Today Charlotte’s roulette of unfortunate personal experiences is brought to you by the number one most feared word of fit folk everywhere. Nope, it’s not “thong”. Nor is it “Richard Simmons”. (Because that’s two words and, also, I happen to love him and his dance-tight clad legs.) It’s also not “Whirlpool closed for cleaning” although that really does strike terror into my heart because you know it’s not just routine maintenance that would shut down a jacuzzi in the middle of a busy gym day; you can bet your sparkly Richard Simmons branded thong (with attached tights) that bodily fluids are on the lam. (True story: One of the Gym Buddies recently witnessed a woman popping her man’s bacne in the hot tub. There just isn’t enough chlorine in the world to make that ok.)
The word is injury.
If you’ve been exercising more than a few days, you have probably had an injury. Perhaps if you are as klutzy as I am, you even have a collection of them. At this very moment I am sporting a nice bruise on my upper arm from walking directly into a stationary bike. That I had just finished riding. I also have at least 3 purple marks from where the Jelly Bean’s carseat whacks my leg when I carry her in that back-spraining monstrosity. I also have a blackened toenail where I tripped over a weight stand and a spot on my jaw that is still smarting from where I punched myself in the face during Saturday’s ultra sweaty Turbokick class.
To quote the ever-quotable Monty Python, these are merely a flesh wound. Sadly, I recently acquired an Injury with a capital I. The bane of exercise aficionados everywhere, these Injuries sideline you during events, wreak havoc with training schedules and are horrible for morale. Plus it makes me feel old. It’s my hip, you see.
During my last pregnancy, if you recall, I had to quit running at about 5 months along because of excruciating hip flexor pain. While quitting running helped some, the pain increased until by the end of my pregnancy I couldn’t lift up my legs to put them in my pants. I had to – and I’m not kidding you – use my hands and lift them sideways because while No Pants Day is regularly celebrated at our house it’s not socially acceptable to take that party out on the street. Thankfully after Jelly Bean was born, the pain went away and I thought I was back to good.
So good in fact that I resumed daily exercise with Jelly Bean in a front pack, at one week post-partum and returned to TurboKick at 4 weeks post-partum. The funny part of this whole story is how I kept telling the Gym Buddies I was going to take it easy because I didn’t want to get hurt. Specifically, I’d read a ton about what happens to the stomach muscles after childbirth and I didn’t want to make my diastisis (the vertical separation between the abs) widen, or worse, pooch out. I even routinely admonished Gym Buddy Allison whose baby is 1 month older than Jelly Bean and has the most glorious red hair I have ever seen, to lay off the ab work and focus on the Tupler technique.
But why would I take my own advice? It’s so much more fun to get injured! Plus it’s great blog fodder, right?
Which is how I found myself a month ago back to lifting my leg (mercifully just the left one this time) into my pants with my hands. Stairs were painful. Climbing out of the car was misery. And TurboKick – with all it’s kicking, duh – was excruciating. Did I stop? No. I just upped my whine factor. At first I thought the problem was with my kicking form. Then I thought I had strained a ligament by running again too soon. But neither stopping running nor modifying all my kicks to knee lifts (yeah I was awesome to watch) helped and the pain got worse.
Then it hit me: You know what I’d gone full-bore back into right after having a baby? Ab work. P90X’s special ab ripper workout was ripping my abs in a wholly unintended way. I finally figured out that my stomach muscles are simply not strong enough yet to do any move requiring me to hold my legs off the ground (like bicycles or Russian twists or pretty much all of the TurboKick ab moves). My hips were kicking in to help my weak abs and the pressure on my lower back and hips led to the injury in my hip flexor. Within days of backing off the ab work and sticking only to moves where my back was supported and my feet stayed on the floor, the pain started to get better. Now, 2 weeks down the road I’m pain free. Thankfully it seems that I caught the problem before I permanently hurt myself. But boy howdy do I feel stupid.
On another gym front, however, I did make a smart move. I found the awesomest bra ever! Actually it found me by way of a review from superfit blogger Mama Sweat. She and I have many things in common – running, Minnesota, books that are taking forever to get published – but thanks to our four (each) happily breastfed babies, we also share weirdly problematic boobs (They change cup sizes every hour! They leak! They sag! Unless they have mastitis and then they’re like rocks!). So when she blogged about her love of the “Handful” bra – how could you not love it with a name like that? (Tagline: Designed to flatter, not flatten!) – I knew I had to try one. This bra rocks. At first glance it looks as if it wouldn’t be very supportive, what with those skinny straps:
But I put that bra through the works. It held up (and held the girls up) great through running, kickboxing, weight lifting and everything else I threw its way. Want to read more about the Handful and enter to win one of your very own? Click through to my giveaway page!
When it comes to fitness, do you “walk your talk” ? Or has anyone else ever get an injury from not taking their own advice? What’s your scariest fitness word??