Why I wasn't healthy when I was "fit" 

The beginning of summer 2011, I began my fitness journey, weighing 208lbs.

I hired an encouraging trainer when my daughter was roughly about 15 months old. Her eccentric personality and exciting bikini competitions kept me motivated. I wanted to accomplish what she had accomplished. I followed her strict food and exercise regimen by severing all my ties with my beloved foods. I began taking supplements that I did not understand. I couldn’t tell you why or even what I was taking. All I know is Ali told me to take them and if I wanted to look like Ali then it was vital for me to follow her program to the exact tee. Ali was wonderful, I dropped weight, and I continued this journey even after I ended my training program with her. However, I still needed to look like Ali and compete. I continued to just repeat the original program she had written for me, never allowing myself to cheat and never allowing myself to rest. I was down to 135 for 208 and to me I was still not skinny, I was still fat no matter what anyone said.

 Goal weight 135 lbs Fall 2011

Shortly after I hit my goal weight I decided to become a personal trainer. I studied the key points of my NASM study guide, I watched all my lectures, and outlined my whole book, but I really wasn’t listening to what I was learning. I studied just enough to pass my test, earn that certification to become a NASM personal trainer. Soon after I became a trainer I was hired on at American Family fitness. I learned one of my coworkers competed in bodybuilding and I just needed to train with him so I could compete as Ali did. I strived to look like her, not taking into account that I had children and she did not or that our body types were very different. I just wasn’t paying attention to anything I had learned over the past year. I hired Salby to walk me through my competition prep.

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 After work routine

During my competition prep I remember spending countless extra hours in the gym, even though my work day was over. I would stay to practice posing, complete slow paced cardio, or to lift just a little extra; anything to get me there faster. The competition began to run every aspect of my life. Members of the gym started to pat me on the back and set my accomplishments on a pedestal, because they began to notice the change. It however was not enough, I wanted more. To them I was committed and they were so proud, but what they didn’t see was just how unhealthy I had become!

EditIn the midst of competition prep my relationship with food became even darker. As I prepped many things were cut from my diet. My cravings became more than I could handle. I craved 4sugar, sodium, and many other nutrients because my body was lacking in so much. In secret I would binge on multiple candy bars in one sitting or eat a whole box of sugar cookies and then drink a recovery shake to be healthy.
I began suffering from amenorrhea (an abnormal absence of menstruation) from the countless hours of extra cardio and workouts, that I did not fuel my body properly for. I became easily aggravated and impatient with my loved ones (who were originally my inspiration). My health began to suffer and my relationships followed.

9 Because I spent so many hours in the gym my children were often in the care of babysitters, instead of much needed time with me. Never wanted to be the mom who put myself above my family, but I was slowly becoming that. I am so blessed that they loved me through it. My poor husband saw a selfish woman replace his wife. I treated my beloved family as if I was more important. When I first became a trainer my client’s programs always came before mine. I would research their questions and medical conditions. From there I would design a program meant especially for them. I worked hand in hand with their health providers to ensure they had the best program designed just for them.  As I got further into my competition prep I became the very trainer I loathed; a cookie cutter trainer! I started giving everyone the same workout even if it wasn’t what they needed, I came unprepared to trai10ning sessions and my clients began to notice the change and my relationships with them were hindered. The moment I started to put my training above them was the moment I lost their trust. I became so consumed I didn’t care and I was acting as if I was better than them. I never treated anyone that way before and in fact it bothered me when I would see a trainer treat their clients this way. I went my whole prep blinded and harming those nearest and dearest to me.

Now nearly 6 years into my fitness journey I can finally look back and see exactly how
unhealthy I was both mentally and physically.final-26 I have 4 beautiful children who I spend every waking moment, with including my workouts. There is not a day goes by that I wish I could’ve changed that brief period of time that I missed out. I feel healthier now at 150lbs than I ever was at 120lbs.  It is my goal now as a fitness and wellness professional to help women create realistic/manageable goals while maintaining a healthy mind and body. As a wellness coach and fitness professional I have familiarized myself with the signs of eating disorders so I may refer my clients to receive the help they need. I will help my clients to lead a healthy life in all aspects not just looking “fit”, because fit doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.

It is so very important that we do not try to compare our selves to others! When we compare ourselves to someone else or set goals to be like someone else we are creating an uphill battle that we will not win. My goal is to teach my children self love and self respect at all stages. I want my daughter to know that being healthy on the inside is more important than being “fit” on the outside. I am thankful for that struggle and I am even more thankful that my eyes were open to just how unhealthy I was.

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                           ~Mickey

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You don't own Me

When I came to they were cutting my clothes, slashing my favorite pair of shoes off, shoving tubes down my throat, and sticking needles in my arms. It faded black again and I was gone.  Once again I woke up in a strange place. Blinding lights were overhead and they were sliding me on a silver slab, my bare back was chilled and my body was limp. No matter how hard I tried to move my body laid still. No matter what I said they couldn’t hear. I remember feeling terrified. It was a terrible nightmare, infact the worst kind, the kind you can’t wake up from. I woke up thrashing about trying to pull my leg from the traction pullies and I ripped the pin in my knee holding my leg up.

When I finally fully came too it was almost Thanksgiving Day. The hospital room filled with people for support.  Cards from everyone in my school and letters from close friends.  My mom looked at me with such a heavy heart.  It was her that had to explain what happened,  it was her that had to relay the message that I would never be the same. Doctors around the clock and nurses too. I remember saying to a nurse as she tried to help me go to the restroom “I’m 14 I don’t need your help, I can walk.” And as I tried to take a step I fell to the ground. It was then I realized that I was broken. My mom helped me up and we both wept. 

The thing you have to understand about me is even at 14, my world was outdoors. Everything I did was outside. I ran the woods with my friends, rode my bike on dirt tracks we built every summer, I lived and breathed tomboy. I was a wild one and I was proud of it.  I would chant to the boys “Anything you can do I can do better.” if I couldn’t, I would not give up until I could.  

Photo Credit Allyssa Austin

 Until the crisp fall night that a drunk driver threw a wrench into my life. My whole school year was put on hold as I was in rehab. I had suffered a brain injury, multiple broken/ fractured ribs, my femur broken, a lacerated spleen, and I was in a coma state for 2 weeks.  Not only was my leg broken and I needed rehab to walk I also needed rehab to help me talk right again.  My brain was jumbled and I couldn’t process simple words. I was starting all over.  

Doctors told my mom it would be a while before I would be able to play sports again and even longer for me to ride BMX again.  So much “she won’t,  she can’t, she shouldn’t” I was discouraged.

They released me the 2nd week of December. Much sooner than anticipated,  but I would continue home therapy, I would be in a wheel chair, and I was not allowed to start school again until doctors released me to walk down the halls. They had a fear that if I was bumped wrong I would crumble like the great Achilles.

Wheel chair bound, still enjoying recreation therapy.

My first weekend away from my parents I went to my friend Hazel’s house for the weekend. I walked couple miles accrossed the snow and ice on  my crutches to see another of my closest friend, Bubba and his family. I was tired of being cooped up in the house. The cold hurt my leg. I shivered uncontrollably both from cold and pain, but I needed to be outside. I NEEDED to ride a bike, go fishing, and walk through the woods. I was determined that when summer came I would be myself again. I continued my therapy and I contiued to push.

8th Grade Graduation night, 82lbs

 

When summer came, I felt like I was recovered, but The first time I went to ride a bike it was excruciating. I failed, I wasn’t myself. The pain was strong, but I was stronger. I fell only to get back up.  I cried only to push through. When the physical therapist told me he had cancer and we could fight together, the rage in me to be stronger grew like a wild fire.  He lost his hair, but contiued to push me.  He said to me ” The cancer doesn’t own me, it never will. You’re an extremly strong young lady, don’t let this own you. Fight”. 

Fight is exactly what I did. I fought to enjoy the things I did before. I pushed to be better than I was before. Freshman year came, I was still in therapy 3 days a week. I struggled in school because much of my 8th grade year I spent in a hosptial bed. 

 Freshman year I was angry and confused.  So I would stay home from school to sneak outside when mom left.  Breath the fresh air, climb on my bike, and just ride.  I had not been released to ride my bike yet. My femur had not completely healed and one wrong fall I could rebrake it. I knew better, if I could just get outside and back on my bike, I would heal. My broken spirit would come back to life. So I skipped school to walk in the woods, ride on the trails, and listen to the sound of my tires hitting the ground.  

Sophomore year the rods were finally removed, so once again they put me on restriction. And once again I pushed and I didn’t listen to them. I was strong willed. The words “Dont let it own you” repeated in my head like a box of firecrackers.

Shortly after sophomore year I heard that the cancer had taken Brads life. He fought with me and he pushed me, and he was on my side. I know he was saying all the way to the end “You don’t own me” Brad had his own battle,  but that didn’t mean he’d give up in mine. Brad pushed me to say “YOU DON’T OWN ME”.

In loving memory of Brad, thank you for not giving up on me and teaching me that nothing owns us unless we let it.  ❤Mickey 

Looking the Part

Toned muscle, low body fat, and bad-ass abs! 2013 I walked across the stage to complete my first and last competition. I had a snobby ass attitude to go with my purple crushed velvet competition suit. My friends and family cheered as I walked across the stage and completed my well rehearsed routine. It was my time to shine. It was my time to sell it. I was in fact a mom of 2 who lost 80 lbs and defeated the “mom bod”. Yes, I was a bad mamma jamma!

 

In fact the words bad mamma couldn’t begin to describe my downward spiral and loss of self identity. My kids 5 and 3, my husband serving our country in Afghanistan, and me drowning my self in workouts and secret binge eating. The words “You need to look the part” pumped like a heartbeat in my head. I was not worthy yet to be a tier two personal trainer, because my body fat still sat at 20%, you couldn’t see muscle striations, and I wasn’t doing enough. I needed to push more and I needed to eat less. I needed to be more than myself, because my self wasn’t good enough. I needed to look like the women in “Muscle and Fitness Her’s” Magazine. I needed to be able to say I was a fitness model. But really I was just a momma looking for a sense of accomplishment. I needed to prove doctors wrong about my strength. Doctors whose opinion should not have really mattered to me. Doctors who were long since out of my life. “LEG DAY NOV 21, 2012-100LB sumo dead lift! Get it! They told me nine years ago I wouldn’t! ha” I posted and bragged on instgram. What the hell did it matter what was said 9 years ago? I proved them wrong the first time I ever road a BMX bike again and that was in 2004, less than a year after my car accident.

20170801_225101Why was I steady trying to prove greatness. As if I needed anyone’s approval besides my family, who I abandoned so I could workout and binge eat in secret. I pushed everyone aside and thought of no one, but my self. I was a selfish nightmare who was constantly seeking approval of people who didn’t matter. Everyone loved me, but me? No, I hated myself. I hated that I wasn’t small enough, I couldn’t lift enough, and I still had stretch marks. I was never good enough.
I wasn’t a good mom and I failed at being a good wife. I failed at every aspect of life, but I sure did “Look the part.” That’s what mattered to me? Who was I kidding? Who was I trying to impress?

My kids didn’t want someone else to put them in bed at night because mommy was completing her 90 minutes of cardio and her 60 minute weight lifting session. No they wanted their mom to read them a story and sing them a song, but mommy was too busy posting “flexy” pictures on instagram and striving to look the part.

20170801_225123 They wanted mommy to take them to the park to play, but mommy was too impatient and had too many workouts to write. That’s right I was a bad mamma jamma. In fact a horrible one, I greeted my husband with anger over skype, meanwhile he was serving in Afghanistan not guaranteed tomorrow. Yeah, I was bad mamma jamma. He built me up and I tore him down.

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2014 I lost twins to a miscarriage and it didn’t matter if I looked the part. No it didn’t matter if I looked healthy, because I really wasn’t. Improper nutrition and secret amenorrhea took its toll on me. Who cares that I was really healthy as long as I could lift and compete? All of that training and carb cycling for what? I wasn’t fooling myself anymore. I was not healthy at all. In fact I killed my self in the gym and hurt those close to me for nothing. I trained to look like something I wasn’t. I couldn’t fool my body by the way I looked. Now, it was not a fact that my “fitness” habits had any bearing on my miscarriage, but I am sure they didn’t help.

Photo credit Krystal C. Photography
http://www.krystalcphotography.com

Since 2014 I haven’t trained to look the part. No I have trained to be healthy. I have trained so I can keep up with my four kids. I have trained to hike up a couple thousand feet and recover without regret. I eat to fuel my body and not shape it. Yeah, I don’t “look” the part anymore. I look like a mom who loves to be with her kids, a wife who adores her husband, and a woman who loves her self with all her flaws. No, I don’t have that bad-ass six pack anymore or that 12% body fat, but I do have endurance and strength to carry 2 kids plus essentials up the side of the mountain. I don’t have 25k of personal training revenue a month any more, but I do have the time to spend raising my family. No I don’t look the part anymore, I am the part. I am the trainer who loves training clients to feel and move better. To teach them that the real value comes from feeling and moving better, the looks are a bonus. When someone tells me they want to look like some one else, I discourage it with every fiber of my being. You don’t need to look like someone else, because you were never meant to be someone else. When someone tells me you don’t look like a mom, I tell them looks are deceiving.

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” Bindi Irwin

 

 

Bow Hunting and Your Shoulders

imageWhen it comes to archery, the maintenance of your shoulders and rotator cuffs is extremely important to prevent any type of injury, especially overuse. As for every physical activity, there is a proper way to recover and prevent future overuse injuries.

Shoulder impairments, caused by over use are very common injuries and are often avoidable. In fact, rotator cuff injuries (such as strains, tendinopathy, or ruptures) account for nearly 75-80% of shoulder injuries in the US.

Shoulder instability and shoulder impingement takes place in the capsuloligamentous structures (demonstrated in the image below). These shoulder impingements are typically recognized by a pinching sensation that occurs when the arm is raised and by accompanying pain while moving through the rotator cuff. This injury usually arises from overuse of overhead movement of the shoulders ie: swimming, pitching in baseball, or tennis. Shoulder instability develops when the muscles outside Glenohumeral joint don’t work effectively to stabilize the humerus.

So how do these injuries affect archers? Let us talk about shoulder anatomy, and just how it affects how well you are able to perform as an archer or bow hunter. Your rotator cuff is highly involved in every process of shooting a bow. Not only does it take great strength in the rotator cuff to pull your bow back, it also stabilizes the arm while you aim for that perfect shot.

shoulder impairment prevention-3
Moffat, Marilyn. The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair. New York: Owl Book/Henry Holt, 1999. Print.
shoulder impairment prevention-2
Moffat, Marilyn. The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair. New York: Owl Book/Henry Holt, 1999. Print.

Your rotator cuff is made of many different bones, muscles, joints and ligaments that all work together during this process. The four bones that make up your shoulder are the scapula, sternum, clavicle, and acromion. These four bones become the working joints of your shoulder. Acromioclavicular (AC joint), Glenohumeral (GH joint), Sternoclavicular (SC joint), and your Scapulathoracic (ST joint). These four joints — in particular the GH joint — are under a great deal of stress during archery. Most of the movement involved in your rotator cuff comes from the GH joint. This is a ball joint and is at the top of your humerus (arm bone) and top of your scapula. This joint is a ball and socket joint that moves in indefinite directions.

But it is not just the bones at work. There are approximately 56 muscles that are used when drawing your bow back; 26+ of them are in your shoulder. The muscles in your shoulder that are used to draw your bow back are your pectoralis major/minor, teres major/minor, subscapularis, Latissimus dorsi, trapezius, infraspinatus, supraspinatus, deltoid, levator scapularis, rhomboid major/minor and your serratus anterior.shoulder impairment prevention-1

Axford, R. (1995). Archery anatomy: An introduction to techniques for improved performance. London: Souvenir.

When drawing your bow back you require the use of not one, but both rotator cuffs; thus, form plays a huge role in injury prevention and muscle impairment. There are two different ways of shoulder loading during the draw back of your bow:

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High Preparation

  1. High preparation- During high preparation drawback your strength and force is above your shoulder joints during prep and follow through of your shot.

“V” Draw (Low Draw)

  1. “V” Draw or low preparation- When using the “V” draw, everything is maintained below the shoulder joints during the prep, and follow through, of your shot.

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Both of these methods allow for less stress upon the shoulder joints when drawing the bow.
Now that we have covered the anatomy of your shoulder and it’s action during use of your bow, let’s discuss flexibility and exercises that will help prevent over-use injury and increase strength and stability for the future.

The Warm Up: 

A warm up is essential to any workout program to prevent future injuries. As a form of flexibility training, I recommend the use of self-myofascial release (SMR). Self-myofascial release is the use of tools to help muscles lengthen and increase the blood flow with in the muscle. Your body will benefit from using SMR because it will help correct any muscle imbalances you may have, release knots in your muscles (trigger points), as well as shut down those over active muscles. Foam rollers are a great type of SMR. Foam rollers use applied pressure to locate tender spots and melt tension away. To achieve release, run the roller over your sore muscle and, when you feel an increase of tenderness, hold the position and apply local pressure for 30 seconds at minimum.

SMR/Foam Roller Exercises:

  • Wall Angels with tennis ball
  • Seated Shoulder Drops (Lengthwise on foam roller): Reach out your shoulder blades as far as you can spread them, then draw shoulder blades back and pinch your shoulder blades directly back (imagine pinching a penny)
  • Seated Open T (Lengthwise on the foam roller). Inhale opening your arms to a “T” position and Exhale when bringing them back to the front of your chest.
  • Forearms-
  • Lats (Latissimus Dorsi)-
  • Chest release-  Foam roller positioned vertically across chest extend arms out to side and keeping your abs tight slowly lift your arms off of the floor.
  • Bicep Release
  • Deltoid release
  • Low back release

After these SMR techniques, begin a dynamic warm up.

Dynamic warm ups use your body’s force to lubricate your joints for full range of movement. Think “aerobic” instead of “stationary”:

  • Shoulder rotations.
  • Lift and chop
  • Arm Circles
  • Lunge with twist
  • Windmills
  • Arm W for 30 second
  • Right/left for 30 seconds

The Workout!

The moment you’ve been waiting for. These are perfect exercises to increase strength and stability in your rotator cuff. You will want to choose a weight efficient enough you can complete 3 sets for 15- 20 reps :

  • Push up plus 3 x 15-20
  • Sword draw Cable 3 x 15-20
  • Facepulls- 3 x 15-20
  • Ball shoulder Combo I 3 x 15
  • Renegade rows 3x 15-20
  • Ropes Circles In/Out 3 x 30 seconds (Endurance)
  • Ropes quick waves 3 x 25 seconds (Endurance)

*VIDEO COMING SOON!*

Now that you have completed your workout, be sure to cool down using static stretching as well as SMR techniques mentioned above. This workout will help you be a better bow hunter as well as prevent future injuries in your shoulders. I hope you enjoy this workout!

Works Cited
Clark, Michael, Scott Lucett, and Rodney J. Corn. NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008. Print.Wilkins.
Moffat, Marilyn. The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair. New York: Owl Book/Henry Holt, 1999. Print.
Axford, R. (1995). Archery anatomy: An introduction to techniques for improved performance. London: Souvenir.
Knopf, Dr. Karl. Healthy Shoulder Handbook. N.p.: n.p., n.d.Print.
Clark, M., & Lucett, S. (2011). NASM’s essentials of corrective exercise training. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

© 2016 MICHELLE SANDERSON ALL RIGHTS RESERVED