Daily Archives: January 18, 2012

I’ll Be In The Home Gym

I went ahead and disappeared for a few days 1) Because I’ve been watching far too many episodes of The Wire and The IT Crowd, and 2) I’ve been playing in my new home gym!

“Home gym” used lightly here as it is still very much a work in progress. I set it up in an empty room in my dad’s house and there’s still equipment to add and clutter to clear out.

I’m really, really excited about it because I’m not allowed to work out in a regular gym due to my weakened immune system from chemo. When the weather was nice and I was feeling more sick, I was okay with getting my exercise with long walks. But now that we’re down to the minus double digits and I’m getting small bursts of energy again, I’ve got the bug to get some real workouts in!

For cardio, I’ve got my dad’s recumbent bike and my new elliptical. So far I am completely in love with the elliptical. It’s a real treat to just saunter downstairs and get my cardio in while watching whatever I want on television. I call it my “investment piece” based on what I’ll save on a gym membership in the long run. Plus, the equipment may come in handy down the road if I ever want to do personal training outside of a gym environment.

For strength, I got a bench, barbell, and weight plates for free from my step-dad. I already owned the confused looking dog.

There’s also light dumbbells, mats, skip rope, exercise ball, and a foam roller that I had already acquired over the years. Eventually I’d like to get some heavier dumbbells and kettlebells. I’ve also got a road bike and indoor trainer for it, but I’m in no rush to set it up with my broken arm and all. I’m going to try the Couch to 5k running program when the ice melts.

I have to say, starting to seriously workout again after six months of chemotherapy is rough. Way more rough than when I first started getting into fitness after years of smoking and drinking too much beer.

Among the many awful things chemo does, it also breaks down muscle mass. I used to shoulder press with 25 lb dumbbells, and now I’m struggling with 5 lbs! It’s really quite remarkable. And not in a good way.

I also suffered from lung toxicity over the course of chemo and I don’t feel like my lungs are quite where they were when I was healthy. My cardiovascular fitness has gotten pretty bad too. But I can’t push it too hard in case there is still a tumour wrapped around the vein that pumps blood into my heart.

Of course, there’s the added issue of my left elbow looking like this the last time we checked:

I’ve gained a lot of strength and movement in that arm over the past several months, but it’s nowhere close to being where it was before the skating accident. I still can’t bear a lot of weight on it. A push up for example is impossible. Even doing repetitions with light weights can be painful.

With aaalllll of that said, I’m really quite excited. Fitness used to be my life, and participating in it again makes me feel like me. It gives me a sense of normalcy that I so desperately crave. Plus, the endorphins do wonders for my mood. I’ll keep you updated as time goes on in the quest to get my fitness back. Maybe I’ll even update that ole’ workout page with some new workouts again!