Monthly Check In: January 2012

Each month I’m checking in with my 2012 plans.

A month is a most excellent unit of time. Long enough to make things happen, but short enough to correct your path if necessary. I was trying to convince Gareth of the merits of the Monthly Check In when he said, “I have done feck all this month.”

“Bullshit!” I declared, then rattled off half a dozen things he’d done, including taking his Etape training up a notch, entering his first homebrew competition and going to see the Turner in January exhibition. Sure we just walked into the Gallery, peered at half a dozen paintings before simultaneously freaking out, “Arrgh! Too many people!” then absconded to the pub. But the point was, he had a good January.

Mine was pretty good too:

January highlights

  • Starting a TRX suspension training class – wonderfully tough! The tricep move in particular burns like no other tricep work I’ve ever done. And it seems I can do squats with the TRX without irritating my knee. Lunges are out though.
  • Going back to BodyPump – I can’t do the squat or lunge tracks at all (any substitute ideas?) but the back/hamstring and upper body tracks are bloody awesome
  • Bagpipe yoga – at the end of yoga class, right after the relaxation bit when the lights were off and the mood was mellow and silent, our teacher said her Quote of the Week which was something about the serenity and joy of life when… BURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRHH! A bloke down the hallway started blasting away on his bagpipes. I love Scotland, I do.
  • Two pounds down on the scale

January lowlight

  • Knee news– I hurt my knee in 2005 and it has been a bastard on and off ever since. Mostly on, but I have tried to spare you from too much of the whining around here. I finally took the osteopath’s advice and got a referral to the orthopedic specialist bloke. After much poking and scanning the verdict was osteoarthritis. Great, my knee has a real age of approximately 85.There is not much to be done for that. All I can do is not make it worse. So the “plan” of the past few years – denying, ignoring, gaining a shitload of weight; doing exercises that make it worse – has been tossed.

    Orthopedic Man said I am a long way from needing surgery, so I need to be sensible and be so very very careful. Kickboxing, running, squatting, lunging and other high impact stuff are out. I am going to skip Zumba for now – the twisting and turning always makes it hurt for days afterward. Spinning is my main cardio. Maybe I’ll get a punch bag. You don’t need good knees to punch, right? And I will keep working on slowly losing this extra weight.

I gotta say I have been really bloody emotional about this knee verdict. It is hard not to beat myself up for all the things I did to get to this point. I am seriously mourning squats and roundhouse kicks.

But I must let go and focus on what I can do. So onward to February! My aims are: kneehab,  continue the astoundingly consistent exercise routine, and be more disciplined with the food diary.

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36 thoughts on “Monthly Check In: January 2012

  1. I have not been to the orthopedic guy in years (ever since I was diagnosed with flat feet and had to wear ugly uncomfortable night splints when it turned out that all that was wrong with me was the muscles in my lower legs being too weak), but I had occasional knee pain until I started taking omega 3 fatty acids. I do not know if it works in your case, but it has helped me a great deal (I can run 3-5 times per week, if I feel like it, as long as I do not try to wear heels to the office).

  2. First, I think I am going to start calling every dude I encounter “bloke.” Love it.

    Second, that blows about your knee. I have knee issues as well, and have had synthetic synovial fluid injections to try to help with the “crunchy” but really just laying off the abusing them with crazy exercise and losing weight is the only thing that has really helped. Suckage.

    Third – yay on the TRX! I’ve always wanted to do a TRX class

  3. A monthly check-in is an awesome idea. Otherwise it’s so easy to lose track of successes and keep obsessing about what we HAVEN’T accomplished. Sounds like you’ve been doing great!

    I’ve been on a crazy self-improvement kick lately since starting my life coaching biz, which in some ways is awesome… finally tackling some really important stuff. But the downside is that I’ve been running around with so many inspiring Goals and Plans and Targets and Spreadsheets and Brainstorming Lists that there’s always something I’m not quite getting to or following up on. A monthly check-in rather than a daily freak-out would probably be wise!

  4. That sounds like an awesome month – and I actually love the idea of bagpipes at the end of yoga – I think they should make it an official marketed version :o) I think maybe I should do monthly reviews of the year, so I can stop grumbling and appreciate the progress I’ve made …. interesting!

  5. I can understand the knee frustration all too well (why hello, lower back problems, still here, are you?). Could you/would you like to go swimming? Or water running? Might work for your knee?

  6. Ugh! I hate knee pain. I just started physical therapy for my knees. Apparently there’s some patellar tendonitis because my hips are not strong enough and my IT band is too tight (thank you Coach Julia, because I actually understood what the doctor was saying). Anyway, I can’t run or squat or lunge or doing anything I love to do. It’s all biking and swimming for me! Good luck to ya!

  7. You got to use the word “kneehab”, which makes it all 100% worth it in my opinion. Possibly even 109% worth it. Kneehab!

  8. doing “feck”. Is that a Scottish thing?
    I really understand about the knee, I am always trying to be aware of my precious knees as I get older and sadly, heavier.
    When my kids do stupid things and land on their knees I tell them to respect them, they will want them when they are old like me.
    Good on ya (that’s my Brit talking) for a great month, I would have headed to the pub as well.

  9. I second the Omega-3s. If you’re not already, get onto the fish oil caps – and not the piddly 2-3 a day dosage on the label. About 12g a day. Yes, it’s a lot, but I break it down into 3 x 4 capsules with each meal… Sara L’s a whiz on osteoarthritis and how to use food and supplements to sort it – send her an email; she’d love to use her food science brain to help you.

    As for BodyPump – can you squat with no weight? I ditch the bar and hold a plate to my chest, or just do bodyweight squats. Maybe trying some different stances might help? Or get an exercise phys to assess your technique – you might just need to adjust something slightly… I had Liz check my deadlift form and she just had me adjust my start position ever so slightly and voila! No strain on my lower back! Worth a try, even if it’s just one or two visits…

    Good work on an awesome January, girly! You’ve totally got this!

  10. Can understand you are gutted about your knee news. Swimming is always good? Also agree, up the Omega 3s and perhaps think about eliminating foods that cause inflammation…some interesting stuff about that on Marks Daily Apple site (nutrition/paleo musings). Love the bagpipe story!

  11. Bastard knee. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis so all my exercise has to be low impact – my main exercise has been spinning as well. You have no idea how pleased I was to win the Cathe downloads and all those shiny low-impact workouts 😉 As you already know, the best thing is to work around the problem, not ignore it, but it is still a mental adjustment!

  12. For some reason, I honestly thought the “BURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRHH!” was going to have been something, um, how do I politely say this..passing gas? And effectively ruining the serene mood. However, a bloke on the bagpipes is such a better end to that story.

    I’m sorry about your knee, that is really crummy.

  13. I have some osteo arthritis in both my knees too so I sympathise. I recommend glucosamine too, as well as the omega-3s. Also, cycling is definitely the go! I find that cycling, as long as not in too heavy a gear actually make my knees feel better.

  14. I thought Bagpipe Yoga might be a real thing, soon to debut at Crunch Fitness. TRX is awesome and hardcore.

    Spinning class is my new favorite thing right now. It will help strengthen the muscles that help your knee track properly.

    Love your updates, and your blog comments. I get all swoony when I see something from you, and I hope your next book is about all things Scottish.

  15. That’s not just a Scotland thing. My next-door neighbor plays the bagpipes, and he’s not even my most annoying neighbor! 🙂

    Sorry to hear about your knee. Mine aren’t in the best shape either and I don’t think I want to know what a doctor would say about them.

  16. I have osteo arthritis in my feet (being told by the doc at the hospital that the technical term for my feet was ‘buggered’ was the highlight). I’ve found that Boots Jointcare pills help as does losing weight (which is hard as exercising hurts!) The issues in my feet have given me knee pain, I love bodypump and do squats and lunges without weights. Icing my knees after exercise, knee supports and getting properly fitted for trainers have all helped as has physio to ensure all the muscles in my legs, feet etc are working as best they can (I’ve found that the Body Balance class has over time really helped with that too). Hope some of this is useful to you too. One of the things my GP told me is ‘use it or lose it’ and that’s true, within reason exercise helps I reckon the endorphins help with the pain! Good luck..

  17. Thank you do much for your comments guys… you have given me a lot of ideas for how I can help myself, really appreciate your experiences!! 🙂

  18. So sorry to hear about the knee problem – it must be hard to accept that at your young age.
    I love your blog, and follow it closely ( all the way from Oz.)
    Keep up the good work with your weight losses.

  19. As someone who has so many orthopedic problems that I can safely do virtually no exercise, may I suggest urban walking poles? Walking with these poles looks like you’re cross-country skiing, but on pavement instead of snow. It can be a great cardio workout with a lot less stress on the knees.

  20. I see on the right that you are learning Japanese? Sugoi! Something to do while knee resting, at least? (Sorry, I hate being that silver lining person!) The Assimil course is really good, I have a pocketsized book in my handbag that I read on the metro, muttering syllables under my breath. Gambatte!!

  21. I like having weekly check-ins and monthly, where I think is where you really get to see the progress.

    I am so scared about the possibility of getting injured because I am just getting into fitness. I’m still a good 40 pounds overweight and worry about the extra pressure on my knees when I run and such.

    The suspension training class sounds like fun!

  22. Bummer about the knee! My knees gave me trouble for years. The main thing that bothered them was inclines. So stairs, hilly golf courses, and that kinda thing was a major pain for me and could have me hobbling round for days afterwards.

    Even though running is supposed to be bad, I found it helpful. I’ve read that intense aerobic activity stimulates chemicals in the body that really get in there to help with healing and that other physical activities don’t stimulate these chemicals. I also got into the whole barefoot running craze and I’ve found that wearing “minimalistic” running shoes has helped, though I now hurt in other places as I get used to them.

    Oh, one other thing. I read another book recently that espoused the values of eating foods that relate to your own body. That is, if you want to strengthen your bones, eat soup that has been made with real bone broth–that kinda thing. There was some interesting anecdotal evidence to back it up.

  23. Tight IT band: use a foam roller!
    Weak/tight hips: yoga – hip openers, bridges, etc!
    Sore lower back: yoga – stretch the front of the body!
    Arthritic knees: strengthen the thigh muscles with non-load-bearing resistance work. The stronger your legs are, the less work the joint has to do.

    But always always always, work on soft-tissue mobility, a.k.a. flexibility. If your muscles and connective tissues are too tight, they can pull your joints in unfriendly directions.

    Good luck and happy new year to all.

  24. Really super sorry to hear about the knee. Have to say I think your attitude is truly amazing. Someone recommended this book to my mum recently. Not got it yet so don’t know if it is any good (did the look inside thing on Amazon and it seems pretty sane). It focuses on a sensible excercise and diet regime for arthritis sufferers with particular refference to weight training which sounds right up your street.

    link to amzn.to

  25. @Frances – that sounds perfect, cheers! I did Japanese for four years in high school and it has all faded from my little memory! Must replenish! 🙂

  26. Hey Sauns, I’ve been reading your blog forever – it’s still the best. I’ve adopted so many of your ideas and love your attitude in general.

    I do squats against a swiss ball, mainly for my buggered hip – but I find its good for the knee as well. I can watch the alignment of my knees more closely and my rather large body weight is focused on the quads not the knees.

    By the way, what’s this pounds business? How can you go from metric to imperial. You would not have even learnt it in school. Madness!

  27. @Janelle – I know, shame job! 😉 After 11 years of lardblogging I am so used to converting to pounds for American readers that I forget to write it in metric sometimes!

    I totally forgot about ball to the wall squats! that was one of the exercises the physio gave me back in 2005… i will give them another go, sounds like it’s working well for you!

  28. Hi Shauna,

    Actually, you CAN do things to help your osteoarthritis! Please read the links below, from a biomechanist who knows. It’s not autoimmune, like arthritis. “When you have Osteoarthritis of the knee, what you really have is the constant rubbing of the bones in the knees. This is not a disease, but a mechanical situation that can be changed at any time. ”

    Here’s an overview of osteoarthritis and how you can start to address it: link to alignedandwell.com

    This post describes five (simple!) things you can do to help save your knees: link to alignedandwell.com

    And then this, which describes movement for health vs. exercise for fitness–hint, the former will be good for your joints and the latter f’s them up. link to alignedandwell.com

    If you do nothing else for yourself in February, please take a look at this information–it is not nearly widely spread enough, and it could change your life.

  29. um, p.s., I am not the “biomechanist who knows,” and I would never talk about myself in the third person. I would, however, follow Katy Bowman anywhere, after I went from literally not being able to walk forwards to being completely recovered after a hard pregnancy.