Nearly 18 months ago, I did a post about Les Mills Body Attack classes. Body Attack was the first group fitness class that I tried and liked, and I stuck with it as a result. In January, I even set a goal of maintaining my weekly involvement in the classes across 2012.
I haven't been to a Body Attack class since March.
And I don't mind.
Here is why.
At the end of last year, my various injury-prone body parts all started playing up. My knees (traditionally my biggest problem area) were okay, but my hips, iliotibial band and back were very unhappy. I started getting weekly headaches again, something that affected me years ago but these days I generally manage to avoid.
In January and February, these difficulties persisted and I also developed plantar fasciiitis, which refers to inflammation along the underside (plantar fascia or arch tendon) of the foot. I used all of my 2012 physiotherapy benefits in the first 10 weeks of the year.
When trying to work out what had set all of this off, I thought back to what had changed in the second half of 2011. The answer, of course, was Body Attack. I raised this with my physiotherapist with the hope that he would say "oh no, I'm sure it's not that" - but he didn't. Instead, he asked me to explain what the class involved and then, very reluctantly, agreed that it could be the culprit.
My physiotherapist is a sports physiotherapist who hates telling people not to do activity. I have always found him to recommend doing (strength or stretching exercises) rather than stopping, which is one of the things I like about his approach. Given this, I took his reaction quite seriously. I stopped Body Attack as a result, initially viewing it a short-term trial stop, but later deciding it would be a long-term permanent stop.
Within 2 weeks of stopping the classes, I started to see improvement in terms of mobility and pain. It took much longer, many months, to really iron out the issues that were affecting me (particularly those relating to my ITB, which still niggles after running) - but I definitely noticed improvements after stopping that I wasn't getting earlier.
Now, I don't for an instant believe that everyone who does Body Attack will have problems. I suspect it is simply a poor match for my over-pronating feet and my back and neck difficulties. It is a class that involves lots of jumping (meaning it is high impact and jarring) and lots of sideways as well as forward movement (meaning it is difficult for my feet to keep themselves correctly aligned). I have learned to manage the postural challenges that come from running, but Body Attack seemed to take those challenges to a whole new level.
|Running out here instead of Body Attack-ing inside isn't so bad anyway|
I cut Body Attack out, went back to regular gym work (of the solo, non-group fitness variety) and kept running as the one high impact, jarring activity I care about.
Do I wish I could do Body Attack and not be injured? Yes, a little. Do I think it is possible? Yes, if I worked at getting my muscles strengthened and aligned. I'm sure it could be. Do I think it is worth the difficulties? No. No, I do not.
And so, Body Attack and I are no more. Running and I are a happy partnership again, and my feet, legs and hips are speaking to me nicely (most of the time at least!).
Have you ever tried a 'popular' exercise and found it just didn't work for you?