Friday, February 13, 2015

Never Quit Never Stop Learning

I am happy to announce that in a few weeks I will hit the big FOUR FIVE. Yes this was a habit that started with the big FOUR O, where my age was now prefaced by “big” and the numbers needed to be accentuated individually. I think everyone has had these moments, but I of course have a habit of being even more overly dramatic. Happy is a strange word for it, but when you get right down to it the alternative to turning another year older I have heard really sucks, and I am one of the rare people out there that can say I feel better at 45 than I did at 35, and even 25. I’d be lying if I said I remember how I felt at 15 because as most people would attest to, the only thing I felt then was drunk.

Ok back to writing a good healthy blog, after I bore you with a little more life background so you understand why I feel the way I do, and why I believe that any of you can too. Just going back to when I was 35 years old, I hurt myself pretty good at work. I had herniated, and then ruptured a disk in my lower back, and it was quite an ordeal. For a while I could technically say that I was paralyzed because the sciatica was so bad that I couldn’t move my right leg at all. There was a stabbing pain in my right gluteus and with therapy it was to the point of merely excruciating by the time I was 37. Happy stuff, I know.

Well the not so big THREE SEVEN rolls around and I was one of the lucky one percent, because my disk had regenerated and the nerves had actually grown back in. It’s a rare anomaly that some doctors would call “lucky” and I accepted it as such, but it also meant that a perfectly dead nerve was now functioning. The pain in my ass (literally) was now a pain squarely in my back. I was also quite fat (by my standards) as I was looking at the 33” jeans I had just bought because I was too big for the 32” jeans a few months previous, and they were too tight and causing pain. It was 2007 and I was going back to the gym that I hadn’t been to since I had gotten hurt. Oh crap this blog could end up long couldn’t it?

To make the long story short, I was back in the 31” jeans and looking better after less than a year, and I worked on sculpting myself for the next six. The entire time being in pain and doing my best to manage it. I was a go to guy when it came to diet and exercise advice (I have certifications so why not?) but my back hurt, worse than that when I hit the big FOUR O, I was quite able to use a phrase, “anyone who tells you 40 feels like 30 is a liar, stay away from them,” and this was coming from someone who religiously spent two hours in the gym every day, and looked pretty good. You can learn to accept certain horrors when they are brought on by yourself.

I had to go back to a premise that was what brought me back to the gym to begin with. The pain of my belt, had made it so that I never used a leather belt, because it didn’t have enough give to be comfortable. By the end of the day the pain would be immense, so I always had to go with fabric belts. I knew I had to change my core, and strip the unnecessary fat that was around my midsection, that looked “fine” because I was buff, but caused discomfort. I started a rigorous diet and got myself looking pretty hot in a month or two, but guess what? The pain was only “better” and not gone.

Stretching has been a huge part of my exercise routine from the big FOUR TWO on. I finally realized that I was old and because of that it required stretching. Of course as I am about to explain I still have a lot to learn. On two of my lift days (chest arms, back shoulders) I do a series of hanging (from a chin up bar) where I do neck stretches. This has made it so that I have no neck pain or any form of numbness in my arms. Trial and error brought me to this. On my other two lift days (core legs, core cardio) I do a series of leg and lower back stretches, that has kept my legs from aching. Fact of life, can’t walk, can’t do much of anything. I would still maintain a certain level of “pissed off” at how my back hurt, until my gym brought in a new “stretching” machine that worked on your gluteal and hamstring regions. I started using it, and after a couple of weeks of daily use, I was able to get myself into the full stretch positions, and my back “barely” hurt anymore. A new problem was arising though, which was really getting aggravating. My hips were starting to hurt like something was really damaged in them, and once this pain became too much to bear, it would actually bring me to tears at times.

The big problem in all of this is that I truly am deep down inside an overly educated moron that can easily identify problems in others and simply want to blame God or nature for anything that goes wrong in me. A blog in My Fitness Pal showed up in my e-mail “8 Hip Stretches Your Body Really Needs” and of course I shared the link, and started working on it. That picture up there is me doing “Number 5” which just so happened to be the one that literally had me in tears when I first did it. Thankfully I go to the gym at 3am so there were no gawkers. After a few weeks it is merely painful, and not impossible to do that stretch. I have no more wake up pain at all, and I honestly do feel better than when I was the little TWO FIVE.

Now this long winded history of Jeremy lesson followed by a long journey, and ending with a quick fix, is purely my way of saying that there is a fix. DON’T GIVE IN TO PAIN! I did and look where it got me? On the other hand I proved that you are never too old to fix a lot of these things, even to the point of eliminating them. IF you are moderately healthy, then please find the stretches that will make you feel better and make them a daily part of your life. If you are not moderately healthy, then please become moderately healthy. For most people in this world it is a completely controllable variable in your own life. Excuses to not become moderately healthy are actually more difficult to manufacture and maintain than just going out and doing it.