Tag Archives: Movement

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

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Hiding Out


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I stayed indoors with my fears of falling again and re-injuring or injuring a new body part of mine. I stayed indoors because I live in New York City where the people are wild with busy bodies. I stayed indoors because I realized quickly that the world outside is definitely “lack of movement friendly.” I stayed indoors because it was better than dealing with the antics of and lack of wheelchair or crutch accessibility. I was much safer being in the house, safer being away from obstacles that would love nothing more but to come and test me.

During the moments of going out into the world, I watched and lingered with my eyes on people’s ability to move, walk, jog, sit, jump, ride a skateboard and dance. It looks easy – using two legs to perform. Everything is easier. I wonder, if they understand how awesome it is to be able to move so freely in the world of rapid movement.

I wonder, how many of them were grateful.  Or how many of them like me never even pregnant a thought of having their ankle mobility and such taken away for a limited of time. So, I miss being able to use my ankle in various ways in a very mobile friendly world.

Moving on – everyone has a habit of wanting to tell you what to do with your life and they even go as far as to give unsolicited advice many times because everyone whose not you has the solution to everything, including your broken/displaced ankle. Imagine when all kinds of people – relatives, registered nurses who are connected to friends and the surgeon want to chime in on my life and what decisions I should be making and why I should do this or that.

There were quite a few people who were against me and my obtaining a wheelchair. They said it will limit my body use and I’ll lose my muscles at a quicker rate, not to mention stall the healing of my ankle. I got a wheelchair anyway because this is MY life, not theirs. And if these people have never had the pleasure and interesting experience of learning how to use crutches and over long distance (or have a built-in mental fear of using crutches), well, why the FUCK would I listen to them for?

To rewind a little, from the emergency I was given lots of pain medication and they practically threw the crutches into my lap like another useless perscription of sort without instructing me on how to use my brand new legs. Did this build my confidence level with crutches? And was it supposed to? I think absolutely fucking not!

Towards the ending when I was heading out the emergency room it was time for my body to vomit it’s organs, raging anger and maniac depression out. I was outside (thankfully with a good friend) at 4am from the cab ride home to the concrete of what was going to be my new place of stay – vomiting and vomiting and vomiting and vomiting. I thought about people who used heavy drugs and why? I thought about why was I going through this and than quickly thought: Why ask why?

It took me 30 minutes to get inside the apartment, due to my drugged-ness of medication and learning how to use crutches for the very first time. The feeling of illness, nausea, pain in my foot, vomiting every few crutch-steps, along with a crackhead up my ass telling me a home remedy consisting of soaking my foot in butter and sugar – while trying to balance from the extreme dizziness I felt and eyeing the ground for immediate cracks on the floor at 4am was one of the hardest things to do in my life. I still don’t know how the fuck I made it into the elevator or into the abode.

The same week, a few days later, I felt froggy and decided on going to hang out with a friend of mine like we do every Friday. The only catch was using crutches. (I didn’t even think about getting a wheelchair yet and the thought of staying indoors seemed very depressing.) It didn’t hit me until I got to the lobby where I actually felt frightened – as frightened as the first day of kindergarten: Was I going to fall? How long will it take me to go to his car from the building (which is a 40 second walk) with these crutches? Am I sure I want to do this? I allowed myself to feel the panic. I digested it and braved on. It took roughly 10 minutes.

Mentally I was completely helpless. I felt powerless, which triggered humiliation, shame and pure embarrassment. Note: This doesn’t mean I look at people who use crutches or a wheelchair and say to myself, “They should feel humiliated.” This is what I feel personally. This is my experience. And those 10 minutes felt long. I lowered my head in defeat, and when people asked me if I needed help – I smiled half ass and unconvincingly. I was drowning, fatigued. I had to stop short every 5 crutch-step. It was enough and still is enough to use a wheelchair when necessary, especially when I’m going the distance and/or shopping.

I’m not above using a wheelchair at the moment and I don’t see why I should be. Why can’t I make things easy for me when I need it now the most? Why do I have to abuse myself physically even when I have a broken bone that needs to fuse together and heal? I physically abuse myself when I go to the gym and weightlift for hours during the week. (This doesn’t include cardio or stretching work.) I easily put in 10 hours or more at the gym a week. This doesn’t include workouts at home or how much I walk the city streets for extra mileage and to boost my metabolism whenever I can.

I also know, unlike most people I don’t have a problem with inactivity. I have the opposite problem – where I need to learn and force my hand for when my body, central nervous system or mind needs a day off from the gym. So when it’s time to bounce back, I’m going to put in 100% because I have a wonderful gym mentality and like a dear friend who reads my blog has stated to me, “You want it more than most.” And I do. And I’ve already proven this to my motherfuckin self for a decade with weightlifting.

So, excuse me if I want a fucking wheelchair. Excuse me, if for the moment that I believe it’s necessary to take a moment out, to relax, to say, “Hey, it’s alright to take it easy because it’s important right now.” I’ve given myself permission and fuck what anyone else thinks. Who likes hopping or swinging on one leg? This is my life. Fuck everybody else!

I write this, just in case someone else is questioning whether they should use a wheelchair at any point in time for their fibula fracture when they need it because people couldn’t mind their fucking business and you may doubt yourself. Just because you’re young and not obese doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to use a wheelchair. It’s your life, your business, your prerogative. Fuck everybody else and their shameless opinions. They don’t know you or what you’re going through. They get NO say! You have my permission. 🙂

Pretty soon I’ll be hopeful in not needing to spend money on cabs like I’m made out of trees or hold my heavy leg up during the cab ride because New York City and their infamous potholes hurt! I’ll be hopeful to not have to base a decision at the whim of a day or night – trying to figure out if I can be fundamentally happy where I nap and put the world and my ankle to sleep, so I don’t wallow in pain or depression. I’ll be hopeful about the near future where I don’t have to pick something off the floor in trembling balance and any sign of dog toys or sneakers on the floor won’t instill fear in me.

-Pennington