Last week I wrote about the mental side of training. I wrote about the difference one small statement can make on your psyche. That one statement, that one reminder that I would be so much worse off with this back injury had I not been starting from such a high place of fitness, would have made my workout with Jennifer at Club Pilates worth my time. But this workout was so much more for me.
Don’t Over Do It
From physical therapists to acupuncturists to friends and family I have been warned not to over do it. I get it. I have been an over-doer in the past. But what they can’t see because they couldn’t feel the pain I was in, is that there is no chance I will over do it again. The pain I dealt with for the first 6 months of this injury was too much. I am terrified of ever going back there.
But I can see where I will end up ten years down the road without taking proactive steps now. I look down the road and see a day when I am either using a walker or a wheelchair because I can no longer support my own weight and I don’t want that. I want to find a way to avoid it.
Is Pilates The Answer?
I have wondered about Pilates for a while. One of the doctors I saw prescribed a brace. I wore it for all of 2 hours and couldn’t stand it another minute, just too hot. However, I saw the benefit of having the support around my core. I felt the difference the stability had on the way I walked. That is when I first started thinking about Pilates.
If I could use my own muscles to secure my core, wouldn’t that be a better solution. But could I?
Physical therapy had become an exercise in frustration because every time I left the office I would spend at least a full day not being able to pull up my own pants or turn over in bed or even sit comfortably for more than 15 minutes at a time. The tiny little pelvic tilts they were asking me to do were too much. How could I possibly do Pilates?
I was a little worried about Club Pilates before I went in. My sister-in-law a Pilates instructor. Would a classroom environment work for me? I spoke with Laura Cutchall, owner of Club Pilates in Severna Park about my doubts. She confirmed what I had been thinking. If I can strengthen my core, create my own brace with my muscles, then I will be more stable and feel less pain.
She answered my doubts as well by reminding me that I am in charge. I have an injury. Yes, I could hurt myself if I didn’t listen to my body, if I didn’t explain myself fully to her staff or if I became competitive with people next to me. This was about me. I had to take charge.
The first thing she suggested was that I work directly with Jennifer so we could figure out just where I stood. Almost immediately, Jennifer gave me an answer that helped. Neutral spine. Yes, Pilates uses the pelvic tilt a lot, just like my physical therapist. But that doesn’t work for me. The minute I go into tilt I activate the pain. Working with Jennifer I was able to find neutral and concentrate on keeping neutral throughout several exercises. It wasn’t easy but I could feel the difference. I could feel my core engaging without feeling the pain I had experienced throughout physical therapy.
Years ago, when I was training for Ironman, I wrote about how to eat an elephant. One bite at a time. How will I get my core stability back? The same way. One breath, one move, one workout at a time. Can I do Pilates? Thanks to Laura and Jennifer at Club Pilates I know that I can. But I also know that with this injury I have to be the one in charge. I have to be honest with myself and with instructors. I can’t expect anybody else to feel my pain. They can’t. I need to take charge.
Can I reverse some of the damage that has been done? Not to the fractures. No. I have been assured that that will never change. But to my atrophied muscles? Yes. Thanks to Laura and Jennifer for giving me the confidence to see that this is possible.
This is a part of a new workout a week series I am doing to find out just how many workouts I can do if I modify them. I am tired of being limited. With the series I aim to prove that I can find my limits and still honor my body with workout. If you are a trainer or fitness profession with a local studio and are interested in being part of this series, please contact me at BrennanAnnie@me.com.