, and recycle them in my blog. I always thought motivational sayings were twee before – not anymore!

When I first started, when I was really hating it, I would give myself permission to quit tomorrow. But I had to go just today. I figured if it was just today, I could stick to it. And when it was really, really hard I took it one decision at a time – each decision to workout, each meal choice… at that point “Just. Keep. Going.” was my motto.

The other thing I had to learn was to ask for help. People want you to succeed. Tell people you’re struggling… ask for the help you need to get you back into the gym, to eat a better lunch… people are more generous than you can imagine. They will help you out with a tip or some encouragement if they can.

And the longer you do this thing – the easier it gets. I mean the workouts don’t get easier – there’s always something new to learn (handstand push-ups anyone?) – but it gets to be habit. It gets to the point that when your doctor says you can’t train, you get stressed about that! Where the healthier choice is easier to make. It gets to be the new normal.

726So hang in there, Sarah. I have a plethora of motivational quotes to share, and I’ll do whatever I can to help you stick it out. Because it might be hard, but it is so worth it.

I’m also on twitter.