Sunday, June 13, 2010

Images of Body Image

I've been thinking quite a bit about body image lately...and how mine has plummeted since my little stint where I couldn't work out for a while. And how I put on a little weight and lost a bit of muscle and was feeling a bit flabby and a bit discouraged.

I thought of how I used to lift weights quite differently than I do now -- lifting more for sculpting a specific body type than lifting for functional strength. And of how maybe I could go back to that for a while; just until I didn't feel so flabby and discouraged.

Then on Thursday at work, I got a new patient, a 16 year old girl with back pain. This girl was beautiful. Not regular 16 year old girl beautiful. But traffic stopping beautiful. Hollywood beautiful. You ache inside just a little bit beautiful. She looked like she just stepped out of the pages of Vogue or Cosmo. We should all be so blessed to have an hourglass figure...elongated.

Except...she couldn't do a push up. Not one push up. Not a single one. She couldn't even HOLD a push up position for 10 seconds without her back arching or her shoulder blades winging out or her neck hyper extending with the extreme effort. The girl had zero muscle tone. She injured her back picking up her book bag! (Lucky for her, I'm pretty positive there are about 20 or so 16 year old boys in her class who would fall all over themselves to carry her books for her) We got our work cut out for us.

And I started thinking that hey, maybe function is much more important than looks, afterall.

Flash forward to Saturday morning. My first triathlon of the season. I was a bit nervous after my break in training. But I did ok. My back felt fine. My knee felt fine. I was just slow. Ridiculously slow. My cardio just isn't where it should be. I felt really out of shape.

And I started thinking that hey, maybe cardio is more important at this point than weights.

Flash forward again to Saturday afternoon. An adaptive kayaking clinic for work. Paddling around with folks who have physical issues that would otherwise hold them back. But not on the water. Water really is the great equalizer.

Unless you capsize.

Which somebody did.

And I ended up jumping in to do a water rescue for somebody who couldn't move very well and was much much bigger than me. In the midst of the turmoil, I found that by myself, I could only hold his head above the water. Nothing else.

And I felt really small. And really weak.

Once others reached us, we were able to collaboratively extricate him from his boat, calm him down, and get him safely ashore. It was fine. All worked out in the end.

But I still felt small. And weak. Still out of shape. And yeah, a little flabby.

And now I'm thinking that maybe I should just start taking anabolic steroids.

That should do it.


Anonymous said...

I've fallen off my fitness bandwagon some too. Reading your post makes me feel less alone -- what say we both vamp back up? :)

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. With my foot injury keeping me off the trail, it's been difficult. It also seems like the harder I work to stay in shape, the faster my metabolism slows down and everything I eat goes straight to my stomach. What's up with that?!?!?