Finding Freedom in my Fitness

IMG_6455

8 weeks and 32 workouts later my body was feeling great!

I finally did it! Fitness Freedom!

Sounds like an oxymoron, huh? It’s really real though!!

I just completed an 8-week long fitness program and only worked out 4 days a week for 30-35 minutes. It allowed me to enjoy my life and balance my fitness! GOLDEN! I proved I don’t have to kill myself working out and following a rigid nutrition plan to be healthy. I KNEW IT!

I’ve been doing this fitness thing since I was 14, that’s a few decades of experimenting.

I’ve tried working out daily, not at all, occasionally, you name it, and I always get off track if I don’t have some sort of routine. I need something to keep me accountable to myself…

Enter LIIFT4 by Joel Freeman. A program designed to fit fitness into our lives. Imagine only working out 4 days a week for 30-40 minutes. Pick up some weights for half of that, do some HIIT (high-intensity interval training), and then a little core (it’s almost all pilates, I love pilates!).

I am a big strength training fan, but I hate cardio. I know hate is a strong word, but think asthmatic child on the soccer field, out of breath and beet red. She was conditioned to dread cardio because it was painful, and not being able to breath is a little scary. HIIT is different, it’s a whole new cardio option. Yes, it’s high intensity, but that doesn’t mean high impact. The impact is what bothers me the most. So, I modify. that doesn’t mean it’s any easier, it’s just better for my body. Modification doesn’t mean I’m weak, it means I know how to listen to my body so I don’t get hurt. I have a chronic pain and fatigue disorder that I have to control, listening to my body is crucial.

Finding the balance of exercise, nutrition, and living my life feeling good is my goal.

I’ve struggled with fibromyalgia for almost 3 decades. I was diagnosed when I was 25. The diagnostic process took 20 months of all kinds of dreadful tests like bone scans, CT, MRI, and nerve testing (which is painful as hell). It was depressing. Figuring out what actually helps me has taken years.

I’ve always been an athlete, I’ve been physically fit most of my life, but as soon as I go over my limit, I crash, burn, and flare for months. Finding a workout program that doesn’t cause me more inflammation and pain has been an ongoing battle. This program helped me figure it out.

Too much exercise = increased inflammation. For someone with chronic inflammation symptoms like me, that’s just adding fuel to the fire. Did you know you can exercise so much you actually cause inflammation and without the proper rest, recovery and nutrition, you could be doing more harm than good to your health? I didn’t, for far too long. Now, I know better.

Finding a way to decrease inflammation is my goal, and following this regimen 4 days, a week seems to be the trick! #score Time for another round!

IMG_6468

It feels good to heal your body!!

Why I Believe in Functional Fitness

IMG_0226

NEVER SAY NEVER

Contrary to popular belief, I am not superwoman… I’m soooo far from it.

I AM Katie Pink extraordinaire though… that works for me. It’s taken me a long time to figure that out. My path has had many avenues and many dead ends, paths that were laid out for me, and paths I foraged own my own. I’ve grown from all of it. What I’ve learned is that I need to keep FUNCTIONING at my most extraordinary. I don’t like the alternative.

Life is HARD. Life is always full of stressors. Life is about how we learn to navigate the challenges. I deal with a bad hip and short leg, Fibromyalgia, scoliosis, asthma, irritable bowel, and a few other diagnoses. I’ve lived with pain all my life. Having strong muscles to support my body equates to less pain. When I workout, I feel strong. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too. I am better able to “function”.

As a child athlete, I’d always been in decent shape. I didn’t realize all those years of soccer, gymnastics, skating, tennis, biking, hockey, etc. were actually like pain medicine. When I stopped doing all of those activities, the pain increased, I didn’t know why. I was young and didn’t think about how my body worked. I didn’t think about the everyday function of my body. I didn’t think that all those activities were keeping my muscles strong and “functioning”.

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at 25, just weeks before starting nursing school. I was told to decrease my stress and exercise more. HAHAHA. That was an oxymoron knowing what the demands of nursing school were going to be. I didn’t workout, but I did work, as a waitress, the physical demands of the job helped to keep me strong in some ways but sure didn’t help that back pain. I was functioning, but barely.

I’ve learned a bit since that initial Fibro diagnosis. I’ve struggled with my pain, my sleep, my stomach, my hip, my anxiety, my ADHD, and that little voice in my head that doesn’t always believe in me (she’s not nice). I made sacrifices. I missed opportunities with loved ones. I missed opportunities to learn. I missed opportunities to enjoy my life… because I wasn’t functioning.

I’ve learned that the secret to dealing with chronic disease is maintaining “function”.

So, my goal is “functional fitness”… What does that mean? It means keeping my body functioning the best it can with all the stressors that life brings. Life is not going to stop and allow me to regroup and take breaks, it just keeps on happening. If I’m not happening with it, I’m losing. When I’m losing, I’m not functioning at my best. See the circle there?

So, what do I do? Strength training, core training, yoga, pilates, workouts that keep my body functioning. When I say functioning, I mean, full range of motion in my joints, no pain (or very little), a digestive system that absorbs nutrition and eliminates toxins, a sleep schedule that doesn’t leave me tossing and turning at night, a life that I can enjoy with the people that I love. That isn’t the way it’s always been, and it’s not fun to not function.

Non-functional means pain. Non-functional means sleepless nights. Non-functional means exhausting days. Non-functioning means missing important events and milestones. Non-functioning to me… means not living. It’s depressing and demoralizing, and I didn’t like it. That’s why I speak out about my health and how I’ve started to save myself.

In saving myself, I’ve saved my marriage and my family. In saving myself, I’ve also learned how to make my family healthier and happier. I’ve learned how to help them avoid chronic illness and disease, or at least how to make it more “functional” and that’s not easy.

Today, I wanted to share all this with you. The ones that believe in me. I want you to believe in you too. I’m an example of what you can be. I’m also willing to help you figure out the secrets I needed to figure out. I share a lot of those secrets in my health and wellness articles.  I also share a lot as a Health Coach because I enjoy helping people feel better. It helps me believe there is hope in the world. If I can help one person feel better, I can help two. And, one by one, we can make our world a happier and healthier and more functional place. That works for me, and I think it just might work for you too.

Enjoy the Journey, Friends… that’s what it’s all about!

exceed your limits