Catch

We are wrapping up week 4 of the Professional Training Program, putting us at the one month mark for the nine month program.  Let’s check in:

Do you remember that shoulder injury I suffered in November?  The one that took me down for 3 months?  And how joyful I was when I was allowed back in the air?  While my previously injured right shoulder doesn’t feel at risk in the slightest, although it does have a tendency to get tight, I found myself overcompensating and trying to protect my right shoulder, and starting to injure my left shoulder.  This mentally pulled me back quite a bit.  I don’t muscle through push ups anymore, and I spend a lot of time massaging my left shoulder and working on stabilizing exercises.  This has been a frustrating process.  I want to remember what it means to be injury free, but I fear that may never happen again.  The only thing I can do is learn as much as possible about muscles, tendons, and proper stretching technique, and LISTEN TO MY BODY.

Physically otherwise – last week I was in a pretty doubtful state of mind.  I felt like I was going backwards.  I could do leg lifts up until my audition, and I could knock out ten pull ups like it was nothing, and spending 10-15 minutes in the air in one go was a piece of cake.  Since the program started, emphasis has been on technique and detail.  Sure, pull-ups were easy, but  was I engaging the right muscles in the correct order?  I was being forced to slow down and think about my movements more.  I’m developing muscles I wasn’t aware of.  Last week, I was having a rough time making it through 3 pull-ups, but that’s because I was very slow and controlled through the movements, engaging the muscles carefully, disengaging ones I didn’t need, preventing swing, arching, and other potentially hazardous efforts.  But last week, this wasn’t how I was thinking.  Last week I was holding back frustrated tears and tearing myself apart for taking a step backwards, as I felt it to be.

Since then, there have been a couple of light bulb moments as I learn in even greater detail how to engage muscles for efficiency of movement, and while I still can’t do a straight arm straight leg straddle up, I’m feeling the progress.

All month I was also struggling with my nutrition.  A pro-athlete diet is complex, and I can’t seem to eat enough food.  So, I started looking at what I was eating every day, and trying to figure out why, and what my body really needed.  I calculated my grocery bill for the last month and nearly fainted. Being vegetarian and athletic means paying extra attention to food.  In an average lifestyle, it can be difficult to get the proper nutrients daily.  I was becoming lethargic, moody, and starting to experience tummy issues.  I needed a change.  I’ve increased my protein intake and lowered my fructose consumption, and I’m adding a little more carbs in the morning.  My favorite snack has become peanut butter and apple sandwiches.  So far, my energy has been returning, but I still have a few kinks to figure out.

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Emotionally, I’m still a little bit of a roller coaster.  I’m reminding myself to breathe deep and that I am my own worst critic.  The major thing that is getting my through it is the group.  There are 11 of us, and everyone is sharing their frustrations, fears, excitement, and energy.  When I’m getting down on myself for my ballet work, I turn to another and say “I don’t understand.  This sucks,” and there are sympathetic looks and words of encouragement.  We are all bringing unique gifts to the group, and from the start created an open atmosphere, so sharing those negative feelings doesn’t feel wrong or embarrassing.  What I love is that we recognize the small victories in our classmates.  Joanna is really working on her pull-ups, just to get one.  And every time she tries, people are cheering her on from across the room.  Progress is not unnoticed, and that is vital in keeping our faith in ourselves.

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I’m sure we could all do this alone, but I’m also pretty sure I would be more burnt out at the one month mark if I didn’t have them beside me.  Having a strong group seems to be everything right now.  I trust them to catch me.

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