Tag Archives: Journey

Animal Flow


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I have too much muscle for me not to put it to use.

I guess, just because I’ve been challenging myself without dumbbells and barbells doesn’t mean I can’t challenge myself in other ways.  My body craves movement.  It craves to feel blood swirling and pumping, to feel its skin get tight when performing.  My muscles crave dynamism and action.  I knew I had to think of something fast that would allow my body and I to be challenged and fulfilled.  Eventually, I came across Animal Flow or Primal Movement.

In the past I’ve done some animal-type movements but added them to workout programs when I wanted something a little different.  A few weeks ago, I decided I want Animal Flow or Ground-based movements to be the center of my attention, along with Yoga and mobility work for my continual internal and external healing.  Which reminds me, I remember getting used to ground-based movements when I was doing a lot of Ballet Beautiful and Barre work.  Half of the exercises were on the mat making it more challenging than the weightlifting I’ve already became accustomed to for over a decade.

I think subconsciously my body deeply craved ground-based workouts again, even though I was very scared (and still am) of letting go the religion of weightlifting.  Maybe not forever, but for the moment.  And so far, I’m right!  My body craves this kind of expression.  Over the past few years, I’ve come to enjoy moving my body in different ways.  I seek out more flow-type workouts that are super challenging and therefore allow me to concentrate in ways I usually don’t.

I want mindfulness, new movement patterns and new folds in my brain.  In a way, only now can I see how one-dimensional many of my movements were when I was weightlifting.  In the process, I’ve gotten better at writing a more balanced workout program.  I feel like I didn’t have a choice, but I’m not complaining.  I get better with time.  In distancing myself from what I normally do, I’m giving myself permission to see things differently, which in turn allows me to continue being open, so I can crave different things.  I love going on and learning from new journeys.  What I find interesting about practicing Animal Flow is I must work my way up, which makes it harder for me to overtrain even if (when) I want to.

I’ve had too many up’s and down’s with motivation due to chronic pain, stress and health issues that I can’t always say it’s been easy for me to be discipline 4-5 times a week every week regarding fitness over the past few years.  But what has helped me is going back to how much I love to move, how good I feel when my body is pumped, how blessed I am to have all my limbs, how nice it is to set goals and to stubbornly meet the goals and drive further for extra goals.

I’ve had conversations of giving up my love for fitness as well as conversations about why we (my different shades of personalities) should continue it.  I’ll never forget a coworker of mine when I asked her one day, “Do you want to train with me on my break?”  She said, “Why not?  You’re the trainer.”  That day we trained together and during, she said to me, “You love training!  I never see you so happy, so big with your smile until you train.”  And the thing is I never realized how happy I was when I move, exercise and put my body through intense work.  I was solely training to train.

Last night, I was elated!  I was walking on clouds, super high on endorphins.  I couldn’t get enough.  I did a move called The Underswitch.  I’ll link the move at the bottom of this entry with an article about AF.  It’s basically being in a crab walk position and rotating your entire body until you’re in a bear crawl/beast position.  Granted, it was my first time doing this move.  However, sometimes I have a bad habit underestimating myself and my physical strength.  I thought the underswitch would be harder to do because I weigh 223lbs.  Mentally, I felt like I shouldn’t have been able to do it, but physically I can do it.  I made sure to perform it a few times on the left and right, so I know it’s not a fluke.  And I had so much fun!  I couldn’t stop smiling!  There are few things in life that make me happy in this barbaric world.

I’m happy I’ve been practicing for weeks with Bear Crawl or Beast Holds.  I’ve been picking up one limb at a time and shifting my weight while being hovered a few inches off the floor just like in the video above.  I’m also practicing traveling or walking forwards and backwards also with the Bear Crawl and Crab positions, which are harder for me because I’m not the best when it comes to coordination.  Still, I think I found something I can put my body, mind, spirit and soul to use.

Have you guys done any Animal Flow?

– Pennington

Everything


Now that I have my dumbbells and E-Z Bar put off to the corner of the apartment, I’ve been focusing on other things like cardio (biking), twerking, walking with nature, flexibility and mobility work.  My physical therapist has even whispered restorative yoga and has recommended some DVD’s specifically for pelvic floor dysfunction that involves yoga.  So, you know where that’s taking me.

Now I’m not the biggest fan of cardio, but I’m a fan of being healthy enough.  To make biking for miles fun at the apartment, I blast tunes on my S1-Pro Bose!  The music gives me goosebumps and sometimes I can feel the bass deep in my heart as I drown out everyone else’s music in the building.  Sometimes I like multiple sessions spreading them from morning, afternoon or night.  And when I’m in a carefree mood, I’ll ride the bike without undies because that’s something I could never do at the gym!

Some people underestimate the work it takes to twerk.  It’s a hell of a workout!  Plus, it’s something that gets my heart racing quicker than I can shake my ass, probably.  I’m not supposed to squat, lunge or do crunches, according to my physical therapist, but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her, even though it may hurt me.  The main move of the twerk is a squat!  Still though, there are so many damn drills from standing, to bending over, to squatting on your toes, to performing movements on the wall or floor.  It’s great!

I remember when I first started twerking my body didn’t have the best muscle memory.  It felt like the first time I tried to dumbbell chest press; massively awkward and almost impossible.  I remember being self-conscious trying to chest press, more so than twerking.  Now, my ass has graduated!  It has a mind of its own and moves on its own freewill.  The only thing I need is a nickname for my twerking persona.

So, it took me a long time to be more flexible, but I got somewhere.  I stretched more of my lower body than I do my upper body because one day I want to be able to do the split.  Flexibility always reminds me of mobility work, so I do them both.  I used to think warmups, flexibility and mobility stuff were a waste of time, but that’s only because 1.  I can be kind of idiotic and 2.  because I was young and could get away without doing those things, so I thought.  I’m older now and my body is not having that shit anymore.  I must warm up and get all my juices flowing before I can dive into any kind of training just like foreplay before the climax.

Well, I’m new to restorative yoga.  I hope to practice it to the point where I turn into an airplane and levitate above the masses and hope to write about the journey of my new elevation.  So far, it’s weird to me.  At least, the process of being gentle as well as the process of consciously relaxing.  It’s eye-opening.  For the longest time, I lifted aggressively at the gym.  And to my amazement, I’ve never considered myself to be aggressive, even when others pointed and RAWR at me.  But by doing restorative yoga, I can see now how hostile, and often, how destructive I was.  Shit!  I have the injuries as proof.

Learning how to relax is something I needed in my life but didn’t know I needed in my life.  Isn’t that how it often is?  You never know what you need because you’re usually fixated on wanting something else that it overshadows what you actually NEED!  Anyhow, it’s taken me a long time to come around and relax for my overall well-being.  To be honest, the idea of being gentle to myself is/was pretty darn foreign, but I’m less guarded to being tender now with newfound appreciation.  This sums up everything!

Here’s an article to the introduction of restorative yoga if you’re curious.

Try it sometime.

Pennington

Under Constant Consideration 2


Under Constant Consideration Part 1

Dr. Endocrinologist referred me to a nurse educator who I believe holds dykeish (is this a word and did I spell this correctly?) qualities because she made jokes (that I didn’t think were that funny) yet blushed with tears flooding her eyes like she was on a date with me that lasted two hours according to her notes.  She even googled her address in front of me.  Then showed me the trail and mileage of when her and her daughter walked from home to school on their journey to lose additional weight. Odd, no?

Anyhow, she explained in more detail about diabetes, showed me videos and we went through the correct ways to use a One Touch Verio.  Lastly, she informs me that I can get rid of the diabetes since it’s in the early stage.  Then goes on to assume I eat white rice and beans because I’m Hispanic.  I said, “No I’m Italian, and that’s where diabetes came from; you know the pasta.”  She chuckled.  I think we left off great after that date because she said if you ever want more education, just make another appointment to come see me.

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Then there’s this psychiatrist who’s in the wrong field for the discussion subject of choice were forever about weight loss, even though at our last session she says,”Stand up.  Oh, you have lost weight” as she orders me to step on a hippopotamus scale.  She thought it her duty to give unsolicited nutritional advice in her horrible fucking Dolph Lundgren accent:  No peas.  No carrots.  Zero carbs.  Don’t eat carbs at all.  This includes sweet potatoes!   Maybe one day when you lose all the weight you can eat carbs again.  Don’t weightlift anymore.  Weightlifting makes you bulky.  You’ll never lose weight that way.  Only cardio!  Jump.  Walk.  You know what I’m saying.

Every session felt like I watched a bad sitcom with my presence in the hot seat as this insensitive cunt tried to tell me who I was based on 3 fifteen minute conversations we engaged in.  Then she tried to question my purpose in life, inquire if I ever soul search and spoke about people who sleep past midnight aren’t normal.  She took the cake by getting angrier than I was because doctors diagnosed me diabetic and it didn’t matter if it was the beginning stages.

There were many things that amused me about her terrible character, but what got me is the fact that she works in a mental health industry yet treats (many) patients (according to many who work in the building with her) like shit and never bothers to read anyone’s chart because she believes she’s too good to do so.  The thing with putting people in boxes is it isn’t accurate even though on the surface it seems the people you deal with are all the time, which I expressed to her.  Then I never saw the cunt again.

Thank god I’m not some shrimpy insecure person.  Thank god I don’t allow other people’s opinions to affect me or my life decisions.  Thank god I’m not a newcomer and have been weightlifting for over 13 years and swear by it.  So, I’m a professional yo-yo dieter, but I’ve also had my share of steady weight loss, conditioned fitness and extra curves that come with it.  I’ve always been proud, but I believe some people want to come in your life and not necessarily lecture or cast dirty spells on you, but they want to destroy whatever good you hold for their own reasons.  I swear that’s what it is.

*

An angelic bird, close partner and an acquaintance each whispered to see a podiatrist.  Once again I had to verbally fight for a referral to see a podiatrist and prayed for the doctor to be a woman for I could use thoroughness and words of light from maternal grace.  Well, I got a woman and one of the first things she mentioned was, “If you didn’t have diabetes, your insurance wouldn’t cover the orthopedic shoe cost.”  (Life, working in mysterious ways again.)  Goes on further to say:  With the shoes, both your ankles should feel stable; you’ll be even and wobble less since you’ll have built in arches.  You’ll experience less pain as you walk.  It’ll be good for you.

What this all boils down to is I’m still under construction.  This is probably why I haven’t written much on any of these blogs lately because I’m not in the best mindset and part of me doesn’t want to display the pessimism in every single one of my entries.

It’s disappointing, this long journey I’ve been riding on, how I continuously see this trend of people (doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, endocrinologists, etc) who are in these fields to assist and inspire people to live better healthier lives physically, emotionally, mentally, etc, but fail to do so.  How is it and when does it begin for some people that a job just becomes a job and not what it was intended for?  I guess I believe in practicality and being above and beyond with sensibilities like empathetic (empath) abilities along with a higher vision for existence depending on the occupation.

Still, I don’t want to take nothing away from the two people who did give me hope of course – the dyke nurse educator and podiatrist.  The first gave me positive pep talk, smiles, and probably touched me a few times too many since she thought we were on a date, but she came off focused, direct with the right balance of sincerity, care and concern throughout.  Or maybe she was just being extra nice to me because she enjoyed my presence?  Who really knows?  It doesn’t matter because she was one of the nice ones who did her job and assisted in the best way she knew how.

As for the podiatrist, she mentioned that the good thing about my foot/ankle dilemma is it’ll get better over time, not worse.  The little that she did say carried weight.  I needed to once again get the surge back, the kind where I can remain on the optimistic wave, so I can keep fighting and more importantly never give up.

-Pennington

Tales from the Ankle


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The upside: My bone is healed and it healed properly. Thank the Lord! No hard cast. Now I’m in an Air Cast. The downside: There’s a lot of work to do in the wonderful world of physical therapy, and evidently, it’s rather fucking depressing. It feels like I’m starting from somewhere near the bottom. And surely, it could be worse.

So, yes, I’m thankful for my fibula fracture injury no matter how it comes across and makes me feel in the black pit of my heart. In time, I’ll get over the multiple depression humps of my life. But today is not that day. Until then, I’ll have to deal with everything as I have been – to the best of my ability.

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Let me introduce some to the subtalar joint. This is one thing I have to work on. It is responsible for the movement of the feet – in technical terms: Inversion and Eversion. Aside from this joint, I have to deal with all the other muscles that atrophied on the side of my right ankle such as the hips, glute, lower back, knee and quad.

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Now, despite the work load I have for my ankle and certain parts of my body, I’m lucky that I’m a big fan of working hard. This isn’t my issue. My issue is being depressed and wanting results overnight because of what I’ve been able to do in the past – fitness wise. Patience and pacing myself has never been a strong suit of mine. And I would think that at the humble age of 32, (33 tomorrow), I’d have figured out how to take things slow when needed, but no. I have much to learn.

I have this self-imposed pressure. It’s me against me and I’m not sure how I feel about this: All the power to mobilize myself. It sounds inspiring to some degree, but with the time stamp I’ve placed in my head: I feel like time is running out. Okay. Day 1 of the Air Cast: It was this Tuesday. The cast came off and I didn’t care if there was pain involve. I was more scared of what was underneath the cast. Lots of dry blood. Lots of dead skin. Lots of calve deflated and missing. Lots of agony and stages of foot pain.

And for the rest of the day the thought of unstrapping and strapping the boot itself made me nauseous at home. So I did zero movement in my ankle. Day 2: I made sure to start moving my foot with the assistance of my knee just to get a bit of movement. At least 70-80 total reps (for 5 reps at a time – afternoon and evening) I performed and then packed it in ice like a dead fish.

Day 3: Which is today – I met the physical therapist. And let’s just say, I’m glad he’s not ugly to look at. However, I got the impression that everything was all rushed. I did not like that he expected me to perform circles with an ankle I haven’t used for 2 months. He encouraged me by saying, “You’re moving your knee, not your ankle.”

Then he manually took my ankle and moved it in circles and in an up/down motion. Okay, so aside from his manual assistance (and my failings!), these were the exercises prescribed to me which I did there at the place: Lumbar Bridging (Hip Thrust), Hip Abduction Unilateral Side-lying and Supine Knee Bent. 3 x 10 reps.

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Reflection on these Exercises: I felt a super stretch during the hip bridges in my right quad that I gasped out loud. My hip/glutes were contracted (mind-muscle connection) with intense levels while performing the side lying. And as for the Supine Knee – well – I felt the discomfort in my knee, so keeping my right leg completely straight was a tad difficult. So all in all it’s working. 😉 But I’m sure anything would work if your muscles were immobile to begin with, no?

My plans for tonight is to have my friend help me by manually moving my ankle up/down and in circles for a few reps a set because my foot is so stiff I can’t do it on my own. As of now, my ankle is super achy and sore from the manual manipulation of earlier. Presently, this is going to be a slow and tedious, but very much needed journey. Stay tuned. 😉

-Pennington

Alteration


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TRX is one of the truths of fitness along with weight-training, cardio, calisthenics and a host of many other activities within this realm.  And sometimes I’m good at putting in a little bit of everything in a single week for a workout program.  But other times I forget to be well-rounded. Sometimes I stick with my reasonable rep scheme and my above moderate to heavy weight training with compound exercises and/or Total-body programs (all resistance-related) that I forget that there is anything else in the physical activity world.

So once again I was reminded by a training session (isn’t this one reason why people get actual Personal Trainers no matter how good they believe they are? – for getting out of the comfort zone) with Dark Knight just how pairing TRX, Stability Ball exercises along with Plyometrics could accomplish for my mental and physical state during, not to mention the remembrance of soreness the very next day which I’m experiencing lovingly and heavily.

TRX is amazing although not one of my favorite things to EVER do because the difficulty and exert level is beyond ridiculous when you carry a lot of weight (like me).  I also associate the TRX to be highly core related.  And let’s face it, I dislike doing core probably more so than I do visiting my mom at the nursing home/hospital. But aside from these negative relations these reasons are exactly why the TRX is extremely important.  My muscles worked super hard during these movements that my flesh seared red, my bodyfat diminished for a moment in undetectable time and I didn’t want to provide another rep despite the fact that I grinded my lips and teeth like a bad dream as my biceps and forearms wanted to fall off in sweet deliverance.

I got through some intense TRX Rows.

And I got through the Banded Pull ups, Jumping Squats, Rope Pulls, Dynamic Lunges, Tricep Rope Pull-downs, Planks and Push ups both done on the Stability Ball.  I was quite amused although I’ll be honest; I’ve never liked the unstable feeling of my body being out of control.  I like muscle fibers shaking when I lift weights (and even that I had to learn to get used to) but when the body is going completely haywire and excitingly random because it’s wondering what the hells going on within the unknown trying to make it known.. I feel tremendously uncomfortable and by uncomfortable I mean I spaced the fuck out and I needed to bring my head back down from the cosmos because it’s concentrated and very present and at the same time a stirring out-of-body-experience.

The goal before New Year arrives is to make sure I’m working on getting to the next level even if it means getting over my immense hate for core and extra bodyweight work because it’ll help me achieve more of the best. During this process I’ll be required to break through old beliefs, training rituals, destroy my mind and body all over again to gain a newfound structure and a special level of physical enlightenment.

It’s all about parts and making them into absolute and reassuring wholes, strengthening strengths but also strengthening weaknesses and dislikes until they’re no longer a phase to ponder about while enjoying the journey which keeps us on the edge of the magnificence of uncertainty. 🙂

-Pennington