I really don’t post much about my workout routine – or why I do so. Sure, if you follow me on Instagram you see from time to time that I’m at the yoga studio (STL peeps, I go to Blue Bird) OR lately that Brittany and I worked out when I was in Georgetown, OR that I went hiking not once BUT twice this past summer. Some think I’m crazy, some wonder how I keep up the pace and others get it for various reasons. So here are the what’s, why’s and how’s – you may have to put your eyeballs back in your sockets and pick your jaw up off the ground – not many know how much I actually workout.
Why: Simple, because I can. Because I choose me, which means being the best me I possibly can. Pre-ovarian cancer I worked out – walked, light weights, when I wanted. Then I got so darn tired that I slacked off, and right before my diagnosis I changed up my workout routine to see if I could compensate for the “tired” – I just didn’t know the OVCA was the reason for the tired.
Sure, I could sit on my bootie and still get away with it in most people’s opinions, but that’s not an option. Everyone, cancer or not, should try and be in the best possible condition they can be, on the off chance some health related issue should arise. The shape you are in plays a KEY role in how you fair in this entire process – by all means, ask your doctor, they’ll tell you the same thing. Mine would love for you to give her a microphone so she can tell you why she does it and why you should be too!
Yes, I’ve been plagued by this stupid (I have other words, trust me) thing called cancer. Yes, I could say “well, it happened and I was fairly healthy…clearly that didn’t work”, throw my hands up in the air and give up. And yes, I could get away with every excuse in the book I wanted to use as to why I slack off now, but I don’t. Let’s be honest here – I’ve been diagnosed with two forms of cancer I don’t fit the criteria for, NOT EVER CLOSE…who’s to say one of them won’t come back or that somewhere down the line another one pops up – I’m a realist, I know this is all a possibility, I’m very open and honest about it when asked. There’s always a chance, just like there’s a chance for any of you reading this. So why in the world wouldn’t I want to be in the best “fighting” shape possible?!? Why wouldn’t you, the person reading this with a perfectly healthy body, waste your perfectly “good body” when there are others who wished they still had that as an option?!? Highly aware that was a VERY bold statement – it was meant to be. I’m still a work in progress, but I’ve come a LONG way with a few LITTLE things that I need to kick to the curb…it’s not easy, but it’s the choice I make. I do this for ME…because I CAN and others aren’t as fortunate to be able to do so.
How much do you workout? What are your go-to’s?: 30-120 minutes, 5 days a week. Yes, you read that correctly. Thirty minutes to two hours, five days a week is what I shoot for. The degree of time difference depends on the work week, schedule with the children, etc. When the kids are with their dad, it is an automatic 2 hour workout day – today is a 2 hour day, although as I sit here and type this I keep telling myself it’s really okay if I skip the cardio portion today – ha! Then the other part says “well, you have this, this and this you need to do this week, so get it in today”.
My go-to’s are simple things, anyone can do. Yoga (shoot for a minimum of 3 classes a week, average about 4), my BeachBody on Demand (people, it’s Netflix for workouts – anyone can do these, there’s TONS of options and a good chunk of them are 25-30 minutes! Email me with questions), walking (5 miles when I do, but it’s cold and I hate walking in the cold), and spinning (got a Peloton so I can ride at home – this thing is life changing for me!). Now, do I think you need to do all of these things, ABSOLUTELY NOT! I have medical reasons below as to why this is what works for me, it’s the right combination for me, which may not be for you.
Start small, and easy, and work your way up. Cardio is HARD for me…I’m basically dying every time I do it, gasping for breath some days – thank you chemo!
Okay, I get it, you want to be in shape, but WHY IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING THIS?? As I said before, because I can…but the truth is, it’s actually working for one medical issue I have due to all of the lymph nodes I had removed. After the latest one was clipped in August the pooling of lymphatic fluid in my pelvic/groin region hasn’t really stopped and it’s painful/uncomfortable when too much collects.
Someone asked me in a message not too long ago how my “lymphatic fluid issue, or whatever it was” was doing, was it still a problem? Yes, unfortunately for me, it’s still a problem. Everyone varies when it comes to this stuff. For me, my body hasn’t quite figured out how to regulate getting the stuff where it needs to go, so I have to help it out. Fingers crossed it will become more manageable and not quite as big of a pain, but it will probably never go all the way away. So how do I manage it outside of the leg pumps I use? Through exercises.
I took to Google when I couldn’t figure out what in the world to do – I was doing everything I’d been told to do, why wasn’t this working?!? I found a few things and decided to put forth the effort needed to actually see if this would work for a month, and sure enough, it did. Yoga is excellent when it comes to getting things in your body moving in general – inversions and twisting moves are specifically key for lymphedema. After two weeks of going 3-4 times a week, there was a HUGE difference, enough that when I slacked off to see if it wasn’t coincidental, the pooling picked up a bit again. The Beachbody workouts I do is for strength and muscle tone, but they all kick my butt! And I’ve found out that spinning gets things moving as much or more than the yoga – I read that walking was good, and the more vigorous the better. The same goes for spinning, so I try to do HIIT routines. Another recommendation was jumping on a trampoline – one I haven’t tried yet, but may use as an excuse to purchase one for the kids! LOL!
Here’s the deal – these are things I do for ME….my life kinda depends on it. Just like some of you, who have family health issues, try and stay ahead of them by working out and watching what you eat. I now need to do the same, even though mine isn’t hereditary…for some reason, my body has been compromised and I need to stay ahead of the game, when I can. (I think mine is environmental and something I ingested due to growing up in a rural farming community. For the record, this can’t be proven, it’s purely speculation)
All of us can do something though – big or small – to be the best us we can possibly be. Don’t waste your good body because you were too tired today, didn’t have enough time or whatever other excuse you may have. I’m a part-time single mom, with a full-time job, running a household by myself, and I’m tired…but I still find the time to do this for ME…and let’s be honest, my children as well. Start with baby steps. Yes, it will hurt, but it will become easier and get better. You’ll feel better, trust me! Do it to stay ahead of health issues! Do it for those of us are who fall into the category of no longer having a healthy body – BTW, when asked how I would rank how healthy I am on a scale of 1-5, I still ask if that includes having had a cancer diagnosis…which takes me from saying I’m a 4, to saying “well, I guess that means I’m a 1 or 2”, although I always tell them if we didn’t have to include the whole cancer thing, I’m definitely a 4. Dead silence and stares people. I laugh, they do not – ha!
(Send me an email with any questions about the things mentioned – happy to help point you in the right direction – email@example.com)
ONE MORE THING!!! THIS WAS NOT MY ROUTINE DURING CHEMO!!! Chemo kicked my butt – some days my goal was to talk a walk down the hallway or to the bathroom and I was winning – the first 5-7 days after I was trying my best to just get food down. Each day I’d try to walk a little further…EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. I still get zapped, have to modify and just poop out, but I keep going through the workout. Like I said, do what works for YOU, not what works for ME. Each person is different 🙂