The TRUE Fitness Challenge | A Training Ban!

by Marianne  - July 20, 2012

Hi all,

This week started very well; I trained well on Monday and was pretty much very happy with myself about that … until Tuesday came and my muscle soreness was so bad I could hardly walk!  This was not very wise of me.  After taking it easy the week before, I went into my training session too hard and too heavy, which resulted in 3 days worth of DOMS that have now set me back even further. T

o make matters worse (and as positive as I usually am these days, this has really hit home for me) my back/SI/hip issues have got way worse too and I have enforced a almost complete training ban! Following the advice of a friend, who I highly respect, I must step back from high load training for at least a month.  This is such a pain for me to have to admit, but I guess I need to remember I only have one back and one life, and I want to live it pain free! So what if I am not as strong, or look as defined … I want to be active, able to enjoy life and able to work … these are the things I need to remind myself of.

When training is such a big part of life, it can be a bigger challenge to step back and get TRUE rest. And even more of a challenge to hold back from restarting things by doing too much. When I was “taking it easy” last week, I was still deadlifting, squatting and bridging with heavy loads, just not AS heavy as usual or as often as usual. I made excuses about why I “needed” to keep doing these exercises.  The point is, that I still thought I could have it both ways … recover without rest! While sometimes this MAY be true (depending on the type of injury and training you do), I have to admit that this time I was wrong – continuing to train the way I normally do is not helping.  When I am pain free, I do too much and then it flares up again – so a ban is the only way I can hold myself back.  I’m often an “all or nothing” kind of person, but I need to start applying more wisdom … even if it’s borrowed from other people!

Now the problem is, what about my home workouts, and what about my other project etc etc?? Well, I will resort to demonstrating the exercises for a while and I will come up with other ways to continue blogging. I won’t bore you with my sadness over this, but I will use this as the perfect opportunity to practice all my positivity and faith lessons from this last few months. After all, it’s easy to be happy and have faith when everything is fine and dandy; a lot more testing when something so challenging is set before you.

When have I ever passed up a challenge? 😉

Anyway, this will test me on a whole load of levels, but mostly mentally and emotionally.  Fear of getting fat, being weak, feeling useless, unattractive (in a “who wants to be with a cripple” pity-party kind of way) are just some of the irrational worries that are flashing through my head right now. But these are only fleeting and natural thoughts, and I know I can rise above these fears – it just takes determination and setting my mind to a place of calm. It will all be okay.

It’s not ALL bad; when I am ready I can still do non-impact cardio (maybe swimming), upper body training, bodybuilding-style routines (maybe even use resistance machines for a while), and body weight stuff.  And, of course, I will be doing mobility work and having soft-tissue therapy.  I just can’t go heavy.  I will keep you all informed about my progress and I hope that once this passes, I will be better for it and I will rid myself of my dark passenger forever!

For now, I thought I would give you all a workout challenge – so you can represent me and kick some serious butt for me 🙂

The Challenge

Complete as many rounds of the following 4 exercises in 15 minutes:

  1. Goblet Squats x 10 reps
  2. Burpees x 10 reps
  3. Two-Handed KB Swing x 20 reps
  4. Bent Over Row (double or alternating) x 10 reps for each arm

And that’s it. Doesn’t seem too bad … 😉  The thing is, now I won’t be doing the workouts means they might end up harder haha! J/K

Hope you all have a great workout and never take for granted being able to move pain-free 🙂



PS – I found this great article by John Romaniello about Body Weight Training. For anyone wanting to deload, this is a great way to do so and still feel the many other benefits of exercise. Hope you enjoy the read as I did.


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  1. Hi Marianne,
    I just wanted to pass on my appreciation of your blog. I came across your videos on Youtube when i first started looking for Kettlebell workouts, and then found you again via Bret Contreras’ site.

    I always read your posts, especially when I need inspiration! I’ve learned so much about efficient effective training, staying positive and getting the most from myself. I’ve also taken up intermittent fasting after readin about it on myomy. I’ve recommended your site to a few people who i speak to about fitness- its amazibg how many women won’t lift more than 2kg for fear of huge biceps!!

    Sorry to hear about your trouble and I hope that you will feel back to your self soon! Stay smiling- You’re fab you are 🙂


  2. Get better!!!! You are such an inspiration to so many and as I’ve read some of the comments you are inspiring people to take a break when necessary. If we don’t listen to our bodies slight hints….the hints just get louder (and sometimes more painful). I know it’s hard to separate from our thoughts but when you’re insecurities of resting set just remember this very wise phrase and sing it loud….HAKUNA MATATA!!! 🙂

    Feel Better.


  3. Sorry to hear that you have to take a break. But don’t be discouraged this will make you that much better at understanding the needs of others who live with pain and are still trying to workout. 🙂 I am no expert but swimming is amazing I use it to stretch out and workout it maybe a wonderful alternative for you to keep strength while “resting”. I hope you feel better soon 🙂

  4. I’m sad to hear that dang SI joint is doing you in (for the time being). I am somewhat like you and your other followers with regard to trying to ‘train through an injury’.. I have a hard time NOT training that particular part of my body that hurts (shoulder). But like you and the others, sounds like many of us are having to take a step back in our training, reassess and allow time to heal. So know that you are not alone. Okay? I really think you’ll be okay with regard to weight, muscle tone etc. You are in amazing shape! You might find this month long break is just what your body needs.. it’s a good thing. Right? (Positive thinking!). And knowing that you can still do other activities should lessen those thoughts/feelings. Along this point in your journey you might stumble across a new activity that you never thought you would enjoy. Who knows. Take one day at a in the moment. No worries. K?

    btw.. i’m doing the challenge tomorrow (on account my shoulder will allow me to)[how do you know if it’s a should rotator cuff injury or otherwise? ugh..]
    Take Care!

    1. Penny, have you been to see a physio about your shoulder? Or have you tried specific shoulder-cuff rehab exercises to see if they help?

      I am all for airing on the side of caution – especially now … I don’t want to see anyone else have to stop for a month like me :/ Hope the workout goes well, take it easy on the challenge!

      1. No, haven’t seen a physio. Trying to self diagnose and research therapy exercise/stretches that I can do in the meantime. I have found some that i’m trying and we’ll see how that goes for the time being.

        Whatever I do, I do slowly and if I feel any pain, then I stop. I tweeked my shoulder doing either the high pulls or push press with the bar bell.. should just stick to kbs!grr

        My daughter and I did complete your challenge above; however, I had to step back into the burpee (jumping back seemed to jar the shoulder) and peform the push up in slow motion (which is ok). we completed 4 rounds in 14min 45sec. The last 15 seconds we used for sopping up the sweat! (it was 95* outside in the garage after all).

        I wish you a speedy recovery Marianne! We all need you to keep us moving and motivated and challenged.

        Enjoy the day.

        1. Awesome! Hope that you get to the bottom of it and it heals. I would avoid doing the Vertical Pull exercise of mine, as I think that could annoy your shoulder. And obviously be especially careful with vertical pressing.

          I hope to be back asap with a new workout. I have a few things planned in the meantime 😉 Stay tuned

  5. I understand the need to pace yourself, I am not one to do that easily either. But I am learning to do it and I know you can too. I think listening to your body is a really interesting topic. Evaluating if a hurt hurts too much, if it is a healthy hurt, and deciding with frank simplicity how to support your body’s need is valuable. It’s ok, you have a whole lot of time to regain your strength and I bet it will be fun to get back into the swing of things when you do.

  6. Hi Marianne,

    Don’t usually comment but I feel your pain!!
    I’m in a similiar predicament myself at the minute, injured myself and only after strict words from my GP father-in-law realised the futility of trying to ‘train around’ a lumbar/hip and SI issue…- on the upside, took his advice and managed to snatch a KB yesterday without pain-stiff as hell, but no pain! Have had all the fears/symptoms/what-ifs- losing weight/muscle/skills/strength..and with my 40th looming has been a bit uphill staying positive but now looking at getting back up there as a challenge 🙂

    It’s tough taking a break but sometimes it’s good to have an enforced break to take a step back and look at what led us to here, what mistake could’ve been avoided and hopefully I might learn from them this time..

    Wishing you a speedy and enjoyable recovery! 🙂


  7. Marianne,
    Like the others here, I am familiar with your fears and frustrations. Not training is so much harder for us “all or nothing” types. What Chanin said really is a truth that all of us need to remember. I know you will find ways to adjust and adapt. You won’t get fat, but even if you did, we would still love you, and God would love you just as much as He does now. I will be praying for you.



  8. Like you, I find it hard to back off when your body is telling you that you need to take a break. With *my* SI joint problem, it’s hard to do anything that involves the hip joint and since I have tennis elbow in BOTH arms, I can’t even do any upper body training! (gripping heavy weights is painful 🙁 )

    Take care!

    Surrey BC, Canada

  9. Hi Marianne

    OMG you could have been writing my story although my problem is my knee and shoulder and now I’ve got golfers elbow lol which I don’t even play and I have also resigned myself that I need to back off for a bit and let everything recover. It must be the hardest thing in the world I go into the gym with a be sensible attitude and as soon as I start training my inner ego monster says put more plates on lol. When you said more bodybuilding type routines were you referring to a higher say 10 -12 rep range??

    Good luck with your rest and just know you are not alone 🙂

    1. Thanks Lynda … sounds like we are similar indeed … that pressure NOT to put more weight on the bar haha – especially when you are in the zone!

      Yes, I mean lighter weights, higher reps, but also more isolation exercises for a while. So leg curls, extensions instead of squats, and do some arm and shoulder work. I can still do rows, pull ups and dips – just not deadlifts, hip thrusts, squats or lunges … or even swings 🙁 To be honest, this week I have found moving about very difficult … getting out of bed has to be a well thought out business, and then my walk is more like a shuffle right now – so these things will be far off exercises 🙁 boo

  10. Hi Marianne,

    I completely sympathize with you and I can guarantee that, as far as your blog is concerned, I am sure you’ll come up with brilliant ways to demonstrate interesting workouts and exercises without actually stressing your body too much (it might even be fun to get creative and come up with a new way of filming your routines in the meanwhile).

    As far as your irrational fears are concerned, you won’t become fat (I know you love food and so do I, but just cut your portion sizes a little during your training ban time), you will focus on different styles of training and mobility and I am sure you will be able to count on the precious advice of all your fitness friends who will come up with great solutions to help you overcome your problem. If I may add a little joke, during this month of training ban you will be the “cripple with the cutest glutes in Ireland” (you know that I am totally kidding).


  11. Reading this has hit home with me. Not only am I carrying a shoulder injury (which I am stubbornly trying to train around) but I’m also over training. My body is now fighting back and I have been forced to take a few days off training to my horror. But it has made me realise that I need to alter my schedule so I dont burn out and reading this article has boosted me knowing I’m not the only one going through similar issues.

    Keeping my fingers crossed that you are pain free and healed soon 🙂

  12. oh sweetie! I have those same fears too sometimes. I think rest is harder than challenging workouts actually! and it can be so frusterating but I think you are approaching it the best way and your body will thank you for it later on. It will heal and you will be back on your feet in no time! There are so many positives to look at too, your family, friends and all the people you have inspired everywhere are here supporting you! Just rest up and you will back at it in no time! =)

  13. Girl get better – you’re too young to kill your body – you have 40ish more years of working out to go!!!

  14. Hi Marianne,

    I know taking time off will be hard and I am quite familiar with the fears you mentioned (the ‘what if’s’) In my own experience sometimes God brings about rest in our lives so that we can learn balance and not get too obsessive about 1 particular aspect of our life. Sometimes we tend to think “I can’t live without this thing (lifting, a spouse, admiration, etc…) The only thing we really can’t live without is Him. You are such an inspiration to many and your knowledge of fitness is wonderful. Most ppl involved in fitness don’t have the balance down. Maybe you are getting the opportunity to specialize in balance 🙂 All the best to you as you rest and recover. Keep those thoughts positive! You’ll be back to heavy lifting in no time 🙂

  15. Hi Marianne,

    I know where you are coming from. I find it really hard to hold back and I’m always trying to work round injuries. Unfortunately, you have to listen to your body. Sometimes, the only way is complete rest.

    It’s really hard when you love training as we do. However, I know you will do the right thing and come back stronger.

    My physio said to me that sometimes it’s easier for active people to heal because we try and train round our injuries while less active people are more likely to rest.

    I had the same insecurities about getting fat or looking less defined. I’m sure as long as you keep an eye on your nutrition you should be OK (easier said than done but you are mentally strong)

    Anyway, keep your chin up and try and stay strong.


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