Work with What You’ve Got

As you all know, I’ve been lamenting my bum leg for a couple weeks now (found out last week that it’s a “medial collateral ligament strain”), and my fairly aggressive workout routine came to a screeching halt because I can’t do all the jumpy-runny-squatty things I was doing. I was biding my time with low-impact home weight workouts, but I was getting bored and restless very quickly, and that’s no bueno. I already have periodic bouts of postpartum hormonal issues where I lapse into feeling very low and sad and overwhelmed, and exercise is my absolute top outlet for all of that. It’s my sanity-keeper, and without it I feel kinda lost.

For several weeks the husband had been in my ear about a larger exercise equipment purchase he wanted to make that I was somewhat skeptical of—a sandbag. As in, a heavy-duty duffel-type bag with multiple handles on the outside that then has other heavy-duty bags you can fill with different weights of sand and stuff inside the first bag. I’d never used one, but he had and swore it’d be well worth it. As I’m prone to do, I judged his request, because I saw it as something that would help him and not me (truth: when I’m in a sour place I can become self-centered and envious very quickly), and due our current financial situation I wasn’t too keen on the $130 price tag either. But, at the end of the day he is the breadwinner in our family, and even though I’m the voice of financial reason, when something like this comes up that I know he really wants and it’s at least somewhat practical, I’m not gonna stop him.

So now we own a sandbag. He got it last week and we have interchangeable liner bags that are filled with 22 lbs (mine) and 45 lbs (his) of “play sand,” which is pretty much just slightly damp sand that won’t slide around and spill easily (and isn’t filled with rocks and twigs and broken glass and trash like the sand at most beaches). Let me tell you…it only took one workout with this thing for me to fall in love. After one workout I felt more like myself, and I immediately no longer cared about the cost. I spent a solid two weeks feeling sorry for myself, and after one super legit, painful strength routine with Mr. Sandbag, I felt amazing. And when I feel better, I get to a more solution-oriented place, which then leads to other ways to feel better. For example, the husband mentioned that one of his coworkers does yoga and pilates, and I went, “Oh! Pilates! Duh!” I used to do it all the time back in the day, but it’d completely fallen off my radar with all the other stuff I started. So I hopped on YouTube, found free workouts, and did them three times last week (my upper body and core don’t know whether to love me or hate me right now). I also kept doing sandbag workouts and knee push-ups, as well as the PT moves my doc gave me for my leg. And guess what? I’m healing! Sitting on my butt for two weeks, I swear the pain was getting worse, but that’s because I wasn’t doing anything to help it. It might sound counterintuitive, but “active recovery” is definitely a thing. I haven’t been going crazy, mind you—95% of the workouts I’ve been doing have intentionally omitted heavy leg work—but I haven’t left it out entirely either. Yesterday my big accomplishment was taking that 22 lb sandbag and walking the half-mile loop around our apartment complex (a fun task, I assure you). And today I’ll swing by our front office and pick up the flexible knee brace I ordered so I can *hopefully* try a barre class later this week.

The moral of this week’s story is to work with what you’ve got. I spent too long being a mopey moo and hating everything, only to realize that I just needed to look for a different solution. Sending all of you “inner beast” vibes so you can find whatever strength you need this week too!