Resistance Training = Injury Rehabilitation

When nursing an injury, rest is crucial. Continuing to overuse the afflicted limb or body part just leads to more damage incurred. While becoming temporarily disabled is a pain, it is often less painful than actually attempting to use your damaged appendage.

But what happens when your body does its job and heals your injury? You need to re-condition and strengthen. Not using a body part (or your entire body) is extremely detrimental to your muscle structure and overall well-being, and a lot of your post-injury pains are being caused due to weakness.

Not mental weakness, mind you.

Physical weakness.

DO YOU EVEN LIFT, BRO??? I certainly didn’t for eleven months. And that did more harm than good.

As I’ve spoken of a few times on this site (and many times on social media), I suffered a devastating series of injuries during June 2017 in the tune of a pinched ulnar nerve, strained bicep, strained tricep, and whatever the hell I did to my shoulder. The injury set was due to my own stupidity, and I made it worse due to subsequent stupidity. And then once that second injury finally started healing, I just had to be stupid again and throw axes for a couple of hours and hurt myself for a third time in a two month period…worse than ever before.

By early May 2018, I’d given up on ever having a normal right arm again, something particularly problematic because I am right-handed. I still did not have the full range of motion in my arm without pain, and we were nearing the one-year mark of the initial injury. Luckily, that is when my lovely personal trainer, Mel, realized that I hadn’t done any exercises with my right arm in nearly eleven months.

While my arm still retained some lingering effects of the injuries, the greater issue was that I had zero strength left in my right arm. The muscles had gone dormant, and due to my body trying to heal my injuries, the lack of movement was causing things to heal incorrectly as well.

Or, y’know, if noodley arms are your goal, just continue to skip arm day and any other arm movements 4eva.

Mel gave me a series of shoulder and upper-arm exercises to do with weights. She advised me to do just a few repetitions in the early days, and to increase the number of reps and the size of the weights as needed over time. The goal was to be “good sore” the next day; you know, the soreness you feel the day after a good, hard workout. I needed to avoid being “bad sore”, as in destroying my arm further and reinjuring myself. So no Silks. No axes. Just weights.

I bought some 3lb weights, or “baby weights” as I called them, and got to work. 10 reps of the two exercises, five days a week. It took a long time, but by the start of July, I no longer felt my arm ache while I drove, or felt it pulse when it rained (which is a lot in Kentucky). I moved up to 5lb weights and continued the exercises.

By the start of August, my arm was no longer restricted to simple exercises. I began a series of weight exercises with Kayla Itsine’s BBG program: a program I’d been wanting to start for months but couldn’t due to my janky arm.

And now?

My current weights of choice. Hoping to move up to the 10-pounders by mid-September! Fingers crossed, y’all!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that I’ve moved up to 8lb weights and am doing even more intense exercises with them. I am also now able to do push-ups, ab bikes, and even burpees! My arms are looking more toned, and the ability to do actual workouts is rapidly toning my body back to its pre-injury state.

Mel is proud. Proud is Mel. Is Mel proud? Proud Mel is. Is proud Mel? Mel proud is. Mel is proud.

The moral of the story? My story is not a unique or isolated case. Well, I guess destroying your arm with some luggage in the airport is nearly as bad as the time I destroyed my Achilles tendon with a DDR mat or snapped a toe on a shower railing, but the MUSCLES thing is not unique.

Suffered a back injury? You need to build your back muscles up to support yourself and also prevent reinjury. Experienced abdominal surgery? You’ve gotta build those core muscles back up in order to get back to normal. If you broke your leg and didn’t walk on it for 8 weeks, you would need to strengthen it back up to walk correctly right? It’s the same principle for any other injury.

I mean, really? REALLY? Is WebMD EVER actually a good idea? Leave the rehabbing to the professionals.

Try not to WebMD your strategies. Consult with your doctor or personal trainer for the best exercises to rebuild your muscle strength post-injury. Take it slow. You do not want another injury. Your body will tell you when you can go harder. How will you know? When you’re going 100 damn reps with a baby weight and feeling bored, it’s time to bring out some actual weights and do heavier workouts.

One Cheat Meal Or Missed Workout Doesn’t Mean Failure

I’ve had this issue in the past. Most people I know have had this issue in the past. And it’s unfortunate.

We’ve all been there… You’re clean-eating like a champ, making sure to get #VeggiesMost and eschewing all of the sugary desserts. You’re working out daily, and feeling the literal burn in your muscles. You’re staring at ourselves nakedly each evening and feeling so many happy butterflies over how much your body is changing as you near your goal. And then…

Disaster strikes.

It might be a party.

It might be a vacation.

It might be the holidays.

But whatever it is…you don’t live up to your daily #FitFam expectations. And you feel gross.

A college-freshman’s wet dream, and a college-sophomore’s nightmare as they try to undo the damage of the past 365 days. These foods are tasty and are perfectly fine to enjoy on occasion. Just don’t make them daily staples in your diet.

You’ve devoured 4 slices of pizza, some cookies, a soda, and then laid on the couch all day. By the end of the evening, you’re beating yourself up and feel terrible. You want to go running to burn off the meal, but you’re too full and bloated to go more than a few steps. What do you do next??

Well, first, remember that we’re all human. No one is expected to eat clean and workout every single day. Personal trainers indulge. Celebrities indulge. Models indulge. Everyone indulges sometimes. That’s why the term “weekly cheat meal” exists. Should you use your weekly cheat meal as an excuse to drink a carton of lard. Helllll no! But indulging in your favourite greasy foods is a-okay!

Just as one healthy meal doesn’t make you lose 10 lbs, one unhealthy meal doesn’t make you gain 10 lbs. It’s all about consistency. If all you eat are veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins, then yes you will lean out and lose weight. If all you eat is grease, fried foods, and cakes, then yes you will bloat and gain weight. But one meal is not enough to influence one or the other.

Just as one healthy meal doesn’t make you lose 10 lbs, one unhealthy meal doesn’t make you gain 10 lbs.

Everyone deserves a guilty pleasure. Everyone has their favourite cheat meal. Why have it if you never use it? Think about your week to-come, and plan out the day for your cheat meal! (For all of my American readers, Thanksgiving Day dinner is your cheat meal this coming November. You’re welcome). And then, let loose on that cheat meal.

Trust me, you’re going to rememberi that cheat meal the following day, and you’ll have that much more motivation to hit the gym and continue your path to fitness.

Pilates-style HIIT workouts are my favourites! I recommend giving online workouts by Kayla Itsines, Lucy Wyndham-Read, and Blogilates a try if you’re looking for something new 🙂

What you shouldn’t do is to give up. Don’t feel like a failure (even though it’s inevitable at times, especially on vacations). Don’t say to yourself, “Well, I’ve been lazy for two days, so I guess this is it for my fitness plans”. NO! NO, NO, NO! So what that you were lazy for two days? Hop back on the horse, and start galloping your way to success again.

Repeat After Me: A two-day rest should not equate the destruction of your goals. Every workout and every healthy meal helps to further your goals. Again, if anything, a rest or a cheat meal should motivate you further to meet your goals. Where’s that determination and drive? I know you’ve got it. So use it 😘

HIIT Your Way To Fitness!

Do you love high-energy workouts that actually work, but you don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to the gym? If so, then you will love the new and improved form of interval training known as High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT workouts have boomed in popularity because of the amazing benefits that they hold for people who regularly perform them.

HIIT workouts typically involve powerful spurts of exercise followed by short rest intervals. With this type of training, your heart rate stays up and, in turn, helps you to burn more fat. This satisfying fat-burn occurs both during and following your workout. Yes. You will burn fat as you recover on your couch.

Group sweats are the best sweats!

When I can, I enjoy workouts that are an hour long (dance is my favourite cup of tea). However, since I tend to find myself on a time crunch most days, HIIT workouts are perfect for me. Most of the workouts are 10–30 minutes long, so I can easily squeeze in a workout anytime.

I also make sure that I watch what I eat, read health related posts from healthy body healthy mind to improve my own health, and take natural health supplement daily. Working out can be counteracted pretty effectively by eating a lot of take out among other things, so keep this in mind if you don’t want you hard work to be wasted. As for the health supplement, I felt it was a nice addition to healthy eating. It makes me feel more energetic so I really like it. It is called kratom masters if you would like to check it out as well.

Even though the workouts are shorter, that doesn’t mean that I burn fewer calories than normal. Because of the bursts of high-intensity exercises combined with the short recovery periods, HIIT workouts are just as beneficial as your longer standard workouts.

HIIT workouts are also known for their efficiency. While working to your max level, you will be burning more calories in a shorter amount of time than you would with other workouts. Interval workouts in general are known for having a higher after-workout burn effect because of their burst nature.

One of the best parts of HIIT is that you can do your workouts either at home or in a group class setting. Because the training is accessible to all fitness levels, group class settings are fun because you have people around you to push you to your limits. You don’t want to be the first one to stop, do you?

Erin Kwaitkowski, a HIIT instructor, explained why she feels that this is the best workout on the market right now:

Okay, okay, I can’t do this maneuver, but kudos to those of you who can!

“HIIT is an amazing exercise for anyone because you can go at the pace that you’re comfortable with,” said Kwaitkowski. “Even if you aren’t as advanced as other people in your class, you will get a tough workout as long as you put in the effort.”

What it boils down to is that HIIT is all about using your energy effectively. If you do a 15 minute HIIT workout to your maximum strength, you will burn more calories and see results faster than you would with your everyday exercise routine.

Interval training is a concept that has sculpted amazing results on the people who incorporate it into their regular exercise routines. Remember, that interval training helps you to keep burning calories after your workout, which–to me–is one of the best benefits of all.

Home workouts are my preference. Get yourself some workout equipment, and sweat your little heart out!

No matter if you have hours to exercise, or if you are on your lunch break, HIIT should be the perfect workout for you. Whether you’re a regular gym-goer, or you haven’t been to the gym in months, there is never a bad time to start back up again. And with HIIT, there is no reason to go to a gym at all! This is why HIIT is a time-efficient and energy-efficient exercise that has become popular among many people today.

With a variety in HIIT workouts, your exercises will never be repetitive, and you can figure out what routines you like and dislike. Although HIIT exercises are high-intensity, you will still have the ability to go at your own pace through modifications and breaks. If you’ve been looking for a new exercise routine to try that will deliver great results, HIIT is it!

When The Aerial Arts End…

As those of you who follow my social media channels know, I attended my first aerial arts class in January 2017. It was a skill I had wanted to pick up since I had first seen Troian Bellisario’s Silks photos on her Instagram page. I scooped up my friend Dominique, and we took an intro class together.

The intro class was difficult, but so much fun! We instantly signed up for a 4-week training course, which taught us the basics of Silks, Lyra, Trapeze, Pole Dance, and Rope. Silks called to me just as I’d hoped it would, and following the training course, I started attending Silks I classes, along with some Pole classes and some Yoga classes.

I constantly spoke of Silks on social media, posting photos of my latest endeavours and sharing my progress with others. Most of my June was booked with travel, and I was sad that I would miss almost a month of training. Still, Nashville (for 30 Seconds To Mars), Owensboro (for OMGCon), and Anaheim (for VidCon) were calling my name, so I set forward for a month of road trips and flights.

So, why haven’t there been any new Silks photos since then? And why have I been speaking the praises of running and HIIT routines, and posting gym selfies?

When traveling to Anaheim, I had a lot of things to carry. My super-stuffed to max-capacity duffel bag was resting on my right shoulder. My purse was also stuffed to max capacity and was looped around my right forearm. I had to help my team carry some of their luggage, so I gripped the handle of a heavy suitcase with broken wheels with my right hand and dragged/carried it through the airport. Remember the location of all of these placements, boys and girls.

Around my third night in Anaheim, I noticed that my arm was tingling. Mainly in my forearm, but a little bit of everywhere. I didn’t think much of it and went to bed. The tingling continued through the rest of the trip in varying amounts (feeling better at the start of the day and worsening by evening), and it reached it’s ultimate annoyance and pain after touching back down in Louisville one week later.

After another week, I noticed that I was having tingling in my right wrist as I typed, that lessened or worsened depending on how I positioned my arm. My immediate fear was that I was developing the dreaded carpal tunnel, and I was relived to find that my symptoms and location of the tingling were not compatible with a carpal tunnel diagnosis. Still, I put off Silks classes for another week to allow whatever was going on some time to heal.

I eventually pin-pointed the radiating point of the tingling to be in my mid-forearm of my right hand, and it would radiate down to the wrist and up through my upper arm. A chiropractor friend listen to my description of the problem and my balancing act in the airports of California, and promptly diagnosed me with a pinched ulnar nerve.

Great.

Ever since the tingling had begun, I had had the overwhelming urge to do push-ups. It felt mostly like I needed to pop” my arm back into place, which my friend advised me was a result of essentially discombobulating my entire arm with the luggage. The other feeling was that I needed to get a knife and slice my arm open to relieve pressure, but I liked the push-ups idea far better.

I decided to attend one of the Yoga classes at the aerial arts gym to see if that would help to realign my arm properly. It was difficult at times, but by the end of the class I felt much better. Score one for my instincts! I figured I would continue with the Yoga classes only for another week or so and then go back to Silks and Pole.

Wrong.

Later that night, I was having dinner with my mother when suddenly it felt like I’d been punched in the arm. The bicep and shoulder region to be more specific. For reasons unknown, I couldn’t move my right arm above the elbow without excruciating pain. Forks aren’t that deadly, y’all.

After two days of agony, I took a trip to my friend Monica, who is a massage therapist. Without even telling her where the problem was, she immediately became alarmed at how tense and tight my right bicep was, along with a good deal of shoulder tension. After a painful 15-minute massage, my arm was at least usable, and at least the pain was making me forget about the tingling from the pinched nerve.

As someone who only visits the doctor when she’s on death’s door, to this day I still have no clue what happened to my shoulder and bicep. For the rest of July and most of August, I could not lift my arm straight up or straight out without intense pain and agony. When the arm would feel better, I would wind up overusing it, and I would wind up at square one again.

Luckily as October nears, I now have most of my range of motion back, and my arm (from top to bottom) feels fairly normal. Fairly normal because it feels different than my left arm and there is still occasional tingling, so my body has probably just adjusted to the weirdities of my right arm’s plight. But I’m not using Icy Hot and massages nightly at this point.

Unfortunately, my poor diet throughout the month of June and my lack of exercise throughout June-August led to a very squishy body. I had lost all toning and had gained a good 10, maybe 15, pounds.

A rave-themed 5K was coming to Louisville at the end of August, and I made the impulsive decision to sign up for it 3 weeks before the race.

Oy vey.

I began training immediately and was surprised to find that I was in better shape than I’d expected to be in. I ran the 5K (the Night Nation Run) with my good friend Laura, who is a nutritionist and is my go-to- person for health and fitness, it was really fun and they even had glow decoration for all the participants. The 5K went amazingly, and I had also lost around 5lbs from my training.

Throughout September, I’ve been working to reform my eating habits back to a diet of veggies, soups, and fruits. I am taking vitamins again. And I’ve been running for 20 minutes per day 3-4x/week and doing HIIT workouts in my townhouse 5-6x/week. My tone is coming back. The squish is coming off. And I feel much better 🙂

Will I ever go back to Silks? Maybe. I was enjoying it a lot, but I’m pretty positive that I’ve got some sort of permanent damage in my right arm now (which is also my dominant arm, go figure), and it would be extremely dangerous if my arm decided to go out while I was at the top of a fabric.

Running and online HIIT workouts are cheaper, more organic, and easier to accomplish with friends! So for now, I’m sticking with those while on my fitness journey.

If you have any questions about learning to run, HIIT workouts, at-home workouts in general, or what not to do with your arms when you go to an airport, let me know in the comments 😀