An Entirely Different Type of Struggle…

2 months since I last blogged. 2 months worth of programmes have hit my email inbox & they’re still sat….waiting…..if email could have dust, they’d probably be covered in a thick, almost lint-like fuzz.

Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

I feel apathetic about it though.  I still cycle. A lot.  However, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been to the gym since my depression diagnosis.  I.Still. Cannot. Gym.

giphy (1)

It’s not for a lack of trying. I think.  I’ve been to yoga quite frequently & have new physio things to do – which I’ve kept up with.

I set my alarm to get up to go to the gym before work (which I used to do & I’d cycle 6 miles just to GET to the gym) but I turn it off & sleep for another hour, meaning when I get up I have to bike to work, no gym time and I HATE gymming on an evening.  My gym is small & bench/weight hoggers are in on an evening, so no thank you.

I feel like I’m making excuses but no matter what time I go to bed, I still can’t bring myself to get up.

It feels like a rut, stuck in a hole with no way out….

bd7

I have no idea if the meds I’m on are the reason I can no longer get up unless I REALLY have to.  I should look into it.

 

I was gonna add more, but that’s it for now.


Bootyful Beginnings….

Well now, it’s been a long time since I even felt the need to blog.  So much has happened since I decided a break away from the gym was needed.  I’m pretty sure I’ve lost all my gains, but whatever.  I got them once,  I can get them again.

Which is the reason for this latest blog instalment.

I’m gonna go back to the gym, cycle to my new work place & keep an eye on my food again.  I’m going intuitive eating this time round, and will macro track from time to time to make sure I’m not on too large a deficit.

Before I left my previous gym (yeah, I’ve moved gyms too!) I was starting New Rules of Lifting for Women,  stage 2 but it wasn’t as enjoyable as stage 1 & I don’t want to be doing something that I don’t enjoy.  I’ve followed Bret Contreras on Instagram for quite some time now & have always been in awe of how much he lifts & how amazing his clients looked, so I’ve signed up to STRONG by Bret; which is a rolling subscription to a programme he makes & sends out once a month along with optional supplemental workouts as well as a powerlifting programme.

uedysed

Bret  is known for his incredible devotion to the glutes…maintain eye contact, establish dominance with hip thrusters!  (side note, I can’t do thrusters, I get the most insane hamstring cramp as soon as I try, but he has fixes and suggestions for that)

This post shows one of the workouts from the Strong programme, my new gym is pretty high up with their health & safety, so the hanging leg curls are out – I’ll have to do normal versions. However, I have no qualms in doing normal versions, I’m rather clumsy & hanging versions scream accident to me. Ha!

So yeah, I’ve spent a while reading through various training programmes & Bret was always the clear winner, no matter how many times I read through others.  NROLfW is good, don’t get me wrong.  It’s just not for me.  It’s taught me things, mostly that I can do more than I’d previously thought.  Ice Cream Fitness is a spin off of Starting Strength & the less people sign up to the Misogynist that is Mark Rippetoe  of Starting Strength, the happier I’ll be.  There’s satire & then there’s being an utter prick; he is the latter.

I’m not excited about this programme. I’m not dreading it either, I *know* I have to go back to the gym, it’s gonna help my mental state, my strength & hopefully keep me away from spinal surgery.  I’m glad I took the time off that I did.  I needed to.  People who I’d previously enjoyed talking “gym” to had begun to irritate me, I wanted to smack so many people – preferably with a baseball bat, I was losing my inner filter & got so close to being downright horrible to people, who a few weeks prior, I’d have been proud to call my friend.  I no longer feel this way & I’m glad I didn’t burn any bridges, people still irritate me, but that’s just the way I am & no matter what, it’ll always be the way I am.

Expect future posts about how I’m doing with Strong!

uyi2nlx

Let’s do this, Yolandie!


Serotonin, Dopamine & Endorphins

Serotonin is a mood booster

Dopamine is a pleasure hormone

Endorphins block pain

Mine are broken.  My mood is apathetic & my dopamine and endorphins have gone on holiday I think, or my remaining serotonin killed them before killing itself.

serotonin20and20dopamine-the20only20two20things20we20enjoy-preview

I’ve spent days trying to convince myself that talking about mental health is ok, and not a  glorified excuse for attention (thanks, brain!) It feels almost wrong to discuss it freely, like it’s still a taboo & when people ask how you are, they don’t actually want to know; they’re just being polite – this is my current perception of people in general at the minute.

I have depression – a chemical imbalance in my brain that has essentially switched me off.  You seen Inside Out? Where her core memories switch off?  It’s kind like that….sort of. but not really.  Everyone’s experience will vary & this is probably why I put off seeking help for as long as I did – if you read old posts on here, there’s definitely a few that have underlying tones of something not being *quite right* for me.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-21049-1435275954-9

Sadness is too sad to walk

However, my blog is not a mental health blog – it’s about my journey through fitness/strength.  I’m aware that you mindset has a lot to do with how you progress, which is the main point of this post……here comes the part that some may not agree with, however the perk of one’s own perceptions; amirite?

A while ago I wrote about how fitness quotes/memes for the most part irritate the living daylights out of me, I thought I’d gotten past that but I now know that I haven’t.  They seem to trigger something in my brain that makes me irrationally anti-motivation.  The buzz words that surround those whose lives are engulfed by the process of becoming stronger and leaner fill me with something that I cannot coherently explain.  I want to scream and shout that not all people think that way & just by saying something doesn’t mean it’ll happen – regardless on what some “fitspo” instagrammer has told you, it simply isn’t the case.

  • The difference between where you are & where you want to be is you!
  • You can be it, if you believe it- you can achieve it
  • Tell yourself you can & you will
  • Focus on being positive

When I started my blog a little over a year ago I hated the above sentiments. However, my personal drive to improve myself meant I chose to ignore them, or sometimes I might have even possibly believed a few – there’s plenty of motivational posts on my blog. That doesn’t mean I’ve aimed them at anyone in particular, that’s just how I felt at that specific time….all the while there was a belligerent part of my brain screaming, silently into a pillow. NO. NO. NO.

No one ever seems to want to talk about what happens when the above sentiments are interpreted as hostile. I’ve been to the gym three times in three weeks.  Do I care? No.  Do I feel bad about it? No. Will reading positivity garbage on line help me get back into my gym routine? No.

I believe that I should be able to teleport to wherever I want to go…..Does that mean I can? No.  What if I focus that I positively believe that it should be achievable, will that make it happen? No.  SO WHY SPOUT THIS STUFF ONLINE?!

That seems a little extreme doesn’t it? Well, what about those who want to do something fitness related, who have tried in the past but given up for whatever reason.  Is reading the positivity going to help someone who is in a dark place go back? I don’t think so.

I have a huge, huge vexation with telling people to be positive – you’re essentially forcing your discomfort of someone else’s unhappiness/numbness/apathy away & life doesn’t work like that.  Ever told a boy that he shouldn’t cry? You’re forcing them to hide their emotions, to block the negativity that they feel instead of talking about it, or allowing them that moment to be vulnerable & at one with how they feel.

stronger1

It’s ok to break.

It’s ok to not be happy.

It’s ok to not smile.

It’s ok.

I’ve been hiding my mental state for probably longer than I’d like to admit. I’ve put my woes to a backburner & chose to forget about them, I’ve not acknowledged the spiral in my head & how lost I have felt at times & how I felt like I was drowning in a swathe of emotions that no one wanted to talk about.

I know the gym* & personal trainers are not a place for therapy or qualified to help you in dire times of distress – that’s what counsellors & shrinks are for.  I’m also not saying that you should expect this kind of service from your fitness professionals, what I am saying is that “sucking it up” helps no one.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over again expecting different results – so even if you train enough to keep your dopamine & serotonin levels high, don’t neglect your feelings on an intimate, almost subconscious level.  Showing the world you feel ok & actually being ok are two completely different things.

Also, if you ever tell someone that you feel sad/empty/upset and they tell you to smile, be positive & to get over it, take a hint from Bronson:

eOjW68A

*The gym is a great place to destress & exercising can increase your dopamine levels but it’s not going to fix the issues inside your mind

 


tumblr_mk9328HoWP1rnkac1o1_500

Continue reading

Drop It Like a Squat…..

Wait.  That’s not how the song goes is it?   I don’t know.  *shrugs*

Anyhoo.  Today’s lesson kids is all about the SQUAT.  SQUUUAAAAAAAAATTT!!!! Oh, dear lord.  Why?   Why are you talking about that most (imo) discussed move in the gym?  Why discuss the elephant in the room that is “The perfect form”

post-30526-hot-fuzz-greater-good-gif-simo-frny

Just like “The Perfect Form”

I spent a year with Andy, PT extraordinaire & lot of our sessions were focused around squats; he mentioned not taking videos of clients because as soon as you do & post it on-line everyone has an opinion about whether their form is correct or not.  Helpful, you may think?  Yes, it can be from time to time…..the more stringent of moves can definitely benefit from opinions of others & I guess, that from time to time a form check on a squat can be advantageous too – however everyone has an opinion about whether your squat is correct or not.

Unless the person giving you feedback knows your bodily mechanisms – such as femur length, ankle flexibility, any prior injuries & how your hip joint sits into your hip socket, then they’re probably not overly qualified to give you advice.  I don’t mean that you can never ask for a form check, however there are a few things to bear in mind if you so choose to open yourself to the array of feedback from the internet (I have found myself on the receiving end of unwanted feedback, however that’s by the by)

I’m not an expert & I have NO intention of ever telling anyone their form is wrong – if they ask for critique then fine, there’s a set of basics I like to adhere to:

  • Warm up! Warm up! If you can squat with weight, body weight squat a few reps to engage your hips. At bodyweight?  That’s fine, hold onto something or box squat to warm up.
  • Break parallel – if you can’t with a barbell squat, do box squats with a kettlebell (known as goblet squats) to know where parallel is, then move the box & work on getting lower to the ground….not to low though, you don’t want you back to curl too much.
  • Keep your feet FLAT, or if ankle mobility could be an issue, raise your heels.  You don’t need expensive lifting shoes, just some small weight plates with your heels (up to your foot ach, I’d say) keeping your toes FIRMLY on the floor.
  • Flat shoes!  Converse, chucks, Crossfit style….not squishy style running shoes.  They’re too soft for all that weight you’ll squat – if you can’t afford other shoes, then take off the squishy running shoes & squat in your socks.
  • The way I squat isn’t the same as the person in the rack next to me.  Comparing our forms to be a “cookie cutter” one size fits all with squats is outdated, incorrect & potentially, harmful.

A little insight if this is the first post of mine you’re reading – I have degenerating discs in the lower area of my spine (L4 & L5) which can rub nerves through my SI joint causing pain across one or both hips.

When I squat my toes point out & my knees go over my feet – I have long femurs (or at least from what I read online it means they’re long) A lot of people who think they’re attempting to be helpful by telling me things like I need to open my hips more, or lean a little backwards, or whatever critique they want to lay on me when it comes to squats is either, A: Ignored. or B: Retaliated – this person doesn’t know me & I wasn’t asking for their input.  Their “help” is actually extremely out of date & if I wanted my form checking, I’d be asking Andy for a session in the gym.

****

This is why no two people will squat the same & why you shouldn’t expect them to.  If you can squat low & keep your knees from tracking over your feet, bravo. Well done.  If you can get “ass to grass” but your knees are over your feet?  Well done to you too.

In conclusion, you do you & don’t ask for multitudes of advice & opinions of others, too much information can be more confusing than helpful. This is why I advocate the use of a PT.  These guys are trained & should be up to date with all the latest sciences to help you prevent injury & become stronger.

This is me at work the other day, after reading a discussion about femur length on a group I wondered if mine tracked out farther than my shoulders (I tend to squat away from mirrors in the gym, so I can “feel” the movement) so I whacked on the self timer & repped out a few BW squats in the kitchen.  My position is what it right for me, it may not be right for you, but the best thing to do is to try. Don’t attempt to fit to the “perfect form” aim for form that is good, form that won’t cause injury.  Keep to the basics, don’t overthink, ask for feedback if you want it, but remember what works for one, may not be right for you.

A day of squats in the gym means it’s a day closer to deadlifts!

Untitled.png

Bonus last year vs this year BW squat

 


The Goal Posts Have Changed….

No, no.  This is not a post about football or anything else that uses goals to punt a ball through.  This is a reflection of goals from this year & moving to 2016 (Dubbed “lean ’16” by Gem)

Back in January I decided to start this blog – not to gain followers or likes or whatever; I started it to keep a progress log for myself.  It was re-reading back through my posts that I noticed a trend in my energy levels & food – had I not had this blog would I have noticed? Probably however I do believe it’d have taken me longer.

This blog was started so that I didn’t “hound” my facebook friends with my gym pursuits, this way people can read it if they want to & don’t have to hide me (Side note – facebook gym updates irritate me…ironic, right?)

So, let’s reflect on what this year has brought me, I was gonna bullet point it but decided to just write it & see what happens…it may still end up as bullet points but we’ll see how this goes.63

So, the blog is a little less than a year old.  In that year I’ve had nearly 4,000 views (or 330 views per month) & 185 likes on various posts.  My most popular blog post has been my documenting of Intermittent Fasting, followed by my Dear You post.

That’s interesting.  Like I said, I started this as a place to keep my fitness pursuits as separate as possible from my facebook feed.  It’s nice to know how many people have viewed my posts & are hopefully finding answers to the questions they searched on Google via my blog.

YO5eDRx

giddy as a kid with lots of tiaras.

So, down to brass tax now I’ve written 300 words as an introduction.  Hahaha.  Whoops.

Continue reading


Am I a Butterfly Yet?

Eat, eat, eat, hibernate, pupate & break free…those beautiful wings all flapping about.  Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Wait, what?

1090984_10152139499949199_1483978903_o

Peacock Butterfly.  Photo taken by me Aug 2013

Butterflies are awesome.  That’s not what this post is about, but please….enjoy the image.

When you’re ready to continue, I’ll be down here……….

*****************************************************

 

 

OH HAI!

Today a fellow xxfitness user asked for progress pictures for inner thighs & I thought I’d oblige.  I’ve attempted to steer clear of the progress images for the last few weeks, so used one from September; which gave a nice 1 year-ish progress timeline.  Now, that might not sound like a huge deal – I’ve shared plenty of progres pictures.  No.  This was different.  This time I used my before picture without the feeling of cringe that usually goes with it.  I will forever quote “That arse will haunt me forever” whenever Andy uses one of my before images.  It was embarrassing to see it & I felt sick to my stomach as I’d denied my “true” size for many years, but it was ok…..cos it was only a dress size up to what I’d been for years previous; or that’s how I rationalised it & that I was only gonna live once & those who eat healthy only live longer cos they’re miserable, so it *feels* longer.

giphy

Castle tries to explain, but realises it’s pointless…..

Ahahhaaaaa!!  I did. I REALLY did rationalise my shit lifestyle on utter garbage.  I’d like to find that other self & give her a slow clap for how awful that information & justification was.

Anyway, before I get off point.

Butterflies!

The biggest I’ve ever been was about a UK18/20.  I couldn’t tell you how much I weighed though, sorry.  I have no idea.  I just remember going to buy trousers after I’d had my son & thought “the extra weight from creating life must be gone by now” It wasn’t. I bought my trousers, defeated but I was sick of maternity gear & cried. I’d become everything I never wanted to be. I wasn’t at breaking point though.  These trouser fit nicely & although the tag size was larger than I’d have liked, I’d been through this baby weight loss before & I won’t have to do much to get back to a 12/14 right? WRONG.  I’d moved house so walking didn’t really occur – pubic transport was the key. My back was still in bits, so when I did walk, it wasn’t far.  I was also 6 years older than when I’d been pregnant before.

It took a long, long time before I hit that “I can no longer continue like this” and for me, it wasn’t my weight but my health. (you all know the story, I’ve gone through it a few times on here)

I knew I wanted to take photos before I started back at the gym. I knew I did.  I tentatively perched my phone on the windowsill & set the self timer. I didn’t show them to anyone.  A month later I took another set of photos; that was now my “starting” image; until I made this blog & stumbled across the image looking for something else.

I hated that photo. Well, photos. As there is a back, front & side views.  I was genuinely mortified.

Here’s a profile montage from when I first started up to a few weeks ago:

FotorCreated (1)

Andy told me the  starting image was a reminder of how far I’ve come, & although I agreed with him; I still hated seeing it. I don’t now. I’m not overly sure how I’ve managed to stop loathing it – also, I know….can we get a moment’s silence for the boobies lost?  *moment*

Yeah, so I stitched a photo together for xxfitness, this is it:

12359875_10154455939854199_7281032414410687150_n

This.  This is when I realised I no longer hate my befores.  I fucking did that. I did that to myself & I fixed it! I love, love, love that image of the right.  I’m responsible for my body & I moaned and bitched about it for years, not doing anything about it – expecting it to change….it did but not the way I wanted.

The gym is an incredible place.  I have new friends & peers, I have a new found love of food, I have new knowledge & discovered a passion I didn’t know existed.

I’m no longer as angry as I once was. I have more energy & am in less pain.  I once looked like my before & I no longer do.  I don’t have wings, but goddamnit I am a motherfucking butterfly!