I Am Not Superwomen

I have a confession to make. I am not in fact superwoman. I know that this will come as a shock to most of you, but I had to get that off my chest.  When it comes to topics of health, losing weight, dieting, and exercise, we talk about behavior change a lot. In my field of study there is a whole model dedicated to it. A behavior change is something that we have control over. We make a conscious decision to make our life better in some way. Whether that may be drinking more water, eating more vegetables, or exercising 5 days a week. What we don’t often talk about are the things that happen in our life that we don’t have control over. We will just call this “life”.  Behavior change is not easy, and whoever acts like it is, is just putting on an act. “Life” gets in the way of our seemingly good efforts. It could be emotional distress like a death in the family, or divorce. It could be an injury or a sickness, a new job, or a newborn. So what do you do when all of your good habits seem so far away or impossible to complete? 

***I want to note that if you are going through something right now and you feel stalled in your progress, that “life” happens. Just because this chapter of your story is really heart wrenching, that does not mean that you wont make an epic comeback in a few pages. Be your own superhero

 I was inspired to write this blog because I randomly hurt my lower back last weekend doing deadlifts. Deadlifts are something I am very comfortable with, but I had not been doing them as regularly as I should for the month prior to trying to get a PR (personal record). It wasn’t the smartest decision on my part, and I am paying for it. Im not going to lie and say I dealt with this well. I was with most of my siblings and my dad when I heard a pop in my back. I knew something was wrong. My dad took me home and I cried the whole drive. Not out of pain (although I was hurting), out of anger and fear. I was so mad at myself for lifting so much, when that isn’t a priority of mine (I'm about to train for an ultra marathon, I don't need to be able to deadlift 300 pounds). I was also scared to death that I wouldn’t be able to exercise. I have talked about this before, but exercise is not just exercise to me. It is how I keep my mind healthy, and how I feel in control of my body. I don’t feel well a lot of the time, and if I didn’t exercise, I don’t think it would appreciate my body very much. Being active gives me a daily reminder of how great my body can be, even with my little (kind of big) kinks. Anyway, after the initial shock of being hurt was over, I went to my chiropractor and he assured me that I would be okay, just give my body some rest and TLC for a week or two. 

This is just one example of a time when I have had to take a step back and let my body rest for a bit.  There have been many others as well, like for example: I had surgery during training for my first marathon, and only gave my body two weeks to recover before I jumped right back into training. I later paid the price and had a very hard time recovering from my race and training. I have dealt with shin splints, neck problems, bicep injuries, and surgeries that have forces me to change up my training plan. It’s not always the most fun thing in the world, but you have to be adaptive when things go wrong in life. I have learned this the very hard way. I am a planner, but my plan isn’t the one that matters, so listen to God, pray about it, and follow these guidelines for times when “life” doesn’t go as planned. 

1. If you are injured, then fix it. I like to think of myself as someone who has a very high pain threshold. I also know that there is good pain and bad pain, and I don’t push through bad pain. Its not worth it to me. I value exercise too much to continue to injure myself for a day of training. I take the time I need to get better and I rehab. 

     2.     Change up your training. This week when I hurt my back, I became very limited in what I could do. Instead of pouting about it, I decided to find something that worked. Which was swimming. I really love to swim anyway, so it gave me the opportunity to get in the pool and enjoy a workout (trying to turn a negative into a positive).

     3.     Realize that a little time off might be what your body needs. Many times people get so into their routine that they don’t stop and listen to their bodies. I have been guilty of this. I just love to train, and there is nothing wrong with this. Just try to become very in tune with what your body wants, not what your mind wants. You don’t have to stop being active, just enjoy a deload week every now and again.

     4.     Make it up with your diet. If you are one of those people who gain weight thinking about food, then it would make logical sense that you were very aware of your nutrition if you weren’t able to be active. Drink a lot of water, and eat food that your body needs, not that your mind wants when its board. 

     5.     If you aren’t dealing with a physical ailment, then exercise might be the solution to your problem. I know that might not be what you want to hear, but exercise is really good free therapy. I cant explain to you how many of my questions seem so much more clear after I am finished with my training. Or how small they seem in hindsight. 

Bailey and I are supposed to start our ultra marathon training tomorrow, and I could not be more excited to start this journey with her again. The funny thing about it is that I highly doubt I will even be able to run this week. I will probably be heading to the pool every morning, which is where I am heading as soon as I am finished writing this blog. I want to encourage you not to let a bump in the road derail your journey. Just take it with a grain of salt, and show “life” who’s boss (that’s you, in case you don’t realize it). As an ode to my mantra, DON’T STOP! You don’t have to be 100%, you just have to be strong enough to not give up and to keep moving forward. Even if it is just an inch at a time. 

With so much love, 


P.S. I really am a superwoman...

Blaine MenkeComment