Last October I suffered what I can only describe as a power loss in my legs. It was the most weird, frustrating and devastating feeling I’ve ever encountered in the last decade of regaining my fitness. I was mid practice for my re-certification of my Strongfirst Kettlebell Instructor certificate, SFG1, when I racked the two 16kg bells ready to squat. I started my descent, noting I could be tighter and my abs weren’t as engaged as I’d like, when I hit the bottom of the squat…..and nothing. There was absolutely no power in my legs to push my self back up. The bells went down and I collapsed in a gutted heap on the studio floor. That was the start of what can only be described as a huge life changing three months.
I’m not writing in hope of ‘poor you’, it was a lot of my own ignorance in the early parts of my regaining my fitness that led to this moment, and not listening to my body when it robbed me of my flexibility (huge warning sign for you all, right there).
I’m very lucky I have access to some of the most proficient in their field people in the country. My chiropractor noted that the issues weren’t skeletal and my skeleton remains in the best shape she’s ever seen it (WIN!). The power loss could have rendered my assisting at the SFG weekend a complete bust, but luckily the community we have is amazing and my coach, the masters and my therapist all helped me peel back the layers of compensation that had developed and we got to the root of the issue fairly quickly – my ankle injury from nine years ago…! The last three months have been working on getting everything working properly and low, it’s all going in the right direction.
But this post isn’t just about that power loss moment. In the midst of all this, my life changed dramatically. I left the band I had spent 10 years building into the powerhouse it is. My choice, the right choice for me and one I don’t regret at all. Life is WAY too short for regret. But I’d spent the best part of 18 months battling cold after cold, varying illness and never feeling ‘quite’ right.
Nov 28th, I arrived home from a weekend away doing my daft hobby (LRP), and, well, it looked like I was sunburnt from the chest down. I itched from head to toe. I’ve only once felt an itch like it and thought I had developed a bizarre version of prickle heat.
Fast forward to the Tuesday morning and I’d come out in hives all over my body. If I could have flayed my own skin off my body, I would have. Even my palms and the soles of my feet itched to the point I was using a hairbrush to scratch. The GP at my surgery wasn’t interested in the cause, just interested in telling me I was on the strongest antihistamine possible to prescribe and I would eventually figure things out. That didn’t help the fact I wanted to rip my skin off. It was hell. It was purely by coincidence that I discovered the root cause and what had likely enabled a previously standing issue to flare up in dramatic fashion. By the Thursday evening it was a rollercoaster of, wake up, spend 2 hours itching waiting for the antihistamine (I’ll call it AH from here on in) to kick in then hope they lasted until I fell asleep. And they worked, but Thursday morning the hives were few and the itching/burning sensation ceased as soon as the AHs kicked in. That night I had two slices of Free From fruit cake (I was having a really sorry for my self time of it, and cake is always my go to). I woke up Friday…..covered in hives once again.
Yes that picture is gross, but that’s what an allergic reaction looks like. Imagine that more or less over my whole body…and you kind of get why I wanted to skin myself.
I have the good fortune of training a very competent GP, and asked his advice. He believes that I had a reaction to the cold bug I had at that time. That, combined with a probable, as yet unnoticed, intolerance of something in the Free From products, caused a cataclysmic reaction. I gave up Free From product and took my 180mg of AHs diligently (when you think standard hay fever tablets are only 10mg, you can imagine how grim this reaction was). Thankfully the reaction ceased and *touches wood*, I’ve not had a flare up since Dec 4th 2016.
What I have noticed is that I’ve lost 10lbs in weight without really trying, my skin is clearer, my body looks less, well, swollen even though I hadn’t really thought of it as such. And that’s the rub, I was slowly poisoning myself with Free From product that wasn’t as Free From as I would have liked. Oh the irony is not lost on me with my allergies to dairy and wheat. However, the products are ostensibly processed, so it’s not massive loss…though I do miss the Genius cupcakes. The upshot is, my power has returned (not solely to do with the reducing bodily inflammation but I can’t help surmise that it is in part), I feel stronger than I have in a long time and have hit all my targets for re-certifying my SFG status. I have less aches and lots more energy. Even my students have noticed the change and compliment me on how ‘glowing’ I am. And top top it all off, I’ve not had a cold since the one that brought on the allergic reaction.
So, I guess, Free From isn’t the saviour I had thought it to be. If you find you’re getting an itching reaction and you haven’t changed the usual things of detergent/soaps etc or knowingly brushed against or been around something that could cause it, check your diet. You never know, the skin is only the tip of the iceberg, it’s amazing what’s going on inside that we only get information on when the body has truly had enough. Your body will always tell you when it’s not right. There is an old saying by Ada Rolf, ‘Where the pain is, it ain’t’. What she means is, more often than not, your body will tell you what’s overworking via pain in some form. So for me I had it two fold. My power and flexibility decreased because small muscles in my back were doing the job of larger muscles in my butt and legs, and my skin gave me that reaction due to it fighting an allergy deep within. Listen to your body, it is your best indicator that something isn’t quite right. Don’t ignore it, work through it, or just hope it will go away. It’s giving you this information for a reason. Find out what that reason is and then work on a plan of attack to get yourself back to optimum.
It’s a constant learning experience, and I will continue to share my journey as it never truly ends.