By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
December 3, 2015
I would have to believe the morning of December 1 was one of the worst days of my life. It was the sort of morning that I have become accustomed to…bleak, cold and dull. I woke up with my eyes tired and completely ill prepared for light and movement. My body was so unresponsive to every synapse being generated in my mind that I stumbled out of bed despite a full night sleep. There was a slight limp in my walk, as the blood blister on my foot had become enlarged over the night and was very painful to step on. My pups, who were ecstatic that I was awake, were ready to go outside and relieve themselves. I did so begrudgingly, letting them outside and going through my routine of giving them a morning breakfast the moment they would race in. typically this is done at four in the morning, where the darkness is still pitch and the sun is nowhere near the horizon, but Tuesday was different. After five harsh days, where I worked a total of 68 hours, I finally got a day off. It was rather late for me, roughly 6:45 in the morning. My younger self would be laughing profusely at this little tidbit, simply because waking up late for me in the old days would be roughly 10 or 11 in the morning, sometimes at the crack of noon. I never realized I would end up like my parents in a way, who would say they slept in until seven a.m. on some days. So here I was, barely awake and doing my morning routines when I finally started feeling the pain of work. My body has revolting against me.
It was rather expected for the most part. For five straight days, I did more work than was really expected of myself, pushing so much product and doing more lifting than I really expected myself to do, and the worst part about it all was the fact I didn’t sleep or eat very well during this five day period either. Now I’m not saying I was eating the worst food imagined, but I just didn’t feel like eating at all. The fact I ate some Thanksgiving leftovers Sunday night (which my parents saved for me) was rather surprising. But it was pretty obvious something was wrong with me come Monday morning. I had absolutely no energy to speak of. I could barely lift the 40-pound boxes I had to move around on a regular basis. Heck, I was having trouble with the 20-pound boxes. When I really think about it, I had pretty much checked out a couple hours before I really left work, for I was exhausted and ready to go to sleep the instant I got home. Well, I almost did, going to sleep at an unfathomably early time of nine p.m. I woke up at one point in the evening when my quads seized up on me, for I had to bend my legs in order to quell the cramps and get back to sleep. I sort of scared my poor pups when I did this, for I was in great pain and quietly cussing to myself, wondering why in the world I did something as stupid as I did over the course of those five days. But I moved on, and went back to sleep. Anyway, when I looked at my face in the mirror, I was pretty horrified. Don’t be alarmed and don’t call me out as some sort of liar…..my neck was crooked!
From a distance, there is no way a person could have noticed this, but from close up, it was pretty obvious. I always joke about my neck being swan like as comparison to the old version of me, where I looked apple headed, but this was completely weirding me out. It was tilted to the left, for it made a lot of sense since I lifted with my right arm and would rest whatever heavy box on the right side of my body, often times leaning my head in that direction. I understood the concept, I just couldn’t believe it was real. This all happened an hour or so before my friend came over to give me a deep tissue massage, something I figured I would need after such a long work week. She noticed the angle as well, and opted to not deal with the neck since I was going to the chiropractor much later. So I had her work on the rest of my body as usual, and it turned into some startling discoveries. My hips were off by almost an inch, which would make sense since I was putting so much pressure on my left foot, the side that developed the blood blister and made my walking so much more painful. My entire body was so tight and out of whack, that the slightest amount of work being done to me resulted in searing pain. I tried to play it off, but I could feel the burning sensation of my muscles, especially in my legs, being rolled out like cookie dough. It seemed like my entire body was tense and ready to convulse, for my shoulders were in the worst shape of all. But this was all to be expected. These were the sort of things I had prepared myself for that day.
People like to point out that preparation is the key to all victories, that having a good plan set up for yourself is the perfect way to deal with the looming challenges confronting you. But I never really expected the challenges of what fell on my that Tuesday morning. I ultimately decided to not do any training that day, for I usually saunter into Parsons Training around 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and give myself a good workout. along with the insistence of my friend and the fact I didn’t feel like arguing, I opted to go along with the change. I took her advice and decided to do a much needed day of rest, something I never really did, even after the toughest of work weekends. The odd thing is, I really didn’t want to do it but decided to give it a try. I ultimately fell asleep not long after the massage, once again adding a couple more hours to the clock. I basically slept the majority of the day, for I really didn’t feel like doing much at all. My body was so exhausted, so weak that just walking the dogs later that day was a pretty good workout. It was evident that my glycogen stores were extremely low, my protein was low and just about every other mineral I needed to live was pretty low. I ate a little more than I usually do on Tuesday, doing my best to restore my health. The chiropractor did a good job of resetting my neck, for it once again looked straight and narrow when I got home later. Of course, my body was in shock from all the work I had done on me. I wonder if the is what people who are addicted to plastic surgery feel like? Now the funny thing about the next day, I really didn’t want to go to a workout.
Jon, like any good trainer, allowed me to move the workout and show up around 4 p.m. It was fun so to speak, showing up and seeing some of the old people I used to see on just about a regular basis. The thing that really seemed to make my day was the fact some people felt I looked a little thinner, being the fact it had been a few months since I started doing the morning thing rather than the afternoon. I really didn't do anything too challenging when I showed up for my workout, for my intention was to just test myself and see if I wasn’t this sad, brittle man I thought I was just a day earlier. When you feel as awful as I did the day before, it can be a huge letdown when you mentally. Plus, I was once again dealing with the ever so touchy subject of getting older, manly due to people misinterpreting my gray hair. You see, someone had thought I was old enough to have an AARP card at the grocery store, and since I am barely 37 and my birthday is quickly coming up, you can imagine my frustration when I once again was thought of as being older than what I truly was. I don’t believe in this whole “distinguised” nonsense people talk about, saying I can be like George Clooney and what not (Clooney is ridiculously famous and rich, so you can throw the distinguished argument out the window). Anyway, the workout had a double meaning for me; to get my body back in workout mode and make me feel a little better about myself. I did rather typical workout I engage in, setting forth with 50 bench presses, 50 dead lifts, 50 side raises and 50 reverse grip rows along with 100 leg lifts and 100 crunches. I didn’t go too heavy on any of the lifts, for I could feel my body running low on energy almost immediately during the dead lifts. So I did something I normally don’t do and that's to pace myself through the duration of the entire workout. I went pretty darn slow on the dead lifts and pretty much only did six or seven bench presses at a time. Since I was at a much lighter weight with the side raises, that was the only exercise I did quickly whole the reverse grip rows were the only exercise i did that's heavier than what I normally do (I seem to be pretty good with rows in general).
There was a rather funny side effect I really didn’t expect from all of the lifting, one that made me feel a little better in regards to my age and my effort. My veins were popping out of my arm like crazy. It reminded me of the funny nurses meme, calling a vascular looking person as some sort of fetish pornography. It did bring a smile to my face, even if my arms were all cut up and bruised from the hundreds of boxes I had to move and fix during my five day excursion into retail hell. I right than and there decided I would not add any extra days to my work schedule for the week, figuring four days of rest would be adequate for resetting my body. What else was I to do? I really didn’t feel like going into work period, for the numerous headaches that would wait me were not something I did not want to re-experience. It only seemed logical that would avoid work. Yes, it will put a monkey wrench into my plans so to speak, for my hopes of visiting Austin and Denver may be seriously put on hold, but oh well. I have to consider the health of my body before I consider the fickle nature of money. If I had plenty of both, it would not be a problem. But I have an abundance of one and very little of he other, which means I really don’t want to wake up another day with a canted neck simply because I need more money. It just means I have to adjust my expectations so to speak, much like what I am trying to do this month.
But the good news is I will get yet another workout in on Friday, rejoining my old lifting buddy Geoff in hopes of working on my heavy Olympic style lifting, which is something I haven’t really done in a while. Hopefully I won’t be too far behind on some of my old standards, especially since I am lifting so many boxes and busting up my body to no end. Either way, I hope take some advantage of this week to take some time off and recover from all the pain and outright nonsense I dealt with last week. I owe it to myself to rest. I owe it to my mental health to not go back into a high stress situation and beg for more. I owe it to myself to keep alive and keep moving on, pain free.
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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.