Choice – or is it?

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Yes I do remember when all the above applied.

And you know what?

None of this was directly down to an unhealthy choice, it was down to a supposedly healthy necessity – I’d broken a bone in my foot and doctors advised me not to do any exercise that involved putting weight on it (in other words my normal exercise routine!)

Admittedly I could have been more creative in how I adapted my workouts but in practice this didn’t happen.

One of the many results was a limited choice for work outfits for summer.  A big bust, flabby upper arms and a slight belly are better off hidden under baggy black tops. The Guerrilla training I was forbidden to do would’ve sorted the issue.

Now, of course, that’s in the past. And I’m very, very grateful I can run today – I’m in my running gear as I type this and the sun is shining outside! Am I procrastinating?

Good Luck to everyone who likes working out but who’s still recovering from injury. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen! Hang on in there.

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Crutches versus Glamour

Gratitude, as I said in my Blogiversary post, is a many-splendoured thing. gratitude

I had a glorious Guerrillas workout again this morning, as opposed to this time last year, when I was rocking the granny shoe look.

This unflattering form of footwear was the only equipment offered me, and I have looked at many accoutrements made available to others who underwent leg injuries.

For example I would’ve enjoyed the services of a knee scooter and so, I’m pretty sure, would my friends in the pub!f0c9ae3cfa7bd1d3445449e01db4150a

The magical Marilyn Monroe knew that crutches certainly were NOT a Girl’s Best Friend – but that didn’t keep her away from the cameras.

Note the interesting combination of stiletto heel with the bandaged foot shown right – she doesn’t look too happy does she?

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Marilyn out jogging in Hollywood in 1951

I had imagined that, as Marilyn was no stranger to the joys of exercise, (regularly going jogging before it caught on as a trend) her frustration could only be imagined.

She sprained her ankle whilst filming in 1953 and not happy with the conditions in which she was injured, reportedly insisted on wearing a cast and taking time out of the schedule – to get back at the director!

If I’m wrong on the above please let me know – I’m admittedly no expert on Monroe, but I like her spirit.

MEANWHILE!

Hopefully, most leg injuries are temporary in the great scheme of things, but – for those who do currently have a broken foot like I did – and/or need crutches like Marilyn – here are some questions to ask yourself/your doctor/your best mate etc etc:

  • Will you be able to rest your injured limb on the ground? If so, can you use it for balance while walking?
  • How can you bathe? Can you stand in the shower, or do you need to use a bath tub?
  • Can you just use one crutch as a cane? If so, what’s the best way to walk with a cane?
  • Can you go swimming?
  • What are the best ways to position your arms and maintain posture while using crutches?

My war on Soft

“Hi, is that Soft? Look – we need to talk. You and I are finished.”

soft - marshallowI detest my soft, flabbiness. Guerrilla Training is so right for me – because I know that softness will one day be gone.

And yes, I know that setting fitness goals should not be based on body shame.

It’s just that I’m a work in progress.

Meanwhile I can grunt, pump, swear and generally bash my way out of the more passive aspects of femininity – and that’s just fine by me!

I hate burpees but I hate soft even more!
I hate burpees but I hate Soft even more!

Well do I remember recoiling in self-disgust whenever a bloke I got off with remarked “You’re so soft!”

In Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, Kate’s humiliation is complete when, having been “broken” by her husband, he then makes her tell her fellow women why they should be subordinate to men.

Her speech includes the following:

Why are our bodies soft, and weak, and smooth

But that our soft conditions and our hearts

Should well agree with our external parts?

Detail from The Hostile Forces, Beethoven frieze, by Klimpt
UPDATE: I still don’t want to look like this

Of course, this Shrew will not be tamed – and thinking about the above all this helps as I’m wondering “Why in God’s name am I doing these repeated burpees if the last time I tried I nearly threw up?”

Now maybe thinking about Shakespeare when I’m working out is slightly weird – so let’s include that practical Bible of my youth – good old Cosmopolitan.

In a magazine so dedicated to empowering woman, I found it somewhat bemusing to chance upon an article written by a man who really didn’t mind the fact his girlfriend had plump thighs.

In fact I’m wondering if – after the article was published – he still had a girlfriend!

Yep, it works for me!
Yup, it works for me

He luxuriated in the opulence of this poor individual’s cellulite – referring to her upper legs as “two teddy bears” he could snuggle up to in bed, and pondering over why woman’s thighs were not included as an enjoyable non-leafy snack.

So again – armed with my “no man’s going to enjoy my fat” mantra – I spring, jump, hop, star-jump – you name it – as vigorously as I can!

So now you’ve seen inside my mind as I’m working-out – and it’s not very pretty, is it?

All I will say in my defence is that my broken metatarsal – and subsequent ban from the exercise that suited me – did put me that bit nearer becoming the bingo-winged, large-breasted, soft-flabbed creature I dreaded becoming.

I can sooo relate to this
I can sooo relate to this – but I know it’ll be worth it!

I’m looking forward to running my hands down my un-teddy-bear-like thighs and feeling the solid muscle.

And I can’t wait for upper arms that don’t wobble like jelly.

Soft – you and I are so over!

The change won’t happen overnight but it will happen – now the control’s returned.

Now it’s up to me to reclaim the fitness I deserve.

‘You’re Not The Ride’- My Return To Yoga

A new beginning?
A new beginning?

Standing on one leg is always going to be a challenge for someone recovering from a broken foot – and sure enough, my mending metatarsal reminded me of its presence.

Yesterday I did my first yoga class since the fracture.

I freely admit that, after a period of feeling I was medically forbidden to do any exercises that put any weight on said foot, I am still finding it difficult to get back into the routine of keeping fit.chill homie

A Chakra Balance class marked my comeback at Yogi Smith‘s.

Admittedly I do find what could be defined as the “spiritual” side of yoga more difficult than the physical.

An instructor tells me what to do with my body and I’ll have a go – and what happens after that is not for want of trying.

The class featured a meditation session on what roles the mind and body play – to me, an interesting concept in the whole idea of control – after all, isn’t that the reason you go to any class in the first place? That sense of wanting to control at least one aspect of your life?

Tree pose was always going to be a challenge!
Tree pose was always going to be a challenge!

Do you control your body? Or does it control you?

I found one parallel particularly useful – that life’s fluxuations are like a theme park ride – but you’re not the ride.

My recovering metatarsal made its presence felt during Vrksasana, or “Tree” pose – standing on my left foot.

It didn’t hurt, but I could still feel it was there.

(While the visual truth of the fracture was confirmed by an X-ray a few months back, I could still see the bone’s cylindrical presence there in my mind’s eye).

After the class I told my instructor Espi – she told me that was the bone’s way of protecting me.

You can read more of Espi’s advice on yoga and recovering from injury here.

And here’s a link to her website.

I’m Back!

The time has come – and as far as the big kid in me was concerned –  it couldn’t come quick enough.

You work out for a minute at different stations
You work out at different stations

We are, however, talking more than the obligatory three months (doctor’s orders!) between fracture and weight-bearing exercise.

So Team Guerrilla was the venue for the relaunch of my life-as-someone-who-exercises-regularly.

It was the first time I’d seen myself in my workout gear in months – and my assessment was ruthless.

Keeping it real - it's early days
Keeping it real – it’s early days

As someone who still walks a lot, the legs weren’t too much of a write-off. I’ve not exactly put on weight but I’m flabbier – especially round the midrift and arms. My bust? Well let’s not go there.

The session basically consists of working-out for a minute at different stations – but even then there can be a sense of “why on earth am I doing this?”

Of course, I know why I’m doing it, (not least that fantastically happy feeling you get at the end) but with those vile soft flabby upper arms of mine it looks like I’m a long way from my goals.

Nerves? Yes! This shaky selife was taken BEFORE the class!
Nerves? Yes! This shaky selfie was taken BEFORE the class!

There was a sense, admittedly, of real anger too – regarding why I’ve almost “back to square one”.

As you know, I broke my foot trying to switch off the smoke alarm.

Clambering on to the sofa arm to reach the device (which was on the ceiling) resulted in a slip, and the fracture. Oh, and Em’s Way To Go!

In a way I have myself to blame. Taking the plunge – pscychologically – has admittedly been difficult.

So – months later – I picked up where I’d left off.

No hiding places at Guerrillas!
No hiding places at Guerrillas!

There were no surprises. I’d expected the sensation of my heart-trying-to-smash-its-way-out-through-my rib-cage and, sure enough, it welcomed me back.

More galling was just how unfit I’d become – at one point my arms couldn’t support me when previously they could whilst doing the same exericse – and I practically fell flat on my face.

But other exercises gave me that “welcome back” feeling – like declaring war on my burgeoning cleavage with the pectoral exercises, to name just one.

That sense of regaining control is fabulous. Whether it’s a coping strategy or not, a vital component of my lifestyle is back.

The foot? I could slightly feel that left fifth metatarsal as I walked back, but  that’s about it.

It was reminding me of its presence but hopefully now it knows who’s boss!

Footless!

Exercising with an injured foot is a challenge – but here are some vids which prove it needn’t get in the way of your workout if you’re determined enough.

Heather Frey of Smashfit won’t let injury stop her regime despite being footless! Note how she incorporates an element of cardio by doing her reps quite fast.

The workout does focus on the arms and shoulders but yes you do get the metabolism heart-lung emphasis too – reminds me of when I hurt my knee quite a few years back, I used an upright rowing machine at the gym to keep that side of my fitness regime going.

And while we’re on the subject of cardio, here’s a chair-based workout from Trish Blackwell – she’s even got a heart-rate monitor on under her sports bra to prove it works (Actual workout begins about 2.15 into the vid after the preamble).

My Google search for Trish Blackwell revealed she’s a confidence trainer – as well as a fitness coach – interesting, really, when you think about it – not being able to exercise the way I want to has affected me in more ways than just physically.

Anyway! Here’s another vid of how to exercise with a broken foot – please accept my apologies for the music – there is no commentary but you’ll see a woman called Katie Hartman (can’t find any web links to her outside of YouTube) doing a lot of the exercises I’m looking forward to getting back to in Guerrilla Training (I think the US equivalent is crossfit).

Yet again – it’s great to see people working out, in full exercise gear despite the relevant bandaging!

Admittedly there's one exercise I haven't tried
Admittedly there’s one exercise I haven’t tried

I have just over a week to go until I can legitimately run again, do all yoga again, go to a normal Guerrillas class again.

But the week in question is going to be packed-full of crazy work commitments so that’s what I’ll be concentrating on.

However, I can’t wait to be back in the saddle and there’s still going to be plenty to go at in this blog, so watch this space!