Today is supposed to be a run day for me, but when I woke up this morning and the idea of running–any form of exercise, really– made me want to cry. That happens from time to time and generally I just take working out off the table all together at that point. The possibility of tears means I’m exhausted and I need to take a break. Top the exhaustion, with a knee that won’t stop cracking and a small strain in my shoulder that has spread to my neck and I know when to call it a day. But that’s the hardest thing to do.
We are all committed to our workout routines. We go to the gym daily or run or do yoga or softball or dodgeball or whatever. We are creatures of habit, slaves to our routine. And when we are at our strongest we all feel like Superman or Supergirl or someone strong like your Abuela who kicks ass. We work out 4, 5, 6 days a week, and we push and push and push and it never occurs to us to stop and listen to our bodies. Then something happens. Something so small you just push through it, something that feels like nothing. That’s the moment we all need to stop, but we don’t. We beat ourselves up for being weak and keep pushing through. And next thing we know a wrong step, a wrong move has us out for 4 weeks. Push it further and you either overcompensate and hurt another part of the body or need surgery, or both.
And I know I’m not the only one. I’m watching Eddie go through this right now. He is the strongest dude I know, inside and out, but an injury is an injury is an injury and even Superman had Kryptonite. (Well and Lois Lane who was a quasi-Kryptonite.) Recently, Eddie hurt his knee, needs therapy but wants to teach class as normal. We’re a tight knit group, yet one that makes new comers feel like regulars the moment they walk in the door and I understand why Eddie covets his classes. A moment out of the gym is a moment new people don’t get to experience his awesomeness. But when he hurts and he has access to his Team he never takes advantage of us. There is Antonio who has super great form and can make you feel inadequate when he does push ups. Then there is Katherine, a young Southern Bell who can handle more weight than most, and well there’s me. Loud. Mouthy. It works. We’re there to help.
In last Friday’s Body Pump class a group of us decided to derail Eddie’s weights. We knew he’d want to save face because he wants to show how strong he is, but we can see him wince. We know something is wrong. Elizabeth took weight off of his Squats bar. Katherine made us all move our extra weights out of his reach so he couldn’t grab anything, and Antonio flat out removed the big bar all together. When it came to squats and Eddie ahemed and ahawed I made an announcement to the class that Eddie was hurt and asked them applaud him for showing us that it’s ok to go lower in weight when hurt. And in the end he did. And he thanked us for it.
The point of the story is, even Superman knows when he can’t do it all. If he can do it, so can we. And we should.