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Tom’s Fitness & Paris Martial Arts


Posted: August 16, 2010

This week one of our regulars named Nicole has been struggling with a shoulder/arm injury. She’s not sure quite how it happened. At first they thought it was a torn tricep. Now they’re leaning toward a slightly herniated disc in the cervical spine, which could put pressure on the nerves that feed the biceps and triceps.

She’s handling it pretty well, though. While it’s driving her nuts that she can’t participate in kickboxing, running or weight lifting, she’s determined to keep training by riding the bicycle for another week until her arm gets better.

Now it might sound like I’m talking about some elite athlete that does triathlons, but actually, I’m talking about a fairly regular gal that started exercising about 8 months ago. She’s had remarkable success since then, losing over 100 lbs to date.

I say fairly regular, because she’s just like the rest of us, but actually, she’s pretty extraordinary. Not only did she make it into the top 50% of people that didn’t quit after starting an exercise routine, she made it into the top 25% of people that never miss a workout.

She started a month before one of our Biggest Loser groups, to get a jump on things, and then did two Biggest Loser sessions in a row. Since then, she’s been doing cardio on her own, Kickboxing class on Mondays (a really barn burning workout), and coming into our Level 4 group workouts several times a week.

But with this injury to her shoulder/bicep area, she said she’s got to pull back to just the bicycle for awhile. “This is really putting a kink in my workouts!!!” I really like her attitude, though. She told me, “Oh well, guess this is one of those bumps in the road I’ve got to overcome, and I WILL!!!”

Is there any doubt that Nicole will continue to reach her goal? Even with a week of being limited in what she could do, she still lost another 5.6 lbs! Where once it worked against her, now her body is working for her—even when she can’t do quite as much until her arm heals up.

Think of it. Losing 100 lbs. If that’s difficult, come in to the gym sometime and I’ll have you pick up 100 lbs and walk around with it for a little bit. Just walking for a couple minutes carrying two 50 lb dumbbells is beyond most people’s grasp.

I’ve got a 40 lb backpack we use for adding weights to pull-ups and dips. What can be a tough exercise anyway becomes VERY difficult with that pack on. One time I put it on and walked a mile on the treadmill, just to see how it felt. That was just 40 lbs.

The first half mile wasn’t too bad, although I could feel the weight pulling down on my shoulders and back. By the end of the mile, the weight was getting heavy, and my breathing was getting a little labored—and I’m in pretty good shape.

I’ve got friends in the military that do forced marches with 50 lb rucksacks. They’ve got my respect. Imagine doing that with 100 lbs. That’s what Nicole had to do when she first started working out. No wonder half the people quit!

If you’re overweight, think of all the extra weight your frame has to support. It’s kind of like overloading an elevator. It might not snap and crash this time, but it can’t be good either. It’s no wonder that people complain of pain in their joints and back. Or that their muscles get sore. But it’s not just carrying around the extra weight.

When you’re morbidly obese, all that extra fat is actually pressing in on your lungs and other organs, making it difficult to breathe, so you can’t get enough oxygen—literally smothering you. And if you do get a decent breath, your heart has to pump that blood and oxygen through all those miles of extra blood vessels, making it work way harder than it should have to.

Now imagine walking around that way but then being able to throw 100 lbs off. How would it feel? What would it be like to not have to carry that weight around? How would your heart be working? How would your muscles and skeleton feel?

Before, your metabolism would be running slowly, but now, due to all that exercise and more muscle mass, it’s soaring right along. That’s why even though she hasn’t been able to do as much, Nicole still lost 5.6 lbs! Now, her body is working for her.

It is, too. You should see her doing the workouts. It’s like seeing freedom at work. I know how she feels. It used to be that I couldn’t run without having a serious asthma attack. Now, with the new asthma meds, I can run like the wind. OK, like a small breeze.

Folks, there’s freedom here. Figure out what you’ve got to do, make a decision like Nicole did—to just get started. Make up your mind, and then do it. Get started. Keep doing it. When it’s tough, do what you can. Work around things. You’re going to hurt. But you’re going to hurt more, later, if you don’t do it.

I’m sure Nicole would tell you that if she can do it, you can do it. But maybe not. After all, this pretty regular person is pretty extraordinary. So what about you? What are you going to do?