my upper arms
that the pain
The way you just read that is a textual representation of how I went about my day today. Stilted, graceless. Because EVERYTHING HUUUURTS
Oh my gads I'm talking hurts to sit down, hurts to stand up, hurts to go up stairs hurts like HELL to go downstairs, hurts to make certain arm movements in fact it hurts when my arms are just sitting there doing nothing...right now I'm typing and my shoulders hurt. I tentatively tried flexing my left leg to see what would happen
Agonising pain happened. I'm flat on my back in my bed right now, a position in which relatively little hurts (except aforementioned shoulders) but I know that as soon as I want to move, burning pain will sear through my muscles. My water is over there. On my chest of drawers. I cannot have it. My hand cream is juuuust too far out of reach that leaning over for it involves...wait let's see...yep entire right arm muscle group feels like it's a frozen elastic band that someone is twisting.
Here's why I'm such a mess today (and why yesterday I genuinely feared for my life every time I had to descend a staircase on leg muscles that appeared to have just plain vanished).
I went to a free trial CrossFit class.
If you aren't aware, CrossFit is one of the recent workout crazes that showed up maybe 10 years ago and really gained a lot of traction in the past couple.
I should have known better than to have tried anything that can be defined as an exercise craze. This particular one is...well, I don't actually know what the difference is between CrossFit and, y'know, working out, except a brand name. It features high intensity circuits of weightlifting, bodyweight-based exercises, cardio, a couple of exercise machine things...so yeah, it's circuit training with a fancy name. It's selling point is a stripped-down, hardcore, 'REAL' workout vibe. The gym space I went to looked something like someone's garage decked out for a pretty serious workout. Everything looks slightly retro and industrial chic. It's been designed that way.
I went through an intro to CrossFit principles (essentially the five elements of fitness: speed, power, flexibility, agility, stamina plus a couple of others that they made up) from a great trainer who was very nice, and is some kind of CrossFit champ...weightlifting champ...I forget. Anyway I'm standing there in my fresh new trainers at noon on a Saturday swigging from my water bottle and feeling pumped, he has a chill vibe and fills me with the confidence that although it will be tough I can willingly participate in formal organised exercise.
Then we worked out. We did a series of squats with 10lb weights and burpees, everyone's least favourite exercise move. Sounds like not much, right? I started out strong thinking 'yep, it's all in technique and efficiency, I've got this'. About a quarter of the way through my muscles were already fatiguing, my throat was burning, chest pounding...the works. Somehow, somehow I got to the end though it took forever - the idea is to do the workout in the best time possible, record your time and next time you do the workout you improve it. Again, like almost EVERY OTHER GOAL-ORIENTED EXERCISE REGIMEN. You're not special CrossFit.
Then the trainer gave us the spiel about class packages and schedules and stuff...I barely heard a word in my glazed over state. I was mostly dreaming about the banana that was in my bag...my entire being depended on that banana. When it was finally time to head out I did my best to exit without actively stumbling and I got to the banana as soon as ever I could. I made it home on jelly legs having managed not to barrel down any staircases. There was no pain...yet.
The pain came today. Oh, such pain. I'm inclined to think it may have been exacerbated by the very awkward sleeping arrangements I had - long story short, on a not so comfortable sofa - but whatever the factors, by the time I was heading out to my rehearsal at 12.30 I was suffering. The worst part it, I just know there's no way around it but through. No amount of heat packs or ice packs or hot showers or teeentative stretching is going to speed up the process. And to those who have suggested foam rolling (where you literally use a large foam cylinder and your own bodyweight to brutally massage your muscles) err to those people I say unashamedly go fuck yourself! That shit huuuuurts! I am not deliberately causing myself any more pain this week.
It's been a while since I had this level of muscle pain - I used to get it after the first day back at ballet after summer holidays. Although not in my arms necessarily, that's new. I feel very sorry for myself. I used to like the post-ballet burn because it hurt but it was welcome pain, it was a sign my dance muscles were, well, still there.
I suppose I should feel similar about this experience but the difference is I always enjoyed my ballet classes too much to notice the strain. CrossFit made me kinda nauseous...
I think it's something that is of course an amazing workout but it's also something you can do on your own or at least with a basic gym membership or access to weights. The best thing about it is having instructors to make sure your technique is on track. The experience has reaffirmed my belief that the goal-based approach to working out is not for me. I don't want to dedicate any hours of my week to specific fitness goals. It bums me out. I'm more of a if I feel good, I'm doing just fine kinda gal. Fitness is supposed to be a product of a lifestyle, if you think about it. Not an external goal. Hoomins are supposed to all be in fantastic shape because we live off the land, we haul heavy shit around all the time and walk or ride everywhere. I can't achieve that level of every day functional fitness because I'm not bringing a horse into my apartment and I won't be allowed to dig up the patio and there are no buffalo I can follow across the lack of plains. But a general skewing of life choices towards the physical supplemented by some gym and dancing is everything I need. I'll leave the CrossFit Games to...well, to whoever really wants to give up time they could spend reading, listening to music, watching comedies, seeing live bands, hanging out with friends, cooking, eating baked goods, going to parks and museums, creating stuff etc for hours every day doing repetitive motions in a gym.
*shudder* how sad. Each to their own I guess.