Monday, April 6, 2009


"Lately, patience has taken on a spiritual quality to me—an ability to trust that life works out as it should, to surrender to what is at the moment, while having faith in the future. It’s the ability to wait peacefully, when everything in you wants to rush forward, take action, do something."
- Dana Arakawa
Patience is an essential quality to possess if you want to get the most out of your exercise training. Quick fixes with diet and exercise will always exist, especially in today's busy world. But, those of us who have learned that exercise is not an addition to our life, but an essential part of our life will always derive the most benefits. However, there are always a few potholes on our life's path that will sideline us. Recovering and working back from these set-backs can be frustrating and require patience. A client of mine, Jo, experienced a set-back with a recent knee injury while skiing. Here is her story :

It’s no wonder patience is a virtue. When it comes to getting in shape, losing weight, decreasing body fat percentages, and for me most recently healing an injury and regaining strength again….well, patience is the hardest quality for me to possess. I had been faithful to my workout and eating regimen before I went to Colorado skiing. During a really good run something snagged, and before I knew what happened I was down with a piercing pain in my left knee. After 10 days of continued sharp pain, I got an MRI that showed a little tear in my LCL along with a deep bruise in my femoral head. So, after two weeks of no activity, I am back trying to do what little I am allowed. Dan is helping me to regain my range of motion first while working slowly on balance. Patience. I had little idea how much range of motion I had lost. I must admit it feels so silly to go to the gym to see how far I can pull my knee back and how long I can just stand on that leg with my right foot 2 inches off the ground. I wish it took even half as long to lose ROM, strength, and firmness as it does to attain it in the first place. Patience.

Being an athlete in high school and college actually fed my reticence about seeing a doctor and getting an MRI. Heck, if I am going to have an injury, and if it is going to be from a “vacation sport,” then it better be a dang good one! That’s what my brain was telling me. I’m no stranger to significant injury, and while relieved that this one did not require surgery, I was glad it was more than just a sore knee. Mind games! Sheesh! At any rate, this injury has set me back and will take me some time to slowly recover and then rebuild before I can be back to building strength. Patience.

Friday, I met with Dan to assess where this knee is with regard to pain, range of motion, swelling, and probable inflammation. I learned just what I could do, should do, and will do for probably this week. Patience. So many exercises were ruled out due to this injury. A personal aha moment for me came while I was steaming over this knee and how limited my activity and how I wish I would have injured some other, less important joint. The realization that every joint is equally important and needed to perform the type of full-body exercises that Dan has taught me. I pretty much went head to toe trying find a joint that I would have rather hurt, and each one presented limitations with as much or more significance in my routine as this dang knee. My personal myth: BUSTED. I will be a “big girl” now and suck it up. Patience.

What next? I go to the gym and do my seemingly pathetic set of exercises. They only seem pathetic, because I am comparing to what I was doing. I push myself as usual but within reason so not to inhibit healing. I work to increase my ROM and balance in the left knee and at least maintain my progress in all other areas. I MUST (!) get back to the basics of nutrition that Dan has shared with me if I want to reduce body fat. And, I need to log what I eat. Patience. Being in the software profession makes me terribly intolerant and impatient when it comes to actually using someone else’s product. Taking the time to find a food I ate annoys greatly. Patience.

Dan never said any of this would be easy even with all joints being healthy, all mindsets in their proper alignment, and time and schedules being a perfect match for this venture. Adding this injury has just upped the ante for me in my pursuit of a new lifestyle and of patience. This pursuit has no arrival though – it is a journey that never truly ends. Although body fat goals may be reached, life continues and patience in all things remains necessary.


Anonymous said...

Wow! What a great Blog! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Good luck with your recovery. Remember one of Dan's famous lines, "It's a marathon, not a race" Soon you will be back to your regular pace and moving forward! My thoughts are with you! Jen

Julie said...

Jo--THANK YOU! I read this post while I was berating myself for my transgression. I tend to lose patience frequently with myself and the process. Your words of wisdom were well-timed and right on the mark!