Key Modifications, Adjustments, and Substitutions

It’s important to modify, adjust, or even substitute exercises to fit one’s ability, injuries, focus, and goals. Sometimes, It’s even worth modifying a movement in order to simply get the best out of an exercise. For example, if you can do a full set of regular pushups, but you can do even more when doing knee pushups, it’s worth doing some regular pushups then continuing on to do as many as you can with your knees on the ground. This way, you can get more reps in, and achieve more than with doing less of the complete movement.

In my case, I have had a week of adjusting and substituting my exercises. I recently took a week break (my first real break in over a year) due to a shoulder injury. Recovering from a shoulder injury can take a lot longer than a week, taking away your ability to do most upper body workouts. But personally, I find it difficult to stay away from the gym and upper body exercising for too long. So as my shoulder recovers, I’ve been adjusting my barbell grips (from my goal preferred wide to narrow) and substituting some exercises (either changing to low weight and high reps or using a barbell instead of dumbells) to keep the movement and pressure on the shoulder to the absolute minimum. This enables me to continue working out while recovering steadily from my injury.

Still it must be done with caution to absolutely ensure the injury isn’t worsened and continues to recover. I find that testing an exercise and the weight before jumping into a full set allows you to asses the injury comfort/discomfort and danger levels.

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Oh the Feeling

How it burns, the soreness… the pain from the previous day’s workout. How I absolutely love it.

Note from a discussion with a fellow gym goer yesterday: Talking about new year resolutions, the new gym attendees, and how most only stay a month or so in the gym, he says: consistency isn’t easy. To which my response was… but it’s worth it!!

Consistency may not be easy, but it’s definitely worth it!! The pain.. it hurts, but it feels great!!

Sleepless…..

For about a week now, I haven’t been able to sleep properly. Lying awake for endless hours thinking, mind racing, without a final thought or summary. I’ve been working hard, sticking to my health and fitness, completing my workout routine, and for the most part sticking to my healthy eating habits day after day. My thoughts kept on coming back to VHLF, and this blog. Why haven’t I been posting? What was stopping me? Have I been doing enough to hold me back from posting? How would I get back into it?

If I am to chose one important application from my health and fitness journey, it would be that I am in control of my actions or I should strive to be. At the gym, it is up to me to push myself to the limit. I must maintain control over my mind and actions to get the results I want, to leave the gym feeling like I did everything I could in my power to gain from the workout I just completed. When I have the urge to eat something that I shouldn’t, it is up to me to stop myself. The challenge is only accomplished and overcome if I can say NO for myself. Therefore, I struggled to understand what it was that was stopping me from continuing with VHLF. This question amplifies even further in other aspects of life, simply, what is holding me back? Am I even being held back? Have I lost control?

Now, I’m getting a little carried away just going on a rant of questions, and believe me I don’t have all the answers either. It has been a good couple of months though. New responsibilities and challenges have been handed to me, good responsibilities and challenges, but definitely time consuming. These time consuming responsibilities coupled with a constant bad internet connection during my free time seems to have put me in a mode of I’ll start again tomorrow. But is it really good enough? Am I not just excusing my way out of it? Why would I even want to allow myself to be in this mode?
The only response I can come up with is just ****ing do it! Excuse my french, but I can’t stress it enough.

Forgive me for being selfish and keeping my journey to myself over the last… little while, but most importantly I ask forgiveness of myself for not fully exercising my control. My health and fitness journey continues. I have reached new milestones and constantly strive to reach my goals. But I must remember to focus as much on and enjoy the journey.

Excuse the rant please. VHLF blog and I have had a little setback. I’m okay with it. It has simply challenged me to push myself harder and come back even stronger!! I’m back and I’m stronger!! I will definitely strive to be at the very least.

Motivation or Distraction?

I do my best to find motivation in everything that happens to me and from everything I see. Although motivating, some things can also be distracting at the same time. Today, I was given a good reminder of this.

At the gym, my goal is to complete my workout while pushing myself to the limit and keeping my mind and body focused. A good looking woman who was working out on the machine next to me asked me for help. I helped her and we had a very short chat at the same time. Later, a number of the regulars, gym mates, told me that the woman liked me and that should go over to her and continue to chat. I did have a feeling that she liked me, but all the same, I told them that I do not and will not look for or focus on women during my workout. I find it distracting. Their responses were along the lines of “isn’t that why we workout” and “isn’t this why we started.” To be clear, for me, it is absolutely not the case. I began working out to lose weight and be healthy. It was never only about looks and attraction, rather for peace of mind and health. It is a time of day where I get to focus on my mind and body, where I get to push myself to new limits, be in control, and enjoy the journey.

This is more of an honest rant of how I feel than anything else. If I met this woman outside the gym or at the gym, but after my workout, I’d be happy to continue chatting. She definitely was worth a chat (if I may put it in such terms). But for me, focus is a priority at the gym. There’s plenty of other time in the day to focus and be distracted by other matters. Yes, it definitely has a motivating effect, but it is also distracting. 

WeekLong

From football Sunday to a stop/start workout schedule, it’s been a weeklong. Nutritionally, it was pretty much sound. Actually, probably a little less sound than I thought when I wrote that last sentence. With regards to my gym attendance, I had some blips in my schedule and routine….primarily good blips. The week started off great, playing football Sunday evening and completing my regular workout routine on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Thursday night and Friday night, my weeklong story changed. I had a good friends engagement party after work on Thursday night which meant I would have to miss gym and would instead be surrounded by fatty foods and deserts. I was okay with it. I would stay away from the the deserts (not going to lie, I was only 90% successful, which is why I changed my mind above) and just continue my gym routine on Friday. Well, work continued late Friday afternoon causing me to miss gym again although I did spend Thursday and Friday at work building a shed for a school. It was a workout, but not really a workout. 

I make sure to go to the gym at least 4 days a week. So I had to make up for it today, Saturday, which is usually my day off. Today was a weird day with the power down in my neighborhood, but I made it to the gym and feel good. I completed a good chest and biceps workout. I didn’t have too much time, but I made it count.

Well that’s my health and fitness week in a nutshell. What’s your weeklong story? 

 

A Testing Lift

With a combined weight of close to 600 pounds, moving each of the two boxes was a real life test physically and mentally. I was asked if I could help move these boxes from the truck and up a few steps to the back yard. I agreed wholeheartedly without seeing them, but I assumed from the casualness and tone of the request that the boxes were a maximum weight of 50 pounds each. It turned out that the first box weighed almost 300 pounds and the second box weighed just over 300 pounds. They were huge boxes. No, began to seem like the better answer, but I already said yes. I had to try. I had to try because of all the time I spend lifting weights at the gym. I had to try and see if my physical strength that exists during my workout could be applied to lifting boxes, when tasked, at any given time of day. It took some lifting, maneuvering, breathing, and breaks, but with the help of the shipping guy, we managed to get both boxes to right spot in the back yard. It is important to consider the notion of injury when lifting something this heavy. I used the form that I use when working out. I didn’t say no and I didn’t give up until the boxes were safely where they were meant to be. I knew I could do it because I do it on an almost daily basis in the gym.

It happened to be back and legs day for me as well. So when I got to the gym later, I felt as though gym would be a breeze after the boxes moving escapade. I do enjoy working out, but it’s never easy. It wasn’t today either. It’s not supposed to be easy. If it is, it means it’s time to add some more weight. Moving the boxes wasn’t a complete workout, but I would say that it was a good and complete test!  

A Step Backwards?

My shoulder is still recovering from the strain. I’m still in recovery mode which means I have to workout a little lighter than I usually would. You know, sometimes you just have to take a step back to move forward. But I found myself wondering if a “step backwards” is really backwards. Without this step, lessening the weight and lightening my workout, I may make my shoulder injury worse which would keep me out of the gym, fully, for a while. Isn’t it, then, a step forward? I ask myself this question because of perspective. I want to workout with my usual intensity and if not, I may feel like I didn’t accomplish enough which may cause me to be unhappy or to get lazy and skip exercising all together. Either way really, the step is in order to move forward. But perspective is important and definitely helps with the struggle. I believe that it really can be considered a step forward. Would you agree or disagree?