Saturday, July 24, 2010

Vicious Cycle

The czar at my upscale gym denied my request to break my contract (like they'd going under without my monthly fee for the next 6 months), and truth be told, I'm glad.  Vickie of Baby Steps V commented yesterday that if I "had to" keep the membership, make it worth every cent, and that's what I intend to do.  I'm dressed and ready to go do some biking and treadmilling.  I'm also going to talk to them about the fact that when I signed this contract, the gal who worked with me said I had 6 free sessions with a trainer, which I've never pursued.  So - I'm going to claim my gym-right to this service.

When I joined this gym, I came in through a franchised program they sponsored called Healthy Inspirations, so I didn't have to pay the hefty "initiation fee" (what a crock that is!).  They've since dropped their affiliation with the franchise, which is why I ended up signing on for the full gym package.  In the HI program, there was a delightful sprite of a trainer who worked with all us gals, designing our programs and periodically updating and changing them around after quarterly assessments of our progress.  She was an energizer bunny in every sense, including positive attitude. 

The one problem - she really pushed me (and now I hear others) to perform the various strength assessments, and I've come to think that my first torn meniscus was the result of leg pressing 250 pounds (with her cheering me on), as well as some lateral skating type moves on discs for toning abductors and adductors in the thighs that my orthopedic surgeon said were not the best idea for 50+ knees.  Now I was gung ho and felt fully able to do all this stuff, and before increasing or adding new moves, Trainer Jess always asked if I had a history of "issues" with whatever body part was being targeted.  I'd never had even a twinge in either knee, and really didn't until after the fitness test that included the 250 leg press.  A day later while jogging up to Starbucks,  the L knee *suddenly* hurt enough for me to not be able to continue the jogging.  It continued to hurt for several days of resting it, so I was finally seen by an Orthpod...and discovered the torn meniscus.  It's been a long slow downhill of exercise for me since then.  My apologies to you who have heard this tale of woe before - guess I need to splat it out yet again.  I had arthroscopy to clean up the shredded cartilage, and had a rocky recovery from returning to work to soon.

I did PT after the first arthroscopy and once I was sufficiently recovered, began gingerly returning to some modified strength training moves - only to promptly tear the R meniscus and within 3 months have it scoped as well. 

I'm certainly recovered and able to swim,  walk up to 5 miles and do some biking, but both knees truly aren't the same as their pre-injury statuses as the arthritis that was in place before I ever knew it or had symptoms has been "awakened" from the 2 surgical procedures.  (The surgeon told me this is very common in women my age.)  This has since played with my head, frustrating and discouraging me.  I also see that my knees' "new normal" has become a solid reason an excuse for me to gradually back off from exercising and totally omit strength training.  The decreased exercise (that besides helping my body also helps my mind) has further contributed to my sliding away from keeping my food in check.  I've added pounds, which I feel when I DO exercise.  The old vicious cycle.

SO.......I'm taking the denial of my quest to sever the gym contract (for the $ reasons) as a  kick in the ass major jolt from the universe that I'm supposed to be at that gym on a regular basis.   I'm going to attack it with new zeal that will include insisting on the new trainer to which I'm entitled, at least for the free sessions. 

I'm really hating my return to soft mushiness.  Not that I'd left that territory entirely, but I was well on the way and more toned and defined than I'd ever been.  I could even flex my biceps and get a little bulge, which was just electrifying for me!  Why I haven't continued with upper body (as that wouldn't affect my knees for Pete's sake) is beyond me. 

Off to the gym I go, and then to the salon for a cut and color which I desperately need.  I'm feeling the need for an upgrade to my better self, on the way to my best self.  Gonna get started right now!


  1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment! :) I appreciate it!

    Gym's frustrate me! We joined a FANCY one and got a discount because Sean worked in one of the towns larger companies- it was 189 a month for the 2 of us! We joined because they had an ADULT Only pool that was covered with a fancy bubble tent and heated in the winter- I was gonna use it all winter!! :) SO the snooty people did not want to share a lap lane with me- I was slow- and then that winter they decided to redo the tile edges of teh pool and closed it down. OH GREAT! lol Then after Sean got a new job they called us to tell us since he no longer worked for such & such company that our fees were going to be increased. I told them the reason we joined (pool) and told them to cancel. They STILL made a stink because SEAN was the one HE had to call to cancel. LOL OHHHHHH SO he did! lol But it's so stupid that the whole town acted like it was a high class place. ggrrrr OK RANT OVER LOL :)

  2. Sorry that they wouldn't cancel. That's one thing I liked about the crappy gym in our could do it by the month.

    Hope everything goes well at the gym!

  3. That is terrible! I hope if you get those sessions with the trainer that he/she is a good one. Yikes!

  4. Anonymous24 July, 2010

    Hmmm. Since the initial mbrshp was a little different, I wouldnt' be surprised if the gym says you aren't actually qualified for the free sessions.

    Whether they do that or not--really, even if they willingly give you the free trainer sessions--I think I'd casually mention that getting with a qualified trainer is important to you BECAUSE you injured your knee there with the original trainer and wanted to make sure, now that you've healed from the two surgeries, that you had appropriate instruction.

    Tell them that you don't want another work stopping, surgery requiring injury due to following bad advice so you really need a trainer that understands what 50 year olf bodies ought to do... You want to work as hard as you can--but you want to do it correctly in order to avoid re-injury.

    You know, causally. You'll find the wording.

    I would think that will help them see to it that you get a trainer who knows his/her stuff. If they want to deny you, it may make them change their mind.

    And, hopefully this won't be necessary, but if injury does occur you will be able to say that the gym was fully informed of your knee situation.

    chuckle. sorry. I'm tempted to erase all of that--sometimes I can be just too helpful. But, I'll let it stand. You're a smart woman anc can decide if the info is useful.


  5. I like your positive spin on this news! It's not so terrible and I'm going to bet that you feel like a million tonight with a new "do" and the halo of virtue from a session at the gym. Go for it--I predict that your bicep bulges will be back soon, performing for your pleasure.

  6. Anonymous24 July, 2010

    You absolutely take advantage of those "free" sessions. I'm in a rut with the gym. I'm quite "over" my Cheers style gym aka everyone in my business, judgemental looks from weight gain, etc etc.... I have not been now for weeks. I have walked on my treadmill, but since I'm a social person walking at home is BORING. I need to find a new mentally healthy workout've got me pondering.

    Yea to the haircut and color...I think that is the best pick me up on the planet....hence my "naturally" blond

  7. I love your line about being on your way to your best self. That's such a powerful intention. I also love how you are handling your "lemons". Your lemonade will be fabulous!

  8. There is a different feel to this post... like you are determined to turn it around, to wring out the BEST from this situation, to get back to positive actions and results. It feels enthusiastic and determined. I'm glad for you!

  9. Anonymous24 July, 2010

    Hey, Leslie! I just had the same Blogger glitch you had wit the forced centering. MY little technique of highlighting & clicking the alignment icon worked--on all but one section. That section WILL NOT BUDGE. grrr. Just wanted to let you know. If you found a fix, please pass it on. Deb

  10. Gyms-YUCK! I commend you for not giving up! I once let a gym membership go THREE MONTHS without visiting!!

  11. I want you to try short trainer type fins in the water for short periods of time to build strength now.

  12. No surprise that there was no negotiation on that, so make sure that you get everything they promised when you signed!!!

    You can make 'em pay!

    I was just on my home treadmill in an upstairs bedroom and a WASP flew out of the blinds! (It's 100 degrees outside; I most certainly do not have a window open.)

    Of course, I ran from the room--screaming--and slamming the door behind me!!! Luckily, I automatically yanked the key so the machine is not rolling. Waiting for my big, brave husband to come home and kill the pest.

    How is THAT for an excuse for not finishing my three miles?

    Enjoy the salon treatment!

  13. You enjoy your hair day, and you bug them for all that you should be getting. That is stupid, I quit because the gym I went to (being almost a half hour away from my home) continually raised prices, and had little tiny elves that couldn't understand the fact that an older, heavily dinged up knee wise woman, might not want to start stair stepping and doing leg weights. I found that walking with my animals does me pretty well, I don't have to travel, and I save gym fees.

    You do what you can to make yourself feel GREAT! We are all behind you!


  14. Hope you got your money's worth at the gym. Give it all you got. Maybe in 6 month you'll want to reup....stranger things have happened.

    Ouch on the knee thing. You know your body, just do your best.

  15. I'm dealing with an injury that is frustrating as well.

    Keep doing things that have a positive impact on your life and don't get hung up on the things that don't go our way.

  16. uck. Thats gyms for you. You would think they would allow you to cancel, I mean, what are they missing out on.
    I would be in there 12 hours a day. lolz.
    Well, at least you are going to make the best of it.
    That's a plus.

  17. I, for one, did not fully know the start of the knee troubles so I am very glad you retold the story. And did your PT (knees) show you how to work your whole body 'around' your knees? How to adapt each type of exercise to keep your knees strong? That is one thing I learned with my PT for my lower back - literally how to do each type of positioning to accomodate my lower back (and my knees which are also 'bad'). There is the PT where they basically teach people how to get on and off the toilet, chairs, car. And then there is the athletes level of PT. And it is important to have the athletes knowledge.

  18. First of all "Hi", I ended up here from "The Art of Not Working", a blog I really like and although I am no expert I have a little experience (~33 years) with meniscus issues. I am 48 and had the medial meniscus (L) excised when I was 15 and of course I have arthritis now. All I want to say is to be careful with your form, especially on a treadmill. You may have to shorten your stride and try to minimize your heelstrike. I am working on barefoot (or minimalist footwear) running right now and although I am not here to suggest you try it, especially so soon after surgery, the lessons learned through research about how your foot stikes would be helpful. If you have any interest I have the research linked at my blog. The short of it is to work towards landing more midfoot or forefoot to minimize the impact that is sent up the leg to the joints. I am finding it to be really beneficial to my knees but will warn that it takes stronger calves (as in they will be sore for a while). Sorry 'bout the long post or unsolicited advice.
    Anyway, really like your blog and I plan to get here more often. Congrats on the sober living and the great attitude you took about the gym czar.

  19. That whole knee thing is so scary ... can happen so easily. My gym is a hole in the wall place and folks of all sizes and ages go there. I enjoy their benign neglect. If I need guidance, it's available but I usually have an agenda when I go, get it done and get out. If I stopped paying, I'm not sure I'd have the discipline (I KNOW I wouldn't) to work out on my own. Better to pay and stay!

  20. One of the things we forget sometimes, especially when we thing there's an "authority" "helping" us is that we are the best keepers of our own bodies. DO NOT DO ANYTHING THAT HURTS. There's a huge difference between pushing yourself a bit and hurting. No pain, no gain is bullshit. They saying should be no slight muscle soreness, no gain. Seriously. I think somehow this whole things has touched your "don't tell me I can't because I will stare you down and do it" nerve. YAY!!! Work it girl.

  21. Anonymous25 July, 2010

    Just found your blog, and I love it! I can definitely sympathize with the gym thing. I have a temporary membership at a local gym (as I'm only home about 2 1/2 months out of the year) and they said I'd have free sessions with a trainer, but have yet to actually *offer* it. Perhaps I should pursue that...