Pain and other challenges, part the third

Posted: June 1, 2012 in CrossFit, Exercise, Fitness, Health, Obesity
Tags: , , , , ,

Yes, well, not exactly immediately after the last one, but, since I popped my head up, the rest of my body decided I needed a lie down.

I’ll pick up where I left off, and see where we go.

First, I ran my explanation of why muscles hurt with the knotting (with or without fibromyalgia) by Stephanie the Ph.D. PT, and she told me I was basically correct, but added another detail: When your muscles have those knots and refuse to relax, they fire off messages to the brain to make the other, supporting muscles stop helping out. The muscles also say hello to the neurotransmitters that are responsible for making you feel pain and say “Give her pain!!” (My words, not hers. If I’m wrong, don’t go blaming Stephanie.)

Second, I said that what I was doing was shy of the CrossFit model. I meant to refer to their model of fitness/wellness versus the how I would explain it. Reading it today, I see that it could be taken various ways, including that the exercise program isn’t the one they use.  In one sense that’s a true statement, as I have been “told” (arguably “ordered”) not to do one rep max lifts and other features of CrossFit, but in another sense, it is false, as I do believe that CrossFit is customizable. I’m going to have to rethink the “High Intensity Fitness” part, though, because the “go as hard as you can” may or not be applicable. Of course, I hurt myself overdoing one of the physical therapy exercises, so I may still be in the “go as hard as you can” mode in some ways. More on that on some later post.

What I wanted to address was the CrossFit fitness/wellness model and my quibbles with it. I generally agree, but not completely.

Let’s start with the CrossFit model. If you look at the freebie .pdf intro to CrossFit, you’ll see a really basic graph on the top of the third page. I tried to recreate it in paint, but I don’t have the requisite skills, and I’d rather spend my time cursing over my version. Basically, they propose an arc continuum of sickness, wellness and fitness, with wellness at the top midpoint.  I agree with the basic concept; my quibble is with the labels, although their definition of “fitness” is probably more what I’d consider “wellness.”

Here’s my graphic version:

At the midpoint, where the arrow is pointing, is when you’re an accident waiting to happen. Imagine moving the arrow around to where you are. I started somewhere around the border between red and orange (okay, in the red).  The idea is that the further you are to the left of the arrow is how difficult it will be to get over the hump and into the green. If you’re precisely at the midpoint, it doesn’t take much to slide either direction. Gaining weight, an injury or an illness will be more difficult to recover from as well.

So I’d moved more towards orange, and it took very little to slide back into red.

What constitute “wellness” or “fitness” is going to be dependent on a number of factors, including your age, disabilities or chronic illnesses, cumulative injuries and such. Wellness for me, as a 51-year-old with stenosis and arthrogenic changes in various parts of my skeleton, will be different from what it would have been for the 31-year-old me. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t bits and pieces I do have control over. It really didn’t hit me until I was thinking about some of the inspirational stories and videos I’ve posted: There are certain things that CrossFit can’t fix. What it, when properly scaled, can do is help you get as “well” or “fit” as you want to be.

But fracking scale you must. If you have any kind of chronic or permanent illness or injury, take it into consideration before you suffer a setback. Get an evaluation from a sports medicine doctor or a physical therapist. That is the lesson to be learned from this model: Figure out where you are on the scale.  If you’re midpoint or tilted left, don’t be a hero. SCALE IT DOWN.

(Have I mentioned that scaling the exercises is important?)

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