The First Or Final Steps – Gym Journey

How on earth do you manage an injury and keep motivation to head to the gym? No seriously I’m asking because I have no chuffing idea still to this day.  

Don’t get me wrong since heading to the gym I’ve been lucky enough not to encounter many injuries my back pain I’ve had for years, yet after I began writing this piece, I was struck down with increasing back pain that put a hurtling halt to my gym-ing, for more than two weeks . (hopefully back stronger in the new year.) So, the only thing that has caused me serious motivational lag is my knees. When the dream is to have big legs and a nice perky bum it causes your routine to fall flat on its face. Sometimes more literally then I have intended. Cardio is and always will be my worst enemy I have no intension to hop skip and jump to the bike, rowing machine or even walk on the treadmill ( I know I should but I don’t ) So my gym session have always consisted of weights and circuits, as you can imagine swollen, failing knees was something I couldn’t continue with.  

When I tore a ligament in my knee not only did, I see physical setbacks but mental ones as well, (I know what your thinking here comes the self obsessed mental health insanity ). I could no longer face heading to the gym with the increasing pain and swollen knee especially with my failing aspect of weights even the lightest. In turn my leg press went from a strong 100kg down to a plummeting 14kg on the best days. This left my head a bit of a mess with no outlet for whatever the hell is going on upstairs I was slowly returning to an ‘insane’ and a little bit lost state. I had my injury for weeks before I went to find out what it was and stupidly, I pushed myself to continuing upping my weights and performing tasking exercises that added to the pain and pressure on my knee. (Probably a helping hand with why I have so much trouble with them now.) Not only was I trying to combat my mental struggles but my dream of a body I could love would echo in my head every time I was told not to go.  

So How did I get back on it?  

I’m no doctor, PT or even in the slightest a smart person but hear me out, I rested and returned pushing myself into smaller weights that I knew I could battle and would half fulfil my gym needs. In one term I was able to improve my knee with small and repetitive moments but the perfectionist inside me wanted, no needed more to say I’m doing a decent job at whatever this achieving is. I struggled insanely with the aftermath of pushing myself and would often walk with a little bit of a limp. Pushing myself through daily life with doses of painkillers in a constant flow of management. I wasn’t seeing improvement or even the tiniest amount of satisfaction with tiny weights and stretching movements to try and ease the movement I had.  

I had to refocus my needs with physical exercise and put more into recovery and recuperation than body mass, why? Because I was in constant fear of losing the gym all together, a simple injury, pain and recurring problem can be the ruin of the gym especially for someone who struggles so intently with motivation. I was worried I would lose the desire that I found in the gym as I couldn’t lift or improve myself with such an injury/ And here we are again going through the entire same thing with a different problem, one that could insanely destroy the gym for me.  

To tell you the truth I’ve been to physio and stretched whole heartedly to try and ease the muscle tensions I have encountered. Yet I still have days of utter struggle, where my legs can’t take a 20kg leg press and my back won’t even let me get through the door. My main struggle is keeping motivated with fitness and still heading to the gym even if it is to do small weights that don’t give growth or even the slightest satisfaction.  

Of course, I rest and recovered but also pushed myself to continue as told I could by medical professionals. I was able to move and increase at a safe level to ensure no more injuries and growing strength in the troubling muscle.  

Starter Exercises!

The following are five exercises you can’t go wrong with when beginning your journey into physical fitness. I struggled insanely when I first began at the gym. I would look around a be lost in a world of weights I couldn’t lift and machine I didn’t have the foggiest of how to use.

1.) Squats

Why? Because not only do they work every muscle in your lower body for example flutes, quads and even calves but for me personally gave me the mental gratification to push further into my desired targets. Unlike leg press it requires core engagement and stabilisation. Meaning squats help improve flexability, mobility and balance as well as achieving toned legs and glutes. Squats actually help to strengthen these supportive tissues, which can mean the difference between an injury or not. 

2.) Lat Pulls

Are not seen as wonderfully as they are , due to the fact people run away from machines when thinking about building muscle because of the possible inbalance. However not only can the lat pull down help build multiple muscle in the back but increases mass and healthier shoulders. As well as impacting deltoids (rear delts), rhomboids, and trapezius, the biceps also play their part. 

3.) Bench Press

Okay… Honestly it took me a while to actually get to doing bench presses, simply down to confidence and the gym stereotype. I thought it was something everyone would be watching and only really for the ‘real’ lifters not those starting out with just the bar and struggling with that, in turn I started with light dumbells on a matt and later grew the strength and courage to grab a bar and surprising was able to lift much heavier than first thought. This exercises recruits all upper pushing muscles including pecs and deltoid while engaging your core unlikely with machines.

4.) Overhead Dumbell Press

The dumbbell overhead press increases strength throughout the shoulders and engages the core for stability and is a very good exercise for beginners in the gym scene. By using a dumbell you have more activation and pushing stabilisation.

5.) Planks

Although the very word gives me an intense sweat, the plank is a great way to increase core muscles and activates more muscles than the likes of crunches. This can also improve your posture and for fellow #scoclosiswarriors this is a massive bonus for the longest minute I have ever encountered.

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