Dealing with setbacks

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My humorous. Not where it’s meant to be.

Nobody’s invincible. We all know that, but it’s easy to forget when you’re on a roll, training is going well, you’re in good health and you have goals that you really can reach, if you just carry on. So when the rug is pulled from under you, what do you do? A few weeks ago, I had just completed an ultra marathon and was heading into training for a road marathon when I fell on a bouncy castle (yes, I know, I’m 40 – my mum has already mentioned this) and dislocated my shoulder.

 

So it’s all change. Ten days in a sling, four weeks with no high-impact or weight-bearing exercise. Sixteen weeks recovery with physio. It would be easy to get down about this. And at times I have been, but the thing that’s most surprising is that it’s actually not that bad. Sure, I had to drop out of the marathon, and not being allowed to drive has been a pain but, overall, I’ve realised that it’s ok.

First obvious problem is training. I was worried I would lose fitness, lose all the hard work I’d put in. But all that hard work is in fact still paying off – if you have incorporated fitness and training into your everyday life, it takes quite a while to lose. And I’m lucky, I’m a PT, so I have devised a couple of zero-impact, cardio and resistance workouts that I’m confident will keep me going while I wait to get stronger.

Second problem is work. I can’t demo new moves, I can’t drive to see clients. After a disastrous morning where I insisted I could walk from client to client with a kettlebell, yoga mat and bag all hanging off one shoulder (the good one), I realised I could ask for help. This can be really difficult, even when people outright offer, when you’re used to doing everything yourself. But the relief when you do and (in my case) don’t have to try to figure out a new non-weights routine for your client, don’t have to get cover for teaching a class… the relief. Look at it this way, if someone you cared about needed help; nothing crazy, just a lift in the car or lending something for a few days, you absolutely would do it! You wouldn’t even think twice about it. Take the help when it’s offered. Ask when you need it.

I guess I’m just advocating positive thinking and positive action. Not a new concept, but certainly a good one. And maybe that marathon would have been a boring one anyway.

 

Keep on track

It’s snowing outside today and I have therefore nixed my idea of a 10k run as I’m in danger of slipping over and injuring myself. That’s sensible, right? But it’s easy to now make another pot of coffee and carry on my day without doing a thing. This is where we all fall down at some point or another I think – one good, legit reason not to do something has the potential to have a domino effect and ruin all our hard work thus far. So how to stop it? I’m a big fan of HIIT (high intensity interval training) – you can do it ANYWHERE and 20 minutes is enough. So if you can’t go out, clear a space in your living room/spare room/kitchen, wherever, and try this:

Press-ups
High knees
Tricep dips
Burpees
Crunches
Jumping alternate lunges

Do your best to complete 45 seconds of each, with a 15 second rest between. This is the goal so if you can’t do that yet, modify with going more slowly, reducing the time (30 secs with 20 sec rest for instance), making it easier (eg. press-ups off knees) until you can complete the circuit properly. Then do it again; do it three times, in fact. Then brag to social media about just how damn dedicated you are. And done!

(Find examples of all these exercises on YouTube if you’re unsure.)

Finding your get-up-and-go

This is the time of year everyone’s looking for ways to get fit. It’s a lot to do with making new year’s resolutions and a lot to do with the guilt of Christmas excess too. And for what might be the first time, I am facing that challenge too – to pick myself up and improve my fitness. Just before Christmas I hurt my back. I mean, properly, can’t stand, can’t sit, can’t move territory. I’ve never had that before; never had to completely stop all exercise, and it sucked. Also, it happened at exactly the wrong time of year, so I was burning about 4 calories a day but consuming about 40,000, in mince pies and red wine alone. Roughly. So now I’m facing that daunting task of getting back to where I was.

If you’re in a similar situation you’ll appreciate it’s not great. But it has given me insight into what it’s like and how to motivate myself from here and I’ll take that as a positive; a good tool for my skill box. Best motivator so far? Telling myself I can stop after five minutes if I really can’t bear it. Once I’ve got going, it’s really not that bad, and the five-minute cut-off is forgotten. If you’re in the same boat, I’d love to hear your tips too!