As we ease into August I’ve realized I’m coming up on a different level in the video game that is my life - and it will require a more evolved *Samantha. I often get stuck trying to title these little moments I share and this was one of those posts where I knew what I wanted to say, but I couldn’t find a good song to encapsulate it all until I threw my iTunes on shuffle. “So Close” is an Andrew MacMahon in the Wilderness song from the album “Zombies on Broadway” and while I love the album as a whole his explanation of the song really got me:
“It’s no secret that I enjoy taking risks and “So Close” was forged in the middle of such a moment. It was penned after the first Wilderness tour when so much in my life felt like it was on the verge of something; Some great victory or defeat. It was hard at the time to tell which. There’s a nervousness that goes along with launching new projects and it creates an energy and excitement that bleeds into everything. Personal relationships, self confidence, sleep and dreams. For me, “So Close” is a snapshot of life’s uncertain moments. Moments where every breath and motion is charged with anxiety and hope, fear and fearlessness.”
I’ve been battling a few injuries (and by battling I mean actively seeing a physical therapist then basically ignoring what both he and my trainer tell me to do - more on that in a sec). So I’ve got knots in my head/neck that are converging to pinch a nerve and cause me a ton of pain, I’ve got a weak right shoulder that’s wicked tight and I’ve got tendinitis in my right knee. I’m basically a hot mess, lol. How did I get here? I was chugging along, exercising my heart out and constantly demanding more of my body. I could two classes in a day - could I do 3? 4? Could I hold plank longer? Squat deeper? The answer to all of those questions is “Sure….but not all at once”. I was at a point where I was taking 18-20 classes a week, seeing my trainer 2x a week to heavy lift and resting VERY little. My body basically said “Um fuck you no” - and I encountered a rapid fire of injuries. How did this happen? I'm so close to reaching more goals!!
At the recommendation of my cutie SP girlfriend Kelsey I started seeing a massage therapist/physical therapist back in May whom I do adore named Kevin. So I would see him for my various ailments but was basically selectively listening to his recommendations. He said Zumba might be too much lateral movement on my knee, he said push-ups/planks might not be the best pressure for my shoulder and he said TRX might be putting too much of a strain on both my neck and my shoulder. All these things were things Mike, my heavy lifting trainer, had been telling me since March when I started complaining about pains….but of course Samantha knows best and I ignored them both.
Ya know what the worst thing you can do for your body might be? Ignore the advice of trained professionals because you have “goals”. I’m reminded that I can have goals (and should!) but I cannot be hell-bent on reaching those goals MY way. “Be stubborn about your goals but flexible about your methods”- right? Right.
So in working around this myriad of injuries I’ve needed to be a little flexible. Wake up, body scan, stretch (using all those great exercises Kevin recommended, lol), decide on the plan of attack for the day. Am I scheduled to do cardio or strength? Do I have any new aches/pains (and are they actual pain or just muscle soreness from a good workout? Important distinction!). Most importantly: do I need to rest? This might sound funny as a recovering fat chick (or maybe it won’t?) but I SUCK at giving myself rest days! I got into this mindset right around the time that I hit 200 pounds down that I would need to hustle harder to hit my next goal and that meant no rest days. That, my friends, was the WRONG attitude. Instead I’ve needed to embrace the rest. Can I use the day to do something fun like catch up with girlfriends, finish a book/show, STRETCH or just hang out around the house and decompress?
My job has been a source of stress lately and when you layer on injuries and paranoia about not reaching goals or not being where you should at this point in your life - ugh, it’s the worst feeling and it ends up hindering future progress. It’s a vicious cycle - you think you need to push HARDER when really, you need to ease up. I remember learning how to drive and being so confused that I would press down harder on the gas to get up a hill then ease off once we were descending - it seemed so backwards in my head. But sure enough, science! I’ve made it over a huge hurdle in my ability to shed pounds and get more active and now continuing to drive this hard will end up driving me into the ground instead of to my next milestone! I need to ease up, allow myself room to breathe, make the decision to work *smarter* instead of *harder*. I’ve learned this with work - if I have 3 hrs and several tasks where is my time best spent? What’s the best bang for my proverbial buck? How can I allow “good enough” to actually be good enough and not strive for perfection? I've come so close - I can't fuck it all up now by demanding too much of myself.
I don’t remember if I set July goals - I feel like I didn’t (?) but my August goal is simple: listen to my body and realize that forward motion is progress even when it doesn't feel like it!