Recovery is a scary word

The last few days? weeks? I have been really struggling with my moods and my workouts. It started with exhaustion. I’d wake up feeling completely drained even though I’d slept through the night (full 8 hours). No focus. No energy. A constant feeling of sleepiness and a sense of general malaise. At first I thought I might be getting a cold because Sam had a cold. Then I thought the fatigue might be related to seasonal changes so I started going outside more. Then I found myself getting really frustrated during my workouts and with my total lack of progress. I feel heavy and my muscles are getting sore more easily than usual. Now I am having trouble sleeping even though I feel utterly exhausted when I get into bed. The other day I was doing a workout video and the woman was saying that no matter how sore, tired, sick she is she always pushes through and gets her daily workout in. For a lot of people working out hard daily and persevering through injury and illness is a source of great pride. But it got me wondering are we abusing our bodies? By the end of her video I was convinced that she was over-training. I then had to ask myself if I might also be over-training since I was right there with her feeling totally deflated. I looked into it and some things stood out. I often do HIIT back to back but really you aren’t meant to do it more than 3 times a week. Even on my rest day when I do just yoga I tend to pick very challenging yoga routines. I tried to build balance into my schedule by alternating intense workouts with recovery-style workouts but each week I found myself reducing the lower intensity workouts and adding in more HIIT routines. I was also increasing the length of my workouts.

I tried increasing my workout intensity and duration. I tried cutting calories. I tried adding calories/ snacks encase I was undereating (I experienced a small loss from this) but really nothing has worked. The only thing I haven’t tried is giving my body time to recover from my workouts. I am absolutely terrified by this prospect. While I might not lose weight easily, I gain very easily. I am terrified that if I give myself a week to recover I will have gained 10 lbs by the end of it. Losing 10 lbs would literally take years. In the past my solution has always been push through, work harder until the body is broken down to such a point that it absolutely cannot hold onto the weight. Well I did this a few years ago and I was literally sick for an entire year as a result. Pneumonia, chronic diarrhea, bacterial infections, seizures, severe Depression etc. etc. Eventually I became unable to exercise much less operate in a normal day to day fashion. So while the words “rest” and “recovery” fill me with terror and could result in me falling off the wagon altogether given my extreme personality, this week I think I need to take a step back.

Now I am not going to not exercise but I have formulated a recovery routine for this week which I hope will restore my energy/health. I do need to do yoga because without it I literally end up looking like Quasimodo and the pain is unbearable. I am an extremely sedentary person outside of exercise. I mean I clean the house but as a writer I spend a lot of time hunched up over a screen hence scheduling in walks and midday stretching. I am thinking of doing this routine once every 2 months as a counter balance for my craziness. The week following my recovery week will hopefully be more balanced as well. There will be 3 days of HIIT spaced out, 1 day of Pilates or the like, and 3 recovery-style workouts. If all goes well in these 2 weeks and I have not ballooned up in weight and I am feeling better I will redo the format of my other workouts in a similar fashion. If I do this who knows I might even have the energy to do the gardening I never do. I am scared but watching this video helped put things in perspective.

My Recovery Week

Monday- 45 minutes of yoga (by yoga I mean the gentle stretching Hatha-style yoga), 15 minute walk

Tuesday- 30 minutes yoga, calm 30 minute walk

Wednesday- 30 minutes yoga, Fitness Blender 3 Day Flexibility Challenge Day 1 (I did this one before and thought the gentle flow movements were very soothing)

Thursday- 30 minutes yoga, 30 minutes yoga/simple mobility exercises

Friday- 30 minutes yoga, Dynamix (P90X3 stretching/mobility)

Saturday- 30 minutes yoga (balance focus), 30 minute walk

Sunday- 30 minute yoga. Fitness Blender’s Relaxing Stretching Workout for Flexibility and Stress Relief

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Ab Day

Today was Ab Day! Sam is sick with a bad cold and a fever. I am feeling a little under the weather myself probably trying to fight off his germs. I got to test out my Equalizer in a new move which appears at around 49 minutes. That was tricky and I think I am dipping too much, not sure if it is my proportions or if it is a strength issue. I have short arms and a long body and I found it awkward. Also ankles and feet are bony and I don’t wear shoes so it was a bit uncomfortable propping my feet up. Ab pikes confuse me as you will see there in the beginning. Some exercises on the other hand I was pleased with my performance.

 

Chair Pose

I think I can get slightly more of the yoga mat in a frame if I sit the laptop outside of the room. The consequence is glaring sunlight “sigh”. This is chair pose which I typically hold for 30 seconds. I used to be unable to get my arms up by ears (I held them strait ahead) which shows that the posture work has helped. I still have lower than average shoulder mobility but this for me is a big achievement. I was quite down on myself today though, not feeling my yoga at all this morning. It happens sometimes but I did get through it.

Side Angle Pose

Today I went with Side Angle Pose, this is a yoga pose for those of you who aren’t familiar. Typically I hold this pose for 1 minute (30 seconds to 1 minute is good). I prefer the basic version because it allows me to keep my chest open. As you know I have Kyphosis and postural issues and the full pose doesn’t allow me to achieve the same degree of expansion. In the video I move my bottom arm to show you that I am not slouching in the pose. There really shouldn’t be weight in that bottom arm.

A Quick Share

Yesterday I did this workout. I did 20 reps of each exercise, for single leg exercises I did 20 reps per leg. After the workout I went out for a quick 1 mile jog. Today my ass is absolutely on fire, the tops of my thighs and inner thighs are also sore. This workout works and it works all those tricky to get spots that tend to gather fat for women.

Missing in Action

First off the workout! There is no verbal instruction in this video which is a little bothersome but I believe on their site you can find videos with voice overs. The beginning is pretty ab intense. I didn’t have a magic circle so I used, a block, strap, kettlebell, Pilate’s Ball to make substitutions that I felt were appropriate and as close to the exercise as I could replicate. I love rollups btw! Is it just me or is this woman one of the most beautiful women in the world? I mean seriously!

Now for the scary bit. I took some before photos which I am too self-conscious to post at the moment haha I will post this image of my back which I have been working on very dutifully with the hopes of improving my posture (some success here) and gaining some muscle (fail despite gaining strength). The weird thing about this photo is aside from the fact that I have no muscle on my back at all is that I don’t have scapulae either??? I don’t have fat covering them so where the hell did they go? Anyhow here is my no back back. As you know my back is one of my least favorite body parts and often stops me from going swimming so I am being very brave here. Forgive my hair lol

Back

Boat with Towel

So here is the video I mentioned of me doing boat with a towel. Forgive me looking like a slob, that is the reality of how I dress when I am not going out for the day lol I told you I was tired and forgive my weird nervous face tics, the sight of the camera is just that uncomfortable. Also forgive my uncanny resemblance to Quasimodo and my chubbiness and the eye bags ugghhhhhh