Arthritis, Pneumonia and the Damage Done

Tonight I met with my trainer. We normally meet twice a month, but with my tax return I bought extra sessions so we have been meeting weekly. I think we will be meeting weekly though the end of May.

As you may know, I have been having problems with my hands since late November, early December, and while trying to get a correct diagnosis there, I was diagnosed with pneumonia at the beginning of February after being sick for 2 weeks and was finally cleared of that March 5th. And then on March 7th I  got into an arthritis specialist who diagnosed me as having some rare kind of osteoarthritis that has a fast onset, and is often misdiagnosed as Rheumatoid arthritis. I am now on meds that they give to Rheumatoid patients (and it is actually an anti-malaria med).

So it’s been a bad winter, more or less. Through all of this, I never missed a session with my trainer, though at the height of the pneumonia we might have postponed a week. My trainer, Amanda, sets up programs that we cycle through. One week is Stability week (the dreaded Bosu ball), then endurance week and lastly strength week. Today was the first time we have gone to strength since the beginning of February (right before the pneumonia diagnosis). Strength basically means that we are doing a smaller number of reps (10 instead of 15), at a higher weight and at tempo. Tempo means that you are pushing out at a 1 count and then back in on a 4 count.

I can’t believe what a toll being sick has done on what I can do. With the arthritis there were many weeks when I couldn’t grasp a dumbbell or a kettle bell, and so we often just focused on lower body, or water workouts.

Tonight I had to do inclined chest press with dumb bells. I could only do 12lb whereas 4 months ago I was doing 25lbs. Lat pulldown went from 65 to 50. Seated row from 65 to 50. However my legs all went up:  one leg seated leg-press went from 90 to 95 and single leg seated hamstring went from 45 to 50 – which is what everything should do on Strength week.

It has really been so frustrating. I know that the strength will come back once my hands get better, and I can build up the muscle again, but hate the feeling of regressing. All I can do is keep doing it.. keep on keeping on.

I also have to take in my food diary, which I am horrible about. I quickly printed off some pages from Lose it, and took those in. Unfortunately they were from the weekend which is when I struggle the most with nutrition. Her note written over it were “VEGGIES!!!!!!” and “PROTEIN??”

My work day is structured enough, that it makes it easier to make sure I am eating correctly. Get done answering phones, have my morning protein. Wait for the mail.. have my cranberries and nuts. Done with the deposit, heat up my lunch.  Without that structure on the weekends, I suck at eating correctly. I am not sure what I can do to change that. I need to do something to trick myself into eating right. The sooner, the better.

Just gotta keep on keeping on…

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Fitness Friday… Late!

Better late than never, right?

So every Friday I meet with Amanda for 30 minutes, and get a new fitness routine.  We are on a rotation. One week is strength, then endurance, and then stability. Of course if you have read previous entries you know “Stability” better as “Damn it, there is that Bosu again”.  And so we go…

Stability Week.

The last few Stability weeks, Amanda didn’t give me too much Bosu. Just a few things. This week was all bosu, except one.

All of my workouts start with a plank.  Since I am not very good at the regular plank, last week we changed it to a plank off the bench. So my hands are on the bench, I am standing at an angle, and up on my toes. There is a mirrored wall next to me, so I can see my form and make sure I don’t have my “bum” too high up,  which is the problem I have with the plank on the floor. Sort of like this…

I hold that for 60 seconds. Holding in that core!

Now comes Bosu time…

First a one arm chest press standing on the bosu, using the cable machine. It’s like what this link is showing, except instead of sitting, I am standing on a bosu, and I am using weights on a cable machine, not just resistance bands like on this site. And I do 20 reps per set with both arms.

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/PectoralSternal/CBOneArmChestPress.html

Squats

Pick up a 15 lb kettlebell

Hold it with both hands, get on the bosu and do 20 squats.  It’s like this, except holding the kettlebell in both hands, instead of a dumbbell in each hand. BTW, I fall off a lot!

http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/cms/article-detail.asp?articleid=1261

Skull Crushers

The Skull Crusher is my only non-bosu exercise this week. I am using a stability ball and rolling out on my back. Take 25 lb kettle bell in both hands, and Crush! Your! Skull!  Basically you are holding the kettlebell with both hands and holding it up above your head. Only bending at your elbows, bring the weight down above your forehead. And back up. Do 20 of those. And remember you are on the stability ball, so hips up and suck in that core!

One Arm Row

Now you are back at the cable machine, standing on the bosu, and facing forward (as opposed to the chest press where you faced backwards).  Pull the cable towards you. 20 reps a set, each arm.

Good Mornings

I just did these for the first time a couple weeks ago.  You stand holding a kettlebell in both hands and then you bend at the waist, slightly bending your knees. Then you are standing back up, using your legs, not your back.  This shows someone  doing it with dumb bells. With Kettlebells you are have just one weight, holding it with both hands.

Again you are doing 20 of those.

And lastly….

Weighted Crunches off the Bosu with Tempo

Get a 10 or 15 lb kettle bell. Lay down on the bosu so the middle of your back is on the top of the bosu. Hold the kettlebell in up in front of you.  Pull up on a one-count, and then slowly go down on a 5-count.  Repeat 20 times. This video shows the guy adding weights except he is holding it close. Instead I hold the weight out in front of me, and I am doing with tempo (the 5 count on the way down) and he isn’t.

http://www.livestrong.com/video/5086-six-pack-abs-bosu-ball/

And once you are done… start with the plank and repeat it all over again.

I wouldn’t mind stability week so much if I didn’t have to attempt to stand on the bosu. Laying on it, or using it to do lunges are fine. Standing on… I just don’t have the coordination. Give it a try and tell me how you do!

The Enemy Returns: The Bosu is back!

Why won’t this thing leave me alone!!!

It’s back.. and it’s mocking me…

BOSU Balance Trainer Home

Look at it. It’s the face.. or at least the half-ball… of evil.

So I go to meet Amanda. Weigh in day, you know. My best guess is that maybe the new exercise plan will be flexibility. However  Amanda has other plans.  Like the Bosu of Death.

Amanda was recently featured in a local weekly newspaper as she for one of the teams in a “Biggest Loser” type contest this paper sponsors. In her interview, when asked what one of her favorite things in the gym to use, she said those evil words. The Bosu.

Now, okay.. I didn’t meet my weight loss goal this month. I missed it by
.4 lbs. Yes, 4/10 of a pound. I wouldn’t have thought that would lead to
this.. not this workout! Ack!!!
This new workout has BOSU written all over it. ALL OVER IT.  Literally.

Okay here is the plan:

1 One the mat: Modified Planks & Modified side planks.
2- The Bosu. I have to do a single arm chest press while standing on one leg on
the bosu.  Yes, your read that right! I have to get up on the bosu, my back
to the cable machine, stand on one leg, and pull my arm forward.
Here’s the deal. Last time I had to do this, it was on two legs and I still couldn’t
successfully stay on the bosu for 20 reps.  Because your back is to the machine and the stack of weights,  it pulls you backwards and because you
are standing on a half ball full of air, it often succeeds. Now do it on one foot.
Needless to say, by the end of the first set, Amanda crossed “one foot” off my
paper.
3- Next, because we don’t want to leave the bosu lonely, we are going to do
lunges with the bosu.  So step on the ball with one foot, lunge, step back.
Easy enough.  Sure okay..
4- Back on the bosu and back on one foot. Arg. This time it is for one arm
rows, so  the cable machine, and luckily, facing the machine.
I didn’t fall off twice for ever rep this time, but I didn’t trust myself to put
my foot too high up, and I didn’t trust myself to leave it up longer than two
reps at a time.
5- And then we finally get to walk away from the bosu (for now!) and go to the
stability ball, roll out on my back and do skull crunches with a 20 lb bar bell.
Doing 20 reps this time instead of 10 like last time. Whew..
6- Now lets take that ball to the mat and do ham string curls. Lay down
on your back, feet planted on the ball and hips in the air. Roll the ball towards
you and then back out. I could really feel that in my hamstrings today!
7- And lastly, because you don’t want to say goodbye to your enemies
too soon.. back to the bosu.  This time I am getting on the floor, laying with my back on the bosu, so my lower back hits the top of the bosu, and doing
crunches.

So that’s the plan. For the next two weeks. It can’t end soon enough.

Also Amanda told me that they are running a February special for personal training and since I see her twice a month for 30 minutes at $30 a session, she can offer me an additional 5 sessions for $15 each, so that I could meet with her once a week, instead of every other week.  So by taking that package, I would get to work out once a week for approximately 2 and a half months. I am certainly going to do it. I have tried to ramp up the number of times a week I workout (tomorrow will be day #5 this week) as well as ramping up my cardio, I think this is something that will really help push me also.

I am now 20 lbs away from the lowest I hit when I did weight watchers 5 years ago, and I really want to get past that mark, and get on with it.

That’s the plan. I’m ready. Bosu or no Bosu.