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Mar 22, 2023Liked by Michelle Elman

Read this between sets during my first gym session since catching Covid. Weights were cut in half and I’m still struggling - and all this after several months of training to get to a somewhat okay-ish point with all my autoimmune diseases dragging me down. I’m supposed to go cycling around Majorca in about a month, and all the slow preparations for that were kind of ruined by covid again. I will need to balance trying to move again and not putting myself straight into a flare-up.

I find that with my baseline being much lower than a healthy person’s, declines really sadden me.

Needed to read this. Thank you.

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Mar 22, 2023Liked by Michelle Elman

Great article Michelle. I have to allow flexibility for what my limits are on a day to day basis too and it's hard to stay positive sometimes but I'm definitely trying to appreciate what I can still do and realise my body has been through it. I had multiple chronic illnesses before getting covid and then I saw some consultants about Long Covid/post viral illness and got diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which was causing my exercise intolerance, palpitations and breathlessness. They think I had it most of my life and covid exasperated it. I used to be very fit/sporty but would always hit a wall with how fit I could get and then would start crashing. Now I have very limited fitness and need to start gradually building it back up and it's hard explaining to people that I can't 'just' go straight back into things like they can. My point is, thanks for sharing your fitness vids and stories, as it does give me hope and encouragement and also helps me frame things more positively, rather than getting stuck xx

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Mar 22, 2023Liked by Michelle Elman

I had a slipped disk with 28. I couldn’t move, couldn’t walk properly for weeks and even now nearly 5 years on, I feel the pain, I struggle.

I’ve had to accept that I can’t lift that one thing, I have to ask for help. I can’t walk/hike like I used to, my back starts aching too much.

I loved the workouts I was doing, but I can’t do that anymore, as it hurts and put my back at risk.

So instead, I’ve found new exercises I enjoy, I ask for help and, when I can, see a chiropractor to help maintain my back. It does make me feel capped with my capabilities at times, especially around others who may not be aware of my back issues. But I try to not let it get me down too much. I’m just grateful to be walking and dancing again.

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I am currently dealing with something similar, maybe not feeling like the unfit one but feeling like my unfittest self.

I have had a very bad health year, injury after injury (left wrist, back) and then surgeries (Cervical conization due to cancer) with 2 weeks of bedrest after each and then finally when things were looking brighter I started catching different things (tonsillitis, sinusitis) each month that made it unsanitary to work out at a public gym and it would have been a stupid move to pressure myself, so more resting while on antibiotics.

This of course means that I had to sort of start over again and I basically have no core muscles, and have to do exercises for those who recently gave birth. I couldn't do any of my regular weights and it felt horrible and demotivating. My frustration was known to my surroundings hehe. So I told my PT to give me a completely new program with non of my old exercises and we decided to more than halfen my weights and only do 2 sets instead of 3-4 and only 6 reps instead of 8-12. This made me stop comparing myself (at my weakest) to my strongest self and also made me feel stronger and when something felt too easy I added weights and then reps and then eventually a set and got back (and even beat) my old personal records, while enjoying the workout and not beating on myself for not being able to keep my old standards, that is how I overcame it this time.

I am still struggling to keep up especially walking, once I cross 10k steps per day I get problems with my feet and knees. When I had guest visiting I had to tell them that after a while, first I tried keeping up and did 20k steps for 2 days but that backfired and I couldn't join any walking for a couple of days. Now I communicate sure you can walk like 2-3k steps in a row with some pauses until we reach 10k but then I can't push it so either we need to grab an uber or I will just sit somewhere in the meantime. I felt like I needed a massage after this and my visiting friend really wanted one too so one day was recovery day where we got massages and just chilled, and it was awesome.

Today I did my first Zumba class in months and I had to mentally prepare myself that I would suck and that today was all about just leaving the house and moving my body to the music. As a former dancer it is hard not to want to do it perfectly and take yourself too seriously. But I went, and yes, it felt like my head was on someone else body and when I caught myself in the mirror I felt as elegant as an elegant but I was smiling and for me that is was I focus on. I feel such joy of music and movement and this Zumba instructor he is the BEST and we laugh and I smile the entire class. And slowly I will learn some of the songs and choreographies and then I can slowly start to push myself again to really use it as a workout.

I still haven't run more than 200m since May 2023, this is my biggest challenge to overcome yet because running is really hard and heavy when you haven't don't cardio in a long time. But I will try to make it an enjoyable thing by bringing my iPad and adjusting the goal minute by minute or 100m at a time. The focus will be to improve from where I am instead of thinking how slow I am compared to last year etc. It is extremely hard for me to give myself a break but I wouldn't expect any human to just bounce back like nothing happened so I am trying really hard to have self-compassion and thinking long-term, I want to be able to enjoy moving my body and keeping up with my future kids, I am still creating the foundation for it.

I am dealing with accepting that my expectations of 27 arent helping and trying to stop comparing my actual 27 to how I thought someone would feel at 27 and especially like in my head I kept saying this is how an old person feels, or I feel worse than my 80y/o grandma what us wrong with me. This was not helpful at all. So trying to rephrase it as some people have physical health issues, some mental health issues. Some had issues earlier in their lives some will have them later in life. I am choosing to be grateful that my body is mine, it works, it is ‘healthy’ and I can be independent and walk away and dance and get things from the top shelf without too much trouble.

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I really appreciate your openness over on insta about your experiences of & approach to exercise. For most of my life I never really considered myself active or sporty, which recently I've realised was completely untrue, I've always been active and enjoyed a range of activities, but because I was always towards the back of the pack with performance there were so many stories around it not counting. I became disabled 4.5 years ago, and although I'm still working out how I can exercise sustainably with my chronic illness, the things you've shared have really encouraged me to keep trying to find a way that works for me and with where my health is at. I would love to be able to run 5k again some day, and I have no idea if it's even possible for me any more, but the attitude you've encouraged in me is one of giving things a go - maybe in a few years I'll get back there, maybe not, but if that goal helps me find ways that I enjoy moving my body that work with my disability then it doesn't matter where I end up. Thank you so much for sharing, it really has made a world of difference to me 🥰

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I so needed to hear this right now! Constantly struggling with my mobility and feeling like I have to justify it! But actually it’s who I am. Thank you Michelle for always being so honest.

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I used to be really slim but that changes after I had mental health issues. I had to take medication to get better but the side effect was that I've gained a lot of weight. I workout a lot and I managed to loose some weight but still I am not in the shape I used to be. I have to put up with dirty looks at the gym and comments like "you work out a lot but you're still fat". I try my best not to get upset about that and be thankful for all the amazing stuff my body does for me but sometimes it's hard to stay positive.

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