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3 Ways Being an MMA is Easier Than Being Pregnant

#1 – Being a legit MMA Fighter makes you LESS likely to get in fights outside the gym.

Training as a legit MMA fighter takes A LOT of time & physical/mental energy & when you spend that much time getting punched & kicked & thrown around & choked, the LAST thing you feel like doing is spending any energy fighting the idiot who cut you off or stole you weight bench. Being a legit MMA fighter makes you more mellow bc you know that you could most likely kick the shit out of 90% of the people who would try to pick a fight with you & you so develop a silent confidence & therefore let things slide. You have nothing to prove.

On the other side of this coin is the irrational, unpredictable pregnancy irritation that could become a blind rage in .2 seconds. Being pregnant gives you zero tolerance for anyone’s bullshit bc everything you do is an exhausting struggle – be that physical or mental. Being pregnant means at any given time you are 3/4 of the way to telling someone to get the f*ck away from you, to back the f*ck off, or to smarten the f*ck up (you say “f*ck” a lot while pregnant, it’s a fact). Add to this the fact that you are/were a legit MMA fighter: you are now a weapon of mass destruction primed to go off at any moment & to restrain this takes immense energy, focus, will & sugar, which in the end only adds to your irritation.

#2 – Being a legit MMA fighter gets you in wicked shape & so you get to enjoy feeling like a sexy beast.

It takes so many hours of ridiculously hard work to get prepared for a legit MMA fight & the physiological response is usually to drop body fat. The benefit of being in the best shape of your life is that you LOOK like you’re in the best shape of your life & you get to walk around knowing that your bulging muscle & obvious athletic prowess is appealing (even if only to you) but also terrifying. Being in fighting shape is the ultimate Alpha expression & you’ll feel it…even if the rest of the world doesn’t.

In stark contrast we have pregnancy.

As a legit MMA fighter, being pregnant means you’re in the worst shape of your life & most horribly, not bc you chose this (in the sense of quitting exercise/healthy food), but bc mother nature & evolution are sneaky bitches. You cannot outsmart them & you cannot outwork them. Being pregnant means that even if you eat well & workout you will gain weight (as you should). You get slower & bigger & softer & the Alpha feeling gets replaced with the Zeta feeling: a word I made up that means you’re at the end of the alphabet bc you probably feel so hideous & unfamiliar to yourself. And if you weren’t so exhausted from pregnancy induced insomnia you’d work out at 4am so you could avoid having to even see people in such a condition bc their lack of fear is also irritating. Also, bc it helps you avoid getting in fights.

#3 – Being a legit MMA fighter, especially female fighter, means people are afraid to talk to you.

It doesn’t matter how friendly & nice you actually are, if people know that you’re an MMA fighter & you also have the physique of a legit athlete, most people are intimidated by you. My experience has been that muscular women are scary in our society; add to that the fighter bit & you are an outright freak of nature. This can be really annoying, however, you can be assured that people WILL NOT say really stupid/offensive things to you (except about your muscles). They also will NEVER touch you bc they’re already convinced that you might attack them. So this perception of you, no matter how false, helps prevent people from pissing you off and/or offending you, bc they have the common sense to only say such things behind your back.

And then we have pregnancy; the time of your life when EVERYONE has an opinion about EVERYTHING about you. Your body, your weight, your overall size, what you’re wearing, what you’re eating, & worst of all they TOUCH you. Now if you’ve been paying attention you can see that so far along we have a highly irritated, most likely irrational woman that is unbearably uncomfortable with inevitable changes of pregnancy & then someone is going to comment on her changing shape & size & then follow up with trying to touch her growing belly!! It’s a disaster. To go from one extreme to the other is paralyzing bc it is such a strain to not tell people to f*ck off that it hurts your face. Like you haven’t noticed all these changes & the fact that your everything has muffin-top & your everything hurts & your everything is retaining water & your everything doesn’t fit you & everything has suddenly started to feel 20x harder to do (like stairs, putting on your pants, putting on your shoes, breathing, being alive in general etc).

Now bear in mind this is only my experience & there are plenty of great things about being pregnant (or so they say…just kidding…not really) but I thought I’d share some of my thoughts.

I’m sure I’ll add to this list.

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Maximum Resistance

I remember many years ago I began reading up on Buddhism in an attempt  to try & alleviate some of the struggle & pain in which I’d engulfed.

This was back when I was quite sick with Anorexia; so obviously it seemed way easier to address my problems by diving headfirst into spiritual exploration & existential questioning than it did to eat a sandwich.

Of all the things I read on this topic over the years, the lesson that has always stood out the most, & simultaneously pissed me off the most, is the teaching that suffering is created not necessarily by specific situations, but rather, our resistance to such situations.

Now as someone with a fair amount of trauma littering her past, the idea that my “suffering” wasn’t related to the actual situations I was thrown into as a kid sounds like utter bullshit. And it would be if that were the point of that teaching, but I don’t believe it is. I believe the suffering being referenced is about that which we experience as decision-making adults vs. children at the mercy of adults.

But I’ve come face-to-face with this teaching a lot  over the past year due to this injury.

I have physical pain: there’s no denying that & that pain has very little to do with my refusal to accept anything, though I most certainly made things worse by continuing to train the way I did. But I was legitimately ignorant about the severity of what was going on.

But after a couple hard mitt sessions a few weeks ago, I sent myself into a spiral of pain (again). I set something off with this injury & haven’t had a single moment free of pain in the 3 weeks since. Today I’m at the point where I’m just sick-to-fucking-death of being in pain bc it impacts my life significantly. It impacts my well being. It sinks me.

So as I’m sitting or laying somewhere thinking thoughts of feeling sorry for myself & being angry about how this is the Never Ending Story of my life. I remember that lesson: suffering is resistance. And I think to myself, “What are you resisting?” And then I get super irritated at myself bc ultimately I want the answer to be NOTHING.

This is being done to me. Sure, I did this by over-training & not listening to my body & pushing too hard, too often but I am behaving now & yet still I keep experiencing this pain. I am not resisting. I am being attacked. Targeted. Unfairly ambushed by fate. God. Goddess. The Easter Bunny. All of them. Everyone is after me.

But you know what’s killing me?

It’s not just the pain, & I most definitely am not downplaying the pain, but it’s that I refuse to lay down & quit trying. I won’t just sit around. And when I have this kind of flareup, I get anxious by thinking that I’ll never get better. That pain is going to be my ongoing reality. That I won’t be able to do most of the activities that I enjoy & that make me feel good. That I’ll get fat & soft & weak & out of shape.

I don’t accept this as today’s reality bc I’m terrified this means I accept this as permanent…even though other Buddhist teaching are about lack of attachment & impermanence….but I’m not a Monk so cut me a break.

I’m not exactly sure what my point is. I suppose it’s simply shining the light on that fact that I realize I make the experience of physical pain worse by not just accepting it as where I am today. Admittedly, It’s tricky bc I have been struggling with this for over a year now. I’ve had a lot of “today’s” filled with pain.

But I do have good days…I’ve actually even had good weeks.

And perhaps if I’m super honest with myself, I might find that when I trigger these soul-crushing bouts of relentless pain, I’ve often (but certainly not always) caused it by not respecting where I am “today.”

I still want to be where I was when I could walk & move & train without any concern of pain.

I still want 100% from myself bc I haven’t quite wrapped myself around what my new (& hopefully temporary) 100% looks like.

Or the fact that asking 100% of myself today doesn’t mean the same thing it meant over a year ago.

I’m not sacrificing my body for the pursuit of skill perfection or athletic evolution.

That sacrifice cost me greatly. 

I guess today’s 100% isn’t about pushing to my limit & then 10% more. Instead, 100% is about listening & respecting my body for where it is & what it needs 100% of the time….which realistically will mean 75% of the time.

I’m not very good at it yet. I think I’ve been resisting where I am. I like this reality: it sucks. It’s painful & unpredictable & unstable (physically) & hard to navigate. 

And while this resistance doesn’t account for my physical pain, it sure accounts for my wanting to lay in my Lay-Z Boy after work & eat bags of candy in pants with elastic waistbands. 

That is why they invented Spanx, after all.

But I’ll resist the urge to give in & instead accept what I need to do today without concerning myself of what I might find tomorrow bc what I have learned is that tomorrow will most certainly not be better than today if I don’t respect where I am & what needs to happen today.

 

 

Bull

Well, the past almost 2 weeks have been bullshit.

I hit mitts twice 2 weeks ago & somehow locked up my SI joints & gave myself 1.5wks of wicked sciatica.

This is how it goes with this hip problem; my whole low back is so unstable that it only takes one little thing to set off a chain reaction of pain throughout my hip/low back/quad.

It’s brutal. I tried to go for a walk in the sunshine & had to cut it short bc the sciatica was so bad & my IT band was causing pain down my left hip/quad.

So I had to cut out all leg work for 2 weeks. Hardly any cardio bc I’m scared of making it worse.

It’s an incredibly frustrating situation to not be able to do what I want to do, particularly when what I want to do is so scaled back. Not being able to go for a walk? That is just ridiculous.

I’m really hopeful that the specialist will tell me what is wrong & what needs to happen to fix it because this whole walking on eggshells around this injury is taxing mentally. I can’t just enjoy being active.

I’ve done so many upper body workouts I feel like one of the dudes from my gym who trains chest/back/traps every day of the week. 

But I’ve learned from many past mistakes that if I push through this pain I will wind up suffering a more intense pain for 2x as long & that’s just not worth it to me anymore.

I’ve switched my program from a 5 day split to a 3 day split so that I (theoretically) have more time for yoga & cardio & a metabolic session….but that depends on my hip/low back releasing. 

I also found trying to get 2 hard leg days per week wasn’t always possible, bc sometimes my hip was sore & needed the extra break. So I’m going to keep 1 scheduled in & then hit a second body weight focused workout if my hip is feeling good.

Hopefully at some point this week I can work legs & get some easy cardio; at this point I’d be stoked to go walk for an hour in the sunshine. Not exactly my typical ideal “workout.”

 

 

It Depends

I don’t know exactly how long it’s been since I made the ‘official’ decision to step back from MMA but I can tell you that things have been going pretty well.

The whole purpose of stepping away from MMA was to heal; I’d been struggling with this excruciating injury for 1 year & while at times it seemed to get a little better, there was always that inevitable set-back that resulted in me hobbling around in unrelenting pain. Usually, that set-back was found in wrestling/jits or kicking people (sparring).

The worst thing would have been to take this step back, give up the sport I love & dive head first into my pity-party (catered by the bulk candy section of Safeway) only to not get better. That would’ve been the worse case scenario because not only would I be sitting there in pain, feeling sorry for myself in hideous sweat pants, but I would also be no closer to understanding or fixing  whatever was causing all the pain.

I am happy to be slowly getting better. I still have setbacks but nowhere near the degree I had when I was training for my sport everyday.

I’ve been able to add full leg workouts to my regimen, which was a bonus because it had been about 10 months since I’d been physically capable of training my legs, which was depressing because I’d actually built myself some impressive looking legs (hello quad sweep). I know that sounds like a weird thing to care about but I’m weird like that. So my legs lost most of their power & definition because my hip couldn’t handle external loading.

My leg workouts now are not what they used to be. I did plyometrics at home about 2 weeks ago, which resulted in muscles so sore I debated wearing Depends diapers so I didn’t have to try & squat down onto the toilet.

It’s been tough to reintegrate leg workouts because I have to do sissy leg workouts: I am used to single leg pressing 270lbs & doing step ups with 180lbs…or something like that. My point is that my legs were strong & now if I do the leg press (which I’ve only ventured to 1x because I’m not sure that my hip would be happy) I do single leg @ 90lbs. Mind you I do about 20-25 reps each set, but that doesn’t help me feel like any less of a wuss.

There is no place for ego in my workouts.

I’ve continued to box as a form of cardio & simply because I love  pad work/bag work. I have to make sure that it’s set up in my week appropriately or else that still bugs my hip & SI joint.

I would say this has been the biggest challenge for me; having to structure my ‘intensity’ so that my hip isn’t over-loaded through cardio/leg work/boxing on an ongoing basis. It’s really annoying.

But honestly, I should have been doing this all along as it was this lack of appropriate structure to my training which led me here (most likely). I went too hard, too often. The problem is that  I like to train hard: if I’m not sweating & pushing myself to the outer edge of some limit, then I don’t enjoy it as much. It doesn’t satisfy me.

know this is wrong. When I do plans for other people, I focus exclusively on periodization & making sure there is ample rest & recovery to body parts/systems. But I didn’t prioritize this for myself. I was chasing the athletic edge and even though I know that athletes need rest in order to attain & maintain their edge, I still refused to apply it to myself. I was too caught up in pursuing ‘better’. I obviously think I’m pretty fucking special.

Now I have no choice but to do this or I can’t walk properly & I’ll initiate a chain reaction that can take up to 2 weeks to stop & that means 2 weeks of horrible pain & extreme physical limitation.

But I am learning; now when I feel something funky going on in my hip or SI joint, I back off. I rest or pick something that doesn’t stress the joint. I still push a bit hard but I’ve learned where that threshold is.

Do I miss my sport?

Of course.

Do I wish I was still doing it?

In some ways, definitely. But in other ways, I do not. I put up with a lot of things while I was fighting because I had a goal. Each fight presented a new opportunity, so I followed it. It was a natural progression that kept me focused & looking ahead. But my gym was going through some significant changes & it was impacting me significantly both personally, & as a fighter.

Going to the gym was as much passion as it was a job; I had to show up when I didn’t want to, both for myself & my training partners. It’s an expected piece for any legitimate fighter. But the changes taking place at my gym were making it increasingly difficult to show up & I felt like I was compromising parts of myself that I wouldn’t normally compromise because I had no where else to train (I wasn’t going to move).

Stepping back from fighting has brought a lot of freedom to my life. I have more time available to enjoy a variety of activities. I have more time for family & friends. I train differently at the gym & this change has brought new energy & focus into working out. I also don’t workout for hours on end. I enjoy boxing (or kickboxing if I could kick) for the love of the sport, not because I feel pressured to nail down a new skill/ability. I do what I do because I want to, not because I have to & that’s very liberating.

Most significantly, I am in the least amount of pain that I’ve been in since December 2012 & that is priceless to me. Constant pain starts to wear a person down; it dulls life.

And, as it always does, the process I’ve had to embrace through healing myself physically, has been mirrored in other areas of my life. Once I decided that I could no longer tolerate the ongoing experience of pain & that I had to stop & listen to my body & listen to myself, I have found that I have less tolerance for situations or people in my life that bring negativity.

Letting go of MMA was about saying, “Just getting by isn’t good enough anymore.”

Letting go in life is much the same because whether you are living a life you love or loathe, you are the only person responsible for this & the only one with the power to change it.

Gaddamn

Gaddamn

Dem legz

Legit Problem

Legit Problem

Strong girl problems

Not Sure

Not Sure

Story of my life

Bitches…

Bitches...

The One & Only DLB

I decided to share something (or someone) that motivates me.

DLB has put in a ridiculous amount of hard work to build her physique & if you follow her on social media you realize she’s put in just as much work into staying true to who she is.

The support her husband, Rob, provides is also inspiring; there is no doubt that he is her #1 Fan & that is just how it should be.

While I don’t aspire to have quite as much muscle as DLB, I find her physique inspiring, motivating, & powerful. In other words, she’s beautiful & amazing.

Not to mention, I like watching her videos because I can lift almost as much as DLB in most lifts…& that makes me feel pretty badass.

Imma O.G.

I recently read an article about how people are “perplexed” by women with muscle.

Here is the link: http://theconversation.com/why-do-we-find-muscular-women-wildly-perplexing-21846

There are a few things I don’t agree with about the article (how it was written) but as a female with more muscle than the average female, I can attest to being treated a bit differently due to other females finding my muscularity intimidating.

For a long time I chalked this up to me being paranoid & narcissistic, but last year I gained a new co-worker, who accompanies me to various meetings around the community & has, therefore, received countless comments & questions about my physique after I leave the room. From strangers & my own co-workers. People don’t want to ask me, perhaps they think it’s rude. In reality, I think it’s ruder to steal sideways glances & to have me catch you staring at me & then NOT say something.

It doesn’t bother me though, I actually like it. If my purpose in life were to blend in I’d buy a hairbrush, straighten my ‘fro & would only have hide-able tattoos. I also probably wouldn’t have chosen to engage in hand-to-hand combat with another chick in a cage or ring in front of hundreds (or more) people for fun.

I’d actually be more offended by people NOT noticing my physique, because I have put an unbelievable amount of work into building the mass I have. Like it or hate it – this body took a lot, & I mean A LOT, of work.

And when you’re standing across from someone who wants to punch & choke you into submission, looking intimidating isn’t a bad thing. When I’d put on the extra weight to build some more muscle, I had to have a mantra to deal with the fact that my pants didn’t fit right & that my muffin top was more like a tiered cake, that mantra was that I was wanted my physique to scare the shit out of my opponents. Even though an impressive physique does not win you fights nor represent cardiac conditioning, endurance or strength (contrary to popular belief) I still wanted to look like I could smash.

So this brings me to my original inspiration for this post: chicks at the gym who won’t smile back at me bc they’re intimated by my physique & my work ethic. I used to take this personally, like I must be doing something “bitchy” so I often go out of my way to smile at other females at the gym bc I am not insecure. If you’re thinner or prettier or fitter – I’m cool with that. I applaud your work. I am not threatened by that, but many females get freaky competitive & so I think the assumption is that I am going to be that way.

But when I smile at some of these females, they won’t smile back! I give them a few attempts but if you throw down the bitch vibe, I’m going to go Alpha Female on your ass & then we can’t be gym friendly. Offer is now off the table. And if you’re throwing in a glare, which the person who inspired this rant does, then I really gotta up the Alpha just to make sure you understand the pecking order..as well as the fact that, while I never would, I very well could, literally, throw you face first into a wall.

What is my point? Nothing – I’m just getting really sick of this attitude I continuously encounter at the gym.

I don’t want to hang out & discuss Paleo recipes, or whatever bullshit you’re into, I just figure if we’re going to share space 3-4 days a week, we can say, “Hey” & smile & then get on with things.

But in the event that you want to glare at me, regardless of whatever your ridiculous she-problems are, you best be prepared for me to go O.G. on you (Original Gangster/Original Gym-Goer). I have been going to the gym for about 12 years (the high school years were a joke but I was still there & want the credit) & there are certain rules you abide by & that includes not giving the shit-eye to the OG’s of the gym just bc they lift more than you & your boyfriend combined.

End of rant.