My Body

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“Why do you out your body through so much?”
“Be careful. You’re going to hurt yourself.”
“You must be really pissed off at your body.”
“Working out so much does not mean that you’re going to not have to deal with the Cerebral Palsy.”

Yes, all of those statements have been said to me at least once-sone hundreds of times. Yes, each of them has been true at some point in my life. However, they are not my top reasons for being so passionate and invested in my personal fitness journey. In fact, they are not even in my top 100.

Why do I work out and work so hard every day? Because I love my body.

I’ll admit that this wasn’t always the case. In the beginning, I was guilty of taking out my physical frustrations on my body. I was trying to perfect something that didn’t necessarily need perfecting. I was trying to fix something that wasn’t broken, at least not it the way I was thinking.

As time evolved though, so to did my mindset. Fitness became less about perfection and more about growth. Growth on both physical and emotional levels. I wanted to see how far I could get, where I could take my body and my mind, the goals I could accomplish and the boundaries I could healthily push. Even within the past week, that growth has expanded even more.

Fitness, for me, has become about loving myself, loving my body, and being confident in both. Because it is then that my physical strength has the opportunity to shine through and truly push the limits. I know this is my heart and I will not let anyone try to tell me otherwise. I have learned that when my motives are pure, and strong, and for the love of my body and myself, that’s when I feel most physically strong and able. And there is nothing that can beat that feeling.

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An Open Letter to New Year’s Resolutioners

It’s January 2nd, which pretty much only means one thing in the fitness world: time to start making sure to use the sign-up system that is pretty non-existent for the rest of the year to sign up for classes because things are about to get crazy. And crowded. I knew what I was walking into tonight when I decided to head to the gym after work. Kickboxing was going to have a few more not-yet-familiar faces, be a bit more crowded. Or at least that’s what I though…what I really witnessed was a packed floor of 36 people!! 36!! And probably only 8 or so of us were Wednesday night regulars.  Statistics tell us that many of these fitness “newbies” were New Years Resolutioners–those resolving to lose weight, get fit/healthy, do something active, etc. in 2013. I got fired up and I got to thinking…

Dear Resolutioners,

I applaud you. Whether you call it a resolution, a goal, or a plan; whether it begins on the first of the new year, your birthday, or the third tuesday after the first friday; we have all been there. We know what it’s like to come into a gym, let alone a group exercise class for the first time. To have no idea what the heck you’re doing. To get stuck next to the girl who thinks she’s seriously in a combat situation right now the way she’s throwing those punches. But you’re here. And that ‘s everything.

Now, please do me one favor. Just one I swear. Stick with it. Come back next week. Better yet, come back the next few weeks. Research shows that it takes three weeks, yes 21 days, to make or break a habit.  That doesn’t mean you have to work at some unrealistic level for the next 21 days, pretending you’re a seasoned group ex’r. That means you work at your pace, at your 100%, for three weeks. Some days will be better than others, as they are everyone.  But at the end of those three weeks, I can promise you that you’ll start to see results.  They might not be the results you expect. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee they won’t be, because life is funny that way. But I can tell you that they will be worthwhile. Happiness, less stress, physical strength, emotional strength, increased energy levels, the  list could go on for days.

If you need a little bigger push to convince you, you should know that in the first group exercise class I ever took (spinning), I barely lasted the entire class, never got out of the saddle, and both of my legs were bleeding when I got off the bike. Had I never gone back, I literally wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be writing this blog, I wouldn’t be strong enough to do anything I do on a daily basis, I wouldn’t have learned to love myself and my body, and a certified instructor? Ha! That wouldn’t even be on my radar.

So stick with it. You just never know where it will take you. 

Molly

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Know Your Body: The Importance of Modifications in Fitness

To any of you that know me on any personal level it may seem absolutely crazy that I, of all people, would write a blog post about knowing your body. I thought it was crazy too. Until I started picking up my workouts this past week.  

I come into the gym every day knowing that it’s going to be a mental and physical battle, just like everyone else.  But unlike many gym-goers, I live for that battle.  Most of the time this is a good thing, but sometimes it can get the better of me, when I unknowingly push myself to the point of injury as I did a few months ago.  Once I recovered and came back, I really had to be mindful of how I was moving my body so that I could avoid re-injury.  This not only includes constantly checking my form, but also knowing my body and how to modify for whatever it’s feeling at that moment.

In no way am I suggesting that every person become an Anatomy and Physiology expert. I definitely am not…I’ve just barely learned the basics AFAA is requiring of me! But you don’t have to be a psychic either.  We all know what are bodies feel like when they are functioning at 100%, and we know what they feel like when they’re not. That’s where it all begins.  It took me while to know for myself when a muscle group was screaming at me because it was burning in soreness and when it was in pain, but I’ve definitely gotten better at discerning that–and everyone can in time! 

Another hugely important factor in fitness is knowing modifications for yourself! This is particularly true for me because I usually have to modify about 25-50% of any Group Ex class I take (with the exception of spin). Any good instructor will show their class participants one or two modifications of a movement, but if those are also too advanced, knowing your body comes in vey handy. Having an idea of the muscles you are trying to target will help you to come up with an appropriate modification.  For example: a skater’s lunge (think Apollo Ohno’s speed skating move); this is a movement I cannot yet complete. Instead, I do a side-to-side steps with arm movement.  This is still keeping the exercise in the cardio range, and working my arms and legs just like my fellow classmates.  If all else fails and you can’t think of an appropriate modification, just keep moving in any way, and ask your instructor after class. That’s what they’re there for and love to help people find ways to get the best benefit.

The traditional saying goes: “Know your limitations.” but I’d like to propose it be changed to “Know your modifications.” There are no limits.

Until next time, thanks for reading and keep on living. 🙂  

The Worst Form of Pity

Just a quick post…a rant if you will…

We’ve all seen it done to others, perhaps we’ve even done it ourselves sometimes. Pitied someone because of the situation they are in.  This is something I see a lot of as a person with a disability. It’s been done to me, I’ve seen it done to the kids I work with at camp, I’ve done it at times.  I’m not claiming to be perfect, but it’s wrong and, hopefully, perceptions will start to change soon. There are so many forms of pity: stares, statements, you name it. Yet, I think I have officially encountered the worst form to date: excuses.

Let me tell you a little story real quick. Monday night I went to the gym. (I’ve since joined a smaller, more personal group exercise focused gym since my last few posts about joining the Y. I gave it a few months, but it wasn’t for me for various reasons. I’m SO much happier and much more active where I am now.) I started taking this class on a whim last Monday because I wanted to start to branch out to other classes and other challenges besides spin.  I guess challenge is a good word because I wasn’t too sure what the class was, but it sounded interesting.  It ended up being all about agility and sports conditioning type stuff, which definitely isn’t what I’m good at, but I’m loving the variation and that there are so many modifications that I can do so I’m still getting the same kick ass workout as everyone else!

So anyway, this past Monday, the class was outdoors since it was so nice outside.  The gym has two parking lots-upper and lower-and to finish the class, we had to run up the hill to the upper parking lot, do a series of exercises and things set out in the upper parking lot, then run back down to the bottom.  Now, this hill was no Columbia 5k hill from hell, but I haven’t tried to run a hill since…oh, October, so it hurt.  Naturally, I was bringing up the rear, but I’ve gotten used to this over the years of doing races and I’m honestly okay with it–I swear!! I like that I have to be the one to push myself to finish something because no one else is around to push me.

As I was finishing everything in the top part of the lot, I noticed that one of the women in the class seemed to be holding herself up waiting for me.  Immediately, and being the positive person I generally am, I thought that was really nice of her to wait as she probably didn’t want me to be alone in case of a problem.  When I got closer to her, she yelled out to me, “This is good, I don’t mind waiting for you. You can be my excuse as to why I’m not pushing so hard.” (You may now pick your jaw up off the floor).

I honestly don’t think this woman said this to be offensive or that she even realized what she had said, so let’s not get angry. I have no hard feelings for her at all and just brushed the comment off, but I was dumbfounded for a moment. It really got me thinking about one thing I want to say to the world.

Please don’t pity me. And above all else, please don’t ever use me as an excuse.  It may take me longer to do something, you may need to wait for me, but I’m out there busting my ass just as hard as everyone else and I’ve got not excuses running through my head.  So if you’re going to look to me at all, look to me as a motivator (which I’m also not entirely comfortable with), but don’t look to me as your reason to slow down a bit.  Put the work in for yourself, just as I do, because in the end when you’re facing that hill from hell, the only person you have to answer to when you’re asking if you’ve done enough is yourself.

Again, I have no hard feelings and this woman is very nice. It’s simply that the interaction sparked a general idea and pet peeve in me that I had to put out there for all of you.

Also, I know I’ve been a bad blogger, but consider this my welcome back! Thanks for sticking with me. 🙂

Frustration

Lost: Motivation.

If found, please return to Molly ASAP.

Just a quick post tonight because, quite honestly, I need way more sleep than I’m about to get. Finished classes tonight! (For a week) then summer class starts, but it’s only 2 nights a week for 5 weeks so that’s pretty much a win.

I just need to vent. Or something. I’ve completely lost motivation lately on anything physical related, and even though I know it’s normal, it’s scaring me a little. And by lost motivation I really mean haven’t done one little thing in a little over two weeks. Granted I’ve had a crazy intense few weeks with school, figuring out classes for summer, and my dog almost dying (he didn’t though, he’s home safe with us!). But those all just feel like excuses to me at this point. I always feel like when I get to the point where I recognize my lack of motivation I should be ready to jump back in, but I’m just not.

And the only thing I can think is, if all these things are so important to me (walking, PT, everything) how do I so easily blow them off for week. It’s frustrating. It’s upsetting. Yet, I don’t know quite how to get back. I’m not trying to throw myself a pity party here. I just don’t really get it.

Do any of my other followers have this issue with PT or other such things? What do you do?