Iron Deficiency

It appears I have an iron deficiency. No, not the kind that immediately comes to your mind. I am referring to the kind of iron you find in the gym. You see, after more than two years of working out and more than a year of lifting weights (whether light or moderate, I have never actually gotten to the heavy lifting), everything has come to a screeching halt.

It started with the cardiologist appointment a few months ago. You may remember that this is when I was advised to lower the amount of weight lifted and increase the reps as a result of a newly diagnosed thoracic aortic aneurysm. Then, just over 5 weeks ago I tore something in my shoulder and all upper body work had to stop. And as much as it pains me to admit, though I have never stopped going to the gym, my iron deficiency has gotten in the way of my enjoyment and I frequently only go three times per week now.

Okay, some will say, “You ONLY go to the gym three times per week!?”.

Okay, some will say, “You ONLY go to the gym three times per week!?”. Yes, that’s what I am saying. At one point, I was working out twice that. And my average has been five times per week. Truth be told, I am not having fun. I caught the iron addiction and withdrawal has been miserable. I have actually cried at the gym out of frustration and sadness related to my iron deficiency.

It is hard to explain to people who have not found a passion in their lives. I have found several. However, this love affair with iron served so many of my needs. It allowed me to lose weight. It strengthened my bones and organs. It gave me strength, both physical and emotional. It was a way to work through stress. I belonged to a small group of elite members in the gym who not only hang out in the iron sanctuary, but who actually know what to do with all of that iron. Guys knew I was serious and actually asked me before using equipment near me in case I was already using it ~ ladies, you know how big this is!

He winced as he expressed a level of empathy that can only come from a fellow weight lifter/body builder/iron addict.

Recently one of those guys asked me why my workouts had changed and I told him. He winced as he expressed a level of empathy that can only come from a fellow weight lifter/body builder/iron addict.

This week was better and worse. This week my chiropractor instructed me to increase my physical therapy (for the shoulder) by adding some gym work. So three days this week I did 2.5 pound cable pulls and 5 pound bent over flyes to work the rotator cuff and rear delts. Okay, I confess, I couldn’t help myself, the feel of the iron was too intoxicating, I added tiny 5lb curls and 5 lb tricep extensions (gluing my elbows to my sides). It felt wonderful to have iron in my hands, yet it was also a miserable feeling because there was little satisfaction. I wanted to get my hands on heavier weight. I did resist and will continue to resist – but it is so hard and I am so very iron deficient.

5 thoughts on “Iron Deficiency

  1. Of course I like this one. You will heal. Everything will. And then, you’ll be back. LOL! But no more of the 30- rep stuff, ok? Even with lighter weights, your body doesn’t like it. I’ve been “grounded” to cable work for upper body until after the show, I too, am having a little iron deficiency. I daydream about starting the 5×5 again.

  2. I’m just starting out my own addiction to fitness – any advice? The gym is incredibly addicting 🙂 if more people knew, there would be less incentive to go!

    • My best advice is to keep it fun. If something becomes boring or routine, change it up. Before all of the injuries and health issues, I would change my workouts every 2 months or so. I guess the other piece of advice came from a trainer…the gym is YOUR time. Don’t let it become a chore. It is special time that you set aside in your day, just for you.

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