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Go Figure

Leg-Lift-on-BOSU-BallIt’s been a couple of months since I have truly had a good workout post my knee debacle. My biggest concern was what would happen to all that hard work and results I had achieved with my hard core fitness routine?

My schedule went from 5-6 days/week of working out to 2-3 days of PT only. Although both intense, not the same.

I have, once again, become my own science experiment.

So what changed? I slowed down and focused on my form and strengthening specific muscles through contraction and concentrated movements. And my body is just as strong, if not stronger, than pre-surgery.  I actually believe my physique has improved. I’m not saying my cardio has not completed suffered – that is one area I will need to rebuild and is a priority for me going forward; but, I didn’t gain weight, I didn’t lose muscle tone and I didn’t stop eating.

This only confirms what I have learned:

Form Is Everything.
In PT, most of your efforts are based on slow, methodical movements – contracting and building muscle, strengthening and focus. Something I was never a big fan of…moving slow.

Evidence continues to support that form is the utmost important. Without proper form, you will overcompensate with the wrong muscles and support systems. I knew this already – as I am sure most of you have experienced first-hand – without proper form, you are not getting the maximum benefit of the movement (not seeing results) and you are more prone to injury.

One of my major pet peeves throughout the years attending fitness classes was watching most of the class trying so hard to keep up and complete the routine by sacrificing form. Without proper form and movement (“just getting through it”) they were only getting a fraction of the benefit of the workout. Proper form is always more important than speed and is the key to training successfully. Maximum muscle contraction is critical in seeing effects.

I even find myself on the days I don’t have PT, standing a little taller, contracting my body a little tighter and overall, being aware of my movement.

Rest
We have written previous posts about the importance of resting your body: (http://173.247.253.167/~heelstolaces/give-rest/).

The body needs time to repair and strengthen. Continuous training can actually weaken the strongest athlete. During recovery, the body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real training effect takes place – meaning, this is where you build muscle. In addition, rest helps maintain a better balance between home, work & fitness goals (and healing ACL’s ;-).

Changin’ It Up
Your body can very easily get used to the same routine every week and become very efficient. This adaptation (we’ve used this term in previous blogs!) causes you to burn fewer calories, even when you’re doing the same amount of exercise. The solution is to challenge your body in new ways. Your body will have to work harder as it adjusts to the new activity, which means that you’ll burn more calories when you work out.

So, there you have it. The combination of focused form, rest and change in my workout has truly had a beneficial effect on my body. And surprisingly, had the reverse reaction than what I expected.

 

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What To Do When You Can’t Do Anything

This week, I had the fortune of having reconstructive ACL and meniscus surgery. I say fortune because what they say is true – “what doesn’t kill you makes you ww v2stronger”. Let me summarize this as best I can… It’s like telling Wonder Woman she no longer has superhuman powers and battle skills and can no longer use her Lasso of Truth, indestructible bracelets and invisible airplane. Not to mention her rockin’ tiara (that’s clean, washed hair in my scenario). And yes, for all intents and purposes of this blog, I am “Wonder Woman” in this scenario.

What have I learned when I can’t do anything?

  1. Patience. Patience to rest and recover and know that every day will get a little bit easier. Appreciating the love and patience of my family, particularly my husband, who stood by my side 24/7.
  1. Life goes on. A little set-back does not determine my future. In fact, it probably helps me get there faster as I become introspective about where I’ve been and what’s to come.
  1. I will become superhuman again, but in the meantime, appreciate others stepping up to the plate. Friends and family make the world go round and without them, you can easily fall.
  1. Battle skills. Oh, mark my words…I will be able to battle again, and battle stronger than ever before. Watch out future Tabata clients, I am gonna kick-your-ass when I return.
  1. Lasso of truth. It’s hard to take someone out of their complete comfort zone and submerse them in a helpless situation. Sitting still…not my forte. But definitely my moment of truth. I have two choices – let the situation bring me down or conquer it and push myself to get stronger every day. Guess which I chose?
  1. Indestructible bracelets. Let’s call this my need for control. Yep, no secret I like to control my situation. Although I prefer to call it ambition and organization. It mostly pertains to my ability to get a million things done in a mere 15 minutes. Let’s bring that down a notch. I can now drink a Starbucks, read a magazine and have my leg in a stretching machine…all at the same time! Go me. Maybe lack of control is not such a bad thing.
  1. Invisible airplane. Humm…if only I had one I would fly my broken ass to the fastest PT facility in the world and cut the recovery time in half. Hell, maybe I don’t need a plane after all since we all know I will break records in that department.

So, here’s my summary. Things get broken and plans get changed. It does not have to change your ambition or spirit. In fact, if you take it all in, there is probably a message hidden in there somewhere. My message is to slow down and look around me at the amazing friends and loving family whose support I am eternally grateful. And, of course, get excited for my future superpowers with my new bionic leg.

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  • Nancy Francischetti

    Hi Deb- so glad your surgery is in the past & your recovery is progressing nicely. I am inspired by your thoughtful insights penned in this post . Your positive outlook is the best coping mechanism and your ability to inspire others to do the same , no matter what one is facing, is a gift . Thank you for sharing your thoughts and friendship! Peace to your day &I wish you a speedy recovery!!

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Mind Over Matter

As several of you may have experienced when I teach Tabata, I chant a lot about mind over matter. It’s a proven fact – if you convince your mind you can do something, you can conquer it. It’s also the theme of many of our daily posts on our Facebook page HeelsToLacesFit. One of the most recent being: “It always seems impossible until it’s
done
”.

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There are numerous studies that have shown by controlling your mind, you control your body. This can be applied in so many ways – in times of stress (physical or mental), in your reaction to your environment, in relationships and in the power of healing.

It’s no secret I am somewhat obsessed with Deepak Chopra. In his book “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind,” based on quantum physics, he advises on how to “defeat entropy,” to “believe” enough to control physical changes and to “reinterpret your body” to create renewal. By practicing these philosophies (in addition to fueling our bodies with healthy diets), we can elongate our lives by perpetuating healthy physical reactions within our body, starting on a cellular level.

Our cells renew every day. In fact, 98% of the atoms in our bodies are exchanged for new ones every year.  Chopra’s premise is that the more positive our mind is, the more beneficial the effect it will have on each and every cell we reproduce in our body.

We can mentally control and change our physical reactions. It’s a fascinating concept. You can change your body, and your outlook, simply by changing your perception. It’s how we interpret our external world. If we convince our mind we can physically accomplish the task at hand, our body will follow. If we can replace stress with positive intention we can rid ourselves of the negative reactions that follow…such as aging, damage to our organs and physical ailments.

It goes back to the premise – how are you going to react to what’s in front of you?

– If you believe you can conquer it, mostly likely, you will.
– If you are fearful or convince yourself it’s not possible, chances are, you will have a difficult time and your body will shut down.

Over time, by practicing positive thinking, you will see the positive effect it will have on your body, and in turn, the image you project to the outside world. Spending less time focusing on your obstacles in front of you and more energy on how you are going to succeed effects every aspect of your being.

So I challenge you to predetermine how you will deal with your task at hand. Begin by eliminating the fear and believing you will excel. Convince your mind you are capable…and see how your body follows.

To leave a comment on this article or any other blog entry, please fill in the “Leave a Comment” box under each blog entry on our site: Heels to Laces.

  • Robin Kelley

    Love this post! I think it’s all so true. Just have to remember it when the going gets tough. Great reminder.

  • Michelle

    Changing your perspective is the best thing you can do! Ditto to this whole post. I love that we have the power inside of us to continue to make or break our mindset and if we focus on the positive energy and thinking, we will succeed in ways we never knew before. Thank you for the reminder and encouragement. Rock on!!!!

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