My struggle

My struggle this year…

What many of you probably don't know is that I have suffered from chronic back pain with 2 bulging discs, 1 ruptured disc, and 1 herniated disc this past year. This has been caused by a combination of bad genetics and pregnancy-lucky me. This has been debilitating at times and just annoying at others, but without a doubt it has affected my quality of life--my ability to do what I wanted to do. There have been times that I couldn't even bend to put dishes in the dishwasher (yes, I realize that this could be a blessing except I didn't see it that way when I was frustrated and in pain). There were weeks on end that I couldn't even bath my children or put the baby in his crib. I have seen numerous doctors & chiropractors and had MRIs run without any change. What finally provided relief and allowed me to get my life back was fitness.

After a lot of research and screenings, Ty (our head trainer and my husband) gave me 3 stretches and 4 exercises to do everyday. I was banned from doing anything else (which was really hard for me because I can't accept not being able to do something, I overdo things, and I don't like feeling like a wimp). After 6 weeks, I had complete freedom of movement and I have been virtually pain free since. The reason I tell you this is twofold a) to brag on my husband! b) but also to give you some insight that I discovered.

When I couldn't exercise, I was miserable. I enjoy exercise but more than that I enjoy the results. Because I couldn't do ANYTHING, everything started to suffer. The more deconditioned I got, the more pain I experienced…pain in my knees, hips, neck, shoulder…you name it and it started to hurt. Then getting back in shape was so much harder. It was frustrating because I knew what I had been capable of, it hurt a lot (as in soreness factor), and it took a long time to see any changes.

I have been active all of my life (even during both pregnancies) so I had never really experienced what it was like to do nothing but sit on ice or lay on ice for 9 months and then start exercising again. This experience opened my eyes to something that many of you have experienced and overcome—it's really hard to change even when you know it's good for you. That's a really simple way of putting it. But getting into fitness is so much more than getting a schedule and new tennis shoes. It can be a frustrating, uphill battle at times where you want to quit so badly. It's a battle of the mind over the emotions. BUT, it's totally WORTH IT.

Now that I'm recovered, I can look back over the last year of struggles and see that my life would not be the same without fitness. I don't like pain but the pain of sore muscles outweighs the pain of achy joints, poor posture, no mobility, and not even having the stamina to chase my kids in the back yard. I can now do what I want to do and enjoy my life, my kids, my spouse, and my work. Isn't that what life is all about?

Last year I wrote a lot about the concept: fitness is motion and motion is life. I didn't know at the time that this year I would personally "test" that idea. Fitness is not about the process which is sweat and work but about the end result which is being able to do the things you want to do. Your life will be longer, lived at a higher level and more fulfilled if you seek fitness. Our goal always has been to help you live a life in motion filled with the energy and strength that only a person who is fit and healthy can understand.

My sincere hope is that if you are also struggling with finding your "Why," pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, or overcoming frustrations, that this gives you some hope. It is worth it. Every workout, every drop sweat, every sore muscle gets you one step closer to having the freedom to do what you want to do in life. Fitness really is a means to an end and that end is FREEDOM.

See you in the club!

Yours in fitness (& health),

Jen

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