In a very uncharacteristic move, I recently started doing daily resistance training. I’ll be perfectly honest: it’s only been a week, and I probably wouldn’t be keeping up as well as I am if it weren’t for the iPad app I’ve been using. It’s called Gorilla Workout but for reasons I won’t get into here, I think of it as being called Monkey Fitness. I won’t go into a lot of detail about it because I’m planning to do a full review of it for the RUNiverse on Thursday.
I will say this, though: in the short amount of time I’ve been doing it, I’ve gotten stronger in my lower and upper body. Cosmetically, my thighs (especially my hamstrings and butt) are getting more defined, and my biceps are a bit more noticeable. My knees, however, are in rough shape. Admittedly, in the past week, they’ve looked worse (the picture to the left sort of minimizes how purple they are, but this is still nothing compared to a few days ago). But considering that last night I woke up feeling pain in both my knees caused by the weight of my blankets pressing against my bruises, I’d say they’re not in great shape, either.
It all started with modified push-ups. Gorilla Workout gives you a few different levels to choose from when you start your work-out program, and I chose the easiest. Buyer beware: there are a lot of modified push-ups involved in the easiest level! Combine that with the fact that I didn’t bother putting a mat under my knees for the first several days of doing the push-ups, the fact that I’ve been doing a lot of yoga lately and yoga always has poses that involve being on your knees, and how much time I spent on my hands and knees on Sunday pinning fabric for some home-made curtains I was making, and you get long-lasting, ugly, painful bruises.
I feel a bit foolish because there’s a really obvious and easy solution to this problem: stop doing the things that are perpetuating the bruising, let the bruises heal, and then use a mat or something under your knees when you start doing the things that causes the bruising again. But wouldn’t that make it too easy? I mean, what good is fitness and working out if it’s not painful in some significant way, right? No pain, no gain, right? Right?
Okay, I’m being a little facetious…but only a little. It’s actually sort of silly that I haven’t put things on hold to let these stupid bruises heal. But what’s even sillier is that compared to the hell a lot of people (myself included) have put themselves through in the name of “health”, or appearance, or weight loss. It seems to have taken me years and years, but I’m finally getting to the point where I’m settling into the idea that working out should be enjoyable–it’s something I’ve known for a while without being able to really know it–and it’s hard to enjoy things when they’re causing you physical or emotional pain (unless that’s your thing, in which case, that’s fine). Starving yourself? Not enjoyable. Training for marathons because of some bizarre standard you’ve set for yourself? Not enjoyable. Beating yourself up because you missed a run? Punishing yourself because you ate a “bad” food when you should have eaten a “good” one? I’m not going to write out the answer, I think we can all figure it out on our own. When you get down to it, health and fitness should be sustainable, and in order for something to be sustainable you have to want to engage in it or with it.
So, what does this all mean for me and my bruised knees? I’m not going to lie, I’m enjoying my Gorilla Workouts overall, and I’m not going to stop doing them. But I am going to substitute wall push-ups (and maybe a few full push-ups) until things clear up a bit and once that’s done I’m going to put more effort into taking care of myself. Hopefully in a week or so, it will be like these bruises never even happened.