The Theme Is Being Gentler


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I cancelled my gym membership and felt relieved.

The first reason why I decided to cancel my gym membership is because I don’t use it anymore.  I thought joining a gym closer to home would be convenient, but it wasn’t.  I became one of those people I used to talk shit about – paying monthly and not showing up.  I decided to stop wasting money and put hundreds back in my pocket.

The second reason why I cancelled is because I don’t weightlift as heavy as I used to.  This was the purpose of my gym membership; to play with all the hammer strength machines, barbells and dumbbells until I abused and depleted myself.  Now, I can’t step into the gym without lifting heavy.  I can no longer control myself, so I don’t go.

I have developed too many muscle imbalances and there are parts of my body that are asymmetrical (according to me).  Aside from my muscles who enjoy living their life in a state of contraction, they’re holding onto emotional and physical trauma.  The tension I carry must be release from within.

Every time I lift weights, my nags escalate until it’s full-blown inflammation.  It affects me in such a way where my body keeps instructing me to listen.  Over the years, I have decreased the load, given cardio strength a try and included circuit training with lighter dumbbells/barbells only to go for heavier weights eventually.  Therefore, continuing the hurt.

And, my body goals and nature has changed.
Nevertheless, I’ve been heeding the advice of my body.

Slowly, listening.

And I’ve been listening in time to lead me to the third reason why I decided to cancel my gym membership.  For the past few months, I’ve been seeing a physical therapist for pelvic floor dysfunction.  This dysfunction coupled with my fibroid issue and stress incontinence has pretty much ruined a good part of my life that I’ll leave for another entry probably.  Because of these newly found issues, it behooves me to learn how to be gentle with myself in every regard possible.

It’s quite interesting, over the course of the last few years, the theme of my life seems to be about being gentler to myself.  My therapist has also helped me to solidify the idea of furthering my compassion for myself.  I must be gentle in how I speak to myself, in how I respond to myself, in how I regulate my emotions, in how I treat myself, in how I exercise.

It all points to being gentler and I’m actually refreshed because of it.

– Pennington

Body Nags


I don’t openly volunteer information about myself or my life to people I deal with.  This is why I have a blog.  Plus, I figure if a person wants to get to know me better, they’ll slowly work to pry me open.  Or read my blog or Tweets.  Point is, there are things I don’t reveal to anyone like body nags.

Don’t you hate nags?  Whether they concern a relationship, parental or societal badger?  Don’t you hate body bags, no matter what the cost is and how you pay its dues over and over again?  Some nags are preventable, some are induced, some nags come and go while others, remain forever.   All I know is, I can’t come up with all the fucking causes to nags, but I know that nags are pretty shitty!  And I have a few of those pretty shitty ones.

At this point, the body nags have entirely affected my right side.  The first was my elbow back in 2006.  That’s when I first saw someone for the opening debut of tendonitis.  Now there are undiagnosed flares in my teres minor, which I assume comes from the rotator cuff syndrome I’m still experiencing because clearly I’m a dick and am not very gentle with myself.  Then, there are the bicipital groove flare-like bouts and gluteus medius annoyances that come and go.

Not to mention, two out of the three hamstring muscles take turns straining me every step of the way, every few months, making sure I can’t reach my front split goal.  Plus the gastrocnemius has tightened up when it used to be on the left side only and just like everything else, it’s on my right side.  What is it with this side of my body?  And who the fuck knows?  But I’m thinking sooner or later, I’m going to have to start being gentle to myself.

When I got an MRI done a while back to see if I wanted to pursue surgery for a partial (on the small end) tear on my right shoulder, I cut out many exercises that had to do with chest, back and shoulders.  There are still some exercises I don’t do today, but over time I worked into getting many exercises back into my programs.  The next time, someone tells me I don’t have patience, I’m going to stick a dumbbell up their ass and grind it because patience is crucial with these nags.

And let’s be honest, sometimes patience sucks and pain does also.  So I’ve slowly entered:  Assisted pull-ups, Incline/flat dumbbell/barbell bench press, push-ups, hammer and bicep curls.  Volume has been cut, in addition to warming up prior with easier exercises and stretching in between most sets.

It’s been a year (or more probably?) since I’ve done any Lat Pull-downs.  But I finally gave in because I rather rotate my exercises than do the same ones.  Flares happen, regardless of how much I warm up or stretch in between.  I can feel the tiniest spasm pulsing in my teres minor; an electric type of nerve of a twinge, and the spasms continue the more time under tension it’s given.  After this, I stretched and meditated on a prayer to the Gym God’s that I’ll be able to continue pain-free through my workout.

Now, I have another nuisance here to join my many nags, something new and daunting in my knee.  Stay tuned for that in an upcoming entry.  In the meantime, how many body nags do you have related to exercise or no exercise?  And yes, it works both ways. 😉

-Pennington