Schedules, Training, Madness, and Aspirin

So I am still alive. Still working out. Still trying to achieve a good balance. Scheduling has always been a bit of a nightmare for me really. I strive to get everything done by 3 pm and depending on whether I can accomplish that and if I have energy (mental and physical) to spare I might make dinner. I rarely make dinner to tell you the truth at least not the healthy from scratch dinners of my dreams. Why do I have to get everything done by 3pm? Brain death. My brain is encased in ever present fog. In the morning I am able to focus better. I have energy. My mood is generally more positive. By the end of the day the fog can be incredibly dense. My energy levels plummet. After dinner (around 5:30 pm) I am pretty much exhausted. Sometimes I have seizures at the end of the day. The Depression that I had been running from during the day catches up and whacks me over the head. Everyday is a race. Everyday I try to pack in whatever I can before my brain goes all mushy and wonky and unpleasant. Once Sam comes home around dinnertime what I need is a good long snuggle. I need comedy. I need to unwind otherwise I can’t, despite being utterly exhausted, sleep and if I can’t sleep I go fucking nuts. Like really certifiably nuts. I am sure there must be a better more normal way of coping but I have not figured out how to do it. Having such a tiny window of time to fit my life activities into is challenging and completely mad but so is life.

Once again I have decided to revamp my training schedule. Here is what I have come up with this time!

Though I have not included it I do 30 minutes of yoga every morning before breakfast. If I didn’t do this session I would be overwhelmed by body pain/stiffness (because I have PTSD and Dissociative Disorder I hold a lot of tension in my muscles, have a lot of nightmares, and position my body awkwardly and painfully when I sleep). It also helps with the Depression and honestly keeps the suicidal thoughts at bay. For me yoga is medicine.

I would like to do more Hiit because it’s fun but it just doesn’t work at the moment. Thursday I have 4 hours of intense physical activity at work so there is just no way. The other days of the week I work at the factory. Some days I am carrying boxes around. Some days I have to stand the entire time. Some jobs are more physically strenuous than others. I find I am usually quite tired when I get home. I also walk more since I have started working. Now that it is getting warmer I am also going to have to find some motivation for gardening! So in the end I am just not as sedentary as I used to be so the longer, more frequent Hiit workouts don’t make sense. Saturday’s Hiit I can manage a longer session but Tuesdays will have to be shorter preferably 30-40 minutes.

I am investigating the possibility of taking a yin yoga course on Sundays. The course is 75 minutes. If I am able to do it that would be 75 minutes plus my 30 minute morning yoga plus 30 minutes to 1 hour of lower body training. The yoga class is also squarely at dinner time. Which is sort of an issue because while I am very hungry around 5pm I tend to have no appetite after 6 pm (my body switches into that weird hibernation cycle I spoke about earlier). Still Sunday would be the only day that I could feasibly do it and I do love yoga. Also yin yoga is more relaxing than say Ashtanga Yoga. Maybe I could eat half my dinner before and half of it after? I have to see how much it costs. I also have to see if the hubster would drive me into town!

Monday- Back/Posture/Pilates/Ballet (I have Kyphosis and I figured I need to spend some extra time on strengthening my back and improving my posture.)

Tuesday- Hiit/Cardio

Wednesday- Upper Body

Thursday- Yoga (my cleaning job is just too exhausting to allow for any other type of workout)

Friday- Abs

Saturday- Hiit/Cardio

Sunday- Lowerbody

I have 6 weeks of my new routine scheduled into my journal. I am excited to see how it goes! On another unpleasant, read with caution note I am having major digestive issues. I have found that I can’t take aspirin at all, it just ruins my stomach. I was sick with the flu a while ago and so I took some aspirin for the body pain and fever and it severely irritated my stomach lining (which caused excruciating pain) and gave me a nightmare case of diarrhea. 2 years ago when I took aspirin this happened as well. I am not even taking a particularly strong aspirin but it causes really intense stomach pain. The stomach issues can last for weeks after. Yesterday my stomach was so enlarged I looked to be 6 months pregnant. I don’t think it is at the level of internal bleeding but I think it would get to that level if I had taken more pills. So if anyone knows any natural fever reducers and pain killers for the next time I get the flu please let me know!

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Getting back into the groove

Tuesday was my first workout after my week long yoga break. I was very excited to get back into a more rigorous training routine. Yoga has been enjoyable. I needed the pause. My flexibility has improved and I even got a few good night’s sleep out of it. I am sad to say that I am back to dreaming in excess though. I wake up feeling exhausted and I remain in this kind of hazy intermediate stage much of the day. Funny thing though I seem to be capable of inducing sleep in others. I don’t mean people doze at the sound of my voice. It’s just that when I am the bus there is a circle of people around me, dead asleep. Not just in the morning which is understandable but in the middle of the day as well. Only around me everyone else on the bus is awake and animated midday. It’s like I’m exuding all my good sleep hormones!

Onto my workouts. So far so good. Tuesday was HIIT. My breathing was good. I felt I was jumping higher. I had fun. My calves are sore though (jump rope). Wednesday was an arm workout. I had 15 exercises and 30 minutes to complete as many rounds as possible. I got through 3 sets, with 8 reps each. A personal best actually. I had to make some changes to avoid putting weight onto my right wrist though. My wrist has been an issue for years. About 3 years ago I injured my wrist while jumping back into a Burpee. I tried resting the wrist but it didn’t help. Then I discovered I was tucking the wrist under my body when I was sleeping so I bought a wrist brace to sleep with at night. That really helped but before my wrist completely recovered I fell hard on some ice and landed with tremendous force on my recovering wrist! Ever since then I go through cycles where my wrist is okay, kind of weak but I can bear weight. After a while bearing weight gets painful so I take it easy. The wrist gets worse anyway and eventually interferes with normal activities so I sleep in the brace and it improves back to stage one. So never quite right but not always bad. In the worst stages it burns and my fingers fall asleep and its feels floppy and stabby and weird. I suppose I should check it out but I don’t want to go to the doctor. Today is yoga since I have my cleaning job which is quite strenuous by itself.

I have recently started meditation. The first night I slept brilliantly. Meditation is something I have always found threatening in practice, theoretically it sounds lovely. I have Dissassociative Disorder so I am not exactly on speaking terms with reality. I am certain to run into some demons during this process and I am not ashamed to say that scares me. Sitting with myself, being present, feeling my feelings I expect I am going to struggle sometimes. At the moment I am experiencing some resistance (both of the mental and physical sort). While I am meditating I am okay. I have monkey mind and I have pain/tension but it’s okay. The following day though I am tired, disoriented, and easily irritated. I have periods were I just forget how to person like I’ve had some sort of neurological episode. I am finding this very difficult actually. I imagine it’s like starting to exercise at first you are sore and exhausted! At least that is how I choose to see it. I have never stuck with meditation though so I want to give it an honest go.

For the sake of honesty my diet hasn’t been great lately. A lot of frozen meals (not that my frozen meal choices are all pizza I eat a lot of vegetarian dishes). I haven’t yet worked cooking into my schedule. Also Sam has made several batches of chocolate muffins and some chocolate balls with Oreos and cream cheese. So I have had too much sugar.

 

On another note I have been fidgety. I seem to want to be busy but I am not quite sure what I want to do.

Updates (long-winded)

This week could prove a challenge for me on many levels. Until Thursday my week is more or less the same as any other but from Thursday on the chaos starts. On Thursday when I would usually be heading into my cleaning job my caseworker has scheduled a job interview. For some inexplicable reason she schedules all meetings for my work hours. Since I work only 1 day a week and am otherwise available I have a hard time believing this is coincidental but at the same time it makes no sense for her to be doing it on purpose.

I am not really sure what the job entails. From what I gather I would be working in a plastics factory examining bits for flaws. I have a very cartoonish idea of working in a factory. I just imagine standing in front of a conveyor belt for hours on end placing the odd item into a box marked defective. Is this a thing? If I impress at the interview I could land an internship. The employer seems to be willing to let me work Monday Tuesday Wednesday and alternate Fridays so as not to interfere with therapy. That would cover all the hours I need and I could finally end my job search. The company is also within acceptable commuting distance. I just don’t know if I am qualified for the job or if it is something I would want to do day after day.

I am nervous not just about the interview but about going from being so disabled I couldn’t work to working part-time. That is a huge step and it will require readjusting my life (and my family’s life) in some ways. I am terrible with change (which is putting it euphemistically and mildly).

In some ways I am doing better but in others I am doing worse. My social anxiety has actually gotten significantly worse (it has been getting progressively worse for years). Aside from Sam and Isadora I am now speaking gibberish almost full-time. I simply cannot talk to people, I completely shut down mentally and physically. I still go outside sometimes (not as much as one should mind you) but I don’t interact anymore. I can’t answer the phone, just the sound of it sets me into a full blown panic attack. I dread when people talk to me at work but at the same time I care so little to talk to people that I prefer the awkward silence of not responding to the awkwardness of attempting to engage in conversation. Aside from saying hello I am more or less mute when I step outside of my house (well I do talk to myself). I am even struggling with my relatives (aside from Sam and Isadora). So my social anxiety is at an all time high and I am having panic attacks which I have been in denial about for years.

I am prone to normalization. So lets say I have a serious panic attack on Monday if you asked me on Friday how my week was I would say it went okay more or less. At most I might report some mild anxiety. I also normalize others. I was watching a documentary on Bipolar. My grandmother and mother both had/have it. I couldn’t remember the disorganized speech bit so I asked Sam since he also lived with them and he was just like are you kidding me??? They definitely did that but then again everyone I ever lived with has been seriously mentally ill (so far not Isadora) so I guess I just can’t tell. It also means, however, that I probably am not reporting everything to my therapist.

On Friday I have to go into work to make up for Thursday and I am worried there might be more customers.

Also on Friday we have a family dinner for my daughter’s birthday. So basically I need to get home eat, exercise, shower, clean, and help the hubster set up.

Saturday we will likely be setting up for the party on Sunday where Isadora will have her classmates over. I have no idea how many will actually show up but a house full of kids is very stressful. The party will be 2 hours and then I imagine a lot of cleaning.

Today I had an hour long workout but the rest of the week I have decided to go with short workouts because I just think it will fit better with all that is going on. I have decided to tailor my workouts more with my actual life. Before I just made the world stop for my workouts. I would even work out on days where I knew I had a lot of difficult physical tasks to do. The result? I became too sore and tired to be of much use. So while I do view my workouts as an integral part of my daily life I need to be a little more flexible about it. Next year when I paint the house, that will be counted as my exercise because that is going to be tough.

If you recall I had a recovery week and decided after that to readjust my workouts. Basically I was pushing my body so hard that I was breaking the muscles down and stalling my progress. I practice moderation in my diet so why not in my exercise routine? So far I haven’t put on any weight or gained any inches like I feared. I don’t want to go into any details about measures now because it is still early days with this and when you are dealing with the little numbers I am dealing with fluctuations are all too possible. What I mean is I don’t have a lot of weight to lose, not even 10 lbs so the figures are just so small.

What have I been doing lately? In my yoga I like to work on my weaknesses. If in a workout I notice I am not performing well at a certain move, I will build up the stabilizer muscles required to better execute that move. Lately I have been working on my thighs from every angle and you know it is helping! I also started working on my core flexibility. I have very low flexibility in my lower back and the muscles in my abs are so tight I can’t even perform cobra properly. I feel like the skin itself it going to split. Yesterday I actually managed Camel Pose for a brief spell. For years I could not do this move at all because it caused so much pain (the bad sort) and while it was challenging, it did not hurt. Progress. I have increased my hip flexibility as well and I am quite pleased with the results.

I think I have this week and next planned in a similar fashion but then I decided to go over to this style for bit and see how I do. There should be at least 2 days between every HIIT routine. I have been stressing and stressing about how to make that work in a 7 day week but then I realized it is better to look at the big picture. I might not be able to squeeze in 3 HIIT workouts into one week because of my schedule (my job on Thursday is very physical and I just can’t do HIIT that day) but if you think about it from a wider perspective I am still doing HIIT regularly. I also wanted to just weight train. I used to weight train quite a bit but when I discovered HIIT I started to neglect it. Not that you don’t work on your strength in HIIT but it’s not quite the same focus. I don’t have core days specifically because the Pilates day will certainly have core strength components. Also you can’t do HIIT without using your core and the yoga I do requires core strength as well.

Monday- Yoga

Tuesday- Hiit

Wednesday- Upper Body

Thursday- Yoga

Friday- Hiit

Saturday- Lower Body

Sunday- Pilates or similar

So how was my recovery week?

Today is officially the last day of my recovery week but since Monday is my designated yoga day, tomorrow will basically be the same. So how’s it been going? The first day or two I was feeling very anxious. I had a hard time convincing myself to take a break (the video really helped) and I was worried about regaining the weight (not that I have lost much). Day 3-5 I was feeling great and enjoying my recovery program. Day 6 was fun because I went to the park (this particular park is located in our old neighborhood and we haven’t been for years) with Sam and Isadora. The park has a lot of outdoor training equipment, all sorts of climbing and balance stuff (what the hell is the term for this style of training???!) which they didn’t have previously. We all had a blast climbing, balancing, and exploring. Day 7 aka today I am feeling antsy. I really can’t wait to get back into it and see where I am. I wonder if the time off has set me back or if it is just the recharge I needed? My fear of gaining didn’t come true and I kept my diet normal except for the protein shake which I only ever drink when doing an intense workout session. I hope the lighter training schedule I have planned will be more balanced and effective. I have also added some new exercises to me yoga routine based on physical therapy and I am hopeful that they will help be achieve more joint stability and improve my over all performance. I have already seen an increase in my flexibility/mobility.

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

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.

Recovery

I am on the mend now (fingers-crossed)! Last night my fever broke, lots of sweating, but this morning I am feeling better (still congested). I have been doing yoga the last 3 days that I have been sick with my basic posture exercises and some stretching here and there. Today I felt stronger in my postures and over all it was less painful. I have been loading up on the vitamins. I have even taken a nap everyday! I am debating whether I should attempt Pilates today or if I should wait till tomorrow. Tomorrow is my recovery day, so I would be starting up again with a longer session of yoga. In light of Valentine’s Day I guess I am nervous about weight gain.

Edit

Did the Pilates workout, got through it, performed everything, but not on top of my game yet. Tomorrow is strait yoga and then Pilates again so hopefully I will be fully recovered before the next hard day.

 

Sick!

Remember how I said I would stop recording my workouts because I was feeling motivated and grounded in my routines? Well I take it back. Yesterday Isadora was home sick. I was feeling a bit off but I was convinced that my immune system would take care of it. I mean I have been feeling strong and healthy and I have been eating well, hell I have even been drinking! I was fine doing my workout yesterday as you know but last night it hit me like a sledgehammer. I was up most of the night coughing, in pain, and with a high fever. This morning I have all that and a splitting, can barely see these words, headache. Oh and the chills. I did some yoga this morning because that is necessary or the pain will totally prevent rest/sleep but I don’t plan to do a workout. As I sometimes get derailed when I am sick, I want to to record my return to exercise for a few days till I am tucked in again. I don’t know when I will be able to resume, if tomorrow I will probably start with something like Pilates instead of cardio because I have so much congestion and pain in my chest. We’ll see I hope it is a short bout of sickness!