Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Taking a (gulp) Break

So the day came. The day when those scary 6 words were uttered...You Have To Take A Break. 

Last week I was sitting in my chiropractor's office when she broke the 'taking the break news' and as sad as it was, I agreed with her. I am still surprised at myself for even having a chiropractor. After a bad experience with one at 15 years old, following a (not so) tragic backwards flip-flop/neck incident, I vowed to never return. However, some  back pain that I had been enduring for too long prompted the first visit about 6 months back and I'm still in pain, but the pain is moving now to the front of my hip. (Wow, I sound like an old lady! The pain is moving to my hip! I never realized that in my early 30's I could utter those words, but I am!) My chiropractor has really helped, but I think that now as my skeleton is being re-adjusted, so is my movement. My body was taking a path of movement that it shouldn't have been, and through my muscle imbalances, I continued to push. Finally my body said, "nope, you can't do this anymore." So pain ensued and now I have to make a change. 

I LOVE High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts. I love that I can get a workout done in a shorter amount of time just by pushing myself to my max in each exercise; I love how it gives me a rush of endorphins; I love being able to work every muscle in my body at once, making me feel like I'm getting the most out of my workout. I usually incorporate HIIT training into my workouts 3, maybe even 4 times a week (and I teach a 30-minute HIIT class at Nourish Northwest on Tuesdays!) and what I'm realizing is that this type of training could be the culprit to my consistent pain. Oh, and running as well. I can't forget that joint pounding workout, too. Unfortunately I need to push these hard on your joints exercises to the curb for a while as my bod realigns. 

I never thought the day would come that I would have to take a break because I thought I was being really diligent in switching my workouts up. I strength train, take yoga, run, do pilates every once in a while, and make sure to stretch and foam roll. But the thing is, if you are performing exercises with a body that is misaligned or has muscle imbalances, no matter what type of workout you are doing, it will eventually catch up to you. My muscles on the left side of my body have clearly had enough and now a change needs to be made. Maybe not forever, but definitely until I can get it in check again. 

So what are the next steps? Back to basics. If you ever find yourself in the situation I am finding myself, "take a break" doesn't necessarily mean quit working out. Maybe you need to take a different approach. Maybe you need to remind yourself where you started and begin again. Start focusing on core work and stability. Lower your weight load and re-connect with the smaller, stabilizing muscles to get you back on track. Meet with a personal trainer who can spot your muscle imbalances (me!) and work on foam rolling the over-active, tight muscles and strengthening the muscles that are weak. Maybe even just moving your runs to the elliptical or walking instead of running for a while will help do the trick. Maybe you are simply doing too much of one thing and you need to switch things up.

 I have decided that I will not be discouraged by this news, but excited to take my workouts to a new and different place for a while. I see it as a chance to reconnect to my body again in a way that I have neglected for a while. Sometimes it just takes some slowing down to get back on track. It doesn't mean that your workouts will be any "less than" it just means that they will be different. I'm sure on my journey back to stability I will still feel very challenged and I'm excited to see where this route takes me.  Be well!