Monday, 13 May 2013

Back by popular *cough* demand...!

So... I sort of gave up writing my blog. Why? Erm... Well, a combination of reasons really. Laziness, lack of motivation, personal misery (cat died, car broke, painkiller withdrawals etc) & wasn't being very consistent with my training. 

The main reason I started this blog was to keep myself motivated, record my progress & hopefully to have other HMS/EDS sufferers see what I've found has helped my symptoms. In my opinion, doctors don't seem to give a shit & rarely offer any constructive advice. I've found that exercise has been far more beneficial than anything the doctor has prescribed. Unfortunately though, I've been treated with some hostility by some of my fellow sufferers. That's not all of them by the way; just some. I am a lot more capable of certain things than others, and of course some are more capable than me. That's just the way it goes (in all walks of life). I started off not being able to get out of bed without help; this changed pretty rapidly once I started strength training. I really wanted to help other people & show them what I had achieved in such a short time. Some people have just sneered at me about this and suggested that I'm insensitive to their disability because of my blog; obviously that's their choice, but I am also affected by their disability. I just chose to do my utmost to overcome it or risk my job, my relationships & my quality of life. That's not to say that I'm superhuman or superior to anyone. Far from it. I whined & complained (shocking, huh?!) from day 1 - I can't fucking lift a thing in the gym. I can't even lift my body out of bed. I can't cook because it makes my whole body ache. 

That's not to say that everyone can do what I have, but for me, it was worth an attempt to alleviate the soul crushing agony of every single day. I'm glad I've done it. Everyone starts somewhere, and there's no shame in starting with baby steps. 

The long and the short of it is, my blog was to help people like me. People like me (not all, but a few) weren't really interested. I felt a bit like my blog was pointless after that, so I kind of gave up. The people most interested in reading my gym antics were friends, family & gym enthusiasts with no disabilities at all - I find that a bit overwhelming really. Friends & family, granted; they can now understand what I go through & how I feel & I'm grateful that they took the time to find out. But gym enthusiasts? Powerlifters, bikini/fitness competitors, strongmen/women - why the hell would they be interested in what a crippled girl has to say about the gym?? 

I have nothing to share that they don't already know and I am not very strong or in good shape. Yet they still took the time to read and comment. So thank you all! I've come to realise that people who train hard, are generally very supportive of fellow gym goers, regardless of their goals or weaknesses. I should've realised this being married to Terry - he is always watching videos online of various different things regarding training; not always strongman specific. I guess it's just a lifestyle you embrace as an athlete (him, not me!) and you enjoy seeing what other people are up to in their chosen discipline. 

Anyway, enough of the waffling. This is just supposed to be a quick recap & a new beginning of my blog - I'm going to keep the rest succinct (hopefully)... 

Things that annoy me: 

1) People telling me I should give up lifting weights because I'll end up with huge muscles - this is an insult to people who are in great shape. It takes 100% dedication & determination to build lean muscle and it doesn't happen overnight. Women don't build muscle like men as we have minimal testosterone. It would take me at least 2 years of seriously heavy lifting & carb loading to gain even mildly 'bulky' muscle mass. So if you're one of those people that believe this bullshit. Stop it now. It's ridiculous. 

2) People telling me that yoga or swimming are better for my condition. Ok... Are you a physiotherapist, doctor or personal trainer? No? Well fuck off then. Yoga elongates the muscles. Mine are already elongated because of my lax joints. Do I want to make them worse? No! Get it?? Jeez. Swimming is fine, but it's not enough to manage my condition. It just aids/doesn't exacerbate it. Simples. 

3) Being asked (usually by other HMS/EDS sufferers) why I can't put my hands flat on the floor because they can and it's one of the tests on the Beighton score. It's ONE of the tests. Not the defining one, just one. I will reiterate; I can't touch my toes very easily because my muscles are constantly hard (instead of soft) due to overwork. My knees bend backwards causing my hamstrings to be overstretched, along with throwing all my other muscles out of sync. I am working on correcting this, but when I've been this way all my life, it's going to take time to retrain my body. 

Bit of a moan, no accusations at anyone in particular, but I felt it needed to be said. My mum is hypermobile, in her 60's and has always been able to put her hands flat on the floor. She has never had any back problems or pains because of it - it's just the way shit goes. No 2 people are the same, you just have to go with what your body is telling you and try your best to deal with it. 

I hope I can help people like me, let them know they're not alone, and maybe have them try some of the things I have if they feel it might help them too. That's all I would want - I wish I had had someone to encourage me to try strength training because it had helped their condition. I'm just lucky I have a very knowledgable husband who did a lot of research to help me out. It's all been trial and error, and so far it's paid off. 

I'll write more about my training sessions in my next blog, but one thing I will mention is my recent strongman training day! Me, Terry & some friends went to Bulks to train, so I decided I would join them in whatever they did - mainly to save time, but also to mix it up a bit and have a bit more fun at the gym. My buddy Jay Hughes taught me how to log press & to load an atlas stone on a platform. Log pressing went ok, but I seriously lack confidence - something to work on as I go along. After extensive technique coaching with a medicine ball, I then managed to load Bulks' smallest atlas stone onto the platform - it was quite an exciting moment and because I had an end goal, it made the hard work so much more fun. I'll see if I can upload the video onto my next blog, it's quite funny to watch :) if you can't wait (yeah right) just go to Terry Hollands' YouTube video posts - it'll be on there somewhere...! ;)

Even though I have been very sporadic with my training, I am stronger with each session; it's very encouraging to know that my body is still responding in the right way, even though I'm not doing as much as I should. The body is quite an amazing thing when you really think about it. 

Anyway, enough of my rambling; I hope this blog is a semi entertaining read and if it's not... I will try harder next time ;) or not. I don't fucking know. 

Smell ya later :) 

Look at my weird arm! Very attractive!


  1. Brilliant blog !!... I totally get everything your saying !!... My son was in terrible pain as a young child and doctors could not work out what was going on !!... He used to scream and cry in pain, night time was the worse !!.. After fighting my GP for tests i finaly got to go to Great Ormond street hospital with him. After having scans and numerous tests we found out he had hypermobility syndrome. He also broke his wrist so many times i thought the hospital must think something was going on at home !!... Found out this was due to what he had. The hospital advised me never to let him do gymnastics as his body had adnormal movement, and to be careful in what sports he participated in !!... My son always loved skateboading, football, basketball, I did not stop any of these as i thought this would help streghthen his muscles which would support his joints !!... He carried on with a normal child hood, and yes he had pains and broke some bones more then most kids did, but it never stopped his love of sport !!... He went on to win cups for his school basketball team against schools in Bexley and kent. He then desided to take up weightlifting 3 years ago and trains very hard, this has helped so much as i hardly hear him mention the pains he used to get as a child. He is now 17, 6.5inch and has now won the Youth Weightlifting Championships 2013, which means he's now the strongest school boy in England !!..I back weightlifting or any training with weights for HMS, stenghtening the muscles to support the joints helps 100%!!..Good luck Lorenzo with your training and carry on with your blogs !!.. What your saying makes a lot of sense, and will help a lot of people with this condition. x Sue Brooker

    1. Thank you so much for this post! I told Terry about it and he actually does his weightlifting training with your son - he had no idea that he had HMS so it goes to show what determination can bring! If you don't mind, I'd like to include your reply in my next blog post? This is really inspiring stuff, so thank you once again for your input :) x

  2. Hi Lauren. I'm not a HMS/EDS sufferer and certainly not a gym enthusiast. I am simply a guy who struggles to go to gym to keep himself in good shape and - holy shit - perseverance is turning out not to be my thing! Your blog might elicit different reactions, some of them negative and annoying as you describe them to be, but that only proves you've got yourself a motley group of readers. Please, be proud of it (don't overdo it, though :P ).
    Personally, I ended up reading of your (sometimes mis)adventures by pure chance, and I stuck with the blog attracted by your writing style and your "delicate" sense of humour, ahah! Your impressions, your opinions and ideas in general are a pleasure to read and easy to sympathise with. And if everything gets sparked up because of your sweary vocabulary, so much the better. It makes the pain we all feel when training all the more endurable.
    Keep up the good work - in the blog, in the gym, in your life - and stay as you are. You're perfect ;)

  3. Haha thank you for your comments :) I try to keep all the medical side of things to a minimum to make it more interesting for the regular reader, so I'm glad you enjoy reading my ramblings! I shall endeavour to keep things as light hearted and amusing as possible :) thanks again for taking the time to post!