Ten times I’ve tried to weigh myself today. Ten times my talking scale came back with an error. I think the damn thing is ready for the trash.
On the good news front, I’ve been working out every day since the first Fit Hit blog. I wish I understood why it’s so hard for me to remember how good working out with dumbbells makes me feel – not just in terms of dudebro-ness, but in genuine terms of making my ankylosing spondylitis and occasional fits of hip pain not suck so much.
I like working out. That’s still a weird concept for me even two years after I started to get into the habit (with a large hiatus in 2017). High school, I hated it with the same aplomb I hated most sports then, thanks largely to shit coaches (with a few notable exceptions, namely my mom and another female track coach who were pretty damn cool and patient). Almost every coach in every sport I ever played assumed I had a working understanding of a lot of the basics, which I really didn’t, and that made simple stuff like working out really stressful. Also? Didn’t really help that I was focusing most my energy those days into not getting the shit kicked out of me in locker rooms because of someone’s brilliant idea to keep me sandwiched with my vicious, inbred, shitkicking, mouth-breathing, stain-on-the-skivvies-of-humanity bullies. You can find out how much fun high school PE was for me by looking up the poetry contest I almost won from back then.
Not fun times.
Now, though, as an adult who can actually figure things out thanks to YouTube, patient how-to videos (and more importantly, “why” videos and articles on various stretches and activities), I’m finding a basic satisfying enjoyment in working out with dumbbells. I’m no expert, and I’m not great at it, but I’m listening to my body more and more and figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t.
It also helps that there are a bajillion low impact workout videos out there from great, low-key people like the HASFit trainers (whose videos you should really check out if you’re in a similar situation to mine, and want to learn some easy workout routines that are probably third-grade level bullshit for most other folks). I’m slowly building back up to where I was in 2016, when I was walking a mile every day and working out with dumbbells about 10-20 minutes every evening.
As far as cardio goes… ugh. That’s something I’m left shaking my head about, because now I can barely do a fraction of what I was doing in 2016 without getting winded. That sucks. I’m hoping to move out a couch in my apartment sometime so I can maybefit my treadmill in here, but to be honest, both of those things are a huge freaking undertaking, especially since I’ll have to ask for help for both. Getting the couch out ofhere will entail hauling it to Great Falls, meaning not only do we have to find a way to fit the monstrosity out of my living room, where it barely fit the first time, but get it on a truck and haul it 100 miles. That’s making me nervous just thinking about it.
Then there’s the act of getting my treadmill in here, which will probably need to be disassembled in some way, brought down a flight of stone steps, hauled to my apartment, and reassembled.
Try asking for all that to be done for you when you’re blind, fat, and can barely lift crap because of your back problems. It’s a delightful little ego stroke, that’s for sure. I’m going to make some woman very happy someday, particularly when she’s breaking her back doing crap I can’t. Joy.
This all said, working out with dumbbells is going fantastic. I’m already increasing my rep amounts by very small numbers, being careful not to tear something. I’m largely doing low-impact standing and (chair) seated workouts, because laying down on the ground is not a possibility. I try to do a mixture of things, introducing bits and pieces from various other workouts when I can’t perform one of the moves during a HASFit video. It works surprisingly well for me. It’s already easier to get in and out of bed, as well as up off low riding chairs.
I’m definitely noticing my boxer briefs fitting a bit more loosely too, which is an odd thing after only nine days of working out, but it’s definitely the truth. I need to introduce more squats and thigh-stretching exercises into the fold, but as I’m coming off a tweaked knee from late 2017, I’m fine taking it slow on that stuff for now.
Here’s an example of my typical daily workout routine. Also, before you say anything, I realize a bed is a terrible place to do crunches, but as I mentioned above, teacher’s helper, I can’t sit on the ground and do them. Can’t. Please don’t try to advise me on that. For the love of God, assume I know what the hell I can do with my body and just… don’t.
MORNINGS – While in bed, I do “fat guy crunches,” which involve me lifting my back and knees together as far as both will go, holding the stretch for a second or two, and repeating. I also do leg lifts, which are pretty much as basic as they sound. Legs straight, I lift my feet, trying to keep my wonky ass spine as straight as it can be (hah), and repeated often. These ones are really effective, for me.
I do as many of these as I can handle without getting terminally bored, usually while listening to music.
AFTERNOON/EARLY EVENING – My cardio is a bit different in the winter. Quite a bit different. I do high knee lifts, alternating legs. While I do this, I use small weights – about five pounds – from a high position, bringing them down to about the height of my skull (it looks about like that baby doing the “we got ’em!” fist pump pose). Whatever knee I’m riasing, I alternate with the opposite arm, creating a good sense of balance. This works out a hell of a lot of muscles all at once, namely my arms and legs, but also my core.
That’s the bread and butter of my workout this last week and a half. Done correctly, without jerking my arm down too hard or too low, it feels phenomenal. I’m trying to do this one as long as I can, usually finishing off somewhere around five minutes or so. This is usually followed with simple side steps, usually while doing slow curls or something very basic like keeping the weights at my sides and simply raising my shoulders.
That’s my winter cardio. The rest of my dumbbell workouts tend to vary a fair bit, depending on my mood and what I’m bored of doing. I usually like cherry pickers with those same light weights, as those crack about a dozen little bones along my neck and spine and stretch out my left shoulder, my weakest muscle and the most problematic part of my ankylosing spondylitis. Every workout this early on feels like I’m rebuilding the muscles in that shoulder, scraping a little bit away at the damage done.
I love goblet squats, because those work out my gut, thighs, and arms, but again, the sore knee has left me careful about doing these in the short term. Discus “throws” are also a great one for me, working my spine, abs, and arms. I’m also fond of those bent over arm raises with weights from the hips to almost shoulder level, because they remind me a lot of muscles I generally only get to work out when swimming.
That’s about going to do it for this week. What are your own workout routines? Got any favorite online trainers?