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injured but not sidelined

Friday, February 15, 2013

Around January 19, my back and neck were so sore that I had a professional sports massage. Then my right bicep got terribly sore. And then, just as I was about to breathe a sigh of relief that my body was done with the b.s., my left wrist started to hurt. Not a lot, but it's a joint, so I was a little freaked out, especially when it kept on hurting. I tried to take it easy but it kept hurting so after 2 weeks, I went to an orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed it as a ligament issue and put me on a powerful arthritis drug, ice therapy, and a brace. It's been a week now, and I don't have to take the drug anymore or do the ice therapy. I need to wear the brace for another week; then I need to wear a soft wrap on it when I work out, but not all the time. So it's a thing that's supposedly going to get better. On the other hand, he did say that ligaments, once injured, "never heal" (yay) so it will always be something to watch out for.

I guess the pain is caused by the inflammation. It has gotten better over the course of this week with the anti-inflammatory drug and the ice and rest, but it still hurts if I bend my wrist. The pain isn't the problem - what bothers me is knowing that I will make it worse if I'm not really careful.

There's not a lot you can do without your wrists, as I have discovered. Especially when it comes to strength training (my gym routine), since most weights, machines, and apparatus have to be held onto. I've been doing a bit more lower body, and using the bench for abs instead of the pullup bar, and I've discovered a few machines that I never used before at my gym. But it still sucks... there are a lot of things I can't do that I really want to do.

I'm going back on glucosamine-chondroitin supplements. Who knows if they actually work but I guess it's worth a try.

I hope it all works out... because wrists are essential for my sport (street workout). My biggest fear is that I will have to stop doing some of the exercises I love the most -- but I have to say that my orthopedist didn't think that would happen. He even told me to continue working out and just to lay off the weights on the wrist for a few weeks; once I switch to the soft brace, I can do what I usually do, just stop if it hurts. I guess I got off easy ... but I do have to be careful for ... I guess the rest of my life?

Conclusion: take really good care of your joints. Unlike bones, they never heal. Damn it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NAUSIKAA 6/1/2013 5:27AM

    An update on my wrist... well it's now June 1 and it still hurts when I push it backwards (imagine push up position - even without the added weight of my body, so I haven't been able to do push ups since this whole thing started). I am mostly doing what I would have done anyway, except push ups and a few other exercises that use that flat open hand position. I've been wanting to try TRX and I keep putting it off because I want my wrist to be healed when I try it.

I am not sure if the glucosamine/chondroitin is helping but I'm still taking it daily. I just doubled the dose recently (I got a much cheaper brand so can afford to do that) but still haven't really noticed a difference. I'm STILL wearing the brace when I work out. It's not a hard brace, it's made of neoprene, but it's quite supportive and it definitely helps. I take it off when I do wrist exercises.

I do wrist curls and reverse wrist curls (both with dumbbells - but I use lighter ones on my injured side - I do 22 lbs on my right side and only 14 lbs on my left side). I also do an exercise that I have named the "wrist twist" which uses a medium elastic band - this was shown to me by the orthopedist. I do all these 3x/week at the end of my workout and the goal is for stronger forearm muscles to allow the joint to do less work. I'm religious about doing the exercises and I have been able to increase the weight on the injured side slowly but it still hurts a little.

I guess the lesson from this is, be really really grateful for all the joints in your body that you've not managed to injure yet. Because once you injure one... it's a long haul.

Thanks everyone for the support!!!

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PMRUNNER 5/30/2013 11:20AM

    Hope you get better soon! I am experiencing something similar with my Achilles tendon - I cannot run and feel so limited in what I can do. Do you have access to a pool? Lap swimming may be a good cross training while your wrist recovers.

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MYRTROSE 4/27/2013 11:58AM

    How is your wrist now? Do you think the supplements have helped any? I've always been skeptical about them but feel like I should take them in spite of that...just on the outside chance that they really do work!

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LJCANNON 2/26/2013 5:37PM

    emoticon I just read this,and am hoping that your wrist is better? Can strengthening the muscles around your wrist help protect your wrist ligaments?

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GOANNA2 2/16/2013 8:28PM

    Feel better soon. emoticon

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PETALIA 2/15/2013 3:46PM

    Rats! Painful injury type things leading up to the wrist injury, yikes! That sounds not only painful but really frustrating. I started long distance running when I was 10 years old but had to stop from a bad hip injury in my early 20s. Every time I try it again, back to pain, PT... I've worked on strengthening the muscles in my hip as well as its flexibility. I'm able to do most everything except running which is fine by me. Perhaps adding in wrist strengthening (I think the idea is to strengthen the muscles that surround the torn ligament or something like that) and stretching exercises into your daily workouts (at the right time), plus being patient with its recovery you'll be able to do a lot more than you or the doctor think is possible right now. We are amazing and mysterious beings. I took MSM during my last hip misery time. I don't know if it helped but the placebo effect is powerful. I hope you and your wrist feel better soon.

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MERRY_XMAS 2/15/2013 3:10PM

    Awww... I hope you'll feel better soon!
At least you figured out the problem and you found ways to treat it!

emoticon emoticon

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PJ2222 2/15/2013 3:10PM

    emoticon emoticon

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Current gym routine

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I used to post my gym routines on here back in the day when I was a more conscientious Sparker. So here's an updated version.

My workouts change every week so this is more of a general picture than a prescription. I never do the same workout twice. My shorthand of 2x6 means two sets of six repetitions each.

Lats / Abs / Obliques

Chinups: 2 sets to failure
Neutral grip pullups: 1 set to failure
Lat pulldown, standing chin grip: 4
Ab routine #2 on pullup bar: 1 set
Ab routine #1 on pullup bar: 2 sets
Hanging leg raises: 6
Cable woodchoppers: 5/side
Lying leg raise (knees touch ears): 10

(Ab routine #1: hanging oblique left, hanging knee raise, hanging leg raise, hanging knee raise, hanging oblique right.
Ab routine #2: hanging knee raise, hanging leg raise, hanging knee raise, hanging oblique left, hanging knee raise, hanging leg raise, hanging knee raise, hanging oblique right, hanging knee raise, hanging leg raise, hanging knee raise)

Legs / Chest / Triceps

Dip: 2x6
Pistol squat: 2x6/side
Bench press: 2x6
Single leg calf raise: 2x8/side
Full squat: 2x8
Pushup: 6
Decline pushup: 6
Diamond pushup: 6
Lying leg curl: 2x5

Abs / Obliques / Lower Back

Good morning: 2x6
Deadlift: 2x6
Abs routine #2 on pullup bar: 1 set (see Monday)
Abs routine #1 on pullup bar: 2 sets (see Monday)
Hanging leg raise: 6
Cable woodchopper: 6/side
Lying leg raise (knees touch ears): 10
Back extension: 2x6
Weighted back extension: 2x6
Weighted crunch: 2x6
Single leg deadlift: 2x6

Lats / Shoulders / Traps / Biceps

Chinups: 2 sets to failure
Neutral grip pullups: 1 set to failure
Lat pulldown, standing neutral grip: 4
Shoulder press: 2x6
Overhead press: 2x6
Pike press: 2x6
Concentration curl: 7, 6 /side
Shoulder shrug: 2x6
Upper back machine: 2x4
Dead hang from bar: slow count of 35 (i.e., "35 Mississippi")

Legs / Chest / Triceps / Abs / Obliques

Dip: 2x6
Pistol squat: 2x8/side
Single leg calf raise: 2x8/side
Full squat: 10
Pushup: 6
Decline pushup: 6
Diamond pushup: 6
Hanging leg raise: 6
Abs routine #1 on pullup bar: 4 sets
Cable woodchopper: 6/side

That's a pretty typical week. Zero cardio except walking, swimming in the sea, and so forth. I don't do much stretching anymore - I used to but I sort of gave up on it. I do this every morning first thing without having eaten anything. I like it. It's keeping me happy for the moment. I'm sure my workouts will look nothing like this in a few months. :)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LORES777 4/15/2013 11:48AM

    It's probably really bad that I don't understand any of this. You rock!

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PETALIA 1/30/2013 7:32AM

    You are STRONG! I've been working on trying to do a full pistol squat for some time now. I've gotten stuck. I have been able to go only so far as 90*. I can squat to a bench but I haven't gone further, to the floor, yet. And, you are doing sets of full pistol squats! And pull-ups! Amazing.
I, too, am not a fan of cardio. At all. I do some HIIT training. Interval or sprint work isn't boring to me and I like the feel of getting into the anaerobic zone. I jump rope but you get to swim in the sea. Nice.

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EUEK098 12/2/2012 5:11PM

    Build those muscles, emoticon

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GOANNA2 11/21/2012 2:55AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KALISWALKER 11/21/2012 2:28AM

    You are doing well!

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I never do cardio, except when I do

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I am a bit of a black sheep here in that I don't do cardio. It's not that I think it's ineffective. I know it's effective, I used to do a ton of it, and I lost a lot of weight during the same time that I was doing it (and also not really eating anything). My issue with cardio is that I would rather pull my fingernails out with my teeth than do cardio on a regular basis. I believe (after obsessively watching the Olympics) that different people are built for different athletic pursuits. I bear no resemblance whatsoever to any of the lovely and strong women who ran in the marathon and the other running events, the cycling events, the swimming events, and so forth. I do however see my body type in the strength sports. It's not just that I think my body is more suited to strength sport, but that I have managed to excel at strength sport while I have never ever managed to not suck badly at any form of cardio sport. Obviously it goes back to being picked last in the daycare badminton tournament like all our other weight and fitness "issues," but rather than try to suffer my way into cardio mediocrity, I've chosen to spend all my time doing stuff that I (a) love doing, (b) do well, (c) know how to do, and (d) don't hate.

I have tried to love, or at least, to not hate, cardio on many occasions over several years but the closest I've come is getting to a state of zoned-out blah. When I practice strength sports, I experience all kinds of euphoria (and pain too, of course). When people say things like "if you don't do cardio, it will take you twice as long to reach your goal," my response is "oh okay, yes, definitely, sign me up for that, that is completely acceptable!"

(And I even hunted down an article someplace that claimed that doing strength training regularly had positive effects on the cardiovascular system. I ran with it! (metaphorically. I don't run.)

Except on Monday. My husband and I live in the beautiful, warm, and sunny country of Greece, which despite what some people think, has four seasons including a COLD winter (at least where we live). In mid-November, trust me, it's cold here. After work, we drove out to the beach wearing sweatshirts and sweatpants. The heat in the car was on. Once on the beach, a quick change into swimsuits, and into the FREEZING Aegean Sea for a swim. It took about ten minutes to get into the water, and I kept running out of the water and sprinting as fast as I could up and down the beach. In the water, I did high knees as fast as I could to warm up. I only managed to swim for a few minutes and couldn't keep my head underwater at all, but it was still tons of fun.

That's the kind of cardio I'm willing to do. No tracking, progressing, or pushing myself for another minute. I just stopped when the hypothermia set in.

I did impress myself with how fast I could run though. So maybe it's true... maybe the explosive power I work on in strength helps with cardio fitness in the form of short sprints. Or maybe it doesn't take cardio fitness to sprint up and down a freezing beach in a bikini!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOING4MUSCLE 12/10/2012 9:39PM

    I don't do cardio, either. Its been over 2 years, now, and has not had any negative effect on my weight/fat loss, at all. My strength routine lasts 45 minutes and it gets my HR up, pretty decently.

Not everyone needs cardio. Luckily, I'm one of them! emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/10/2012 9:39:56 PM

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GOANNA2 11/16/2012 7:33AM

    emoticon emoticon

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NAUSIKAA 11/14/2012 4:06PM

    MPLANE37 - I know, I know... in an ideal world, I would do it because I know it's good for me. Here's the article that I was talking about by the way -
It's not a serious article at all - much less an academic article. I know my cardio fitness sucks. And if I didn't know, I could walk up a few flights of stairs and figure it out emoticon . It's actually in my plans to start doing SOME cardio exercise eventually, but not until I'm so completely fixed into my gym-going routine that something like dreading cardio won't make me skip the gym (this is a huge problem that I used to have when I did cardio - if I didn't feel like doing it, I just wouldn't go - and nothing got done, not weights either).

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NATHELESS 11/14/2012 4:02PM

    Love your story of running into the sea and out again... sounds like the perfect sort of cardio - the kind where you're enjoying yourself!


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MPLANE37 11/14/2012 3:13PM

    Cardio exercises can drastically alter the cardiovascular system for better, increasing the longevity. Also, they reduce stress better than strength training. I have never seen a study that relates strength training to cardiovascular fitness nor a study about stress reducing effects of strength training. I do like both cardio exercises and strength training, and do more strength training than cardio, so I am trying to be unbiased here.

I do agree with you in that the marathon running is probably overrated. It is an endurance sport in the extreme of the spectrum, and can even be deadly for some people who otherwise would live long happy lives.

Comment edited on: 11/14/2012 3:15:23 PM

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KALISWALKER 11/14/2012 12:46PM

    I hate cardio and all excercise so I understand... it's boring. However I have to do cardio so I listen to audio books on my MP3 player when I walk and it's no so bad. You are so brave going into that cold water!!!

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BERRY4 11/14/2012 12:32PM

    Your perspective is much more "on track" with real life! Don't apologize. Enjoy it!

We all have different "strengths," and it sounds like you are playing to those strengths for you! You go girl!

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-VIXEN- 11/14/2012 12:16PM

    I am with ya, girl. I love, love, love to work out with weights but I only run if I am being chased! I have found some cardio dance routines that are bearable but I would so rather do a hard core strength training work out. I figure, as long as I am doing something, I am better off than just sitting on the couch. :)

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My warm-up before a workout

Saturday, October 25, 2008

There is a thread on the Fitness forum about doing a warm up before strength training and it gave me the idea to write out a detailed description of how I warm up. I do about 3-4 heavy weights workouts per week and each of them starts with this warm up:

1. 15 minute brisk walk. I do this primarily because that's how far the gym is from my house and office, so no matter where I'm coming from, I have to do this!

2. 10 minutes dynamic stretching. I try to stretch my whole body but I do tend to focus on the muscles that I'm going to be working that day.

3. Movement warm-up. I do 3 sets of 3 exercises (10 reps per set) to initiate a full range of motion through my major joints. I do a circuit of vertical chops, cross-body chops, and cross-body rotations with a relatively light weight (just an 8-lb dumbbell in my case). The idea is not to build strength, but to get the body moving weight across its joints. I strive for fluidity of movement rather than jerky or momentum-powered movements.

4. Stability warm-up. I do 3 sets of 3 exercises (10 reps per set) to warm up my core muscles. I do planks, back extensions, and bridges. This activates the core of my body where my strength and power originate so that I can take full advantage of my exercises in my workout.

5. Balance warm-up. I do 2 sets of 3 exercises (10 reps per set and then a 20 second hold at the end) to bring my body into balance. Bodyweight split squats, hip flexor lunges, and bend & reach with weight (all of these are on one leg). Doing exercises on one leg is challenging because it requires physical and mental focus.

6. Deep squat progression. (If I'm doing lower body that day.) This is a training exercise in 5 parts to train the body to do a proper full squat, it uses body weight only. The progression is: standing, touch your toes; then drop into a full squat with calves resting on thighs; then reach one hand to the ceiling, hold, and switch arms; then reach both hands to the ceiling, hold; then with both hands raised, push out of the squat. It's used to train athletes to approach the full squat as a natural body movement. The author of the book "Athletic Body in Balance" which describes it and uses great illustrations, if anyone is interested, says "a child does not learn to squat from the top down -- in other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and makes a conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength." Basically the "full squat progression" re-teaches this movement experience to an adult.

Only after ALL of the above, I move onto strength exercises (the actual workout), which these days is usually based around two muscle groups (like legs and shoulders; or chest and back), and usually consists of about 12 exercises (I usually do 3 sets of 6 reps, although I'll often start with a warmup set with low weight; and if I'm doing bodyweight exercises like pushups or pullups, I will just go to the limit of my endurance, whatever that may be).

At the end I do static stretching and a 15 minute brisk walk to cool down.

I hope this at least illustrates that to me, warming up properly is essential to a good, safe, and effective strength-building workout.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VERONICAVW_140 10/27/2011 11:15AM

    Thanks for sharing! I found out the hard way, a couple of weeks ago, how important warm up is! emoticon

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RAINBOWMF 10/22/2009 8:06PM

    Thanks for sharing, great blog.
emoticon again on being Motivator of the day!


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MAGIC764 10/22/2009 11:01AM

    Thanks for sharing. And congrats on being MOD!

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STORMTMB 10/22/2009 9:27AM

    This detailed info is really helpful. Thanks for posting!

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LADY_KATHY 10/22/2009 8:29AM

    Thanks for positing this suggestion. : )

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LUVJETZ 1/16/2009 3:46PM

  Just wanted to say thank you for the up beat =) I really needed to hear that you got where you wanted. I started working out at the same time 6/06 and then lost my job and back to the ol' not doing nothing days and gained back what I lost.. I was at 244 in 06 and at 244 in 08.. so I am at the start of day one again and ready to go. Especially after reading your story...THANK YOU!

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LIFE_IN_BALANCE 10/26/2008 10:20PM


I just wanted to tell you that I just finished reading your blog, and I have to tell you that you are so inspiring!! I am currently 230, down from 255, and it is helpful to see someone who has gone through the journey that I am beginning (again).

Thanks for posting so honestly throughout your journey, and I know you will continue to succeed in your current journey.


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Gym update: first week of new split

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Photo: My tiny muscles peeking out. Apparently they are camera-shy. (And yes I know I need to clean the mirror LOL!)

Starting on September 20, I changed my program at the gym from a full-body routine 3 times/week, to a 5-day split. Here are the results from the first week of the new program. Note the presence of warm up sets (I believe we should all be doing these).

September 20: Chest, back, abs

Hammer grip pullups: 1st set: 2.5 completed, 2nd set: 1.5 completed (no assistance)
Assisted pullup: wide grip pullup: 5 reps @ level 9 (partially counterweighted)
Assisted pullup: chin up: 6 reps @ level 8
Flat bench press: 6 reps @ 45 lbs, 5@80, 4@90
Pushup: 2x15
Incline bench press: 6@45, 2x6@55
Decline dumbbell press: 10@15, 10@20 /arm
Incline dumbbell flyes: 10@15, 10@20 /arm
Lat pull down: close grip: 6@105, 6@90
............wide grip: 6@75
............standing overhand grip: 6@75
............standing underhand grip: 6@90
............hammer grip: 6@75
Dumbbell shrug: 2x6@50 /arm
1-arm bent over row: 2x6@30 /arm
Hanging crunch: 3x8
Dumbbell sidebends: 2x10@50 /arm

September 21. Shoulders and arms

Concentration curl: 3x6@25 /arm
Bicep curl: 3x6@15 /arm - exaggerated negatives
Tricep pushup: 2x8
Wrist curl: 3x6@45 (Oly bar)
Reverse wrist curl: 3x6@12 /arm
Military press: 6@45, 2x6@55
Arnold press: 3x12@15 /arm
Dumbbell shoulder press: 2x6@25 /arm

September 22. Legs, Lower back, and abs

Cardio kickboxing: 60 minutes, 547 calories
Good morning: 6@45, 2x6@65
Full squat: 6@45, 4@80
Back squat: 2x6@115
Split squat: 6@45, 2x4@90 /leg
Deadlift: 6@45, 6@90
Calf raise: 3x8@155
Hanging crunch: 3x8
Dumbbell sidebends: 2x10@50 /arm

September 24. Back, chest, shoulders.

Cardio kickboxing: 60 minutes. 558 calories burned.
Hammer grip pullups: 2 sets of 2.5 reps each. No assist.
Assisted pullup: wide grip: 6 reps @ level 8 (partial assist)
...............chin up: 5 reps @ level 7
Flat bench press: 6@45, 4@80, 5@95
Decline pushup: 2x12
Incline bench press: 6@45, 6@55, 6@65
Decline dumbbell press: 10@15, 10@20 /arm
Incline dumbbell flyes: 10@15, 10@20 /arm
Military press: 2x6@55, 6@45
Lat pulldown: close grip: 12@75
.................wide grip: 12@60
.................standing overhand: 12@60
.................standing underhand: 6@105
Incline pushup: 2x12
Dumbbell shrug: 3x6@50 /arm
1-arm bent over row: 2x6@35 /arm
Arnold press: 3x12@15 /arm
Dumbbell shoulder press: 6@15, 6@25, 6@20 /arm
Pushup: 2x12

September 26: legs, lower back, arms

Good mornings: 6@45, 2x6@65
Full squat: 6@45, 4@80
Back squat: 2x6@125
Split squat: 6@45, 2x4@90 /leg
Deadlift: 6@45, 6@100
Calf raise: 3x8@165
Back extension: 2x12
Concentration curl: 3x6@25 /arm
Bicep curl: 3x6@15 /arm - exaggerated negatives
Tricep pushup: 3x8
Wrist curl: 3x8@ 45 (Oly bar)
Reverse wrist curl:L 3x6@12 /arm

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Holy cow, your routine is amazing. Thanks again for being here for me/us.


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