workouts that work for me

96ec185faf973c2cf1d317dda89d9792Being toned and fit and extremely hot is not strictly for people of the two-handed variety. But it does require tons of discipline and several hours of working out, the latter of which can be a bit of a challenge for those of us with a limb difference. Luckily, most exercises can be adapted to fit different levels of ability to yield the same results. And we all want flat abs and muscles, right?

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Yes, this is a bathroom selfie.

I’ve tried out many types of workouts, from trampoline gym classes (yes, that’s actually a thing) to kickboxing (don’t try to punch people with a prosthetic fist, seriously) to a Brazilian “bum bum” butt-lifting program. And while I’m not very athletic, I’m definitely adventurous when it comes to trying new things. So I’ve had plenty of opportunities to figure out which workouts are best for me and my body. And this might come as a surprise, but my three favorite workouts are pretty cliche and normal. Also, they’re really easy for anyone, one-handed or not, to do. 

1) Swimming

When I was on the local swim team as a kid, I was hitting the pool three nights a week after school. Swimming laps over and over for two hours at a time was not always exciting, but I did gain a lot of energy and muscle tone. Swimming is easy on the joints and gives you a full-body workout, so it’s my number-one exercise pick. It also doesn’t require me to wear my prosthetic, which is always a plus. And no, in case you were wondering, I don’t sink to one side when I swim. (And yes, someone actually asked me that once.)

2) Running

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I take gym selfies, too. Don’t judge me.

I NEVER ran as a kid. I didn’t think I was capable of running until very recently when I hired a trainer to help me get ready for a 5K. I’m awkward as it is when I walk, so I just assumed that awkwardness would be amplified if I tried to run. As it turns out, anyone can be a runner once they learn the proper techniques. So I started running and have been doing so almost five days a week for the past few months. With a good playlist and comfortable sneakers, I can run for hours. (Okay, maybe not hours. But definitely minutes. Lots of minutes.) And I still get my cardio in, with or without the fake arm.

3) Yoga

Confession: I’ve always wanted to be one of those cool yoga girls who eats a vegan diet and buys everything organic and leads a stress-free, super-zen life. But I’m way too anxious and fast-paced and New York to do that. So I think the second-best thing is making time for a yoga class every once in a while. (It’s also the only place in my life right now where it is culturally appropriate for me to wear yoga pants.) And aerial yoga’s my favorite because you get to hang from a trapeze and it almost feels like you’re doing ballet. The floor poses are a little more complicated because I like to do yoga without my prosthetic. I’ve struggled with a few of the poses that require you to balance on both hands. Jen from Born Just Right suggested I use yoga blocks to even out my body and make it easier. And that makes a world of difference. So if you find yourself at a new yoga studio, make sure you ask for extra blocks to use during the more challenging poses. Besides that, though, I’ve never run into any problems with yoga. It’s incredibly relaxing and stress-relieving, so I highly recommend it if you’re a nervous type like I am.

Be warned: this is what you'll find if you open my gym locker.

Be warned: this is what you’ll find if you open my gym locker.

I also feel the need to add a disclaimer here: I haven’t been working out as often as I should lately. Maybe this post will keep me honest and help me stay motivated? We’ll see about that. I’ve already promised myself a morning run tomorrow (if I remember not to press the snooze button eight times….)

Peace,

Caitlin Michelle

 

(Top image found on Pinterest.com)
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style

You know what they say: another day (or week in this case), another discovery. And this week’s discovery was more of a reawakening than a realization. In addition to working on Oxygen’s upcoming fashion-based shows, I’ve been styling my friends and helping them shop for the outfits that I know will make them look best. I’ve always loved shopping and clothes and all that fun stuff that comes with being a girl living 20 minutes from New York. So it’s not like my boyfriend Chris had to twist my arm to get me to help him buy new clothes for the Fall. It’s become a relationship routine of sorts; with every major change in weather, we head to the mall and I pick out some basic pieces and cool accessories to supplement his seasonal wardrobe. He ends up looking quite put-together and handsome, if I do say so myself. This autumn I was going for a sleek look with button-downs, sweaters, and vests (think Justin Timberlake circa 2007), so I was running around the store looking for the clothes and then running back to his dressing room to deliver the next piece for him to try on. Then just a few days later, I hit the mall with my friend Lyss to find her new outfits for Fall. And yes, I must say I enjoyed these shopping outings immensely, especially since I believe that what a person wears says soooo much about him or her.

One glove only

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t love fashion for the reasons that non-fashionistas (is there even a term for people who aren’t into clothes?) may think. I’m not shallow or all that materialistic, and I certainly don’t judge people solely on appearance. But whether or not you’re pretty/plain/rich/poor/disabled/all of the above, you have the freedom to choose exactly how to decorate and present your body to the world. And how awesome is that? As a writer/creative/media professional/artist/20-something/whatever you want to call me, I’m really into personalizing everything. From the background photo of my baby cousins on my iPhone to my hot pink and zebra print bedroom (rawr), it’s all about self-expression. And what better canvas than the body that takes me through every moment and every action to showcase who I am?

Now let’s get one thing straight: I don’t buy into the “ideal figures only” approach to fashion. Having a disability doesn’t preclude me from celebrating the way I look and wearing the clothes I want to wear. And over the past few years I’ve found a handful (haha, I love puns) of ways to highlight and prettify my asymmetrical figure. Sadly, though, the computer that was home to the majority of my photos crashed a while back. So I hope you don’t mind if I post pictures I found on Google or store websites instead of pics of me in the completed looks. Anyway, I type too much. So without further ado:

1) One-Shoulder Tops/Dresses – I LOVE asymmetrical necklines because they mirror the unevenness of my arms and make the statement that strange or different proportions are beautiful. There’s a lot of talk in the science world about beauty and symmetry being synonymous, but this look proves that it’s the unique and the off-kilter that strikes the eye and holds attention.

Subtle but lovely

2) Upper Arm Bracelets/Cuffs – When I’m not wearing my prosthetic hand, I don’t have a wrist on my left arm to wear a bracelet. But I think that arm deserves to wear pretty accessories too, so upper arm cuffs work particularly well. Plus, it’ll go just as great with a party dress as it will with casual jeans and a tank top. If Cleopatra could pull it off waaaaay back when, then I say why not?

3) Opera Gloves – Yes, they look super fancy shmancy over the prosthetic and paired with a cocktail dress, but I think it’s also pretty cool to wear just one on any given day. (Note: For me, it started for practical reasons rather than as a fashion statement. The “skin” on the prosthetic was easily stained by ink on newspapers and books, and I hated how it looked “dirty” so I just wore the glove over it.)

4) Grecian/Roman Goddess-Inspired – The famous Venus de Milo statue has long served as a standard of beauty for all women, in spite of AND due to her lack of arms. So it’s always fun to channel this icon with a Greek/Roman-inspired piece or full outfit.

So there you go – just a few ideas on how I like to use clothes and style to my advantage. I hope this has been an interesting post. And I promise I’ll start taking more pics of what I wear so I can post them on this blog. Do you want to see more style/fashion content on this blog? Let me know what you think.

Peace,
Caitlin 🙂

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