Monday, August 18, 2008

Gym Frustrations

We finally joined a gym about a month ago. It´s the Canadian-Chilean gym that is actually open on Sundays and Holidays (unlike the false-advertising Pacific Club). We were so excited to start going and scheduled our fitness exam with the profe (personal trainer) the second day of our membership. Now, although Chile isn’t top of the line when it comes to gyms, I do like the fact that our membership includes a once-a-month fitness evaluation and exercise plan. In theory, it is awesome. In practice, well not going so well.

During our examination, we were weighted, they took our body fat (with the little hand-held machine) and then we had to ride the stationary bike for 20 minutes while keeping a RPM of 95 and gradually increasing the levels. I had explained to the profe that I have a leg injury*, from 2005 mind you, that still irritates me. (Back in May, when I was in CO, I did something to irritate it again so I knew I needed to be mindful.) Yapo, so no worries, we get started on the bike and he puts me on Level 0. Can’t really go much lower than that I suppose so I figured it’d be cool—even though I really don’t like stationary bikes. They hurt my hips and knees. Anyway, at first everything was ok, but about 5 minutes into it, my butt and leg started feeling uncomfortable. I just attributed it to the fact that I was on a stationary bike. The uncomfortable-ness didn’t supersede to a pain level, even when I increased the level on the bike, and so I thought all was good. Until we started walking home, that is.

Even though I had stretched after the little exam and whatnot, during our 10 min. walk home, my leg started to ache. I knew that wasn’t a good sign. I woke up at 3am with so much pain that my wonderful husband had to give me a very light massage with Dolorub (kind of like Icy-Hot). It felt just like when I injured the damn thing. Not cool. I couldn’t go to the gym for over a week because my leg was in so much pain that even my daily commute to work (6 blocks walking distance) was horrible.

So what does all of that mean? Well it means that now when I go to the gym (sadly only 1-3 times per week), I can barely do any sort of aerobic exercise. I don’t even feel like I get a workout because I have to take it so lightly. I can walk on the treadmill for about 20-25 minutes with ZERO incline, and going about a speed 4, much faster than that and my leg starts to ache. I can also do the elliptical (which I prefer) for 25 minutes at Level 1 or 2, and any of the programmed workouts. But god, I barely break a sweat. And what I just described is nowhere NEAR the exercise program the profe gave me. It’s just not fair you know. In my head, I want to go to the gym every day and work really hard and get back into the shape I used to be, but my body isn’t letting me.

I know that I could also do a little aerobic and then move on to the weight machines, and that is an option, but it just doesn’t feel the same. I’m not really sure what the deal is, but going to the gym feels like such a chore instead of a fun way to pass my time. Perhaps it is because life has gotten so busy and there is always something to be done at home. Not really sure. All I know is that that addictive feeling that I had in 2005 when I went to the gym TWICE a day, isn’t here. And I want it back!

*In 2005, I was a company member of Blue Moon Dance Company in Boulder, CO; which is a mix of ballroom dance, jazz, modern, and any other type of dance that each choreographer wants to integrate into his/her pieces. I joined the company in the summer of ‘05 and began training for the show we had in September, called Torque. In one of the pieces choreographed by the director of the company, Pat Connolly, I was lucky enough to dance in a duet full of lifts and aerobatic moves which were amazing to learn. In one spot, I had to do the splits with one foot on the floor and the other on the shoulder of my partner, Julius. He pulled back in order to allow for a longer line and to be honest, it was a beautiful position. [The picture to the right shows in a really ghetto way how the position looked. Sorry for such crappy photoshop skills, but I don’t have the actual picture from the show and I certainly can’t put myself in the same position!] Unfortunately, in one of the rehearsals right before the show (the week of the show), I went into the splits and as I stretched back, I heard a “pop pop” and felt shooting pain in my left buttocks/hamstring. It didn´t turn into crippling pain or anything—in fact I even finished the rehearsal. And then came the real pain. As soon as my body cooled down, my leg started to ache and shoot pains up and down my body anytime I moved. Sitting, sleeping, walking, any position bothered my leg. And of course, as any good dancer, the show went on. We had to change the leg that I stretched into the splits for the other leg. I figured it was a typical hamstring pull and treated it as such, but I couldn’t even sit still in class, I couldn’t go to the gym nor dance. Finally in January or so, I went to the doctor because my leg wasn’t getting any better. Turns out I tore (not completely) the tendon that attaches my left leg (high hamstring) with my pelvis/buttocks [See other picture to the left with red circle pointing out the place of pain]. No surgery needed, but I did the whole bit of physical therapy for about 4 months, including bi-weekly trips to my physical therapist and daily exercises on my own. The worst part about the injury is that you use your butt and legs for everything so it never really gets a thorough “rest” and the other bad thing is that there isn’t much blood circulation up there thus making it harder for it to heal. I thought that the half-a-year I spent rehabilitating it would have been enough, but as you can see, 2.5 years later, it still isn’t back to normal...and thus my necessity to write this blog entry! :(


Disclaimer—La Chilengüita is a blog created upon my personal experiences and which expresses my personal opinion that in no way represents the views my employer, family or friends.