Daily Dose of Motivation and Sometimes It’s Ok to Get Worse to Get Better
Getting worse to get better.... I hope this blog post provokes some insightful thought on your wellness journey, and then I will digress into aging.
Before we venture down this rabbit hole, I'd like for you to close your eyes and picture your 70-year-old self. What are you capable of doing? How strong are you? What nagging injuries are holding you back from living life to the fullest? Ok, now keep reading. I think you're going to like this blog post.
The overload principle is pretty basic. "In order to get stronger, you must overload your muscles." Meaning, you have to make an exercise challenging enough to gain strength. The issue with fascial "issues" (diastasis/prolapse/almost any other injury short of a muscle tear or broken bone) is that overloading in a way that stresses can create a worsening of symptoms in the short term. (increased prolapse, widening of a diastasis)
So, how do you overload without stressing the very thing you need to heal... very carefully... but sometimes, you're just going to stress it.
If you stress your body the perfect amount, you should only feel a decrease in symptoms, it's when you stress a little too much, that you run into negative consequences. Stressing a little too much can cause a short term set back but quite possibly a longterm gain.
Let me share a personal story as an example. The week before I did a really intense pelvic floor (PF) and hip workout, lots of hip rotation pushing my hips into shaking and exhaustion. I also used a balloon because I wanted to push my internal system (abs and diaphragm) as well.
Later that day and the next morning I felt a relapse in my prolapse (insert worsening or setback of symptoms of any injury). So, I took it easy and focused on relaxing my PF, posture and correct breathing. In that order, because if you can't relax your PF, you're never going to get a good breath in. Your inhale will stop at your lower abs and never push into your PF. Without that, your system cannot work correctly.
Ever the optimist, ha, I was a little pissed off because I used perfect form and did all the right exercises.
Surprise! The next day and every day since my PF has felt AMAZING. Better than before that episode. If I hadn't felt better, that would have been a huge red flag that I either did the exercise wrong or did the wrong exercise.
I truly taxed my PF with the pressure from the balloon (I was very careful not to bear down to generate pressure) and the hip rotation and glute exercises. If I'm being honest, I probably pushed a little too far. I probably should have stopped one set sooner but I like that feeling of exhaustion. I want to see how far I can push my body. Exercise time is treasured and precious, I don't want to waste it not improving.
The same overload approach can work for abs or diastasis recovery or IT band syndrome or plantar fasciitis or any other chronic issue.
Now, there's a difference between using bad form, doming, bearing down, straining, poor technique, etc. and overloading with the right exercises the right way. If your form is perfect and you're working exactly what muscle and how you should be working it, pushing into shaking and fatigue of that target muscle will help you make huge gains in strength. It's a great way to speed up core recovery postpartum, or any recovery for that matter.
I wanted to share that personal story to help keep you mindful of the "2 steps forward 1 step back". When you have a setback, sometimes it means you really screwed up and did something stupid. (Just saying.) Other times, it means you are actually getting stronger. Knowing the difference and continuing to learn and understand everything you can about your body is the key.
You are not on this path for a short term goal.I hope!
You're on this path for the long term journey of truly understanding your body and connecting in a way that often alludes people. This connection and knowledge down the road will help you forever!! What you're suffering from is a sign that something is going wrong in the way your muscles are firing. This will cause more issues down the road. That's why a permanent fix is the way to go! That kind of fix almost always takes longer, requires losing the victim mentality and involves a lot of mental work.
(Side Note: My prolapse happened during delivery but I do not blame the event. I've taken autonomy over all my injuries, whether it was whiplash from a car wreck or other trauma of some kind. Sure, I didn't ask for it, but I'm only hurting me if I don't take full responsibility and ownership over healing it. Yes, I think 99.9% of the things in the body can be healed or at least made better than they currently are right now. It's easier in the short term to get comfy in the victim seat, sit back and let other people have responsibility for getting you better but that never really ends well in the long run. Because, “Whether you think you can, or think you can't--you're right.” -Henry Ford)
I particularly hate seeing people in their 60s and 70s that could lead vibrant, active lives but they are dealing with issue after issue after issue and it's robbing them of precious years of enjoyment in their lives. I know it's hard to think long term but find someone that's older in your life that's not doing so hot and make that your mental poster for why you are staying consistent each and every week. Why you're seeking help. Why you're getting yet another freakin opinion.
When it comes to fitness or rehab, I know you might be thinking "I have plenty of time, I'm only in my 30s or 40s. I'll work out when the kids are _______."
But, (hardcore truth alert) it takes years and years and years to build muscle and when we get older our hormones work against us for building strength. You want a scary fact. Most adults peak in their muscle mass in their late 30s and early 40s. "After age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3% to 5% per decade."1*
So, now is the time to get banking on those reserves for when you hit the downhill slope.
Sure, looking great and feeling great in the short-term are awesome goals and ones I personally share with you, but the biggest driving factor for me is my desire to be athletic at 70+. I'm on the downhill side of my 30s. What I invest now will go a long way toward my quality of life later. For me, it's worth clearing away all the excuses and getting to work!
On the note of building muscle now, I strongly recommend you checkout MomFit. It's an at home workout program to get you stronger safely. It's what I use to get in shape! And, I'm really series about getting in shape without suffering from an injury setback in the process.
* You can absolutely build strength up until you die and you should, there is no age limit. It just gets harder without the added boost of extra hormones that come with young age.