Acceptance – An Autism Home Leads By Example

I loved this post from @autism_lovers – it demonstrates how much acceptance is part of daily life in a home with autism.

Living with autism means that differences are not just tolerated, but that they are appreciated.

It means being a top-notch detective and trouble-shooter.

Living with autism means learning to be flexible, patient, and – above all – incredibly creative. 

I feel blessed to have the opportunity to work with children with autism in the realm of physical activities – I make a point to take note of the parents when they drop their children off, and during any and all interactions they may have. Each child is different and I am ever astounded by how well parents navigate often choppy seas. I know that behind the scenes it isn’t always the smooth sailing we see…and I think that makes me appreciate, all the more, how much those parents do each day to ensure the best communication and opportunities possible. 

As someone on the outside, I want to commend those parents who live this daily. In a way that you may never realize, you touch others’ lives too. You teach the rest of us how important it is to accept one another as we are, to be patient, to love to the full, and to laugh (especially to laugh!) even in the face of adversity.

#doL ❤ VE”

 

Martial Arts Humor (for Ladies) – Leggings

Part of me loved this because I was a dancer – working in the Fashion Industry left ZERO time for anything beyond my very tight routine of work, more work, dance, eat, sleep….repeat.

I wore leggings to the office most days, and simply changed into my dance shoes when I got to the studio – I had enough time to stretch and that was it!  

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As a Martial Artist, I can also appreciate the wonderful flexibility of leggings…  Wearing them as “pants” works well as a defensive technique – Come at me in the street and my “pants” can flex so much that you will end up with the ball of my foot under your chin, in your teeth, or at the side of your head.

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How about THAT?

Sorry, jeans.  You’re fun, and you can be hot, but…I like my ROM*!

(*Range of motion. 😉 ) 

Leg Day Splits

I try to split up my leg workouts these days, not because I can’t finish a workout focusing on quads and hams together…but more so because I am FAR too sore when I do both in the same day!  The ramifications of that are not only discomfort on a higher scale, but the inability to train as well in the Dojo / Dojang / on the mats.

Glute recruitment happens either way, but some of the heftiest quadricep dominant and hamstring dominant are relegated to two separate days...meaning I split up the squats and leg press from the deadlifts and single leg deadlifts.

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Now obviously, I’m using those muscles in all of the lower body exercises, but I have found that doing all of them in one day can be too much of a good thing, and I get better results when I am not totally decimated…

LEG DAY 1

  1. Deadlifts – 4 to 5 sets of 10 to 16 (depends on weight)
  2. Single Led Deadlifts – 3 sets of 12 with 45 lb dumbbell
  3. Hip Thrusts – 3 sets of 16 with 80 or 90 lbs (varied foot placement)
  4. Leg Curl – 3 to 5 sets (weight depends on machine)
  5. Straight Leg Cable Kickbacks – 3 drop sets using heavier weight, 3 sets lighter weight
  6. Abs

LEG DAY 2

  1. Smith Machine Squats – 5 sets (varied weight and foot placement. I don’t go heavy here.)
  2. Walking Lunges or Step-Back Lunges – 6 sets, or equal to about 120 lunges, including both sides
  3. Leg Press – MAJOR Drop sets (3 sets with 10 45 plates, 3 sets with 8 45s, 3 sets with 6 45s, 3 sets with 4 45s, 3 sets of single leg presses with 2 45s.)  Nasty.  *LOL*
  4. Sumo Squats – 3 sets of 12 with 65 lb dumbbell
  5. Bent Knee Cable Kickbacks – 3 sets only if I’m not too sore!
  6. Leg Extension – 3 sets at 90 lbs, not too heavy
  7. Abs

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Basically at the end of the week it’s hard to walk! 😉  I LOVE lifting heavy, but I’ve also learned that sometimes I have to go easier, especially these days – because I do Martial Arts, flexibility is MASSIVELY important.  

I need to be mindful and stretch, as well as foam roll (I need to be better about that) – heavy lifting WILL impede your flexibility, like it or not.  Can you have both?  Absolutely!  But the reality is that you will be more limber when you don’t destroy your legs, so either going a little easier…or really making that time to stretch out…will make a difference – your goals will determine what works best!

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Jammin’ At The Gym

I know a lot of folks are self-conscious at the gym…but you should ever have to feel that way.

Remember that everyone else has come in to work on themselves (or some aspect of themselves) – so chances are, they are also striving for results of some kind.  

Don’t forget that our goals are individual and we each need to participate in different routines to achieve what we are aiming for.  That may mean commandeering the Captain’s Chair / Pull Up bars and stretching!  It is absolutely NOT what the machine was designed to do but…it works.  And you know what?  I’m gonna use it that way!

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Stretching for my sports (Martial Arts), and general health, is incredibly important to me…so if I need a little help to get as far as I need to go, the rest be damned, I’m going full steam ahead (silly looking I may be!) 

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You are there for YOU.  So whatever YOU need to accomplish, go ahead and do that.  

If you aren’t sure of something, by all means, ASK!  It’s okay (and frankly respected) to ask – no one there is going to scoff or give you a hard time.  (There is bad form EVERYWHERE, honestly, so also take it with a grain of salt if someone does.)  If someone is in that know-it-all-mode, I’m willing to be they are struggling a bit themselves.  True gym rats and gym bunnies are there to jam…and they fully understand wanting to do it right (read = not get hurt + actually activate the appropriate muscles.) 

So don’t be shy!

Do you’re thing, whether the World is watching or no!  I used to practice my ballroom routines and my father would say “that’s kind of exhibitionist, no?”  And I’d say, “absolutely not, I just don’t give a hoot!”  (I probably used stronger terminology but…you get the drift! 😉 )  That’s what I was there to do.  That was what I NEEDED to do…  And that was what was getting done.  Period.

You can always put your earbuds in an drown out any stares anyway… Good music can take you away…to whatever machine it is you happen to need, even if you aren’t using it exactly as planned! 😉

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Workouts SHOULD Be Fun

Make no mistake about it…when I lift, I lift heavy…and I go hard.  I will always smile and laugh, and say hello to friends, but I don’t go to the gym to socialize.  I don’t go to make a point, or make a scene, or waste my time.  

I go to work.

For most of us (much to the sometimes incomprehension of others), working out isn’t just about the physical – we aim to achieve a level of physical fitness, absolutely.  But a huge part of it is done for our minds, our spirit, and our emotional wellbeing.  Working out is an incredibly effective “release” of stresses that we all carry with us each day.  

I am waiting on hearing about the date for a promotion in Taekwondo, and it’s been weighing on me somewhat.  The date has fluctuated a few times, leaving many of us in limbo.  We (many of us, at least) train with the expectation of achieving and being better with each day – so technically, you could throw a test at us and we should be prepared, 2nd degree black belt or otherwise.

But I moved and am having to train solo right now…so the not knowing, and needing to plan around it has me a wee bit frazzled.  In this case, one of the best things to do is continue with my regular workouts – it keeps me fit and flexible…and I don’t just mean in my body!

While I am eager to start a new discipline (for various reasons, including injuries, Taekwondo is no longer as ideal for me), I want to stay focused on what I need to know to ensure it is done properly, and to the best of my ability.  As a result, I am deliberately holding off on a new Martial Art until my goal has been achieved.

That said…I NEED something.  I need to have something beyond hauling iron (which I love, of course!)  I like to do activities that are different and challenging – run of the mill has never been my thing.  And so I snooped around and, rather to my delight, found an Aerial Yoga studio not too far away (some call it Anti-Gravity Yoga.)

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I’ve tried a few varieties of Yoga and never found my “click.”  Is it good for me?  1,000%.  But none were the right fit…  Knowing the benefits in flexibility, for one thing, I was always a little bit sad I didn’t take to it.  Then again, where I’m from, it tends to be a “trendy” thing, and perhaps that turned me off too.  It was more about the leggings you had on, and the place you had in the room (as if it was claimed as your own in stone.)  Not for me, and totally defeating the purpose of the practice.

Well…I went into Aerial Yoga (done with a fabric hammock) with an open mind, and fell in love immediately.  I signed up for another class already and I can’t wait to go back.  The ladies – literally ranging from tween to 50’s – were LOVELY , and it was just the hour and a half of peace and inner reflection I needed (plus some physical challenges and PHENOMENAL stretches!)

I had the most wonderful time and it is a happy reminder that we NEED activity, and we should do it for US.  

For that second reason only, we should also have a ball doing it!  It doesn’t have to be treacherous or miserable.  

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If the fit isn’t there, that’s OKAY!  There are so many disciplines – in Yoga, in Martial Arts, in dance, in lifting… SO many options, surely there is something that will give you a lift (no pun intended!) each day.  That’s what it is about at the end of the day!

Opening the Dojang

I started Martial Arts much later than most but, at 34, I felt undaunted – I always wanted to learn and I’d never have known unless I tried.  A woman in my class started her training at 45 and was working on her second degree when we met – that alone helped to reassure me that my “hell with it, I’m going to start!” was still a good idea.  I always encourage others who express interest to absolutely do so – regardless of age!  You can always modify movements, or find a class that will work for you – but it is truly never too late to start.

My Grandmaster entrusted me with a key early on, recognizing my habit of getting in before class to stretch, warm up, and clean the Dojang.  The latter part was something I always felt was important – Martial Artist or not, the Grandmaster certainly shouldn’t be doing it, and it was my way of quietly contributing to the community.  

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That hour or so before class is kind of like my bit of peace for the day – it allows me to get into a zone, and specifically devote time to getting limber – over the years I have done that less, and it IS a use-it-or-lose-it deal with flexibility.  Skating six to seven times a week, in addition to dancing at least twice, as well as school sports, meant very little time to tighten up.  Fast forward many moons…HAVE to make it a habit or it isn’t going to happen!

I enjoy the time alone and feel incredibly blessed to be able to be in the Dojang when it is also at rest.  There isn’t any noise to distract, save for the nearly silent buzzing of the lights, or the cars going by outside… 

Whatever your little sanctuary is…or wherever you can catch a few moments of peace in your day…embrace it.  

Embrace that time.  

Feel the physical sensations of your body when you are relaxed.  

Life is so hectic these days – remember those moments of inner rest, because just by tapping into the memory, you can evoke a sense of much needed calm.  Kind of like you have your own little Donjang to pop into for a few minutes…even in a crowded street.

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