Baby Got Back…Problems?

I’ve made some tweaks and adjustments to my schedule since my current routine seems to have stopped working.  When you are putting in the effort and nothing seems to be happening, it’s hard to continue to be motivated.  I’ve been struggling with a lack of motivation lately.  It has been way too easy to justify skipping the gym, or only doing one run lap around the lake instead of my normal two or three.  And don’t even get me started on the amount of cookies and chocolate I’ve been ingesting.  (No where near the epic proportions of my previous fatty lifestyle, but still way too much!)  I’ve spent much of this past month dealing with some health issues, which is a surefire way to make a lady feel much, much older than her 27 years of age!  Some negatives of this past month:

My back had me completely out of commission for a solid three weeks.  After returning from my visit to Pennsylvania, I noticed that my lower left back was starting to ache again.  I had originally hurt it about three years ago when I was lifting Logan out of his crib.  It was a combination of being severely obese, completely weak, not lifting properly and using muscles that I’ve never used before, that strained some muscles in my back and has since occasionally left me rendered completely useless for a week at a time.  Usually I can feel when another attack is going to happen, and I immediately take a day off from most physical activity and spend it with an ice pack tucked into my pants.  Usually, I wake up the next morning feeling 90% better and can resume my normal activities without feeling like my spine is ready to come undone.  Usually…but, not this time! After spending over a week completely immobilized, miserable, cold (from permanent ice packs in my pants) my back was getting worse.  Now not only did my lower back feel like it was being examined by a hot, rusty blade with every step, bend, shift, sneeze, etc, but I started to have shooting burning pain down my leg that would make me drop wherever and whenever they would strike. Even drugging up with three Advil PM’s a night did not help me get a good nights sleep.  I started convincing myself that there was something seriously wrong with me.  Could it be a herniated disk, or sciatica, or cancer?  After hobbling into a walk-in clinic, the doctor diagnosed me with two possible things…a possible bulging disc and a urinary tract infection. (What?)  Now, for those who have had the, um, experience of a UTI, ya’ll know those things are painful.  As in, this is torture, rip your hair out, just want to curl up in a ball and die if only I could get off this toilet…that kind of painful.  I’ve only ever had one in my life, and since then, I’ve always been really careful to not get another one.  So when this doctor said that I had a UTI that would have to be treated before he could do anything for my back, I was all kinds of angry.  He then asked me if I had any of the symptoms, and when I said no, he was surprised.  He explained to me that my white blood counts were extremely high, which told him that I had a severe infection somewhere which also could explain some of the back issues I was having.  He did an exam on my back, and told me afterward that he believed I had a severe kidney infection that was swelling the area around my strained back so severely that it was pushing against my sciatic nerve which was causing the shooting pain down my leg.  I reluctantly left with only a prescription for antibiotics after promising him that if my back hadn’t improved in a week, I would come back in for an MRI.  I moaned and stumped around the house the rest of the day, because I thought he had completely misdiagnosed me and now I had to deal with my back pain for another week.  Low and behold, after two days on the antibiotics, the shooting pain stopped and by day 5, I was completely back to normal.  I took the rest of the week off of any major physical activity (barring very low key walks around our community) to make sure I didn’t reinjure myself again.  Finally, after nearly a month off, I started up my new routine a week ago and have been feeling fantastic since then.

The other negative that I’m dealing with right now is that I’ve had some issues trying so hard to balance my training schedule with the rest of my life.  It seems like there are always things that need to be done, errands that need to be run, or a situation with Logan that needs to be taken care of.  Lately I’ve come to realize that I need, enjoy and cherish the time I get to pummel my body at the gym.  It is the only time during the day that the focus is completely 100% on me.  And it’s been hard to be a bit selfish and insist that I need that time for myself.  No one like a selfish person, but sometimes it is necessary to let other small things go to make sure of the more important things, like your health and your sanity.  Being at home all the time with crazy three year old boy, while I wouldn’t trade it for the world, does tend to wear on your nerves a bit, but when I’m in the middle of my workout, I’m so singularly focused on running an extra minute or doing a higher weight that my mind gets quiet and all the silly stresses just fall away.

Okay, enough boo-hoo for me!  Time for the positives!

I have officially fallen in love with Oxygen magazine.  (I know, it’s weird!)  This isn’t your average magazine, but the best, most simple, straightforward weight training magazine for women that I’ve ever seen.  My big sister Amy introduced me to it when she was visiting in December, and after I showed some interest, gave me her recent copy AND bought me a subscription which began arriving a month ago.  All I can say is “THANK YOU AMY!!!”  I’m not a big magazine fan, and mostly I think they are a waste of money, but Oxygen is so well done and blunt that I would happily pay whatever they asked for.  They focus on models that are strong, but still look like women.  Their training routines are clearly explained and illustrated; their health advice is understandable and makes sense.  In fact, their sister magazine is Clean Eating, which single-handedly changed the way I viewed food and got the whole weight loss ball rolling. (check out my post “Why I Refuse to Diet from May 2010)  And sure, there are a lot of ads for various enhancing pills and protein shakes, but the substance in between those pages well makes up for it.  My Oxygen magazines go with me everywhere…to the gym, on the coffee table, in the bathroom, pretty much anywhere within reach!

Worth every penny!

As I mentioned at the onset, I’ve made some changes to my training schedule that have been working out really well.  Basically, I have a notebook that is out and on my kitchen counter at home that makes me accountable for all my activity for that day.  Every day I write down what I’ve done, and every night I make a specific plan for the following day.  Here’s how my schedule is set up right now.

Monday: Focus Upper Body training (biceps and shoulders)

Tuesday: 30 minutes high intensity cardio

Wednesday: Lower Body training (Quads, Hamstrings, squats, calves) and Abs

Thursday: Upper Body training (Back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders)

Friday: Cardio (20 minute sprint runs)

Saturday: REST (stretching)

Sunday: Focus Lower Body training (Butt!)

Sample of the awesome workouts in Oxygen magazine

Yeah, it seems like a lot, but there is also a lot of leeway that I can work with in case I have to be home.  Only two of the days physically require me to workout in the gym…the rest can be done at home if needed.  Two days are quick cardio, two are major training sessions in the gym, and the other two days are my days to focus on the body parts I really want to see a difference in.  For a month, I’m going to focus on my biceps, shoulders and butt…and yes, I will have before and after pictures! J  After only a week of this schedule, I can see a difference in my shoulders and butt, which makes me more excited to keep it going…

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