The one on the exhale…part II

Asthma Story_0In my last post, The one on the exhale…, I spoke about my history of asthma and the frustrating judgement I feel when people immediately connect the limitations of my lungs with my overall physical fitness. As I mentioned in that post, I usually try to avoid doing cardio in public because of the embarrassment I feel looking weak and out of shape while struggling to keep up.

A coworker recently invited me to attended a new class that was starting up at the gym. She describe it as being a mix of spin and circuit training and I thought I might check it out because at least on a spin bike I don’t need to worry about falling behind. The class, which is mostly attended by experienced endurance athletes, is by far the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.

Don’t get me wrong, challenging is a great thing. The first couple classes we went through a nine-station circuit including kettle bell swings, ball slams, battle ropes, Bosu hopscotch and a slew of other things, mixed in with 15-minute sessions of intervals on the spin bike. I didn’t in any way feel strong throughout that 90-minutes, but I finished and felt accomplished for having done so.

This week, things changed a bit. The class was taken outside, which is something I had been dreading. All day at work I prayed it would rain so we wouldn’t have to do the class outdoors. Breathing outside is an entirely different scenario compared to inside. I suddenly have to contend not only with my usual exercise-related asthma challenges, but also with the environment. Allergens in the air, the wind, the temperature, humidity (or lack thereof) and a host of other factors all irritate the delicate bronchial lining of my lungs, leading to increased mucus production and airway inflammation.

The plan for the class was a trail run to a steep set of stairs, followed by stair sprints, some flat sprints then a trail run back to the gym for a spin session and a bodyweight circuit. I had kind of hoped there would be at least one person in the class who was not a runner, like myself, and that I wouldn’t be the only person holding everyone back. The last thing I wanted was to draw attention to myself. Unfortunately, that’s what happened.

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The one on the exhale…

asthma_inhalerPicture yourself at the gym, on a treadmill next to someone else. The person next to you doesn’t appear to be exerting that much effort but is red-faced, winded and wheezing. Most people’s first thought would be to assume that person is out of shape, maybe even lazy, especially if they happen to also be overweight. A lot of people avoid going to the gym because they assume these thoughts are rampantly playing through other people’s minds as they work out. For me, it’s why I avoid doing cardio in front of other people.

Anyone who knows I am a regular to the gym would assume that I am in shape, given that I have been a frequent gym goer for more than a third of my life. When I do cardio though, I become the dictionary definition of what so many people think of as “out of shape.” I wheeze, huff and puff and get red in the face while doing something as simple as walking on an incline or pushing the stepmill up to level 2.

Like 3 million Canadians and 15 million Americans, I am asthmatic.

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The one about acceptance…

z_2713There is a trend sweeping social media this summer…

The Instagram and Twitter hashtag, #fatkini has been gaining popularity, encouraging women of all shapes and sizes to post pictures of themselves in bikinis as a way of showing acceptance for their bodies. There are some who believe that by encouraging women in this way, it is the equivalent of saying that morbid obesity is okay and that health should not be a priority.

Here’s the the thing…

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The one from the back…

I think this is the first time I’ve ever written a post from a mobile device. It’s annoying. But if I wait until I’m in front of my laptop, it’ll never get it written. The reason being, that much of my free time lately has been spent exactly as I am now – in bed, flat on my back.

It’s been a busy week for my back. I just came from physio and yesterday I had a CT scan. I don’t think I’ve really gone into the details of what I have been struggling with lately so let’s recap.

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The one about vitamins…

I don’t take vitamins.

There’s a lot of reasons that go into why – one being that I can never seem to fully pick up the habit of taking a pill every day, two that they kind of upset my stomach and three (the most important one) being that I’m not suffering from a vitamin deficiency.

I used to always tell people buying multivitamins is basically just buying the opportunity to have really expensive pee every day. Whatever vitamins we take that our body doesn’t need just get flushed out by the kidneys. If you have what you need, through your food, then why feel compelled to “top it up”?

My anti-vitamin views were recently further enforced when I stumbled upon an article that talked about how anti-oxidant rich vitamins actually contributed to accelerated tumour growth in people with cancer. This Wednesday a study in the journal Science Translational Medicine uncovered the potential link between the two.

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The one with a touch of guilt…

I’m a bit of a hypocrite.

I’m putting the finishing touches on a presentation I’m giving tomorrow and much of the sound advice I plan on giving to the audience are things I have been unable to do myself in the past couple of months.

The presentation is about social media marketing and is for those attending the WBFF seminar in Halifax tomorrow afternoon. I’m very excited about having the opportunity to share some of my promotions and public relations expertise with an audience but as I was writing down tidbits of wisdom I thought ‘wow, I suck’.

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The one about reflection…

It’s the last day of 2013 and I didn’t feel right about letting the year end without at least making an attempt to blog. I feel bad that I have practically abandoned this venue over the last eight months, especially as tomorrow marks two years since Fatty became reality.

Reality, though. That’s what kept me away from here. There’s something about putting words down and letting the public read them that has always made me feel accountable for my actions and lately… well, I was embarrassed to put it all out there.

We all have moments of weakness though, even if they happen to last a few months. If I’m going to tell the “world” (i.e. the two people who read this blog lol) about all the highs, it’s only right if I show the lows also. I guess you could say I feel compelled to ‘keep it real’.

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