Fallen ego

You’ve heard the old adage about getting back up if you fall down? Well, I did that today. Literally. Yes, I was “that person” who fell off a piece of equipment at the gym. I had a video, but I make the most unflattering face in it that I deleted it and tried purging it from my memory. It’s the kind of unflattering thing that a person uses to blackmail another person for lots of money.

Let’s go back to yesterday. I had a wild notion that I could use the rowing machine at the gym.  My theory was that the thing slides pretty easy and that my hip muscles kind of work so maybe I could try it out.

rower

The hubs and I went to the gym this afternoon to try it out. It was packed and I almost chickened out. But, I reminded myself that I am not Beyonce and people are probably not staring at me. Getting onto the machine was fairly easy. I just pushed the seat to the back and went at an angle that would keep it pushed back. The hubs put my feet in the foot strap and gave me the handle. Pulling myself in was harder than I thought. My right knee hyper extends, so I had to manually push it into a bent position then use my not so functioning quad muscles to try to actually bend them into the upright position while also pulling myself in. I was actually able to do it!  I mean, I wouldn’t win any rowing championships, but it actually worked somewhat. Pushing back was fairly easy. After about 2 successful rows I convinced the hubs to film me so I could A) see my progress and B) show my mom. (Yes, in all things do I aim for my mother’s praise!)

He stood back and started filming. I pulled in, pushed out. Once. Twice. Three times. What I realized as I kept going is that it actually takes a little (read: A TON) of core strength and balance. These are things I am lacking. You see where this is going? Ok, so there I was. Once, twice, three. Four…whoops! I pulled so hard that I lost balance and fell off the machine, while simultaneously letting go of the handle which crashed back into the machine. The shock and hilarity of it all cracked me up. The hubs was more concerned with the fact that my left ankle was still strapped in place, despite my entire body being to the right of the machine. (Apparently he didn’t think ankles are supposed to bend in that direction.) My telling him it didn’t hurt didn’t seem to carry much weight. But, no, I did not actually hurt it.

After he freed the stuck foot, I was able to get back on the machine and tried a few more rows, this time focusing on not losing my balance. The hubs decided to not film me anymore and instead stand by me like a nervous mother hen.

I talked to the awesome gym owner and we’re going to brainstorm what I can do to keep my knee from hyper-extending so I can get into a rhythm without having to stop to bend it myself every time. He’s motivated to helping me in my recovery. I love the support!

The point of all of this is not to publicly embarrass myself more than I already did. It’s that now my abs are killing me. And it’s only 2 hours later. Tomorrow is going to suck! Ok, that’s not really the point. The point is that I fell down and got back up. I didn’t die from embarrassment. If anyone laughed or judged me, I’m confident they would end up in Hell, cause who could really laugh at a paralyzed person trying to better themselves? Only truly evil people. If you laughed at me (and not with me- there is a difference!) then yes, I’m totally judging you! But if it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger. And if you fall, then you need to get back up and try again. That’s more of a reminder to myself than anything else.

Arm Bike

I love the arm bike.  I used to hate using an arm bike when I was walking.  I felt defeated- that I should be using the regular bike or elliptical but because my legs weren’t as strong, I was using the arm bike.  But now that I’m wheelchair bound, it’s become an awesome workout!

The arm bike at my gym requires me to transfer to the little bench.  I don’t know if it’s removeable.  The arm bike at my physical therapist’s clinic has a removeable bench where I can wheel right up and stay in my chair.  I don’t mind transferring though.

The workout I did today (3/29/15) consisted of 15 minutes:

1:00 warm-up

4:00 forward [moderate] (L4)

4:00 backward [moderate] (L4)

1:00 forward [rigorous] (L5)

1:00 backward [rigorous] (L5)

1:15 forward [moderate] (L2)

0:45 forward [rigorous] (L5)

2:00 cool-down (L2)

This definitely got the heart rate up and the sweat pouring.  Trick: keep your back straight and your abs tight for a great core workout.  Don’t twist from side to side.

Gym Rat

Ok, that title may be a *bit* optimistic or even *slightly* misleading.  I went to the gym today.  First time.  I guess that doesn’t quite qualify me as a gym rat or a regular.  But, I do intend to go back.  So that’s something.

Just like a majority of Americans, the Hubs and I joined a gym at the first of the year.  There’s a small gym by our house which is owned by a super nice guy who is really excited about helping me get healthy and in shape.  He even moved weigh equipment around for me.  We dutifully joined in early January.  Today was the first time we went.

I’m really good at excuses. “I don’t feel good.”  “Tomorrow I have PT and don’t want to wear myself out.”  “It’s Tuesday.”  Whatever the situation, I can come up with a great excuse to talk myself out of going.  I actually packed my gym bag one morning and went to the gym on my way home from court.  I pulled into the parking spot which is literally in front of the door to the gym.  I sat there for a minute and then chickened out.  In my head, people were going to stare at the handicapped girl in the wheelchair and judge me for being there.  The hubs has been busy with work and we hadn’t found any time to go to the gym (Sounds an awful lot like an excuse, I know).

Going to the gym is always a good idea.  I never get there and think “Man, I’m bummed I went there today!”  Even if I’m sore, I don’t regret going.  The soreness lets me know I actually did something!

Cut to today- we decided to go.  I put on my gym clothes as soon as I got up.  That’s always half the battle.  Luckily, the hubs as motivated to go.  I’m always on the fence.  It sounds like a good idea, but do I really want to?  Today he wanted to.  He put his workout clothes on which got our dogs super excited cause they thought it meant that they were going on a walk.  So, 20 minutes later, after he returned from a quick walk with the dogs, we left for the gym.

As we were parking, another car came into the handicapped spot next to us.  Out comes an older man with one leg.  Not even a prosthetic.  Just one leg and crutches.  The reason why this is noteworthy is because I kept seeing him all over the gym (again, it’s very small).  He would balance on the one leg and do the overhead pull down bar weight thing (yes, that’s the technical term I believe).  Nothing makes one feel like a whiner than to see a one legged man killing it in the gym.  Talk about inspiration!

I did my thing on the arm bike.  I used to think the arm bike was kind of a weird machine.  But now that it’s my go-to gym aerobics machine, I appreciate it.  Talk about an arm, shoulder and core workout!  The trick is to sit up (not propped up on the backrest) and flex your ab muscles the whole time.  Yikes! I also used a pec machine, which made me feel like I was going to fall off the little bench thing.  I did not.

This little outing taught me A) I’m able to use quite a bit of machinery in the gym; B) I should definitely stop feeling sorry for myself; C) I should also stop being so conceited and thinking that people are looking at me, cause the only people who glanced my way were just waiting for me to finish with my sets.  [Well, I also caught a few glances when I took a selfie to send to my mom and dad as proof that I was in the gym.  They tend to not believe me unless there’s photographic proof.  My dad said I used photoshop and my mom said I took a photo in front of a gym poster.  Haters!]