This is my happy place.

Be, Weight Training, Junior's Gym, Granada, Nicaragua, Injury Recovery, Personal Fitness, Strength

Nicaragua is in the midst of turmoil and change. The day’s political events around the country are dramatic and unpredictable. On a local level, we are entrenched here in Granada with roadblocks surrounding us on all sides. We are preparing our house for a national strike that will stop all transport and most economic activity for 1-2 weeks. School is let out at different times each day, but is kept open thankfully so that the kids have some normalcy in their lives and graduate on time.

Whenever I feel that we are in precarious position as a family, I do one more thing to get ready for whatever outcome that potential danger presents. I feel that acting in preparation allows me to breathe more deeply after it’s done. But honestly what I think really holds me together is being able to go each day to my local gym and do what I need to do to push my body, sweat and tire myself physically to relieve as much angst as I can that I am holding inside.

Be, Weight Training, Junior's Gym, Granada, Nicaragua, Injury Recovery, Personal Fitness, Strength (2)

Noticeably, I am spending a lot more time at Junior’s Gym than ever before. Either I am incredibly disorganized or I just really need this time there, but each morning I can easily spend two hours at the gym putting my head and body together.

It’s true that there is a element of disorganization with my workout. I am still very cautious about injury and I avoid overly sophisticated combination movements that might trigger a relapse. I dedicate myself to a target muscle and carefully focus on my alignment before moving on to a new exercise. It’s very safe and super inefficient.

Having said that, doing it every day does have an efficiency in creating positive results that I never knew before my injury when I was spending half my workout week in yoga. I have definitely become stronger, fuller and curvier in the last two months by focusing on strength training. Since these were my fitness goals all along, I can’t not fail to see the silver lining in what I have learned about my training as a result of being injured. Continue reading “This is my happy place.”

Celebrating 50 articles, my 9th month at the gym AND that I can move my toes again!

50 articles, injury recovery, strength training, health, junior's gym, Granada, Nicaragua, exercise,

From the beginning of my fitness journey, I strove to document the process of getting stronger and gunning for the best curves of my life. I needed a way to to talk about what I doing and the highs and lows of the process each week. This blog was a natural answer to my need to write about my physical life but it also was the perfect medium to display all the revealing imagery that was produced from filming my workouts.

I am now in my ninth month in my effort to train six days a week and am writing at this moment my fifty-first article to describe it.  If you have been following me for awhile, you will know that 8 weeks ago I was injured while training and have spent the last two months working out while also doing physical therapy. This traumatic event and recovery process has all been an important part of my journey. The setback was huge, but I importantly learned about my body’s ability to heal itself overtime.

50 articles, injury recovery, strength training, health, junior's gym, Granada, Nicaragua, exercise, 2

This week I am also celebrating that as a result of that therapy and my body’s healing process, I can move all of my toes again! This is a muscular victory and I have to work at it daily. I still cannot feel those toes on the ground and so there is still a neurological hurdle to face which may take more time. But I am enjoying a kind of faith that phase by phase, I will repair myself and regain all of my former movements and capabilities.

If I make a progress check in the mirror for how things are going visually, it can be somewhat challenging to be patient. There is so much that I want to accomplish, realistically it is going to take me years to get to where I want to be in terms of my physical strength and the strong but feminine female figure that I have in mind for myself.

But I now have a faith in that process, too. Not only can I look back at my earlier articles and see how far I have come, I recently had the benefit of asking an expert, someone who knows me well, if they could see a difference. Continue reading “Celebrating 50 articles, my 9th month at the gym AND that I can move my toes again!”

Chasing after the weakest movements

Got to get grounded, Granada, Nicaragua, Injury, Junior's Gym, physical fitness, health, exercise

This is week 7 since my injury and my 13th physical therapy session. I often look to my therapist’s face for clues for how well I am progressing.

¿Como esta? ¿Como se siente, hoy?” she inquired yesterday. “Do you have pain?”

“No, never,” I answered. “Just the numbness in the outside of my foot and the two toes.”

“How often now?” She inquired.

“All the time,” I said, puzzled. I had thought she understood that. “From when I wake up until I go to bed.”

And then I see it in her face. Doubt. Concern.

“There is something pressing on your nerve, absolutely,” she said seriously. “I am going to gift you time on the compressor to see if we can lengthen the space.”

The compressor is ironically for stretching. It literally pulls at me at my spine between my L4 and L5 area where I have less space than I should. There is a certain torque and timing to it based on my weight and it is not continuous or painful. But it does look like it should be located in the basement of a Spanish castle where the Inquisition Committee has a way of making you talk.

When I finish stretching (without any significant confessions) she has me walk a tight rope figuratively across the room. This is the kind of exercise I would have excelled at before I hurt my back and leg with no problem. But today I teeter, awkwardly lifting up my feet too high and placing my arms out for balance.

“No,” she counsels. “Do it normally.”

This is critical. My movements these days are accommodating and compromised. I’ve developed a new walk that isn’t mine, but compensates for the lack of sensation I feel. Anyone who knows me would instantly see that it was affected. I need to force the movements that I am avoiding.
Continue reading “Chasing after the weakest movements”

Can’t or won’t, darling?

Confronting my weakness, Junior's Gym, Granada, Nicaragua, Health, Fitness, Injury, Exercise, Training

“Live baby live, now that the day is over.” My friend Elise is quoting me old lyrics from INXS encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone. You are young, you are beautiful, she says. You need to go out. You need to find somebody.

Ouch. Does everyone notice that I don’t? Probably. I can make up a million excuses why I stay in my comfort zone, but the truth is there is a weakness there that I am avoiding. A fear, if you will, of what is on the other side. Too much murkiness. What if I get hurt?

My physical therapist is pretty much telling me the same thing about my fitness routine. “What are you doing now at the gym?” She inquired, yesterday. Continue reading “Can’t or won’t, darling?”

Slippery Slopes

Slippery Slopes, Junior's Gym, Granada, Nicaragua, Health, Fitness, Injury, Exercise, Training (4)

Have you ever lost touch with a really good friend that you once spent numerous hours talking, laughing and exploring life and dreams together? A person that you knew so well that you could predict what they would say or do and it would make you smile even before they did it?

What if that person was you? Continue reading “Slippery Slopes”

The pleasure of living through the pain.

The pleasure of living, physical fitness, strength training, health, exercise, granada, nicaragua, injury

It’s been ten days since I injured myself gravely and I have been scanning my body daily for signs of improvement. I can see definitive advancement from the first eventful day when I implored Bertina that it was okay to leave me lying on my back on the garage floor and go home. I am not sure how long I ended up staying there, but I do remembering not knowing how I was going to get up. This was a dark day of pain and unknowing. Continue reading “The pleasure of living through the pain.”

Oh, Miguel! What am I going to do? “Reposo, reposo, reposo … y ANIMO!”

Animo, Strength training, fitness, health, exercise, injury, personal fitness, granada, nicaragua

I am staring up into the brightness of a single, exposed light bulb that hangs from the ceiling amongst beads of sunshine piercing through holes in the zinc roof like stars in a night sky. What does Miguel do when it rains?, I wonder. Continue reading “Oh, Miguel! What am I going to do? “Reposo, reposo, reposo … y ANIMO!””

Dear Journal, sometimes I feel like there is this extra weight pressing down on me…

1 Strength Training, exercise, health, granada, nicaragua, personal fitness, juniors gym, wall sit

Bertina kept the challenges flowing this week with lots of surprises in our fitness itinerary. While wall sits are nothing new, I wasn’t expecting a 35 lbs barbell on my lap to accompany this week’s sit at Junior’s Gym.

The thrill of the moment was when I realized that I could push past the minute and a half that she asked me to complete because I was loving the challenge and felt that I was in a strong position to keep it going. There is something about those weights that sparks a happy chemical reaction, upping the excitement level and my desire to draw out the task for more time. Continue reading “Dear Journal, sometimes I feel like there is this extra weight pressing down on me…”

The happiest days are these.

Strength Training, weights, Junior's Gym, Personal Fitness, Granada, Nicaragua, Health, happiness

Happiness matters to me. My health matters to me. I want to feel energized and strong. It’s not youth that I want. It’s more mature than that. My youthful emotions were mercurial. My adult emotions are goals and choices. I choose to feel amazing.

It’s what I want for myself, it’s what in the end, only I can give myself.

Strength Training, weights, Junior's Gym, Personal Fitness, Granada, Nicaragua, Health

My fitness journey began with a physical goal of achieving strength and the figure that I felt better represented who I wanted to be. When I thought about all that I wanted out of my new body and what I supposed it would bring to my life, I didn’t factor in the emotional joy. Continue reading “The happiest days are these.”

Gotta make it hurt so good! Tuesday’s arm workout in pictures…

Feels so good, Arm Workout, weights, health and fitness, Granada, Nicaragua, Junior's Gym, March 2018, it feels like this

It’s Tuesday morning and I am back at Junior’s Gym in beautiful Granada, Nicaragua for a surprise arm workout with Bertina. She’s organized a jam-packed exercise agenda this morning that takes us to each corner of the gym and even out onto the sidewalk. Continue reading “Gotta make it hurt so good! Tuesday’s arm workout in pictures…”

Serving up the Early Bird Combo Special: my Sunday morning with Bertina!

Garage Workout, Strength Training, Personal Fitness, Granada, Nicaragua, Weights,, plank combo

By now you might have noticed that I spend about half of the first hour of any given morning on my hands wrestling with the pure gravity of my own body weight (that is if Bertina hasn’t devised to add on an accessorizing barbell or two).

Sometimes those exercises can be pretty straightforward, but most of the time Bertina will plan something like what is pictured above: perched feet up on a retaining wall for pressure, a leg crunching into my chest, then lifted back up in the air and finally for the coup de grace, a military style push-up (a super Sunday Early Bird Combo Special, not to be confused with a greasy breakfast plate at Denny’s Diner). Continue reading “Serving up the Early Bird Combo Special: my Sunday morning with Bertina!”