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

Where Are You?


Since September my motivation has dipped.  I knew it was dipping as it was happening.  I was doing my best to stop it even when it had the nerve to stare at me as much as I stared at it.  Of course, I was doing what I thought was the right thing.  I kept going to the gym as if I were going to find a halo over there.  I kept doing home workouts while I cleaned and prepared my space as I sucked my teeth in unhappiness.

I did everything I could think of.  I watched training videos, inspirational videos and coach videos.  I looked up fitness quotes.  I switched up my workouts.  I gave myself low-intensity and high-intensity work.  And there was Ballet Beautiful, weightlifting and circuit training.  But by October I drastically lost touch.  I could only make it to the gym once a week.  And as far as home workouts were concerned, I just sat my ass on the couch.

Absolutely none of this feels like me.  Nevertheless, I’ve come to understand that unlike years before me I’m stressed the fuck out to the max.  To the point where it’s affecting my workouts.  I have no energy to conjure.  I’m constantly fatigued.  In the past, I managed to save my workouts by going through the motions or working out until I felt that fire power come alive again.

But, the issue is I’ve been going through massive stress for years.  It’s a giant accumulation of WHAT THE FUCK!  And I believe it’s finally taking its toll on me.  It’s too embarrassing to talk about, so I don’t talk about it here.  I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this amount of stress in my life.  I’ve been working on managing my stress because I don’t have an option not to.

Well, by the time November came I decided to stop pretending to get the halo over my head and take the entire month off.  It’s now December and I keep telling myself to get my act together.  The things that used to motivate me before doesn’t motivate me now.  I know that drive changes and usually I do my best to reshuffle my enthusiasm.  I’ve done all my usual tricks and brainwash mantras, and nothing is working.  Fuck!  This feels beyond me.

The good news is:  Now, my muscles want to be used.  There’s a craving.  When I walk, my core is contracting like yeah mama we’re back!  It’s such an interesting feeling.  I think my body may be calling out to me the last few days in a way where my mind is listening again.  I’m hoping to put a world of hurt on my body starting today to make up for lost time.  I plan on going hard and strong.  Maybe this will save me?

P.S.

I’m open to any suggestions anyone may have.

-Pennington