Capsule Workout Update
Lifting weights has been part of my overall training routine since my competitive running days—and I confess it has never felt particularly nurturing. I have noticed tightness and inflexibility over the years. I have had injuries. Recently, I started experiencing pain in my lower back. A lot of it. Not to mention, experiencing headaches the day after I lift weights. I have accommodated by lifting less often, switching to less weight, using only machines, and adding a yoga class after my sessions. I tried Cross Fit for a time to mix things up. Being willing to consciously reflect on what is working and what is not is a crucial aspect of living a meaningful life—and as it turns out to building a nourishing (as well as effective) capsule workout routine! It has taken decades for me to come to the realization that lifting weights no longer feels honoring to the way my body works. That is important information to have. With that realization, I am propelled forward to make a change. An edit of sorts. Now I still value having a strength component to my workout routine, so what are my options?
After looking into a number of options, I decided to try out a new discipline called The Bar Method by adding it to my capsule workout routine. Why? The “Method” works for strengthening muscles, but it also incorporates the stretching and lengthening muscles too. It is challenging, but also fun! I typically attend a class 2-3 times each week for one hour. I am feeling stronger than ever— with zero pain. My posture has improved. I feel more flexible. My brain is engaged throughout the entire class too (another perk!). I am not sure I would have done this earlier in my life but now that I am in my later forties, I find that strength and flexibility are not components that come easily to my body anymore. In addition, I find having an actual teacher to check my alignment and form to be invaluable. And they do provide corrections in class!
Wherever you are in your exercise routine, remember that part of nourishing ourselves involves an awareness of what is working and what is not. We can always edit accordingly! An exercise that is “not working” might be one that is too aspirational or one we don’t enjoy or one that feels hurtful to our bodies or maybe the exercise just isn’t effective.
Things to Consider
It is important to adjust our fitness activity to meet our needs from time to time. What components are most important to you now? What is your intention in having a routine of sorts? Are you looking to develop endurance? Strength? Flexibility? What are your components?
Carefully consider what intensity/ length of time feels appropriate to start? A balanced approach seems to work best long term. Create a routine. Start slowly. Be realistic.
Try out a sample schedule and observe how you feel. What works, what doesn’t work? Change accordingly. Listen to your body.
Seek structural support where you may need guidance and accountability. Both are important. I sought instruction when I began yoga for the first time as I had no idea if I was using the right form for downward facing dog and other postures. Beginning The Bar Method, I have signed up for classes once again knowing that I would need instruction due to my lack of experience and exposure. Accountability can be in the form of a class you pay for (that works for me but not for everyone. Know yourself!) or in having a set time to run or walk with a friend each week. Try to choose activities you are excited about as that will help you follow through with your plan.
Plan for a regular time of day and a frequency that is realistic. First thing in the morning. Evening time. Right after the kids leave for school. It really doesn’t matter as long as it will work reliably. Pick a number of times each week that will allow you to succeed and enjoy your body. Watch out for a tendency to be aspirational or perfectionistic. Both can thwart your efforts in ways that are not so nourishing.