Our friend Heather started her fitness journey by deciding for her 40th birthday she was going to complete a sprint triathlon. Having recently started lane swimming, she was amazed at how difficult a work out it was, but when she got out of the pool, her joints didn't feel so beat up. Completing a triathlon was a huge challenge for her but she enjoyed the challenge and she also liked how it was three sports combined into one.
As an ACAC all star volleyball player in college, Heather grew up being coached so naturally she thought she should train to do the race but she had little knowledge of the sport and was too busy to commit to a local triathlon club.
Heather first started training on her own by running on the treadmill, riding her mountain bike on a trainer in the basement and lane swimming. She decided to join Masters swimming but found her right rotator cuff began to hurt.
A substitute coach was covering the practice one day and stopped her as she came down the lane and asked her, “Does your right shoulder hurt?”. She didn’t realize her cross over stroke was causing the pain. After spending time at physio and working to improve her stroke, Heather was able to connect with an Ironman triathlete who agreed to train her for one race and she was coached with the basics of a triathlon training program.
Being a super competitive person, the next year Heather decided to work on her running. It was never her strength and having the run come at the end of the swim and bike, was pretty brutal on her.
Heather started working with a local running coach she met through a business contact. She trained indoors through the winter and was getting better at controlling her cadence and improved her running fitness level. Unfortunately, this also brought on a “knife” pain in the side of her right knee. The first triathlon of the year saw the pain escalate and after a few more races, an MRI showed a minor meniscus tear.
Heather didn’t know where to go from there. She thought about tossing in the towel. She thought to herself maybe triathlon was just no longer possible as she needed her knees for the rest of her life. It was then she decided to try something different.
Heather had kids in competitive swimming and one of them was doing dry-land training at Absolute Fitness and enjoyed it. Heather looked us up online and with Absolute Fitness being just down the road from her office, it was easier to make the early morning time commitment fit her busy lifestyle.
Heather went into Absolute Fitness determined to increase her physical fitness and be able to run without any pain. She began to use kettlebells, doing new body weight training and soon started to see some results.
After a few months she thought she was ready to start running again. It wasn't long, however, before she started to feel the familiar ache in her knee.
Heather was frustrated with all the pain she was in, adding the knee pain to an already bad lower back left over from volleyball. She wanted to be able to swim, bike, and run but all she got was recurring injuries and trips to physio. She had tried to change her training, gone to physio, massage, and chiro but it didn't seem to make a permanent change, she eventually always ended up in pain.
It was getting out of hand. Either Heather was going to have to give up on triathlons or solve the puzzle as to why she was having recurring injuries. She reached out to the coaches at Absolute and asked for help...
The answer to her problems was not quite what she expected. Heather found out that in order to get ahead in her training, she needed to take a step back. She then was able to really look at her strengths, weaknesses and
re-evaluate her fitness basics.
Her coach at Absolute Fitness started her off on a program that was focused on building a stronger core and getting her body balanced off. In short, Heather was put on a strict mobility and core strengthening program, no running, no biking, and only minimal swimming.
Heather was a little nervous at first because she felt like she wasn't getting anywhere with the program. She was used to training 6 days a week and when she moved to mainly stretching and doing strange bodyweight exercises, it was a tough adjustment but she trusted the coaches, the process, and stayed committed to the program.
Slowly, week by week, she increased her flexibility, mobility, and her core strength. By the 3rd month she progressed and started training her stability and began some basic strength exercises.
By the end of month three, Heather was ready for a new program, this time with a strict focus on strength. Her running, biking and swimming were still kept to a minimum.
For the next 3 months, Heather worked hard on her strength. During this period she added 70lbs to her squat and 60lbs to her deadlift. Heather realized that she did all this without any ankle, knee, shoulder or back pain and was feeling ecstatic.
For the first time in a long time Heather was feeling like she was able to do this long term and continue in triathlon. This was important to Heather because this sport was part of her daily routine which she had made into a lifestyle for herself and her family.
Heather says that her job is stressful, life is stressful, but when she spends time training, she feels like she's in control and it helps balance her life. This is why she is so set on keeping her training as part of her routine and why she brought her family along for the ride. Showing her kids what a healthy lifestyle looks like by living one.
Heather was excited that she could push the limits with her strength workouts, but now it was time to start running, after all that's why she joined Absolute Fitness in the first place.
Heather started with a slow and short run under 5 km. She finished but felt like her legs were on fire. The surprise was that the pain was strictly muscular, there was no joint pain. For the first time in two years, Heather had gone for a run without having her knees feel like they were about to burst. It had been a long and slow process but it had paid off. She was able to swim, bike, and run, with no pain in her joints. She was excited to push herself in training to go longer distances and now looks forward to competing in triathlons this summer after missing the entire season last year.
Heather says at this point, "I feel like I can still do this. There was a dark time when I thought I was going to have to give it up but now I feel great with no pain, it's amazing. I even progressed this year to doing a 1.5 km swim. If I can work my way up to a longer distance triathlon, it would be beyond anything I thought I could do."
Heather says the best part of working out at Absolute Fitness is how Absolute Fitness focuses on the body as a whole system and not just certain body parts or movements.
Heather said training would sometimes leave her feeling a bit down because she would train so hard and then end up with injuries. She is grateful that Absolute Fitness was able to help solve the puzzle. Besides the injuries that Louise has dealt with, she says that finding time was a major obstacle for her. She has two kids in competitive swimming and school sports which takes up the majority of her time, and leaves very little time for herself and life in general.
She says the best way to deal with this challenge is to, "Book it in and make it happen. Fit it into your life so that it works and becomes your lifestyle. When you bring your family with you, it’s not time away from them, it’s time with them."
When we asked Heather what she would say to anyone that is going through similar struggles as she has, she said, "If you feel like you’re ready to quit, take a step back and reassess the situation. Think what can I do differently and if you don't know, look for people that can help you, like the coaches at Absolute Fitness. Surround yourself with people that will support you and make it a family affair. Training is never an inconvenience, it becomes part of your everyday life routine like buying groceries. Everything you do, do it as a family unit, make it a family lifestyle."
That is awesome advice. Make yourself, and your family, strong by committing to fitness as a lifestyle. Attaining the right mindset, and surrounding yourself with the right people, your fitness goals will become a reality.
If you need a hand with your fitness goals let Absolute Fitness be the Team you can rely on to get you to where you want to be. Make it happen by giving us a call at 403-347-9669 or send us an email at @absolutefitnessrd.ca. You can look for us on social media by looking us up on facebook @absolutefitnessreddeer or on instagram @absolutefitnessrd