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.
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.”
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.
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!”
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…”
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…”
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!”
Every day when I wake up and I feel all the aches and pains in my body, one of the first thoughts in my mind is I can’t go. It doesn’t matter which day it is, whether I am meant to head to yoga or strength training, my brain offers the same default reaction before I even get out of bed: skip it, take a break, rest, go back another day.
I now expect this train of thought as part of my normal morning routine and I have learned to counter these messages with a blank mind and well-marked steps to get me to training. I shove aside indecision and program myself to do the same thing every morning. Continue reading “Month 7: Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride. Not even me.”
In case you were wondering what I was doing today, Bertina told me it was definitely not girly. Meaning, my favorite trainer was going to up the level of challenge today during strength training until I called uncle. So be it.
She innocently started the day with ‘just a traditional forearm plank’. And then when the clock started ticking, she advised me that she was laying barbells on my back. Sweet! Continue reading “And she looked at me, and smiled and said,”Today, is not a girly workout.” (Oh! And I wore my skirt!)”
Sir Roger Bannister, the first man recorded to have run a mile in less than four minutes passed away yesterday in England. Up until the year that he broke through the four minute barrier in 1954, the athletic and scientific world hotly debated whether a four minute mile could ever be broken. Most people concurred that it couldn’t be done.
But when Sir Roger succeeded in shaving less than a second off of the four minute mile in 1954, additional athletes immediately followed his example in achieving the same feat. Their training had not changed so much from earlier in the year, however their personal dream immediately became more tangible.
I am starting to think that we stare at our own four minute miles every day. Continue reading “Four minute miles all over my body and you asked for it: my training week in pictures.”
I’ll be honest with you. Everyday I wake up stiff. My body hurts and aches all over the place. Some of it is a good kind of hurt, the kind of discomfort that I have earned and that will later transition into muscle growth and tightness- the curves that I am chasing after. When I feel this kind of soreness, I know that I have really gone the distance and hit the target.
Other kinds of pain, are not so good. Pain from an injury is a constant source of worry. This is week number two of having a pinched nerve run down my left leg and I am still nursing it constantly, navigating my limitations but yearning to jump into all the positions and angles that I recently did so effortlessly.
In many way I feel that I am fortunate that I was so wretchedly sick the first weeks I started training in September of 2017. There were mornings when I couldn’t eat, mornings when I threw it all up. But I still trained. Continue reading ““If you break your toys, what will you play with?””
Give me ghetto butt.
I look to the side in the mirror eyeing my dancer’s straight line, and I try to self-correct. It’s counter-intuitive for me to push myself out of top-down alignment, but we are not doing pliés in a ballet studio. We are doing arm curls at Junior’s and the right posture requires a slight sit into pushed-out glutes. Or, as Chris more pictorially describes it, ghetto butt.
More, Chris says, so I give it what I got (which let’s face it, isn’t much, and that’s one of the reasons why I am here). Thankfully it’s enough. Good, he says. Now elbows in. You are going to go all the way down to your thighs and your gonna come back up with straight wrists, no bending, all right? Straight, all the way up. All I need is eight. Continue reading “Month Six: Planking, Pull-ups, Push-ups & Shakespeare”
It’s 7:20 Sunday morning and Bertina and I are about to train as we always do on Sundays from the home office of my garage. During the week, we are twice at Junior’s Gym, where even if it’s not much of a gym, you can get a damn good workout if you are with people who know what they are doing.
Trust me, a good workout doesn’t require state of the art equipment, or even a clean floor. One of the attractions of the Sunday garage sessions is that it takes this minimalist approach to a new level. The workout materials basically consist of Bertina and me, my garage floor and sometimes a chair and some hand weights. No membership needed. Continue reading “The Garage Workout: B, me, and the floor you see.”