Thursday, February 20, 2014

Oh, The Pain, The Humiliation....

Lol. Had my ass handed to me today.
Quite literally.

As I shared previously, I've found a new gym home at Life Time Fitness in Tempe. During my consult with the amazing Kayla, I agreed to give Pilates a shot, so I signed up for 4 private sessions, plus 2 personal training sessions with her. My goals are these... first to get myself back up into fighting fit shape (the last months have not been friendly to physique, between injury, inflammation, and moving), to add some muscle, and to prep for competition prep. To do these things, I need a trainer with experience and expertise in dealing with my particular challenges - Kayla fits the bill. She's got a solid understanding of inflammation and auto-immune disorders, and the challenges an athlete faces when living with them. I felt comfortable with her, which was also key in my goals.

To be clear, I'm not hiring a personal trainer indefinitely, but simply to have someone I trust and respect who can be on tap when I need some help working around a flare-up or an injury (currently it's the wrist injury and arthritis flare), and who can also help provide direction periodically in my pre-prep. Once I'm ready for actual prep, I'll hire a coach.  [The World's Greatest Trainer & Prep Coach, you might remember, retired from training]. Along with all this, I'm also doing a bunch of testing - basic lipds, metabolism, body fat, food allergies, etc. All of these are tools in the tool chest to help me build my best body - strong, lean, healthy.

So... yesterday was my first Pilates session. One word: OUCH. Lol! I was humbled by how much strength and flexibility I've lost - which I knew going in, but this was all up in my face, lol. She's a great instructor, and was quick to point out my strengths as well as where I need to strengthen. Her encouragement and humor were appreciated. If you've never seen a Pilates Reformer, I've provided a photo here, but let's be honest... it looks like a torture device. And a danger to a klutz like me. ;-)

By the end of my session, my muscles were shaking, I was sweating, and my hamstrings when I stood up were screaming. They actually charlie-horsed - both at the same time. Klutz squared. Lol. The drive home was interesting: Ok, I'm going to step on the brake now, legs, please don't cramp, please don't cramp, please don't cramp. Hahaha. Today, the hammies feel good, and my abdominals are screaming. Wow. Good strong work, and none of my joints (save my right knee and wrist which are injured) hurt more than usual. I'll take that as a victory.

This morning, bright and early - and fasted and thirsty - I went in for my initial blood-work, and assessment. First up, blood pressure. Ha! She took it three ways... sitting, laying down, and standing up. The sitting is your baseline, then it should go down when you lay down, and up when you stand up. Sounds normal, right? Not me! I was reversed! Pressure went up when I laid down, went down when I stood up. I'm sure there's some subconscious lesson there about my calm & active states, lol.

Next up was the blood and body comp. While I knew my weight, knew I am softer than "normal" for me, knew I had some improvements to make, I have to be honest and say that I was a wee bit mortified by my numbers. And humbled. While I'm fully on the better side of the 'normal' categories, I'm out of the athletic range. Boooooo. I've lost muscle, so while my weight has maintained, my bodyfat has increased. Again, booooo. My nutrition is good/bad - good in that my food is clean and nutritious, lol, but my consistency in fueling is not. My supplementation is excellent (thank you, Champion Performance) so no changes there. The gist of it? I got my ass handed to me. And I have no excuse.

I've been in survival/maintain mode and used, simply, my clothing as my guide. It all still fits, except, my jeans have actually gotten smaller. Turns out, this is not a good thing, lol. This was the wake-up/reality-check I needed. I cannot continue to "maintain" and reach my goals. Period. Won't happen. So... Here's the plan:

Early next week, on a non-workout day, I'm doing a cortisol test. Takes all day, then gets run by a lab. This will show me my current range of cortisol levels. Why does this matter? Cortisol is part of our fight or flight drive - when you're in either mode,  your body will store fat instead of burning it - as survival may depend on having those stores to draw from. If my levels are too high, I need to make changes to my lifestyle (particularly sleep) to get it back down in to acceptable ranges. There are more benefits to the testing, but knowledge is power, so if there are changes needed, I can do so.

After that, in three weeks I'll be tested for food allergies. I've had the basic, and been deemed "normal", but when living with an auto-immune disease, normal doesn't cut it. Anything in my diet that can cause inflammation needs to be removed. Around this same time I'll also undergo a full metabolic testing - which will, among other things, identify my fat & carb burning zones. Very cool tech, that. And fun info to help me build my program for competition prep.

In the meantime and throughout, I'm taking my humbled self back in hand and working on rebuilding my cardio endurance, strength, flexibility, and muscle mass. My food needs to (and will) become more consistent - back to the 5-6 meals/day - ahem, full size meals. None of this teensy rabbit nibbling I'm currently doing (seriously bad - like 1 real meal/day then tiny nibbles when it occurs to me). Pfft. Man, I know better. I mean, I KNOW better. Physician heal thyself, yeah? Geeze. Humbling for sure.

So... here we are. Or, haha, here I am. But, I'm not staying here. Somehow I've managed to let my schedule, injuries and disease control me, instead of the other way around. That ends now. I have not previously allowed these things to determine my goals - or prevent reaching them. Why am I now? Hmmm. Things to think about.

So... I'm off to eat, and think. ;-)


  1. Thank you for your honesty. Looking forward to watching you return to kick-butt shape. Didn't realize Tabitha retired, that explains your search for a new coach... Good luck, we're cheering you on from the sidelines!

    1. Thanks!! :-) Yes, she went back into the IT world. Actually is celebrating her 2 year anniversary with the company she works for. It makes her happy, but let me tell you - I MISS HER! ;-) Thank you for the encouragement!!!

  2. Glad to hear Tabitha is happy in her career, she was a worlds greatest coach coach but it is also nice that you have found a new coach. She will give you new challenges and you will succeed! Sometimes for whatever and many reasons we need to asses where we are and where we need to be. You have a plan, you will continue to do well. Your inspiration is always appreciated and know you have a cheering squad :) Keep up the great work Chelle!