I’ll huff and I’ll puff

Man, it truly sucks not being as a fit as you once were. When I was on my way down from 350 pounds, I'd only ever known being unfit. I graduated from last place in school running races to later wheezing up staircases and needing a rest after hanging out the washing. So when I lost weight and walked further and lifted heavier weights, it was all new ground! I'd created a version of myself that hadn't existed before. Shauna Version 2.0 was so bloody amazing compared to the creaky, red-faced model I'd always known.

But now I'm in this new situation where I am looking back longingly at this previous, speedier version. Shauna Version 3.0 is just not there right now.

I'm talking pure physical fitness here – pleeeease don't write to tell me I'm putting myself down. Let me explain.

At the moment I am working on making exercise a healthy, regular habit again. As I said in the podcast on Monday my kickboxing attendence has been very shoddy this year. Partially because of my Zumba love affair but mainly because I was traumatised by my 120 seconds of competition fighting last November. I never managed to fashion that hilarious humiliation into a blog entry.

But anyway! After that girl clobbered me I was terrified of kickboxing for a long while. I felt ill every time a punching glove was waved in my direction. I literally ran away every time Coach said it was time for sparring. Up the stairs and away home, as fast as my trembling legs could carry me!

Months passed and I was down to one or two classes a month. But I was really missing my comrades and punching things. Pads, kick shields, speed balls. Not people, you see. It occurred to me that HEY maybe I could just go to the classes for the friends and fitness and learning new moves… and just not do the fighting part at the end? Why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

(Funny how hard it was to admit that the fighting wasn't for me. You'd think wanting to vomit every time I faced an opponent would have been a clue. Hmm!)

So I was really chuffed about this revelation and rocked up back to class ready for action… only to find that holy crap, I have lost a lot of fitness. Gaining weight has not helped… everything wobbles when I do jumping jacks; a most unpleasant sensation. And I don't have the stamina in my shoulders for long periods of punching. I can't kick nearly as high. My push-ups are wimpy. My once infatigable abs give out after 10 reps.

What is amusing stroke ego-crushing is that in my MIND (o'erbrimming with Comeback Enthusiasm) I expected to proceed as before! I would throw myself into a move and then be stunned (and whining in agony) when BODY SAYS NO. You are not Version 2.0 anymore!

I will admit, there have been some classes where I am fighting not to sob all over my gloves, feeling so angry at myself letting it get this bad. It was hard enough getting fit from a place of complete unfitness, but trying to get fit knowing you once were pretty fit but you cocked it all up? That is hard to swallow!

Especially when your team mates, who were already way fitter than you even when you were fit-ish, have been attending angellically all year and are now even fitter than they were last year which makes your current unfitness even more unfit! Does that even make any sense?

But dudes. I am being very zen about this. I do love kickboxing – I really missed it and I love being back there. When I think about exercise now I am thinking about the habits I want to carry into old age, and punching things is part of that plan. So for now I am just gritting my teeth and getting on with it. Okay I am not really gritting my teeth because I am too busy gasping for breath… but I am sticking with it.

And on that note must nick off for tonight's class 🙂

UPDATE: I said in the comments below that I had a déjà vu re the "previous versions" of oneself and thought PastaQueen had said something similar before. Turns out she had… whoops! Here is the entry in question.

40 thoughts on “I’ll huff and I’ll puff

  1. YOU KNOW i am wondering if dear PastaQueen didn’t write something about Versions of yourself before. Was that you PQ? Or was it someone else? APOLOGIES IF It was and will change when i get home from kb 🙂

  2. Hang in there; it *will* come back. I took a bit of a hiatus from running (got distracted by Pilates and CardioSculpt over the summer), and it was starting to come back just fine when something happened to my ankle. That initial “wow, I used to do this distance at such-and-such pace, no problem, and now I’m struggling!” feeling was humbling, and it sucked. And I get to go through it again once my ankle is well again (joy). But at least we’re able to get up and get going with these things again, right?

  3. ah Shauna… yes, I understand. I keep doing this to myself too. “10 years ago when I lost weight it wasn’t this hard to lose a bloody kilo”. Yeah. 10 years ago. My circumstances were SO different. Were your circumstances different now vs. then? I would think yes. Thing is just to not give up. And don’t compare. You know how we compare to OTHERS? Don’t compare to your other self either. Have a great time at class tonight and never give up! I for one think you’re kind of cute when you’re a wee bit red faced (OK I’m imagining, not that I’ve actually seen it).

  4. I can so relate! While never having made it to the thin point, at one point I was working out with a personal trainer 2x a week and exercising almost every day, and then… then… I stopped. So when I started back up again this fall (with walking – finances preclude a trainer at this point), I was embarrassed (and still am) to realize how unfit I am again. And why DOES it feel worse than just going from unfit to somewhat fit did? But you’ll get there again. You will! And at least now you really know how fantastic it is to get there.

  5. Hey, every update isn’t necessarily an improvement. Sounds like it’s time to work the bugs out and ship a new version ASAP. Get with the program!

  6. You’re pretty much the most inspiring person when it comes to weight loss and getting fit. Keep on keepin’ on. 🙂

    PS. I blog about you from time to time. Hope you don’t mind. 🙂

  7. Oh man, I hear you on the wobbly jumping jacks. That would be why they are my least favorite exercise. Well, maybe other than mountain climbers.

  8. You ROCK!!! Good for you for getting back out there — you’ll be fitter than ever, quicker than you know it. 🙂

  9. Point is you are trying! :D! Try taking something more low-key and more fun to help bring up your fitness level. I found taking a belly dancing class to be one of the most amazing workouts i’ve had AND the most fun. You walk out of that class with a new sense of sex appeal its a really good boost!

  10. URRRGH I survived the class!

    Thanks for your rockin’ comments. You are brilliant at giving a boost 🙂

    @Erin – I don’t mind at all, you’re very kind!

  11. “Especially when your team mates, who were already way fitter than you even when you were fit-ish, have been attending angellically all year and are now even fitter than they were last year which makes your current unfitness even more unfit! Does that even make any sense?”

    boy do i ever! yep, it’s me (AGAIN), your favorite sassy, african-american alter-ego SHAUNtay. (get it? the first part of MY name is the same as the 1st part of…oh nevermind…what do you mean you only have ONE sassy, african-american alter-ego? why i thought everyone…) ;P sorry to be cracking myself up…

    but only ever-so slightly on a serious note–50 lbs down almost 2 years ago, 20 of them gained back in a year–it has taken me 9 mos. to lose a measly 21 lbs. but i lost it and i plan to KEEP losing it. and you know what? YOU WILL TOO.

    now, sit down and tell whose arse you kicked tonight? LOL!!

    long beach, ca

  12. I’m on this yo-yo too (and have been for 6 years now). But I have found that while it’s humbling to be shown how far you’ve fallen it doesn’t take as long to get back to your previous levels as it did the first time around. So take heart!
    Loved the comment of your mind thinking the body could still perform like it did before. Brought flashbacks of jumping into Bootcamp workouts last fall thinking – “whatever I can do this!” And barely being able to walk by the end of the first week…

  13. God yes, I do this every time I take up running again (we have a bit of a screwed-up relationship) – full of RAGE because I can’t go as far or as fast as I could three months ago.

    Also, I know I’m well late to this particular party, but after buying the 30-Day Shred and watching some ancient Biggest Loser, I have such a huge girlcrush on Jillian Michaels…

  14. You know, I’ve been writing so long that I wasn’t sure if I’d written about versions of myself either 🙂 But that’s what the search function is for! I wrote this a few years ago: http://pastaqueen.com/blog/2008/11/a-better-version-of-me/ and I think I referred to myself as Jennette 2.0 in the last chapter of my book, so I totally understand what you mean.

    As for lost fitness, that always makes me think of Super Mario Brothers 3 (because I’m a dork). Remember how you had a power bar at the bottom of the screen and you had to B+run for a few seconds to load it up, or else it would slowly fall back down? That’s what fitness feels like to me. You have to keep running or else your power meter goes down.

  15. How wonderful. Thanks. And thank you for the Version 1.0 / Version 2.0. What a wonderful thought. Constant reinvention, all bugs worked out?

  16. Way to go 2.0! (say it out loud… it rhymes.)

    Keep it up. There are lots of imaginary butts out there in need of kicking!

  17. I hear ya, hunny, on everything – feel the same way about running.
    Shauna 3.0 is humble and has learned something. That is a good thing.
    Jumping Jacks are crap. Always will be. But they happen to be super-good calorie burners.
    It is just really fecking hard to lose weight. I have lost and gained the same 5kg for about 5 years now. The main thing, I am finding, is the head – firstly it is where the food goes in, but more importantly is all the food related thoughts, good and bad, that need to be worked on.
    Onward and upward, though, Shaundogg!!!

  18. Scary when you can’t do what you used to. Good to hear you’re getting back on your horse. I’m sure you’ll find a comfortable rhythm soon.

  19. Good job on going back to the class!

    I just noticed I’ve lost fitness ever since I stopped my gym membership. I’m going to be on the lookout for some ways to get my groove on while its winter. Once the snow melts I’ll be able to hike, but its hard to hike when its raining sideways.

  20. MORNINK EVERYONE… cheers for your comments!

    @Shauntay – always a treat to hear from you 🙂

    @PQ – I THOUGHT it felt familiar when the thought hit me at kickboxing last week ("this new version of me SUCKS ASS") How embarrassing!. i will add a bit fat disclaimer to the page.

    Keep on running indeed 🙂

  21. With you all the way. I think that’s why I get injured every time I start back with running — too much too soon because I used to be able to do it.

    I sometimes wonder too if we see our old self through rose tinted glasses!

  22. Yep, when I used to go to kickboxing I loved the class but would not do the sparring at the end – I hated it. Didn’t like the warm up either (jumping jacks included!).

    Good for you for going back. You’ll get back into it in no time. I cycled yesterday after a mere 2 months away and my arse is killing me today. And my thigh sort of froze up on the way home. It’s depressing how quick painfully built up fitness goes.

  23. Totally know how painful this feeling is. After ages of neglecting my fitness, I decided to take a walk up my fave local hill (Mount Ainslie in Canberra, btw, which I think I recognise from some of the old entries in your archives??). Started bounding up quickly just like I used to when I was fitter- only to end up at the half way point puffing and feeling like I was about to hurl! Getting to the top was so much harder than I remembered, and it made me realise I am, not weeks, but several months away from being that fit again… sigh…

  24. been there,
    done that
    totally agree ‘starting over feeling’ sucks
    you are not actually starting over
    you begin again from where you are
    and that is very different.

    chin up
    it comes back faster than you think
    because you do not have to learn how to do it and where all your body parts are this time. you just have to get the conditioning part back. and how we all did it the first time through – I have no earthly idea. I guess we didn’t know, what we didn’t know. everything was UPWARD. and are you able to find the joy in the movement? look for the joy – it is there.

  25. Hi Shauna! Envious of all your exercising. I have been fighting a cold this week and used it as an excuse not to walk. Gotta get back on it though.

    It’s funny when you ask people NOT to comment on this or that: “I’m talking pure physical fitness here – pleeeease don’t write to tell me I’m putting myself down. Let me explain.” But I think I’m starting to understand it now. I have a blog over at sparkpeople.com, and loved being able to be completely honest about everything, only to find out people are very judgmental. They know what worked for them and think that is what everyone should be doing. It’s most annoying. Everybody is different. Don’t people get that? Now I feel like I can’t write everything on my blog, because I am way too sensitive and hate when people find fault with me and my methods. Something must be working, I’m down 125 pounds in the last 16 months. Plus I feel like, at 59 years old, I KNOW what I’m doing. Oh well, people are people.

  26. This: “When I think about exercise now I am thinking about the habits I want to carry into old age” needs to be tattooed on my forehead (backwards, so I can read it in the mirror). I love that you are able to reexamine yourself without going into a shame spiral. You will be 3.0 and whatever that becomes will be amazing:)

  27. If my personal experiences are anything to go by, once you have got to a high level of fitness, even if you lose it you can regain a good level much more quickly than if you were starting completely from scratch. So all is not lost! Your body still has memories of Shauna 2.0 and the journey there will be shorter than it was the first time. It seems abs are one of the quickest muscles to recover. Be careful not to overdo it, though, and injure yourself. And I´d advise stretching a lot, not just doing the wimpy 5-10 minutes of stretching that typically follows a gym class, but putting in a few extra stretching sessions while you are getting that body back in shape. If you keep everything nice and loose you´ll be able to use those muscles more effectively without strain and tone up faster and more safely. I speak as a dancer here.

    I am going to train as a Zumba teacher in a few months´ time, so I´m happy to hear about your zumba craze. But why not try some contemporary or other dance classes, too and combine fitness with creativity?

    And, by the way, I would NEVER EVER be brave enough to do sparring. I don´t even like getting a bikini wax.

  28. Add me to the list of people so frustrated by their former fitness. A year and a half ago, I was training for a NOLS backpacking trip, and I got in the best shape I have been and (I feel like) ever will be. Even as a varsity athlete, I was always slow…and that May I ran an 8:04 mile. Then, on that trip, I sprained my ankle…and continued to hike on it for two weeks because the alternative was flying home on the first day of the trip. I couldn’t do it.

    When I got back to school in September, I would literally start beating myself up the moment that I got into the gym. I had lost so much fitness in the month that it took me to get clearance from my physical therapist to start running again…and then one day I realized: this is not productive. I am not training for a marathon. I do not need to be in insanely good shape. I AM INJURED, for crying out loud!

    So I decided to stop working out until I could do it in a productive way again. I thought I’d rather get in shape from scratch than beat myself up over what I KNEW was nothing. And when I got back on the treadmill that May and I saw that I was running a 12 minute mile…and it took me a month to get down to a 10 minute mile…it finally dawned on me how sloooooowly this was going to go.

    Since then I’ve worked two more-than-fulltime camp jobs where I had no time to exercise until recently, so I lost that fitness, and then I rolled my ankle again a few days ago, so that’s it for running for me until I get back into some serious PT.

    Sorry to take up so much room, but that version of myself feels like it’s hovering inside of me whenever I get onto a treadmill or over to the mats and my body just won’t. live. up. to those expectations. It’s so hard to let them go, and seems so counterintuitive that that’s what I’ve got to do if I ever want to get back there again.

  29. always reassuring to know yer not alone. i think “letting it out” a.k.a. Having A Whinge and just mourning the fitness you’ve lost/flab you’ve gained is a helpful stage and I dunno about you guys but it has helped me get busy sorting out the here and now.

    And South American Slimmer, good call on the stretching! I just did a 20 minute routine after a spin and felt really good 🙂

  30. I need to find a kickboxing class now that I’m working on Version 43.0 …

    You’ll get back to a new and improved version as long as you keep kickin’ it. Rock on!

  31. I’m just impressed that you do so much exercise. I just have a hate-hate relationship with it. Thinking about giving Zumba a go, but worried that 2 left feet will cause someone else an injury. Have you posted on Zumba?…

  32. Don't be impressed Slimma, as I wrote in the entry I've been doing feck all exercise!
    If you type "zumba" into the wee search box on the right, there's been a few Zumba mentions and DVD review. 🙂

  33. Hhmm, I’m having a slightly similar experience at the minute. I usually do 4-5 cardio classes (Body Combat and Body Attack) each week, but have been ill with Bronchitis for a couple of weeks. Have gained masses of weight, but the worst thing is the breathlessness, couldn’t do a Jumping Jack at the moment if you paid me! However, I will be back, as will you 🙂 x

  34. This. Yes. I had no problems losing 110 lbs, but the last 10? Like astrophysics. And I’ve just gotten back in the saddle with some baby weight training after ignoring it all spring/summer and YEOUCH. I have lost a lot of oomph. Oh well, nothing doing but giving it a go again.

  35. Shauna,I’m an in AWE you had the freakin’ balls to even FIGHT in the first place! THAT deserves a medal and you have nothing to be ashamed of! I would puke everytime I would think of that too!!! I’m proud of you, I hope you know! I think I found a new item for my 43 things list!!!

    Take care and you will make an awesome new version of Shauna!!!!! 🙂

  36. I can relate as well. It is truly hard to get back into shape after long hiatus. Eventually, it will come back. Try keeping an open and positive mind. I know you can do it! 🙂

  37. OMG… someone else who loves everything about boxing/kickboxing/martial arts EXCEPT the fighting bit. I’ve done *SO* many different types of martial arts – from judo to karate to freakin’ medieval sword & shield work, and ALL of them I’ve loved, except for the bits where I can’t escape the sparring.

    Seriously. On a *good* day, I have the reflexes and hand-eye co-ordination of a stoned hippopotamus. I have dedication. I have diligence. I even have a metric frakload of aggression when it comes to hitting inanimate objects that don’t hit back. But I just don’t have the speed or the agility to do well when it comes to sparring.

    I think you’re the first person I’ve ever heard from/of who seems to understand that :-S

  38. Dear Shauna darling,

    This, my dear, is all part of athleticism. Every time you are injured, you have to make a comeback, and getting scared of fighting is an injury! it was an emotional injury! I am 50 years old and have had to make MANY comebacks!! I have 6 kids, and have had to start over EACH time I gave birth. I know it sounds more noble than your situation, but it doesn’t FEEL noble. it feels like a pain in the ass. everyone has left you behind, etc, etc. and it hurts to get back in shape. My son, who is trying to be an olympic skiier, had surgery on his ankle several years ago. they had him skiing on his knees for god sake! but when that ankle healed, that leg had to start all over again. Last year, when he should have been peaking for the trials, he ended up with appendicitis. two surgeries for that… the comeback kid… This august, when I was getting in shape and losing weight, I got bucked off a horse and landed very badly. They thought my pelvis was broken (it wasn’t) but it was a VERY LONG recovery (it was twisted). and I was not only not capable of walking, I was SCARED to ride. Finally got back on a horse at Thanksgiving, and it felt like home (phew). and now I’m into that frustrating thing called GET BACK IN SHAPE. ugh. but I know how it feels and how to do it and you will get through this too. and it will be easier next time, because you will know the drill. (oh, this again, what a pain, whatever). good luck! happy winter!!

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