Posted in Health, Wellness

Renewal

I recently turned 40. A momentous occasion (allegedly).

What did I do to commemorate this milestone birthday?

Well, for one thing, I renewed my driver’s license. I know how to party, right? 

Standing in line at the BMV hardly seems to warrant a blog post. Pretty boring stuff.

Sure, today standing in line at the BMV is just another mundane adult task that requires minimal effort.

But a few years ago? Different story…

The year was 2014. February 19, 2014, to be exact. At this point I had never heard of Ludus Magnus or Matt Wenning.

Continue reading “Renewal”

Posted in exercise, Health

Steps Back, Leaps Forward

When it comes to diet and exercise, we often expect our progress to look like this:

progress

Stay dedicated, try hard, and every workout will be a crescendo of ever-increasing gains, right?

We are having a really good day, and do something awesome at the gym. Maybe a new lifting PR, maybe hitting a certain amount of volume or speed on an exercise. And then, we “expect” to be able to hit or exceed that same level at each subsequent outing.

But the truth is, those great days are rare. Most days we don’t feel our best. What then? Continue reading “Steps Back, Leaps Forward”

Posted in Health, Lifestyle change, Strength Training, Wellness

Anatomy of a Pain in the Ass: Part 2

There’s an old parable often referred to as the “streetlight effect,” that goes something like this:

A policeman comes across a drunkard searching for his car keys under a streetlight. Neither can kind the keys. The policeman asks the drunkard if he lost his keys in this spot. The drunkard replies, “No, I lost them in the park.”

“The park?” The policeman responds. “Then why are you looking here?”

The drunkard responds: “This is where the light is.”

When dealing with a problem, we often do the same thing. We look where the light is because it’s the most obvious thing we can see. But sometimes the light is misleading.

As I described in part 1 of Anatomy of a Pain in the Ass, the “light” was coming off my back in waves: I had a bulging disc in my lower back. I had signs of arthiritis in my back. The pain was in my back. Stands to reason that I, and all of the health professionals around me, were focused on my back.

But the true origin of the problem was not under the streetlight. It was in the dark, obscured nether regions of my ass (and hamstrings, to be precise). Continue reading “Anatomy of a Pain in the Ass: Part 2”

Posted in Lifestyle change, Strength Training, Wellness Coaching

Anatomy of a Pain in the Ass

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my journey to strength training at Ludus Magnus began with back pain. Chronic, limiting, debilitating back pain.

I lived with it every day. Some days it was a low-level ache, a kind of white noise that lingered in the background of my daily movements. Other days, I would have recurring spasms in my low back, accompanied by sharp stabbing pain in my ass cheeks that radiated through my hips and down my legs.

In hospitals and doctors’ offices they have pain rating scales such as this where they ask patients to assign a number to their pain level:

Pain_scale

I lived between 4 and 9. Even with chiropractic care and massage therapy 1-3 times per week, daily ibuprofen, regular stretching, and multiple icing sessions per day, it never got better than 4.  Continue reading “Anatomy of a Pain in the Ass”

Posted in Lifestyle change, Strength Training, Wellness Coaching

A Tale of Tears and Situps

Something to know about me: I’m a crier. Always have been. I cry when I’m sad, angry, happy, you name it. A giant reservoir of tears lurks just below my eyeballs, ready to burst forth at any moment for any reason. This trait has not always served me well, but I’ve accepted it as part of who I am. I’m a history geek, I love the Foo Fighters, I find all things fat-free repulsive, I cry. It’s part of the package.

I hit a new level with my crying after five months training with Matt at Ludus Magnus.

I cried over situps. Genuine, heart-felt tears of joy. Over situps.

Allow me to explain…. Continue reading “A Tale of Tears and Situps”

Posted in Strength Training, Wellness Coaching

Patient Zero

By Summer 2014, this was the situation in which I found myself:

I injured my back at work in January of that year. An MRI showed a bulging disc in my lower spine, L5 to be exact. I returned to work after six weeks off, but I was in constant pain. I ate ibuprofen like tic-tacs to get through the day, and then came home and laid on ice packs. I was seeing a chiropractor for adjustments and massage every week. I was stretching, going for walks, and occasionally swimming, but my recovery would not progress past a certain point. My quality of life was in the toilet; I was surviving, not living. Continue reading “Patient Zero”