For a while it’s been two steps forward, three steps backwards for me in training. Frustrating. Disheartening. Painful – literally!
I’ve had to be exceptionally disciplined over the last 5 weeks and it is paying off ten-fold!
Super short back story: I’ve had hip & back issues that keep rearing their ugly head when I try to push past a certain point in training.
I was born with hip problems, wore orthopaedic corrective shoes and had treatment as a child. Fast forward past years of avoiding exercise and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle and ultimately severe obesity, the hip and back issues would periodically crop up – I’d be told to lose weight, strengthen my core but once I was pain free from physio I forgot about all that once again! Fast forward to the last year or so, I am a healthy weight, I am very active and a regular exerciser. I’ve been able to increase my strength and fitness beyond my expectations in a relatively short period of time and I’ve done this under the supervision of my doctors (cardiologist, endocrinologist and GP) as well as allied health professionals including physiotherapists and remedial masseuse - all who have been treating me for a long time.
Regardless of ‘doing things right’ in terms of weight loss and commencing exercise, I kept reaching a point where I hit the wall and my body cannot go further. We’ve worked out that a whole collection of things mean that I do not have very stable hips, my glutes are very weak, my pelvis rotates to the extreme and this all causes pain, instability, imbalance, muscles spasms etc. It affects my hips, back and knees. We’re not sure of the entire story yet, and some medical imaging might be useful down the track, but it’s the combination of that the hip issues I had intervention for as a child (just how I was born) coupled with being obese for so long (like being pregnant for a really, really long time) and years of not participating in sports as a teenager and being sedentary for so long (never having developed any core strength etc).
I’d attributed blame to all kinds of things but when I took two weeks off to relax in Phuket last month I could no longer just blame training, too much time driving or sitting at my desk, not enough sleep, not enough massages. I was resting, not training and averaging MORE than 1 massage a day! I was still having times when I had to use the wall to lower myself on and off the toilet. I had some interesting (and painful) moments trying to use the squat toilets in Thailand! I was still having to take medication to try to deal with the pain in my back and hips. I came back from holidays and in my first training session it was just not working for me. I decided enough is enough and while it was not in keeping with my plans, I decided that I needed to direct some focussed time, energy and money into working out what was going wrong. It was a chronic issue that would have acute phases. I headed off to my doctor, my physio and my remedial masseuse who are such an awesome team (they helped me get my out of control migraines under control long before I started this weight loss & fitness adventure).
Mase, Steve and Jodie from Zenergy were on board and between all of us over the last 4 to 5 weeks we have gotten me mostly pain free, into a regular (daily!) schedule of activation and strengthening work plus triggering with a tennis ball, foam roller & rolling pin to loosen up. I’ve been disciplined with physio and massage appointments and in avoiding things like running and being weights sessions. I switched to training sessions that would not aggravate or undo all the good work that was being done in the previous sessions whether that be in training or from physio or massage.
Basically, I’ve had to stop, change plans and prioritise seeing the health professionals and changing my training.
I had to stop and say this really needs to get sorted.
I had to accept that while I planned to spend my time smashing out big weights sessions and doing some runs, that was not what my body needed.
I had to listen to my body and then get input from all the various experts: my trainers and health professionals. I had to cooperate with them. I had to be disciplined and try to work through the frustration and keep things heading in the right direction, no matter how slow the progress!
It’s meant saying no to things. I had to say no to myself when I wanted to attend group sessions a few weeks ago. I had to say no to myself when I wanted nothing more than to put my headphones on and run hard down to the water near home to clear my head. Some days I had to say no to training and instead have a session solely of stretching and triggering (Enter Steve with his rolling pin….).
It’s been frustrating as hell. It’s been hard to get my head around. But… after just the first week of being disciplined about the new plan I became virtually pain free, I was able to get in and out of bed easily. I was able to back off the pain medications! It was tempting to get stuck into training hard again but I did not. Slow and steady. This is for life!
Here were are almost 5 weeks later and I am training at a level and intensity I have not been able to consistently train at for a long time. New habits formed, lots learnt and I know I am setting my body up well for a life time as an exerciser. I am setting my body and mind up as well as possible for tackling some new, big goals in the months and years ahead!
This is my current inspiration and reminder to be disciplined about doing ‘the hard stuff’ and ‘the boring stuff’ like triggering, rehab exercises and physiotherapy. It all counts as training. I cannot help how my body is configured in terms of hip issues, but I can improve on what I’ve got! I cannot undo the fact I spent years being sedentary and obese, but I can understand why, work to rehabilitate my body and make the mindset changes necessary to ensure I never end back there!