Weakness Leaving the Body

September was CMT Awareness Month. I decided to use my blog to raise a bit of CMT Awareness by doing an “alphabet challenge” – blogging a letter / key word of the things I face with CMT and as an athlete with CMT.  I didn’t make it through the full alphabet in September so I am continuing my challenge through October. Today is brought to you by the letter W. I hope my blogging will help you to learn more about CMT – the most common but least well known hereditary nerve disorder – and me. And I hope this will also help to raise funds for the Charcot Marie Tooth Association to support its efforts to find a treatment for CMT. You can join me in learning more about CMT by clicking onto www.cmtausa.org and of course a donation would be wonderful too!

Want to get out of your comfort zone? Embrace doing more of what you really don’t like.

In 2012 I made a decision to start to do bootcamp in order to work on my overall strength and conditioning. In my weekly training plans from my tri coach, there was always a strength session. But it was just so easy for me to let the session slide. Why? Because I didn’t like it. So I went searching for a format that would suit me. I chose a class based training camp. Twice a week. Just 30 minutes each time. Small baby steps to do more of what I didn’t like. In order to improve.

After about 18 months of bootcamp (minus a slug of time in triathlon season when I tapered down my attendance, and a chunk of time when I had broken my ribs) I decided that I needed to do MORE.

I was “getting by” in bootcamp – but I was not thriving, for me anyway.  I wanted the focus that an hour of training brings. I wanted more time, time spent focusing on nothing else but what was hard for me. The type of focus that by definition crowds everything else out of you head.

So I researched and found a new class to go to, with Tom and Gav from Ultimate City Fitness.

Me and Tom, taken the weekend after ITU Chicago

I’ve been at bootcamp with Tom and Gav for just over a year now. This year I once again “tapered down” during triathlon season. But now that it is off-season, I am back to focusing on getting strong, building up my strength.

And getting rid of weakness…

As a part of this I have committed to adding in a once a week functional conditioning session with Tom. Each Wednesday we are working on some fairly basic things. But for people with CMT, the basics can be quite a challenge!

Last week we worked on split squats, but my challenge? How to stabilise my ankle, so that my rear foot would not laterally roll, or so that I would not compensate, while doing the functional move. So that I would engage the right muscles to do the dedicated work at hand.  It was a challenge – how to anchor that back ankle. But finally we found a way, using mobility bands to provide a counter tension.

We also worked on some bent over single arm rows, using progressively heavier dumbbells, focusing on engaging my shoulder blades. It was challenging but in ways I did not expect. Don’t engage the deltoids. Engage in between the shoulder blades at the top of the row. Really really squeeze. For such a small movement it was exhausting. But the difference the next day when I hit the pool was noticeable – I felt muscles switch on as I pulled water, muscles that I hadn’t really noticed before in swimming. It was a good feeling.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring? Something subtle but hard I am sure!

There is a saying that “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”

I far prefer “Sweat is weakness leaving the body.”

Getting strong doesn’t need to be painful. Especially if you work with the right people, in the right format for you.

But sweat? A sign of hard work, of pushing myself?  Yes. Sweat is how I know weak is leaving the house.

Don’t forget to shut the door after you, weakness!

To learn more about UCFitness, click through to Tom and Gav’s site.

As I blog my way through the alphabet to raise awareness of CMT, today’s post was brought to you by the letter “W” – Weakness. You can learn more about CMT and donate to support the search for a treatment for this (at present) incurable progressive degenerative nerve disease at www.cmtausa.org — Thank you!

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