By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
August 25, 2016
So, here is the story of what happened to my foot.
During that wondrous and amazing moment where I reestablished my love for all things leg press, I went crazy on my first time out of the gate. You see, when Jon kind of fixed things up around the gym and got rid of this huge leg press, I had grown to miss the old boy. It was a magnificent beast to say the least, for you could easily stack a good thousand pounds on the sucker. We tried doing that one day, but I asked Jon to give it a rest at 850 or so. I wasn’t that strong back then and that had been my heaviest lift. Anyway, I was having some fun that particular day a couple months ago and then lost my train of thought for a split second while at Chuze. Maybe there was nice looking woman walking by at the gym or I was so sweaty that the darn weight slipped my grip. I’m gonna plead the fifth and say it was my shoddy grip at that point. Yes, that is the story and I will stick to it. Anyway, the weight landed right on my foot and while I tried to shake it off and act manly in regards to my faux pas, I already knew it was bad news. Fortunately for me, it only hurt for a couple weeks, and I was able to start running again in Denver and then start a somewhat regular regimen. And by regular, I mean once or twice a week. My body had already kind of revolted against me during July, for congestion started clogging up my lungs and head and running became an endeavor. Throw in the heat and my lack of desire to wake up in the morning and you can see why I struggled. Now, last week, everything just went to hell with my foot. I could feel something was not right, but I pushed along anyway. And then it got to the point where I could barely walk, and that was when I knew I would have to slow things down. You can imagine how pathetic I felt as I tried to run down the street of my neighborhood on Monday and stop half way down the block, mostly due to my left foot. For some reason or the other, the amount of burpies and the fact I might have aggravated my foot during my long session of yard cleaning put a little fear into my heart. Did I mysteriously break my foot? Without even knowing? Now, I am no stranger to bizarre foot injuries. Since I have been getting lazy on my dynamic and functional working out, it is quite possible that I have bothered my body with….you know….exercise.
This happened when I started attempting burpies for the first time a few years back, for here I was doing a movement my 300-pound plus body was not used to. I got to experience the joys of turf toe that week. And the week after. Fortunately I was not running, or I would have really aggravated the issue. Of course, when I did start running, that's when I discovered there importance of real running shoes. The first time I ran in my Skechers athletic shoes, I could tell they were not that good for running. My ankles were sore and I felt like quitting at that time. But I fortunately went down a much better path and just simply invested in better footwear. That still didn’t mean I didn’t have ankle issues for a week. I suffered some tightness in my arms and hands when I first started the whole dead lift thing, aggravating my tendinitis in the process and making it feel like the days I used to bowl or turn a screwdriver a lot. And then of course, the funniest injury I ever had was the time I did kettle bell jump squats. I did 50 of them, trying to show off a little only to have the sorest shins I have ever had in my life. Seriously, I walking on my tiptoes because I just had this difficult problem of putting my feet on the ground without excruciating pain. Now why am I talking about all of this stuff? None of these things are serious injuries, but they do bring about a great truth in one’s life…if you suffer from injuries that are from the lack of use, then you need to readjust your entire fitness regimen. When I got those shin problems, that was when I realized I had to do more leg work and some more jumping…and now jump chin-ups are pretty regular on my list. And much like a person that has to accept some issues within their fitness life, adjusting it is key to everything.
So, in summation, it is no surprise that my foot is causing some problems once again. This just means that I will have to start adding some different things in my workouts while also going on a week-by-week basis when it comes to assessing my running. So far, I have pledged to not do any running until Monday of next week, which then I will see if the pain is still prevalent. I have high hopes so far, mainly because my foot is already feeling pretty good after a couple days. But on the other hand, I have also been more attentive in regards to the preparation. I have been more mindful of the changes needed to my fitness life, which seems to be hitting me on a regular basis. A couple months ago, I was introduced to just how poor my balance was when I did some work with Hannah. Now I am more mindful of working the smaller muscles in my legs and my calves, looking to establish some better strength so I do not overwork them. Last week, new trainer Jenny pretty much illustrated that I have to get back to more functional work, and it was all the more necessary as the pain in my foot started getting more and more intense as the week went on. With the loss of cardio in my life at the moment, doing some stuff that will work the heart rate a little more will be essential to maintaining good health. And then some new spokes were added to the wheel yesterday, when I was once again the guinea pig for another new trainer that Jon hired. The cool thing about Mark is he really reminded me of one the best television characters ever conceived named Opie from the show “Sons of Anarchy.” I say this as a compliment because Opie had one of the most bad ass and brutal death scenes I have ever seen in a TV show (I won’t spoil it for you). Seriously, just imagine a major character you like on any of your favorite TV shows dying and you have the sudden brutality that was Opie’s death. Anyway, Mark’s short assessment was to see how he would handle someone like me. Mark had a bit of a leg up on Jenny, for he got to meet me the day before and talk a little about what he was going to do. Personally, the benefit was for me more than anything.
Mark’s selection of workouts were a little similar in Jenny’s, for they were rather intense and I felt like I had only worked out for roughly ten minutes when it was actually closer to 23. Since I told him the struggles with my shoulders lately, he had me do some intriguing arm movements where I basically rotated some weights in a circle and then bring them in front of me, seeing just how many times I could really do it. This was in response to something that I had mentioned to him the day before, that I was resetting a lot of my weight lifting to rebuild some of the bad form practices I had kind of fallen back on. This mainly happened because I started getting heavy in the weights and thus, my form suffered. When this starts happening, this is when your trainer has to step in and start getting control of your movements or else you will never truly grow. Jon already has me working on a wider grip in regards to the bench press and once again, I have a lot of leg work to do in regards to back squats. I have to do this because of that pesky problem of my ankles, which I learned a little more history about as I had coffee with my parents. The main reason my for feet problems has not just been my flat feet of course, but also the fact I used to have pigeon feet. I wore corrective shoes for years, and that is the main reason why maintaining my form is so important. My history of bad ankles is once again crawling back, and I have to be more careful in regards what I am doing. Since I had also mentioned this to Mark, he had me try a couple of different movements that I have yet to experience during my fitness journey. First, he introduced me to a Zercher squat, which is pretty interesting to look at. Basically, you put the bar on your elbows rather than resting it on top of your ribcage. I kind of liked the feeling of it, not resting on my collarbone that is, but it was a tiny bit harder. You see, this movement kind of exposed the weakness in my ankles once again, so thankfully it was more introductory rather than trying to go all berserk on it. I was also formally introduced to the sumo deadlift, which is a little more difficult than the conventional deadlift…at least for me that is. Since it relies on a wider stance, this once again means I have to have stability and strength in my ratchet ankles. Once again, it was a low weight so the repetitions only tired me out as opposed to hurt me. Naturally, these two particular movements taught me a couple things as well…that more variation is good. While I want to focus on reaching some weight goals, this time in my life tells me that I need to step back a little and start working the “reset” button.
The key reason for me doing all of these things is not to admit some form of limitation for me, or even admit defeat. This is a reflective time for me, one of great anguish and difficulty. The last thing I really need right now is to start hurting my self esteem by hurting my body. For too long, I have based so much into what I can lift as opposed to what I need to do. So while I am lowering weights for the time being, it doesn’t mean I am giving up the idea of being better and stronger than I ever have been. This just means I need to get myself going and start being better with my body needs from here on out. Until I start my job and start bringing in a little cash to replace my shoddy footwear…I just need to be careful. And I do have to tell you, it is not like I am being easy on myself. On Tuesday, I once again did a rathe intense eight-rep deadlift movement five times. I would only give myself about a minute of rest time, and the 225-pounds eventually started bugging my hands and my body. But that is what I need to do to not only improve my strength without wrecking my body too much, but also maintain better back form on the deadlift…which is something I have been seriously lacking in. Heck, even the wide grip bench press at 135 pounds was a bit rough on me. Sure, I did five sets of eight on that as well, seeing just how poor my shoulders were that day were enough to make sure I warned Mark ahead of time.
So that is the gist of the issue for me. I need to work on my squat to fix my ankles and my legs. I just haven’t been engaging my gluten well enough and I have not been keeping my back at a healthy angle. I have to start working on my shoulders as well. This means that I will be losing some gains but re-working all the problem areas with my body. This might also aid me in the running department, for the less weight can allow the deep contusion that is within my foot to heal a little better. I don’t like any of this stuff, not for a moment, but I have to be realistic about this. These are some of the warning signs you might run into when you see your body is starting to break down. Resetting is essential in making sure you don’t fall prey, and that means more functional/cardio based regimen. But of course, the hardest reset is trying to find a way to eat less food. Well, no one said resetting is easy!
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.