So, I’m in the midst of what feels like an incredibly long, never ending journey. I’ve posted frequently about fitness, health and disability.
And I’m getting to the point where I’ve accepted that I will never be done.
It’s probably a long shot that my body will ever be athletic or even dependable, but at least I can commit myself to doing as much as I can to be as functional as I can.
I have hemiplegic cerebral palsy, which means it only effects my lower limbs. On good days, in the right circumstances, with the right concentration, you might not even notice. But those days feel fewer and far between as I age.
I started strength training in college— and if you’ve read some of my previous posts this might be repetition for you— as one of my gym electives. My liberal arts education included gym.
I returned to it on and off, mostly for stress management and then health after The Teenager was born. That’s when I met some very awesome vegan gym owners. (I was still in my vegetarian days. I keep trying to get more into a plant-based diet again.)
I worked out at home for several years while regaining strength after broken bones. And— as I’ve shared before— I got very lean and cut.
Now I have no desire to be than thin again and no discipline left to be that lean. But I am working toward regaining my strength and muscle. Those pictures are from when I was 40. Well, I’m going to be 47 in a few months and progress is slow. I’m still at an all-time high in my weight. I have days where my hips don’t want to work. And my spine hurts most of the time.
My eating habits also don’t match my goals— but my emotional state has to improve for me to fix that.
But I keep working on all these things.
As my marriage ended, I joined Planet Fitness and that kept some of my health demons at bay. The pandemic ended that, and that’s where my weight gain exploded, too.
And I also realized my desire and discipline had faded in direct proportion to my pain and physical difficulties. If I’m going to be crippled away, why bother?
But this summer, I saw a Facebook post by Apex Training here in my neighborhood. So I reached out and Greg got in touch almost immediately. I told him my story— and this meant a lot of vulnerability for me— and he immediately recommended Dan without missing a beat.
Now I was very very intimidated. I had walked by their gym 1,000 times but usually found small gyms and local trainers pushy and unwelcoming. Like a private club.
But I hit it off with Dan and found myself impressed with his knowledge and his creativity. He’d be a gifted physical therapist.
My strength has returned but my body still doesn’t always cooperate but Dan always knows how I’m feeling just my how I’m moving.
This gym is amazing. I see a lot of guys who come together to lift, a lot of women who want to lose weight, and married couples who work out together. And the environment is very family friendly— you’ll often see Greg’s dog Gotti or the babies, Dan and Greg both have toddler sons.
The Teenager has started lifting. She has a love of pushing around heavy weights so Dan has started teaching her barbell sports. Around the same time she started accompanying me to the gym, Andrew joined the team and he has a background in powerlifting.
Well now it’s too late to make a long story short, but I’ve been feeling better and Dan has made some creative adjustments to my sessions to try and improve my range of motion.
Dan had to cancel this morning’s session so he suggested reaching out to Andrew, but Andrew was running on fumes. We weren’t able to schedule a workout but we had a great conversation about the prospect of getting The Teenager into her own sessions with Andrew and I can continue my work with Dan.
Andrew said she has potential and that he’s impressed with the lifts he’s seen. She now squats 155 I think and deadlifts 195. But here’s what I didn’t expect… “Your work ethic,” Andrew said to me, “is inspiring to watch.”
My world has been upside down for the last three to six months. So to hear that is just a reminder of how you never know who’s watching and how you may impact others.
And while I am still searching for the right doctors as I age, I know that strength training serves as a great boon to my future mobility and health. I see the orthopedic physiatrist this week and scheduled a visit with the neuromuscular physiatrist at the end of May.
I’m hoping these doctors can teach me how my body works so I can give this information to the team at Apex and maybe I could have a future in strength sports. Or maybe I can finally jog a 5K.
But more people need to understand—
Physical therapy is a blessing for specific injury. But as we age, most of us will gain a disability if we don’t already struggle with congenital issues. Just as I look for the doctor that can help me understand my whole body and its movement, the right personal trainer can help me strengthen my whole body.
I really wish I could be with the guys at Apex Training five days a week.
And I hope anyone with a disability who wants to improve their physical condition will consider committing to work with a personal trainer.