A painful day at the gym

This year's experiment: "Just how pain-free can I get?" is taking an interesting turn. I'm not very happy with the Omega-3 for inflammation relief experiment, but the "getting in shape" experiment is progressing nicely.

After being "good" for two weeks, working out 3 times a week while pacing myself and not doing too much, I seem to have reached a rather dangerous point in the journey. I've had pretty good effect of this experiment, the pain has been better, I am getting in shape and enjoying the exercise.

Now I can either get lazy or get reckless.

Getting lazy is quite natural, as soon as the pain gets better I forget why it's so important to keep moving and stay in shape... Getting reckless is probably just part of my enthusiastic nature, "YAY! I have no pain, now I can lift just as heavy weights as I could before I got RA and broke my back!!"

On Friday I got kind of carried away and optimistically joined a pilates class. Having heard nice things about the pilates instructor at my gym I thought it would be nice, soft, core training... bouncing on a pilates ball and smiling with happy people.

Turns out that was the other pilates instructor...

The class I walked into was led by a fast paced french lady who bossed us around with a manner not unlike a drill sergeant. After 20 minutes of being whipped from one impossible position to the next, I was fast regretting my choice of activity, but unfortunately there were 19 sweaty people between me and the door... and they looked strong!

My choices were simple:

  1. Pick up my mat and thread my way past all the strong and sweaty people to get to the door in a demonstrative show of defiance...
  2. Try to hide behind the potted plant in the corner and pray that the scary instructor didn't see me... or:
  3. Play along and look like I was doing the exercises even though I wasn't able to do hardly any of them

I chose option 3, and now for three days I have been paying the price of that decision. I hurt in muscles I didn't know I had! Maybe I got some exercise, but I'm not actually sure it was worth it... *phew*... really need to work on the "pace myself" part...


  1. Have you tried a pilates machine with the pilates chair? It gives you the benefit of pilates but with the back support you may require, plus even though the progress is a litte slower, you still see the results albeit a little longer, but in a much more gentler way.

  2. Yikes! Sounds a little like me when I took my Bikram Yoga class last week. I did a bit too much too fast after not doing it for a year!

  3. Your experience is why I avoid exercise classes. You are brave for going. It is hard to be an advocate for yourself when you are surrounded by what seems to be healthy, pain free people who are doing perfectly fine. You never know, though...If you do advocate for yourself by doing less, resting, or leaving, you might inspire someone else that is suffering.

  4. @Average Girl: Hmm, pilates chair? No, I haven't tried that, sounds interesting! I am so out of shape now that I need to start really really carefully, so that sounds like a good idea!

    @Jessica Bikram yoga is hardcore!

    @AMM That's a good way of seeing it... afterwards I heard many people complain that the class was too tough, and there were many seniors there who had trouble too.

  5. Glad to see you are keeping this blog up! Great stuff. Pilates can be wonderful, and as Average Girl says, using the machines (they have funny names, like the chair, the cadillac, the reformer) can be really great, especially since you get guidance from a trainer the whole time. It really improved my back strength and helps counteract my scoliosis. In a group class, there is no way for the teacher to cater to individual needs very well.

  6. I have CFS & I love pilates because I can do what I can cope with, and no more! But I have a wonderful teacher, with no more than 4 ppl per group. (& we use the 'machines' Irene mentions, the reformer specifically)

    I think pilates is only good if tailored to you. When it is it is wonderful!!