Most women in their early 30’s are either actively fit, or seeking some form of fad diet to lose a few pounds (sorry ladies, but it’s true). Me, on the other hand, are simply trying to find a method to help me get through day to day life of nerve pain, digestive issues, sleeping problems, adrenal fatigue, and ADD. Here is a little about my history:
When I was in my early 20’s I thought it would be an epic goal to enter into a fitness competition of some sort. Now, I never was a typical athlete growing up. Actually I was quite poor at sports, never had the ambition to train hard at anything other than reading and working after school. This was after a 5 year hiatus of following a vegetarian diet, which looking back on was an unhealthy one at that. At some point around age 22 I noticed a lot of hip discomfort walking, or sitting for long periods of time. I wasn’t overweight, I thought I was eating right at the time, but couldn’t quite figure out the why of it. So, I joined Goodlife. I started lifting and researching what information I could grasp about the gym world. I found enjoyment in working out for 2 hours a day. It was fun at the time, really it was. From there, I started preparing for my first bodybuilding competition at the age of 25.
My day would start with waking up very early in the morning to do some cardio on an empty stomach. Breakfast was around an hour after that, then I would head to the gym a few hours later, spend an hour plus there, come home to eat lunch, then head to work for the evening and go to bed after midnight every night. Seems pretty sane, doesn’t it? Let’s add in all the small details to this picture. For 3 months before each show, my schedule of madness must be adjusted based on how I’m looking. My morning cardio began with taking a fat burner, my lifting session a pre-workout cocktail supplement, and hundreds of dollars of supplements added in for training (BCAA’s, glycine, glutamine, etc. etc.), sleeping, and functioning.
I trained hard, I trained dirty, and I trained like I was invincible.
I tried lots of methods for cutting weight: carb loading on Sunday with all the junk food I dreamed of, sodium loading to excrete every drop of water from my cells, no fats AND no carb dieting, and lastly very brief steroid and thyroid medication use to speed up my metabolism (this is all about honesty here – and I would NEVER recommend this!). It was all for the end game of being on stage.
Eat. Lift. Sleep. Repeat. That was my life.
Fast forward to 3 years ago, after my last and final physique competition. I couldn’t feel rested after 10+ hours of sleep, I could barely pay attention to conversations people were having with me, I was emotionally unstable, my hands and feet were constantly freezing, and I experienced body dysmorphia. I was binge eating, constipated ALL THE TIME, and every time I would eat foods that was not on my previous cutting diet, my body would swell up with inflammation. I gave myself almost 6 months of rest from any strenuous exercise, and slowly put myself back together. I focused on healing my GI issues and giving my adrenals a vacation.
In November of 2015 I started to experience trochanteric bursitis in my left hip, as my doc said. One medical professional said it was from too much movement in my sacrum while lifting, another said it was too much movement from my thoracic and lumbar spine junction. Another doctor said it was nerve irritation. X-rays show nothing. It continued with burning back and neck pain, numb toes and thighs, electrical nerve irritation springing down my right hip, and finally tendonitis and arthritis. Methods of coping? Anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxants, ice packs, heating pads, Epsom salt baths, etc. almost every day.
I have come to realize we are all in some type of pain. I also know the pain will only get worse over the years if I don’t figure out now how to reverse whatever is happening. I have spent 4 years training and treating clients, understanding body movement, rehabbing injuries and movement patterns, to help with pain management. I have researched endlessly to figure out why and how the body works. Through years of insight, observation, and experimentation I present a blog of my experiences dealing with my journey and curiosities. I hope it helps another person out there who may feel out of control.
The most important words I can tell you is to pay attention to your body.
It’s telling you something every moment of the day.