“1. the act or a result of breaking; break or rupture.
2. an infraction or violation, as of a law, trust, faith, or promise.
3. a gap made in a wall, fortification, line of soldiers, etc.; rift; fissure.
4. a severance of friendly relations.
5. the leap of a whale above the surface of the water.”
“A nuclear meltdown
is an informal term for a severe nuclear reactor
accident that results in core
damage from overheating. The term is not officially defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency
or by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
However, it has been defined to mean the accidental melting of the core of a nuclear reactor,
and is in common usage a reference to the core’s either complete or partial collapse. “Core melt accident
” and “partial core melt
are the analogous technical terms for a meltdown.”
; NOTE: also known as a nuclear meltdown
, as if you didn’t just read that, above.)
When you’re already out of shape, you’re a mere 5’0″, have a 9+ pound, second child, and your abdominal wall breaks, ruptures, or separates at the mid-line seam.
Further, there is “an infraction or violation, as of law, trust, faith, or promise” to yourself to fix your broken torso more than six years after having said, 9-pound baby. Possibly (and finally) a “severance of friendly relations” between my body and me.
(Reference: Melissa Lehman)
why all the defining?
As I’m sure you’re noting, core breach/nuclear meltdown is typically used to describe something that’s an actual catastrophe (or used in science fiction, as in “warp core breach,” also a catastrophe, though a fictional one – for all my nerd friends).
The situation with my abs is just slightly less calamitous than an honest to God nuclear accident.
For all (i.e., the four) of you who read this religiously, I’ve been over this “condition” of mine, formally called diastasis recti on this blog, including entries where I explained how I was bound and determined to finally fix it, once an for all. Try to conceal your eye-rolling, as I explain how I really, really mean it this time.
getting pissed about it
Honestly, I am sick of hearing myself
explain to other people why I have issues
with certain activities because I have “no” core – activities such as running without something tightly wrapped around my waist, carrying groceries up the stairs (which I cannot do sensibly, in more than two trips), walking around without falling down, and traditional core exercises like planks and crunches (which make diastasis recti worse instead of better). For about the past five years, I’ve been “working on it” by investing in programs especially designed by nurses and trainers certified to help “new mums” (that trainer is named Wendy Powell
& she’s British).
The first program I tried, I failed to do consistently because I just plain hated it and it made me feel like I was broken instead of healing. It involved all of these little pumping tummy “squeezes” (while sitting) and a slower squeezy thing where you imagine you’re pulling your abs in to different floors of an elevator, which makes no sense because your abs are moving in a direction completely perpendicular to that of an elevator when you’re sitting in a chair.
The second program I have been “trying” (more on that in a moment), is called MuTu®, which is short for “Mummy Tummy” and was designed by the “certified level 3 ante and post natal instructor” and “Restorative Exercise Specialist™” (among other impressive-sounding things) named Wendy.
I constantly get on my own nerves and beat myself up about the ongoing state of my abdominal wall. I’m not even sure I should refer to mine
as a “wall,” as “wall” suggests something solidly divisional, whereas mine is probably more comparable to a curtain or one of those Asian room dividers (I like to think mine looks like this
) – yes, it separates two areas, but if you put any weight on it, everything collapses.
Anyway, I do like my MuTu program, and I can definitely feel it after I do the exercises, especially during those rare weeks where I manage to string together a couple of days in a row. It’s the days-in-a-row part I’m struggling with.
MuTu is a 12-week program. Which I purchased roughly 98 weeks ago. I’m on week one.
(To cut myself a slight break, I believe that the next couple of weeks of the program are virtually the same, but there are additional HIIT-type workouts that are added to the “core,” core moves of the program. But really, it’s anyone’s guess.)
But back to getting pissed – rather than simply annoyed – with myself about the state of my torso.
I recently renewed my fitness class pass at the gym because I’m getting a jump start on my New Year’s resolution. When I was at my fittest (by which I mean my fittest as an adult; about 3.5 years ago) and running my fastest race times, I was also religiously going to a strength training class twice a week. I want to get back to the way I felt back then, so I want to stick to a training protocol that includes strength training. This class (“power pump”) involves dumbbells and working your muscles to exhaustion (like the day we were doing push-ups and I literally got half-way up during the second set and collapsed right onto my face). For every class, we grab three or so sets of dumbbells of varying weights, a step bench, and a mat. But last Tuesday was also a “heavy band” day – which sounds way cooler than it is, as it doesn’t involve live music of any genre or a contact high. Every now and then, the trainer – I’ll call her Shelley (because that’s her name) – will come in and say, “Grab a heavy band today,” and everyone groans in unison with the knowledge that she intends to cripple us. (But just for the day.)
The heavy band (and I always grab the “light” heavy band) is one of those stretchy, rubber, tubular deals with handles on either end. Tuesday, we threaded the heavy band under our benches and hooked the plastic handles onto our feet so we could lie back and do leg extensions without a machine. The heavy band exercises are so much harder to endure than the free weights moves. Whereas most of the dumbbell exercises only make you feel truly awful when you get home and try to wash your back or get your coffee from the table to your lips, the heavy-band-leg-extensions are excruciating from rep number two because of the constant tension on your muscles. By the end of the first set of leg extensions, you can’t help but think, “How am I even going to get to a galaxy far, far away, much less meet the Emperor so I can ask him to give me that Anakin Skywalker –> Dark Vader treatment?*” because you feel like your legs are being melted off by hot lava. (*And his answer is totally “No; don’t make me force-lightning you” because it’s obvious that the force is not strong with me, otherwise I’d have already used it to get through this workout. Plus, the Emperor probably frowns upon using the force frivolously, anyway.)
Heavy Band, Torture Device
What does this have to do with my abs? Well, in addition to my legs being on fire, I was having the added trouble of just keeping good form, lying there on my back, because of my Asian-room-divider-abs. And this was in spite of the fact that Shelley wasn’t also asking us to lift our shoulders off the bench to deliberately, simultaneously work our abs like she totally does from time to time because she’s
a complete sadist an excellent and efficient trainer. Since I felt like I was straining my abs as much as I was working my legs, I got really frustrated and close to tears. First I just skipped a few reps and tried to jump back in. But then I gave up completely, rolled off my bench onto my mat, and did my MuTu moves, instead.
To wrap this up, I am making MuTu one of the essential elements of my health and fitness routine for the upcoming months, which I will cover later. I think my other activities may have been actually weakening my core, as if seems like it’s worse than it used to be, even from when I first started working out five years ago. I decided it’s called your CORE for a reason – it’s crucial for everything else I do. So really it’s almost pointless for me to run (or bike, swim, etc.) if I don’t start taking better care of the foundation of my body. Therefore, I’m making these moves the highest priority for 2016, and I intend to complete them at least five times a week. And I’m going to enforce this goal by making MuTu to the step I need to do before I am allowed to do any other workouts.
Upcoming posts in my head that may or may not appear in the near future: the slowest thing I’ve ever done, my 2016 fitness plans with January’s focus, and why I am not always fit for normal life.