The other day, my husband emailed me a great story by Robert Forster, PT. The headline read: “Stop the Insanity! The gym should be a place where we get better; better health, better performance and achieve a better state of mind.”
I really resonated with this. All my life, I’ve been working out, trying to fight the genes I inherited from my dear grandmother; short, fat, cute face and jolly. I was determined not to be Granny Annie (at least the fat part!)
Unfortunately, over the years as I worked out, the injuries piled up. First it was my knee from doing high impact aerobics every day for six years. But I looked great.
Then it was the former football player, my first trainer, who trained me to be a mini football player. My neck started getting thicker and my right shoulder hurt like hell. No. Goodbye.
A while later, I started up with another, inspiring me to learn to run. So, like an idiot, I thought I could run a marathon after being able to run five miles. I started training, got up to 18 miles, and ended up seriously hurting my lower back. I never got to run the LA Marathon. Or really do anything else, without my back, shoulder and knees hurting like hell.
Forester said in his article, “in the race for fitness and weight loss, trainers will stack intense workouts week after week and sometimes lengthen the duration of intensity without factoring in the critical time for recovery. The natural consequence is over-training, cortisol (stress hormone) overload, weight gain, burnout and injury. Then they wonder why their clients just quit.”
That’s exactly what happened to me. I quit. I stopped doing anything but walking my dog and doing yoga.
Forester says, “safe and effective stretching and injury prevention workouts specific to a client might not be sexy or trendy but they are proven successful at the highest levels of human athletic achievement. Exercise begins with strengthening the joints and bones you can’t see. These structural parts of the body move the muscles that adapt metabolically to intense exercise over periods of time.
It’s insane to chase a six-pack of abdominals (yeah right, I’ll be sporting a six-pack) if your joints and bones, especially your spine, aren’t even strong enough to allow you to stand up straight. (that’s me again!) It’s insane to begin any fitness or performance endeavor without a plan to increase structural and metabolic health to prevent injury and overtraining.
Well, I have a plan. My new workouts are very different. But they are not easy. And I have not lifted a single weight in the month that I’ve been going to him.
A lot of what I need to do is strengthen my core and reduce the sway in my lower back, causing my stomach to stick out. (Ok, I need to lose weight there as well.) The exercises for this are very difficult; I’m doing small but effective movements laying on the ground and sweating my ass off in the first few minutes of doing it!
It was also determined that I walk on the sides of my heels. To remedy that, I have also been exercising my feet and toes. I have not paid attention to my toes since I was in ballet school, 13 years old! But I do get weekly pedicures.
And my shoulders are starting to round a little. There’s an exercise for that as well, that does not bother the bum shoulder I created several years ago. After exercise, I want to walk straighter.
I’m inspired. I’ve been working with my trainer for a few weeks (he doesn’t work with Dr. Forester). He has developed a personalized training regime for me to increase my structural and metabolic health, as well as preventing injury and overtraining. I have long way to go. But I’m hopeful.
Bless you, Granny Annie. But here in LA, 60 is the new 40…