Progress Through Adaptation

I figured it was about time for a status update on how my workout journey is going.  The rehab is going well.  The race is going to the tortise this time for sure … slow and steady is going to win.  I have gone from having to lay face-up on the ground using 3 pound weights as a substitute for push ups, to where I am today.  I can finally do a regulation “military” push-up off my toes.  Yep, I’m up to a push-up with my full body weight.  HOORAY!  I am starting these out easy as well by only doing a few reps, and then going back to doing bent-knee push-ups.

It’s pretty clear now that I am going to take about twice as long as the program intended for me to get the results they promised, but this is such a huge victory.  This is the first time that I didn’t let an injury like this become an excuse for me to quit and stop exercising entirely.  This means that while re-habbing my shoulder, I’ve also been building strength in my core and my legs, which wouldn’t have happened if I gave up on exercising entirely.

How are you doing on your exercise journey?  Are you encountering set-backs?  How are you dealing with them?  Would you like some support?  Let’s get the discussion going and keep supporting each other on our quest for improved fitness and health.

Slow and Steady Wins

Slow and Steady Wins

I would rather say "I did it" than "I gave up".Perserverance isn’t the most exciting or sexy topic.  After a  while, when someone asks how your fitness program is going, you can say, “I’m still doing it.”  Sure, there are the ups and downs that come with participation, but what I’m noticing is that the ups and downs are like a graph … as long as I keep exercising, it doesn’t loop back and take me back to the beginning.  I am beginning to see that perserverance can be its own achievement.  To see the gradual, workout-by-workout accrual of progress can be a thing of beauty to behold.

I have been doggedly following my exercise routine, and this has tested my patience more than I ever thought possible.  I experienced a set-back in the form of a shoulder injury during the first couple of weeks of my 90 day program.  I have been joking with friends that my P90 workout may very well turn into the P180 workout, just to get to the end result I was supposed to see by the completion of the 90-day program.  I have adapted so that I can continue exercising and make whatever progress I can still achieve, while allowing my body to heal.  This adaptation and patient refusal to give up has allowed me to get to the point in the last week where I can finally start adding weight to my workouts!  I am now lifting more for my bicep curls, tricep exercises, and I’m even able to do bent-knee pushups!

A whole new world is opening up to me by flatly refusing to give up.  What can open up for you if you refuse to quit?  Where have you experienced success by simply being too stubborn to quit?

Longevity is the New Normal!


I’m very happy to join the Mentoring Movement Community and look forward to meeting all of you soon! I look forward to sharing information on Tai Chi (Taijiquan) and Qigong (Ch’i Kung) with you: what it is, how it works, who all can do it (EVERYONE!) as well as all the latest in East/West Medical research.

In the meantime enjoy this article where “longevity is the new normal!”


Kimberly Ivy
(206) 789-0993

Uf-da versus Uh-oh

Part of the support we can provide for each other as we proceed on our fitness journey is to talk about some of the bumps along the way.

Today was the first time in four weeks that my shoulder was able to tolerate a modified push-up!  I want to do cart-wheels, but I’ll hold off on those until my shoulder is stronger.

Last summer I had been doing a VERY intense DVD workout, took some time off, and when I re-started it, I injured my left shoulder.  I’ve had a history of dodgy shoulders since I swam competitively in grade school and junior high.  Shoulder injuries are well-covered territory.  I took months off to let it heal after last summer’s injury, and finally re-started exercising mid-February.  I figured I’d play it safe and do a less intense DVD workout program.  I was doing fine for a couple of weeks, and managed to tweak my left shoulder again.  How did I know I tweaked it?  I failed the, “Ouch Test”.  When I moved my left arm around through its range of motion, a few positions produced sharp pains in my shoulder.  That’s when I knew I had injured it.  I modified my workouts to keep going, while at the same time only running my shoulder through its range of motion, building up the strength of the muscles around it, and then gradually started challenging it again.

What I have learned through this injury and modification process is that there is a difference between the soreness you get from asking your body to do more than it’s accustomed to, versus over-doing it and injuring yourself.  I was describing this to my accupuncturist that my shoulder felt like, “Ooof!  That’s a little heavier than normal, but I can handle it,” instead of, “Ouch!  That did it!”

Have you learned to listen to your body?  What signals do you get when you’ve gone too far?  How are you staying true to your goals, while working with your body’s ability to adapt?

Why music enhances your workout | MinnPost

Why music enhances your workout | MinnPost.

This is a great article on why workouts seem a little bit easier when listening to music.  It’s a short article with the “why” behind what many of us have already experienced.  I know my inner geek loves finding out why something works.

I’d love to know if you agree with this article.  Does your workout seem to go more smoothly, or can you push out a little more effort with the right tunes playing?

Before you break the rules, learn them!

RuleQuotePicasso“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” I have achieved this level of mastery with a few skill sets, and it’s a fun place to be. When you realize that you know something so well that you know when the rules are working, and more importantly, when they’re not. You have the foundation techniques to fall back on, but you have the feel, sensitivity and intuition to know when sticking with the rules 100% isn’t getting the desired result. The problem comes when people don’t bother to learn the basic technique first. They see people breaking the rules, and they think, “Well, why bother learning the rules at all?”

If you don’t bother learning the basic techniques, you don’t have the skills available to you that those techniques provide. For example, if you attempt to draw a face, but you never learn about perspective, shading, lighting, or proportions, the drawings you produce will never be truly life-like. You could always say, “Well, it’s art … I just meant to have it look flat and distorted.” But what if you didn’t? What if you really want someone to recognize themselves in what you draw, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t capture their likeness? That is when learning the techniques first would come in handy.

People point at Picasso to show someone who breaks the rules. Most people have only seen his cubist works … the paintings of figures that look like they are people made out of building blocks. What they don’t realize is that Picasso was painting near photo-realistic portraits of nobility in his teens and twenties. Picasso knew how to accurately reproduce what he was looking at FIRST, before he got bored with it and created Cubism.

I am seeing that evolution occurring in my own fitness journey. I am getting to the point where exercise is more of a habit, and less of something I have to remind myself to do every day. I am learning to listen to what my body is telling me, and figure out how to adapt to keep working out, while still giving my body the space it needs to heal and grow. I am learning how to trust these basic skills so that as I continue, I can build and create a truly fit life for myself.

Where have you mastered the basics in your life so well that you know you can break the rules? Where are you committed to learning the basics first? Share with us your journey on the road to mastery.

Progress is Rarely Linear

I’ve been cruising along with my workouts, adapting to make sure I let my shoulder heal while still working out the rest of my body.  This has been working quite well.  I’ve been going through a full range of motion with low weights, and have been able to add in a few more reps this past week.

Last night, an itchy shoulder blade brought this to a halt.  I had one of those, “Stop everything until I handle this itch,” moments.  Unfortunately, my “lizzard brain” (the part of the brain that is purely stimulus / response) reacted faster than my thinking brain (the smart part) could jump in with “NoNoNooo”.  I tried to scratch my left shoulder blade with my left arm and again felt that sharp “pop” of setback.

So, this morning, I went back to square one with modifying my exercises.  Back to just doing a limited version of yoga in the cardio workout, jumping jacks without the arms … you know, modifying.  I’m glad I’m sticking with my workout plan no matter what.  This is the first time I am proactively finding a way to build up strength around an injury while the injury heals, so that when it is healed up, the rest of the body will be strong enough to support that body part during the rehab process.