Life Collisions: Blessing in Disguise?

Life often finds a way to collide with our plans and achievements or so it certainly seems. Just the other week, someone thought it would be a good idea to to plow their car into ours when we were stopped at a red light, literally a collision. I still have all my bones and limbs as far as I know, but due to the pain and adjustments mainly in my back, neck, and legs, my doctor advised me to stay away from heavy training and maybe just stick with cardio if I really felt the need to train. He explained that my body is now working out by itself to fix the damage from the accident. Doctor’s orders…. Doctor knows best…. Who am I to argue?

The trouble is I always find it difficult to stay away from training, especially this time as I was just getting back to my full fitness and strength peaks after returning from a three week holiday (during which I did train, but not as often or intense). But truly, this is what I train for. I train for times when I can’t always do what I would like to do i.e. train. The challenge set forth then was to see if I could actually stay away from it.

The first week, I stuck to interval days of cardio (specifically biking which is what the doctor recommended) and days off. The second week became a little more difficult, so, rebelliously, I started a little light training on some of the days. By light training, I mean using light weight but more repetitions and calisthenics, so it was more like cardio. With this method, I still wouldn’t push for the last few reps which usually count the most, so as not to aggravate the injuries, another challenge. The best part of all this though was that I managed to work on my form. I got back to the light weight basics and just really working on form. This week, I feel ready to heighten the load again and try get closer to my usual training method and previous fitness levels, but now with better form.

Every so often, I try do a form check by spending a few days training lighter, but its been a while. Due to this car accident, I was forced into one. Maybe a blessing in disguise? Who knows….

Fitness or Physique

For many, physique is the end all and be all of fitness. The belief that fitness means a bigger chest, better frame, and good looking butt with the many other attributes being only side benefits seems to be the dominant theme among the masses. What if I was to argue that fitness and physique are really just dependents, but focusing on the “side benefits” (and I don’t mean the many health benefit) may actually be more benefiacial?

For me, physique is more of a fitness guide, but not my main focus or motivation. I use my physique to plan my fitness routine, exercises, and workout, which muscles require more or less work, but it’s not what drives me to be active or workout. My drive is inner stregnth, personality, capabilities, and determination, fitness of mind as well as body. Focusing on such brings me more enjoyment, accomplishment, and better than ever physical results.

With this I ask you, which one is more important – your fitness or your physique?

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.

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!!

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. 

I Aint Dead Yet

As long as I can, I will. Don’t worry, I asked the doctor if it would be okay to workout. He said the only thing I can’t do is bang my head against the wall.

Labor Day was eventful. I worked for a couple of hours in the morning then spent a few hours on the beach with my sister and a friend. I had an infected bug bite that was getting worse by the minute. You know how family and good friends get. It was decided that I was going to the emergency room after the beach…I agreed (guys, thank you for convincing and taking me). So I spent the rest of the day in the ER, missing the gym in the process (gym closes early on public holidays) This is what I looked like after the surgery:

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The funny head thingy, bandage made me look a little ridiculous. But it wasn’t going to stop me. And yes, it bloody hurt. But it still wasn’t going to stop me. The doctor approved it…so it was no excuse!

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I completed a fantastic chest, biceps and a little bit of abbs workout. The wound was hurting, but the workout pain was definitely worth it!! 

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?