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My 2022 Fitness Goals

From all the hard lessons 2021 taught me, the most important one is to never take my health for granted and to make my physical and mental health my highest priority. My 2022 fitness goals are very basic: build back the muscle I lost to protect my joints. It’s been more than two years since I had a decent workout, and since the pandemic I haven’t been to the gym at all. Needless to say all my muscle strength is gone! And even though I managed to stay at around 130 pounds by tracking my macros, it is all fat.

This is the first time I have a “New Year’s Resolution” to get back to exercise. I’ve always LOVED working out and had zero resistance to it. But as these past two years knocked me down more times than I can count, I have to put my Capricorn discipline hat back on and commit to my physical health. So here is the beginning of my journey to gain muscle and strength even though I have all the obstacles brought by rheumatoid arthritis and the debilitating side effects of Methotrexate. My SMART goals are written and I am ready!

RA Journey

In 2020, in the middle of quarantine, I was officially diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis. It has been over a decade of pain and misdiagnosis, and even now I am not certain if what I have is rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis. The doctor said they both require the same treatment and there’s point investigating further. I left his office with a prescription of Methotrexate, and nothing else. Since then my flares calmed down, but I still have them quite often.

Pain, stiffness, weakness, loss of balance, and difficulty sleeping have been part of my daily life, and this is mainly due to me not lifting weights. Exercise is crucial for those living with RA – or any other illness affecting the joints. Inflammation makes you stiff, and movement brings oxygen to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and tissues around the joints which also helps alleviate pain.

I now know how true it is the quote “if you don’t use it you lose it”! Since I started the treatment I have experiencing debilitating fatigue, and didn’t have energy to workout. Even though I am a Yoga teacher and Egoscue Method posture alignment specialist, I barely practiced my mobility and stretching routine. Needless to say, my posture is misaligned, I am stiffer than ever, and in constant pain. It is like a downward spiral, the worse I felt, the less I moved, which made me feel guilty, angry, discouraged and disappointed about my lack of commitment to my health; and down the hole I sank. But thank goodness for Mondays and New Years! The renewal of hopes and dreams that keep us all motivated to restart, a second chance to reinvent and build a better life for ourselves!

the plan

I will workout daily, except for Sundays. The workouts can be done as AMRAP (as many repetitions as possible) for 20 to 30 minutes, or a set number of rounds. I used to love high intensity interval training, but since I got RA and haven’t been able to workout as I used to, I’ll stick to low intensity with lots of isometric holds.

My diet is going to remain the same: mostly raw, plant-based, whole foods, low fat, and no oil. Currently I weight128, and would like to eventually gain a few pounds of lean muscle. So in March I’ll start training with a personal trainer, if I can get rid of this flare-up I have right now.

My 2022 Fitness Goals

bodyweight to resistance training

And here is my plan, simple and easy so I can build the foundation while keeping flare ups at bay. My plan is to start working out after I do mobility exercises and stretching for about 40 minutes. I am focusing on what it is possible and doable for my body each day, so hopefully 30 minutes will be sufficient.

As I get stronger I know I will be able to perform the exercises a bit faster. The focus is form and activation, so no more HIIT or a long list of workouts. All workouts are bodyweight and target lower body (so I can work on hips and hamstrings, which are very tight and weak right now) and full body.

Bodyweight workouts (calisthenics, yoga, Pilates, animal flow and barre) are very affordable as they don’t require expensive gym membership and equipment, and have many benefits!

Benefits of Bodyweight Training

  • Your own body and gravity are the equipment and provide great resistance, improved balance and joint stability, reduced risk of injuries, and functional movement.
  • Calisthenics exercises are the most natural way to move your body, engaging the whole body which improves body awareness and posture.
  • By adding simple equipment such as resistance bands the workouts can be made more challenging.
  • Many bodyweight exercises require only a small amount of space so they can be performed anywhere easily! Like hotel rooms, dorm rooms, parks, and other crowded spaces.
  • There many ways to vary the workouts. You can adapt calisthenics to many training strategies such building bodyweight exercises into circuits for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts or a classic bootcamp style workout. Your own body and gravity are the equipment and provide great resistance, improved balance and joint stability, reduced risk of injuries, and functional movement.
  • Calisthenics exercises are the most natural way to move your body, engaging the whole body which improves body awareness and posture.
  • By adding simple equipment such as resistance bands the workouts can be made more challenging.
  • Many bodyweight exercises require only a small amount of space so they can be performed anywhere easily! Like hotel rooms, dorm rooms, parks, and other crowded spaces. The world is your gym!
  • There many ways to vary the workouts. You can adapt calisthenics to many training strategies such building bodyweight exercises into circuits for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts or a classic bootcamp style workout.
  • There are a lot of fun apps, workout card games, and YouTube channels dedicated to bodyweight training.
  • It is a great way to combine cardio and strength training in one workout.
  • There are a lot of fun apps, workout card games, and YouTube channels dedicated to bodyweight training.
  • It gives you a ripped, fit and beautiful natural physique!

Favorite YouTube channels

Here are my favorite YouTube channels to get a great workout, 30-challenge, get inspired and informed about bodyweight workouts:

Calisthenics and Bodyweight

These are all the channels I follow on YouTube and Instagram. They are all amazing and though this is a long list, it doesn’t scratch the surface of all the incredible people out there!

Warm-up, Mobility, Stretching, and Cool-Down

Warm-up

Cool Down

Mobility

These are my favorite channels! When I started to include mobility exercises to my stretching and yoga routine I immediately noticed how much it helped me with morning stiffness. I then wanted to learn more about it, and soon discovered the Egoscue Method. I read the book Pain Free by Pete Egoscue and started to practice the simple exercises he suggested in his book, noticing significant improvements not only with the pain and stiffness but also my posture. The benefits were immediate! I was so amazed that I decided to study the method and signed up for their Posture Alignment Specialist Certification. For anyone with joint damage and pain, I highly recommend the Egoscue Method.

Pilates and Yoga

How to do the workouts

Form and breathing are really important when working out! So here are videos of how to perform all the exercises I planed for January!

Next month I’ll make another post with February’s plan, and in March I’ll post an update of my progress and what I’ll be doing next. To a healthier New Year!!

My 2022 Fitness Goals

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