Another amazing Fitocrat, overcoming adversity with strength – Ironcinder. If you have a member you’d like to nominate for a Weekly Member Spotlight, contact users lexyloowho or xJenYx or simply email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Username and level
Ironcinder, level 30
How did you get started in fitness and training? Do you have any pics to share?
The first time, a decade ago, I wanted to get laid. I lost weight, buffed up and promptly got myself a boyfriend. That lasted about four years, and then went south, in which time I gained back all the weight I had lost, and then some more until in October 2011. I had a fairly significant stroke. I was 40.
Since February 2012 I’ve been able to start exercising consistently, and now, although losing motor control to brain damage has made everything harder, it’s easier to work out. Given the choice between life and sitting around waiting for people to bring me tea, I choose life, and that means getting fit, and staying healthy and strong.
How did you find Fitocracy? How has it changed your workouts?
A friend recommended it… and I have now surpassed him! Some of the quests and achievements have made me push a bit harder, or in another direction, which has been good.
Do you have any long term goals or direction you plan to take your training?
My basic goal is to recover the motor control that I have lost. I have no truck with compensation: I want to function again as well as I am able. It’s not that I am at all ashamed of my current disability, but if it can be overcome with hard work then I intend to do away with it. In practical terms that means moving from machines to (lower!) free weights to challenge and develop my stability, and doing some of the things that would otherwise be cardinal sins (but nothing as heinous as curling in the squat rack). I figure that walking on my hands again, with good form, is a worthy long term goal. I have a ways to go.
What are things you’ve learned through trial and error? What areas do you hope to learn more about?
I can swim breast stroke, but I roll too much when I crawl, to the point of almost swimming on one side, so I stick with slower and more symmetrical in the pool. In the gym, I am much weaker than I was, and I think I’m getting stronger more slowly since the stroke, both of which are consistent with the type of brain damage I had. I have to pay close attention to form, so I train my brain to use (effectively) new musculature correctly. This is hard. I have bruises.
Currently, where would you say your weakness lies? Where do you excel?
My weaknesses are in my ignorance, which I’m correcting through Fitocracy and sites like ExRx.net, and in the brain damage that has hosed the motor control on my right side. I excel at consistency: I am going to keep working on my body until I die. I do something almost every day, even if it’s only 5 minutes of Tai Chi or 40 minutes of stretching.
What motivates you?
I had a stroke when I was 40, and I have every intention of seeing the far side of 80, without having another.
Are you using any supplements or special dietary changes to achieve your goals?
Not really; I’m eating better than I used to, and I now make sure to take omega oils (as recommended by the stroke doctors), and I’m thinking about restricting the window I eat food like in LeanGains, but since I’m still recomposing my body anyway, I’m not that fussed. I think it has been important to me to make changes to my diet in a way that is sustainable, and I’m doing that slowly. Just eating a bit less and a bit better works for me. I’m not in a rush.
If you could give advice to someone starting off, what would you tell them?
It doesn’t matter at all what the guy or gal next to you is doing, so long as you are doing even a little better than you did last time. How much better doesn’t matter that much, either, just keep improving until you’re happy or dead.
What’s your ‘secret weapon’, the thing that pushes you or you feel gives you an edge?
What has the overall impact of Fitocracy been in your life?
Positive. I like that there is a wide variety of fitness goals, and a wide variety of people.
One thing I want people to take away from my story is…
Having brain damage opened a door that you really don’t need to go to the bother of having a stroke to open for yourself. If I can start exercising feebly with a bunch of crocked grannies, then anyone can, and if you don’t care about the shame now, you certainly won’t be ashamed of yourself in the future.