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.
Gratitude, as I said in my Blogiversary post, is a many-splendoured thing.
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!
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?
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.
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?
“Hi, is that Soft? Look – we need to talk. You and I are finished.”
I 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!
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?
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!
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’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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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!
What I want to do here, briefly (not least because it’s Sunday and outside the sun might even be shining even here in England LOL), is to show how determined people have compromised their practice despite injury.
Despite the benefits of a class, I’ve always enjoyed my YouTube Yoga sessions too – the laptop balanced precariously on the sofa, the living room becomes my Ashram.
And so, once again, I’m looking to YouTube for coping strategies!
Here’s Jordan, who broke her fifth metatarsal (and from the X-ray it looks quite close to her joint), showing her adapted Sun Salutation.
The YouTube description mentions that the injury – sustained four weeks prior to the video – is “notoriously difficult to heal” (tell me about it!).
Needless to say it makes feel just great to see someone practicing despite being in plaster.
Here’s US instructor Lara Falberg showing a seated sequence intended for those who already have a yoga practice and don’t intend to give up because of a fracture.
Judging by a guy calling to her in the background, she’s in her living room too!
She started the routine 10 days after undergoing surgery.
From a personal point of view, the question that begs the asking is: Are both sides of the body getting an equal workout?
After all, if say, it’s your left foot that’s hurt, there’ll be no weight put on that, as opposed to when you do the same on the opposite side. And if you’re in plaster, then there’ll be the extra weight involved in lifting it – again on one side.
In my own restorative sessions just after the injury, I noticed I was a lot stiffer on my left side (all that hobbling LOL).
Not that any of these factors should put anyone off practicing in a modified, sensible and professionally-guided session!
The most determined will always find a way, but yes, it’s all about compromise too.
Can I still do yoga? Here’s a Q & A session with my instructor Espi Smith.
Me: What adaptations should I make to my practice?
Espi: I guess that depends on how you define the word “yoga”. If you are looking at only the asana (postures), they you will need to modify your physical practice to account for your injury. In your case, you should avoid standing and kneeling postures as well as some seated asanas that involve the outside of your foot putting pressure on the floor. If it hurts, it’s a definite no-go!
However yoga is much more than a physical practice, its a way of looking at life. Pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, proper diet and positive thought will all help keep you happy and healthy throughout your recovery.
Me: Anything I should definitely avoid?
Espi: Anything that puts unnecessary pressure on the foot. Remember to listen to your body and not your ego, if there is pain it’s a sure fire way of knowing that you’re upsetting a part that should be healing.
Me: Do you know anyone who’s survived injury to continue their practice?
Espi: Yes, me! A few years ago, before I’d let go of my ego and gotten over my competitive side I decided that I couldtry and jump from Down-dog to Crow (an arm balance that requires a lot of strength).
Turns out I had a lot more momentum than strength. I face-planted on the floor with all my might and wound up in hospital with a neck-brace on and some very worried-looking doctors. Luckily I hadn’t broken anything I just had soft tissue damage.
The injury left me with a huge fear of inversions and arm balances. It took a couple of years of very grounding practice to give me the confidence to practice my arm balances and inversions again. Under the careful instruction of my teacher during my teacher-training, I got back into it.
Me: Can injury make people who enjoy exercise feel cut-off and even make them drop out altogether?
Espi: I think this is very much to do with each individual’s attitude towards being injured. If you see it as being betrayed by your body and allow yourself to feel that you have been kicked to the side-lines then yes, your are likely to become isolated.
However, if you adopt a positive attitude, respect the road to recovery and speak to your teacher/instructor about the things that you can still do, then you’ll still be able to enjoy the fitness lifestyle.
Me: How can meditation help?
Espi: Meditation allows you the time to get out of your conditioned mind. The one that tells you that injury means “being out of the game”.
When you do it, not only will you get the chance to clear all the negative emotions that surround being injured, you also bring a deep sense of relaxation to the physical body.
The muscles and the nervous system will get a well-earned break and this will help to relieve any built-up tension and waste products that come up as a result of injury.
Finally, thanks for giving me the opportunity to speak about this on your blog, Emma. Rest, relax and remember to breathe. You’ll be healed in no time.