Tag Archives: Gym

BLINK FITNESS


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Yesterday I made a decision to rejoin the gym again.

I had many reservations about it.  Okay, it only lasted for thirty minutes, but those small reservations felt like an anchor that was going to last longer than twenty-four hours, which is unlike me.  I think I’m going to blame it on the miasma of depression and the uncertainty it causes.  Now I know to most people joining a gym doesn’t sound even remotely significant, but when you’ve made the gym half your fucking life – it’s a big fucking deal!

Joining Blink was a happy accident if I believed in accidents.  I didn’t know they built a spanking new gym walking distance from me.  So could you imagine how big my heart swelled as I sat tipsy nursing my white plum wine across from the gym Pre-Valentine’s Day eating like a silly pig at my favorite Thai restaurant?  The thought of the gym alone gave me enough excitement to give my entire body a staggering erection.

Old memories flashed before me in all my assertive and madwoman training and the way I felt empowered simply by owning truck loads of ego and exhibiting strength and personal space in the weight room alongside the brutes of men.  It all rewound itself to foggy windows, smelling the dampness of other people’s sweaty gloves, headbands and fabric while zoning out to chalky protein, diverse tunes, and colossal sounds of iron clanks as well as cardio machines that squeaked for mercy and oil.

But since I broke my ankle I’ve become somewhat of a recluse and kept myself as inaccessible as a teenage girl in her Gothic room.  Over the course of two years I joined a gym twice and canceled the same.  At first I liked the idea of going back to who I was – the full time badass who wanted to spank everyone in the gym while priding and lifting for power, mass and size.  Until I realized I wasn’t the same woman.  I transitioned into something else (I don’t fully understand yet) and my goals did too.  The thing I do know is over the course of time I wanted to default to a natural size, lose a substantial amount of weight (still do) and still keep a lot of the strength I’ve earned from a decade.

Plus, I got used to working out in my own personal space at home.  I was made aware of my troubled hermit existence only after I started to go back to the gym and notice whenever someone would come near me I would practically hiss, sneer and snap at them if they even asked, “Are you using this mat?”  I think I lost some social/interactive skills by being a recluse.  Well, I live and I learn and I also change.  I’m at a different place now mentally, emotionally, spiritually and especially physically.

So once again I’m here joining a gym.  I know some of the good involves:  Being able to strengthen more of my ankle by using certain machines like the Treadmill and I’ll also lose weight quicker by devoting longer and steadier sessions instead of doing HIIT and circuit (strength) training multiple times a week.  I burn myself out all the time.  The bad is being around people and their bullshit, whether they say no when I ask to jump in with them on any given machine [or insert any other annoying gym attitude/behavior here].  Is this something I want to deal with?

More importantly joining this gym is about reflecting harder on the possible notion that I’ve outgrew the gym.  I may no longer find the gym a daily requirement in my life.  If there is a chance I don’t feel like I need the gym anymore, then I have to learn how to come to grips with that instead of wasting precious money trying to figure it all out.  However, if I wind up falling in love with the gym all over again, then that’s just true love that feels like sticking and I’m with it either way.

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At this moment I’m setting up to go on my date with Blink Fitness.  I haven’t decided on the time yet.  It’s not only about Blink impressing me; I’m not above impressing Blink.  Don’t ask why.  It’s a gym.  I believe in making all kinds of impressions.

The gym from what I assessed is on the smaller end with just two floors.  The people there seem somewhat motivated, but they lack passion, which I’m surprised about because I guess I expect more out of people.  But I can see their blank faces droning whether they’re weightlifting, cardioing or stretching.  I’m telling myself it’s just the weekend and perhaps the energy is different during the weekday.

I’m going to shower, put cold cream on my face, smooth it over with some serum, and shave my underarms and legs.  I’ll slick the ends of my hair with protein polish and a flat-iron only to hide it’s slickness in a bun.  And although I have lots of variety (DVD’s, YouTube and paid Fitness Streaming Subscriptions) working out at home, everything is much different in the gym – energy, friendly competition and even meeting people or bumping into a gymrat I used to know takes place there.

I’m hoping being at closer distance would keep me motivated at first and I’ll have fun second.  I want to remain a gym member in my heart of hearts.  Also I don’t want a third cancellation on my gym life resume.  I would say wish me luck, but I don’t believe in luck.

Crazy excited,
Pennington

Updated Aspects (Training)


Shanna comic

The other half of this blog is here entitled Updated Aspect (Life) if interested.

Lately I’ve been having trouble getting into the gym to get in more cardio work.  Lifting has never been a problem once I enter the gym with my mind in the zone, scowl and broad shoulders.  Still, the emphasis is cardio because I have a lot of weight to lose by my standards.  This bad habit started when my ankle broke and when I isolated myself from the world.  I tried going back to the gym to be the fitness buff I was, but nothing was the same.  It was me against trauma, coming to terms with mental illness and recovering from the worst year of my life.

Nevertheless I needed to feel a rush; I needed to balance out the chemicals in my brain somehow.  I wanted to feel alive again.  I wanted to feel my body in motion, so I learned pretty quickly how to workout at home.  I looked at the upsides of home workouts:  not being bothered by anyone or anything.  Working out at home was safe and therefore it became my retreat.  I never thought I’d make fitness at home my full-time job.  I never thought I would pay a subscription to stream videos.  I also never thought I’d canceled a gym membership after being a gym-goer for 13 years.

Of course a month and a half later my headspace was in a much better place after I canceled the gym membership, but it still took a year and a half for me to get back into the gym a few times a week.  Still, a dilemma hovered big as an elephant – getting to the gym on a regular basis seem to be a problem.  This is also something I’ve never had before.  I started feeling like one of those average people.  I’ve never felt gym ordinary before.  I’ve always been the one to rise above the starting point.  Again, nothing is the same.  I’m in no rush to lose weight, which is very unlike me.  I used to drop 8lbs in a month, month after month like I was going to compete somewhere on stage.  Not this time.

The bright side is when I do go to the gym my adrenaline takes over and I forget about the time or when’s the last time I ate or what else I have to do after I stroll out the gym at midnight.  I don’t stop until I have nothing more in the tank – my usual – and I thank God that’s still the same to this day.  My mind-muscle connection is even more in depth, which I find both absurd and incredible.  I’m starting to believe for the first time in my life that less can actually be more.

I’ve changed my training style again.  I used to move around heavy weight all the time.  I toned it down.  I used to do a lot of volume.  I can’t say I toned that down.  Right now I’m focused on basic exercises (not unique ones) and variations of the basics.  I like working with my bodyweight.  I leave the isolated movements and core training for Ballet Beautiful and other Ballet-inspired workouts.  I do tons of unilateral sets since my accident – I still feel an imbalance within my body.  I do pump out high reps; mostly because I was always a 5-10 rep woman.  But how will my body react long-term when the switch has been/is 20 reps and over?  I also do strength-training at home in circuit-training fashion at least 2 times a s week.  Also, twerking which is a fun way to do cardio at home.

I notice other things I don’t do anymore in the gym I used to do is scout out who I wanted to compete with for poundages or on cardio machines.  At this moment, I don’t have the urge to compete with anyone anymore because I’m in my own groove and free in my own zone.  This is both good and bad.  Good because fuck everybody else in the gym – I’m here for me yet bad because you can always get extra drive and push yourself further when you and the stranger are knowingly competing with one another.

So, what about this gym ordinary thing?  I’ve been giving thought to what I have to do to make sure I get into the gym at least 2-3 times a week every month.  I shouldn’t be comparing myself to the 5-6 times a week of cardio I used to do especially because I’m not feeling it.  At the moment, I don’t want to live in the gym like I used to.  I want to perform more than the minimum, but live out of the gym.  But, what can I do differently?  What did I used to do before to get in the gym multiple times a week for hours at a time?

Well, for one I didn’t make excuses.  Two, I always made sure to established good work ethic every single time I stepped foot in any gym.  Three I would think about the professional fitness enthusiasts and how busy their lives are and just how they make time to get their cardio in multiples times a week.  If they could do it, so could I.  Four, I need to create a set routine, one I can’t easily get out of and also with at least 3-4 back up plans just like I used to do.

However, I think I kept this long enough.  Also, I’m open to suggestions.  Please don’t say running, jogging or walking because I’ll cut you with my ankle bone.  Walking still hurts me and this is one of the main reasons I go to the gym to do cardio because I can sit on a machine (bike) and burn calories away with minimal pain.

Happy training!

-Pennington

Reflecting Meathead


Is it true once a meathead always a meathead? 

I’m not entirely sure but I have been testing it out on a weekly basis.  During the week I perform multiple Ballet Beautiful workouts, however in the weekends (and one day a week) I save my weightlifting sessions and treat them like royalty.  I savor every exercise and every rep even though I changed my rep style and training techniques.

Since my goals are different my programs consist of higher rep ranges than what I’m used to, also more circuit-training style and also tri-sets/giant sets.  The rest time has been super short and interesting.  Ever since I started spreading out my Ballet Beautiful workouts throughout the day – I became comfortable with doing quicker workouts.  I also became addicted to a different kind of fascinating localized burn.

For a long time I used to perform 2-3 hours in the gym on weightlifting and cardio sessions but now I’m on to doing everything different.  To be honest, I don’t think I enjoy long workouts at the moment.  At the moment it feels like getting my workouts done quickly is a new accomplishment.  I do have to control my breathing as I’m dying half the time, with or without digesting caffeine.  On this note:  The last few years I actually enjoy taking caffeine for workout sessions because there are times when it blunts the hardcore pain and burn – it makes it easier to get through difficult super intense workouts.

I’ve broken up my weightlifting/strength-training bouts typically into these body parts:  Shoulders, Traps & Back, Chest & Back or Chest, Squats & Arms or Legs, Glutes and Arms.  It’s very typical of me to do any body part along with Back (and I’ve been trying to get out of this habit) because I love training back!  Then there are times when I throw in many different push ups at one time and bang them out as quickly as possible while aiming for 100 reps or higher as a round 1 or round 2 of my workout in the day.  I have a soft spot for push ups because being a woman it proved difficult for me to get to a place where I could do one push up, so now generally I go buck-wild doing them because I can now.  It keeps the upper body and core strength high anyway.

This past weekend I performed Barbell Bent-Over Rows (underhand), Dumbbell Shoulder Press, Bent-Over Rear Delt Flyes and Dumbbell Bicep curls one after another.  I’ve never been a big fan of tri-sets or giant sets back in the days – here and there they were a once in a blue thing, but for the most part straight and supersets were always my go to with rest-pause/staggered sets.

Back to the weekend, I dug my feet into the ground and got into a perfect 90 degree with my body so my hamstrings are stretched yet contracted isometric and pulling underhand for the Bent-Over Rows.  I felt absolutely amazing!  It’s like an invisible breeze flowed through my hair, although it felt like a sauna in the room.

And I felt wild fire spread across the forest of my muscles.  I love when it feels like my entire body grows swollen in a matter of seconds and the delts start to fill like balloons.  I love when the body comes off as if it’s hitting muscular failure when each set goes on and the pull of the motion seems to get jerky and doesn’t feel as smooth yet the reality is you’re not jerking your body in a discombobulated fashion.  You’re just becoming one with the mind-muscle-body connection.

Then I moved right into the Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press as my abdominals pulled itself in while the glutes keep taunt and super tight to aid in a strong soldier position.  I pumped out reps and focused on maintaining good breathing techniques as my heart raced and raced and raced.

My lats became a passionate bonfire while in the Dumbbell Bent-Over Rear Delt Flyes.  I got into the perfect 90 degree, and my hamstrings are stretched yet contracted isometric again, but this time I have to pull back almost in an arc.  I fought through the raging flame.  I fought through gravity.  I fought through the speeding heart.  I grinded my teeth.  My cheeks puffed up like a hamster binging.  My mascara sweated and burned in my eyes.

Then quickly I moved into Dumbbell Bicep Curls and smiled at myself in the mirror.  My delts are pumped and I could see these lines embedded in the top of my traps every time I alternated curling and squeezing for two seconds before coming back down.  And it’s in these times where I realized how much I’ve busted my ass training with the first loves of my life:  Dumbbells and Barbells.  This is true resistance.  I love the iron and nothing can ever take its place.

I felt the rush of blood raged through my veins rep after rep after rep as I moved and grimace on to each exercise until I finally took a rest for a few moments before I had to hit it again for another 3 more big sets.  This was another reminder that once a meathead is always a meathead.  It’s a drug.  It’s an addiction.  It’s something my body and my mind calls for without a shadow of a doubt.  This is true love.

Weightlifting gives me a different outlet by allowing me to tap into various types of emotions that dwell within me.  When I want to feel like a hungry beast, when I want to take my aggression out, when I want to tighten my skin, when I want to swell my body parts like I live off a tank of helium and when I want to feel like my strong self again – I have weightlifting to count on.

Ballet Beautiful allows me to feel feminine and it provides contrast for my weightlifting.  Weightlifting makes me feel masculine – and if this sounds sexist to you – then that sounds like a personal problem.  I embrace both essences of gender.  Both training systems work for me in different ways, like I work on bigger muscle with weights and smaller ones with Ballet Beautiful.  They both have everlasting techniques and history.  They both share technique, strength and grace.

I acquire distinctive endorphins from both training systems, but it seems like weightlifting is what makes my blood fire instinctively and it makes me feel powerful and invincible – capable of anything and everything.

  -Pennington

Accommodating Self (Part 2)


BB fitness
The best decision I made was breaking up with the gym.

I did a ton of reflecting.  In general I have no problem working out at home, but I just never knew I’d feel more comfortable working out at home around the clock as much as I do.  Training at home has allowed me to take the pressure off mentally as I can’t compare myself against who I used to be.. way back when.  Aside from less self-demands I can’t ego lift at home like I can ego-lift at the gym.  It does suck I can’t feed off people’s energy in the gym, but the focus is deep having to feed off my own energy.  It’s been about 4 months since I’ve been strength-training at home and I must say it’s been beneficial for me mentally, emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually.

Here are a few reasons why I enjoy training at home nowadays aside from the little I just mentioned:  I can be myself.   I don’t have to smile, be polite, and pretend I’m in a good mood or have small conversation when I don’t want to.  I can workout whenever I want without time restraints or gym holidays getting in the way.  I can focus 110% on my form, on my breathing and zero in on the way I feel mentally or emotionally.   I have to push myself differently and get extra creative making home workout programs so they are super effective and exhausting because that’s what I enjoy.

Also I don’t have to feel uncomfortable or awkward trying to hide my extra fat in huge hoodies and sweat pants.  I can rock a spaghetti-strap tank top and spandex and I wouldn’t secretly judge myself in front of others and make the awkwardness awkward and obvious to those who may or may not judge me at the gym.  (Judgement-free zone only happens at home and not at Planet Fitness.)  I don’t have an aversion at home, but I do have one outside – where I secretly believe people can tell if I previously hurt my ankle or not.  (Yes, it’s mental.)  Also I don’t have to spend over $112.00 on Metro Card money to travel to the gym and back home.

Then there’s the other obvious like I don’t have to wait for machines during peak time.   I compete with myself, build my confidence and track record rather than pressure myself to compete with the person I used to be in the gym while being at the gym.   On a really good note, with at-home workouts, I can do laundry at the same time I train.  And as an introvert – I do enjoy my time alone.

New inspiration?  Now over the past month and a half I’ve been newly inspired by Ballet Beautiful.  I owe it to BB for re-motivating me again.  I can do any of their workouts at home and spread it out among the day (on top of my weight training) for minutes at a time multiple times a day and night.  The exercises, technique and workouts themselves are extremely challenging and work very well!  Ballet Beautiful approach comes off more about quality than quantity and the workouts itself are about strength, power, flexibility, balance, technique and grace in a totally different way.

BBStrengthI absolutely swear by Ballet Beautiful and I haven’t been doing it very long at all.  In the past I’ve written about how I enjoy the extremes of both bodybuilding and ballet as I find them both to be very similar in terms of disciplinary action, strength, beauty, aestheticism, athleticism and art.  I love them both.  And I feel like I want to embrace them both and see where they lead me to.  For the good month of August I fell in love with Ballet Beautiful for countless reasons aside from what I perceive ballet to be – graceful.  One reason why I love Ballet Beautiful is because of the minimalist style.  Two is because the exercises and stretches involved are complex, detailed and difficult.  Third reason is BB has increased my motivation by 100%!

All this time, I was searching for something.  Strangely – and out the blue – I fell in some kind of dear love for Ballet that started around 2009.  But, I didn’t know something totally different from weightlifting would give me the “wow” factor and innovative inspiration I needed.  In ballet, there’s a quiet and classical tone set, as well as an elegant breathtaking history, same as Bodybuilding for me.  There’s art, power, focus and balance in every single ballet movement which I find irresistible.

Of course, a few times a week I will continue to devote time and effort to strength-training, but it was Ballet Beautiful that took me to another place mentally, emotionally and physically.  It’s because I can start fresh and it’s because I’m not bound to the past decade and associations of weightlifting.  Recently I started to realize how my training has been changing in ways I’m not fully understanding yet.  It seems weightlifting doesn’t have the same flavor for me – maybe because I associate the past decade with weightlifting?

I’m a new person now.
And I want my training to reflect this as well.

BBQuickTip-ReEnvision-final-revHere’s what I know now:  I have a new vision for my body.  I don’t want my old body back because I don’t go backwards.  I want a more symmetrical and streamlined look.  I want to be more refined.  I want to be less soft.  I want to be less bulky.  I want less of the comfort I’ve had with my body in the past.  I want new strengths.  I want new exercises.  I want new challenges.  I want new posture.  I want new everything!

I will continue to focus on smaller muscles because all the bigger muscles on my body are well-developed.  I will continue to work on the tiny details in every single muscle.  I will continue to use my first love – dumbbells and barbells no more than twice a week and no less than one.  Weightlifting will always have a home in my heart, but what I want now and what motivates me now is vastly different.  I’m going to enjoy shifting.

And who knows what it might bring?

P.S.

One of my current goals is to go to the gym twice a week for extra cardio purposes.  I have an initial 30lbs to lose.  I’ve already dropped 7lbs in 2 weeks.  It’s game on.

-Pennington

Accommodating Self


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I have a new vision of how I want my body to look.

Ever since my life changed dramatically I no longer want to associate with the past as if it were a great friend.  I have this fresh sense of self-worth and self-love.  I have a profound sense of fresh freedom.  I have a new perspective on respect.  I have a thirst for renewal on every level in my life.  I have redefine friends, attitudes, perspectives, logic, love and even training.

I’m not sure what lays in front of me in the life of training, but I know I’ve been a weightlifter for over a decade.  I need something new or different because I’m new and I’m different now.   It’s nothing for me to lift and pyramid heavy weight upon heavier weight until I’m completely exhausted.  I know what it’s like to live for the iron therapy and the iron discipline, iron mind, iron heart and iron blood.

I know very well about this weightlifting life.  I also know that before things changed for me I had a hard time obtaining motivation and I struggled with finding love, rekindling the passion and pleasure in weightlifting back in 2013-2014.  I wonder if this was a sign of where I am to be now.

I know ever since the frightful ankle accident everything has changed, including my training and my body.  I found motivation very hard to come by and suffered for months in a state of blank.  I learned to accept that this accident was a traumatic experience for me.  I still have moments where I relive the accident or the feelings associated from the most difficult time of my life.

I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to during this difficult time because no one was going through the same thing as me.  There wasn’t anyone who could understand what I was going through – except the forum I found where people broke their ankles, spoke about their thoughts on surgery (before and after) and what could we possibly do to return to normal as we recovered.  So I did what I usually do – I turned inward – even though I felt drowned by life and all its multifaceted oceans.

It took me a long time to get used to the idea of being immobile.  The physical life as I knew it was washed away immediately.  I no longer had weightlifting therapy as a crutch.  I no longer showered like normal people.  I no longer cooked.  I gave all my independence to others because I didn’t have a choice to a lot of the times.  In the beginning I was drugged from pain medication.  I remembered taking less pain medication than what was prescribed because I didn’t want to get addicted in any way, so in order to keep the pain at bay I slept like a bear.  This accident was very hard on my mind, on my body and on my spirit.

Then I had to get used to being mobile.  During this time I didn’t recognize myself.  I was wearing sweat pants all fall and winter because it was the only thing that got pass my big cast.   Since I was depressed, and all the physical activities were taken away suddenly – I needed comfort along with something that brought me instant intense pleasure.  Consequently, I drowned myself in every food delight possible, even foods I used to turn my back on I added onto my daily menu.  It was no surprise that I gained 30lbs in a matter of 7 months.

Naturally I said, “Wow you really need to get yourself back into the gym and hit it super hard!”  I noticed since January of 2015 I had a pattern of working out at home:  Two weeks on and two weeks off.  I incorporated all kinds of low-impact workouts including boxing and Pilates – basically anything I could do at home that didn’t hurt my ankle further.  But now it was time for me to grow a bigger pair of tits and hit the gym once again.  I thought I was ready.

But when I entered the gym I felt extremely uncomfortable.  I saw tons of fit people and realized I wasn’t around their level anymore.  I wore oversized hoodies, shirts and sweat pants because I felt extremely fat (for my standards).  I wasn’t the same weightlifter or person I used to be at the gym.  I had this strange amount of pressure every single time I went back into the gym and kept comparing myself on who I used to be.  I kept asking myself, “How am I going to be back to who I was?”

The idea of starting many things from scratch just kept bringing my motivation down.  I didn’t feel inspired on any level.  I didn’t have the right kind of mindset.  I wasn’t flexible in my approach.  I’ve never gone through this before.  I was used to being the one everyone relied on to give them motivation.  I was the one who relied on nobody but me for inspiration.  So now that I was good at failing myself, my confidence shrank rapidly until it became nonexistent.  Rather than realize I should’ve started slow and build up a slow confidence within – I tried forcing myself to like the gym.

I tried to motivate myself in all the ways that used to work for me regarding the gym (fit life and weightlifting).  Did it work?  No.  Mostly because the motivation that used to work for me before wouldn’t work for me now.  I wasn’t getting it.  When I continued to lag, I just figured I needed to get into the gym as many times as possible and the rest will all just fix itself.  So I tried to force myself to do 2 workouts twice a day 5 times a week, and even included newbie training buddies to make things easier.  And I still wasn’t motivated.  If anything, it made things worse.  I gave it a month and a half.  Then I decided very carefully to break up with the gym (which I made an entry about already here).

The good news is I found something new and different to accommodate the new and different me.  To be continued.

P.S.

Part 2 of this post will also be on Training Life.

-Pennington

Distorted Gauge


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Since February I’ve had a pattern of working out straight for 2 weeks (multiple workouts) and the next 2 weeks I’ll idly be standing by wishing hard on a star that I could unearth the motivation I require to make muscle gains and decrease body weight/bodyfat – as well as gaining that feeling of being normal again (after breaking my ankle) while increasing my sexiness also.

Fast-forward to May I made my debut in the gym 9 months later.  I thought being at my second home would give me all the motivation I needed – that being around the energy of like-minded folks would get my desire burning high.  But the truth is most of those folks in the gym wouldn’t know what it’s like to be me.  And currently speaking, I’m not sure what it’s fully like to be me anymore.  I’ve been transitioning into the unknown on a myriad trip.

Ever since I broke my ankle, my existence has changed.  Everything has become distorted, painful, effervescent, unique, spiritual or unidentified.  I still have complications, and I must obtain a second and third opinion from new surgeons, in order to gain some knowledge, so things are less unknown.

However, things have changed rapidly, and now I can set up back in the gym, but I’m intimidated simply by stepping on the elliptical machine, even though I force myself, so I don’t look like a scared cat in front of others.  Aside from the intimidation, I have constant shooting pains in my foot and they go upwards and I visualize these pains as shooting stars that go into the cosmos of my calves – and I wonder why I’m in a gym at all? And one glance at the chin up assisted machine and it looks like a skyscraper both mentally and physically – how am I to climb it without being frighten on the descending part for I can slip and break my ankle again?

I feel the anxiety of nerves freeze me in place in the center of the gym and I hope nobody notices my own little drama and sense of defeat.  I hope no one notices and this is why I cover myself with an overbearing hoodie to hide behind.  I’m overweight by my standards and I don’t know how I’m not myself anymore?  I am not the gym rat I used to know.  And should I be this gym obsessed person just because I’ve been one for over a decade?  Should I act as if nothing changed when everything changed in my life?  Or should I act as if everything changed as it did and proceed accordingly?

The next month I wrestled with doubling and tripling workouts in a single day at the gym despite my innermost disruptive sentiments.  I wanted to believe I can work through this by moving forward and forcing myself on these machines that used to be my favorite friends.  I do what common people do and bring guests with me so we can workout for the purpose of keeping accountable and motivated.  Well, I burned myself out in a month and a half.  I believe I did this subconsciously until the real answer tore from its denial system and decided to surface: I disliked going to the gym.

There are things I can’t do at the moment that I miss so much like Walking Lunges or Single Stiff-Legged Deadlifts. I can’t bend my foot in half without my arch giving way to a pain quite massive that I lose all hope in working out at all.  I don’t have the balance to stay on one foot for more than 20 seconds on a good day.  And I do focus on all the things I could do like push ups, shoulder presses, seated rows and such, but not even this keeps me motivated.  The next month in the middle of June I told all my guests I can no longer go to the gym 5-6 times a week which includes the multiple sessions in a day.  I’m breaking up with the gym for a little while.  I can probably go once or twice a week on the days where my mood is as bright as the sun.  I need a mental and physical breakthrough, and until this time comes I’ve changed gears.

Now I’m back at home with workouts.  I don’t have to hide from anyone, but myself (at times).  I feel freer and am creative with the dumbbells and barbell I have at home.  I pressure myself less on who I used to be since I’m not that person in and out the gym right now.  I have different goals, and one starts with the shape of my mentality.  Side notes consist of:  Taking turns doing multiple sessions in a single day from Wii Fit, fitness DVD’s and writing my own strength-training programs.  Home workouts seem to be more intense especially when mixed with less rest time.

One day I can go hard on my body, whether it is my Legs or Yoga, and the next day I have to pull back the reigns because the sour pain in my ankle won’t let up.  It all becomes about creating balance.  It all becomes about my preparation now for when I do go back to the gym with a body and mind-frame that would be better than even the person I used to know.  I’m a different person now, and this is a fact.  I have a different body now – another fact.  And what remains is that I’m just in the midst of trying to figure everything out in the meantime.

To be continued.. work in progress.

-Pennington

Vital Home


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I stretch long and strong and wide like a rainbow.  I have my colors back from my fair complexion – and the ones I deem underneath my skin – muscles.  I bask once again in the glory of my religion at the gym; eight months later after being snatch up from a break and fall accident.  I’m finally home.  And I welcome myself back with the eyes and psyche of a new foundation and fresh perspective that glitters like gold from the inside out with positivity and nourishment that stems from redefining everything in my life.

It’s been a long while – shy of four months to make a full year.  But now, I’m in my happy place where endorphins give way to my bipolar lows so I can obtain a high again.  The gym is where I center myself, where I create the magic concoction to establish balance and management of my historic chemical imbalances.  It’s where I get to feel the rush of heat on my chubby cheeks and where I get to unleash my every day aggression.  It’s where I thrive on the blood that swirls in burn and ache in every direction from the temple of my body and mind.

I’m once again grateful for all the higher powers that be for allowing me to feel my muscles with hurt on every movement I push without limits.  I enjoy each turn as I wince out of delight from a rotation where my oblique contracts and I involve myself in the flashback of yesterday:  Engaging full integrity on a few hours of work.  Because for a while I forgot how soreness felt.  I forgot about the subtle peaks in muscles.  I forgot about the way those peaks slowly raise with fever over the course of the night and the next forty-eight hours heavy with temper – delayed onset muscular soreness.

The truth is:  I can live with every part of my body given to the brutal pain of a committed lift.  I can dedicate my entire life to infinite repetitions.  I can die happy on my last breath being exerted against the resistance of iron, and the cerebral connection vital for my mental, spiritual and emotional therapy.  I mean, after all is said and done, the gym is a home dedicated to self-love, despite the general mundane (and sometimes) pieces of a day to day.  This is where my importance lies and one of the many things that gives my life character, spirit, purpose and beauty.

-Pennington

March Fitness Update


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Oh, this entry is boring!

I’ve worked very hard, and I’ve put myself through lots of pain to be able to get to walk as much as I can today. The other day I walked a mile and a half straight from the PT place back home. This wasn’t easy, but it isn’t easy for me to want to be less active either. Fortunately, this means I’ve taken fitness under consideration again.

Now I still haven’t set foot in a normal gym — as I consider physical therapy to be a type of gym. And I’m not sure when the right timing will be for me to train at the gym or if there’s such a thing as the right timing? Because recently I hurt myself again. Yes, it was due to overworking my foot.

The truth is for the last few months, many of my tendons have been inflamed. Now I have King Achilles tendon jumping on board to give me horrible annoyances and fuck me over with more issues or at least the equivalent of bad little children.

So, this has reversed my mentality — just when I was going to take a tour of a brand new gym. I decided against it now because I’m not ready because I still don’t have the best patience and because my ego will fail me. But, I must say, this particular gym I want to tour has a pool, so it would behoove me to learn how to swim and also, use my ankle in the water without hurting it further from daily poundage on cement.

It’s been a great deal of struggle for me during these months because its been difficult to start my fitness and to sustain regular motivation. I started picking up lighter dumbbells. I’d perform sit ups. I’d get on the ground to crank out endless reps of hip bridges, but to no avail. My motivation drops off the will of the earth and I’ll skip an entire week. Then after that week goes by I’ll restart again. And the worst part is I make no excuses. I just go according to my cycles and tides of moods.

It’s unlike me to not feel the flames in my blood ignite my passionate training. There are things that are different now — like dare I say I’m more humble (and other things)? However, the past few months I’ve taken a liking to YouTube and their fitness videos. Each day I search and plan out what I feel like training and I scrutinize every workout to see if I have to modify anything for my ankle since all is not well… yet.

I started with my favorite bellydancing videos by the famous twins. Then I thought about what I needed to strengthen — so Pilates and flexibility videos came next. Then low impact 30 minute bodyweight workouts, dancing and boxing furthered it. I’ve entered lots of core and squat work since I have to build up lots of muscle in them again.

It does make me sad that my usual training, and my deep love for weightlifting has been put on hold. I’m forbidding myself because I know I will overdo it and eventually will hurt myself. Once I start, I don’t like stopping. Still my plans are to tour a new gym, but with strict rules on weightlifting if I allow myself.

However, these fitness videos have kept me afloat and has motivated me enough because I never have to do the same YouTube workout twice. And since my ankle has made leap and bounds — I’ve finally took it up a notch and have commenced push ups, planks and a shit load of squats, bridges, abduction work and all. Things are slowly starting to come together and this makes me very happy. 🙂

-Pennington

Bird


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This bird has outgrown many things in the past months from dying love, to cold friends and to the importance of new love and family. She’s even outdone her physical therapy vicinity and the assistance of their aids. There are always new things to learn, but the most crucial for birdie has been to take charge of her therapy (as she knew right from the beginning). Never allow others to dictate your weakness, strength or levels of success. You must always hold yourself accountable; for this is where the profound and strength of character lives.

The past two weeks birdie had been working with a new PT. She calls bird ma’am, yet thinks birdie is in her twenties rather than thirties. The unfortunate issue — is this new vibrant young lady came a little too late. Birdie both likes and appreciates her techniques and her promising nature. Birdie can sense the love this young flower has for her Physical Therapy work — and how it comes with new eyes, a thirst for knowledge, a keen ear, unstained years of senorioty rights and a clear vision of great passion.

What’s more unfortunate is this birdie is almost gone and is going to leave the Physical Therapy nest behind. She had a long run (4 months), and she didn’t agree with everything, and in some cases they actually hindered her (by overworking her and allowing her to sustain tendonitis in her foot). Still, birdie benefited in multiple ways like overcoming mental blocks and flying and getting out of the house. This birdie is going back home, to the religion, to the glitz, to the empowerment, to the intimacy and love of the gym because there’s more equipment that can be used to improvise.

Birdie can get to where she needs to be quicker (although patience is still the key as she’s no where near 100%) — for in winter, there are only so many ways one can handle the force knocking of the wind and friendly snow that turns to dangerous ice; not to mention the horrid rain outside. However, by the time spring comes; this little birdie will put all her hopes on the comfort of blue skies, delicate breeze and warm sunshine. 🙂

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-Pennington

ORIF


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Finding the right physical therapist took a lot of time, which set me back just like finding the right surgeon (and personally I think he did a fine job and I want to get him and his staff a box of chocolates – is this too intimate?). Thank the Lord!

It seems like the second time was the charm of these circumstances. And I’m just happy enough to identify the madness and to be given the tiny miracle of opportunity to change things as soon as I can. It’s been a total of eight weeks (maybe more?) and everything still feels crazy to me.

The first real therapy session – mind you aggressive! – has actually set me to a default of the first stage of grief (for some): Shock! I was zombiefied after the session. And although I’ve been doing my own research and physical therapy work at home, I felt like one of those gym people who only perform 15 minutes of cardio and 15 minutes of strength-training and for them that was the hard part besides finding the nerve to get to the gym.

But more than that is how these people tend to LOVE the SHIT out of the stretching part of the workout session. You could see the joy plastered on their faces. It’s almost disgusting!  Nevertheless, it’s how I felt when the therapy session was over. No more pain from a stranger. No more looking like a fucking noob. No more wallowing. The massage and ice afterwards felt golden. It was the best part besides feeling like a 2 year old and taking my first steps with a walker. But then, the shock hit me on the way home.

Sighs.

I felt lost in a sky like the toddler who let go a second too soon because he doesn’t know any better – he hasn’t grown into life yet. Or like the lady floating on her own balloon in the picture above – not sure where she’s going? (Where am I traveling to?)

So, what is ORIF anyway? It’s a Fracture Fibula – Open Reduction Internal Fixation! Fixation, eh? I’m certainly fixated on this current situation – so much so I feel like a hot mess, like a pair of 10 year old sneakers, abused and neglected that can be found in a corner of a gym.

Okay, so I’m making gains, progressing like the way a slug does all the while looking back somewhat. I’m stuck in a very past-present condition. I’d love to put this all behind me, however I have to learn life lessons and look at the bigger picture of several things and get this balloon of the unknown off of me so I can feel somewhat normal and like I’m back in my element. I’m tired of floating. I don’t like the feeling of limbo.

And if anyone tells me to get the fuck over this, not only will I smack them with a fucking dumbbell – I’ll display the video of my surgery and in the process break their fucking ankle. Kidding! Almost. 😉

-Pennington