Keep on Trying


My husband likes to call me a meathead. He doesn’t mean that I eat a ton of meat, but that I like to lift weights. Give me some good old school weight lifting and I’m happy! It’s not that I don’t think cardio, stretching or any of the many other types of workouts and methods are good – it’s just that I like what I like. But guess what?? My body can’t do that anymore. Insert sad face with tears here.


It is so frustrating when your body just won’t, or can’t, do what it used to do so easily. For me, it all changed from overtraining and a car accident in 2004. I was going through physical therapy for knee pain – I taught a lot of group exercise, was on my feet all day demonstrating for clients and worked out on my own – when I was hit by a 19-year-old kid who was high as a kite. Years of therapy, corrective exercise, massage and even a neck surgery have made it so I can function without as much daily pain, but I will never be the same.


The take away is that I needed to change my mindset and try new things – and guess what? There are a ton of options when it comes to exercise!


What I’ve Tried


One of the very first things I did to change it up years ago was try Pilates. Fantastic workout! I started with mat Pilates to learn the basics, and the basics can be challenging. I then tried the Reformer and let me tell you that thing should be called The Rack! It doesn’t look like it will be that challenging…I was very wrong! Doing each movement properly with control required muscles to fire that I didn’t even know I had. Long story short, I enjoyed it and still do some mat work occasionally.


A lot of people recommended swimming, but I’ll tell you that I’m not a big fan. First, it wasn’t a good workout for my neck as the motion of freestyle – pretty much the only stroke I can do – irritated my injuries. I thought maybe water aerobics, but just didn’t enjoy it. However, definitely give it a shot as you don’t know until you try!


I changed it up and got on the spin bike more at this time too. This was hit or miss for me. Love the workout, but sometimes if my injury was flaring up, I couldn’t properly maintain position in my upper body. However, we do have a spin bike at home now and I do use it as part of my workouts sometimes. I also have friends with the Peloton that swear by it! Expensive, but if you’re using it, totally worth the money apparently.


Yoga is something else I’ve done on and off for years, and found some poses very beneficial when I am in pain to relax and open up my muscles. I’ve taught yoga as well and it really is something I love! If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend giving it a chance.


Kickboxing is something else that is so very fun and a tremendous workout! Boxing workouts as well. I have to watch this now as sometimes the repetitive motions aggravate my body, but I love to incorporate some movements as part of a circuit sometimes. Talk about getting out your aggression and frustration! Boxing, kickboxing or any martial arts will definitely help you do that.


Things I’ve Steered Clear Of


Now, this is just a few things that I have not tried. This does not mean you shouldn’t, but I have my reasons and I know my body. However, I have friends that have done all these things and they love it! So, don’t write it off.


I’ve steered clear of Crossfit as many of the exercises I can’t do anymore between my knee and neck. But, I’ve heard it is an intense and fun workout! If you want to try it, go check out a couple places and talk to the owners or instructors. Get in a class that is appropriate for you so you can learn proper technique as that is essential to any good workout.


I don’t do Zumba. My hips and body will only move like that after some margaritas. Now, there’s an idea! I also don’t do any dance type workouts anymore. They just don’t appeal to me personally. However, if dancing is something you like, definitely give Zumba a try!


My two best friends train at different Orange Theory locations…and I’ve never tried it. Now they do live in a different state so that’s one reason. The other is that I’m concerned about adapting the exercises in a workout to things I can do. Structured workouts don’t always work for me in any form.


What I Do


I listen to my body. If I feel good, I’ll do some HIIT training or lift a little heavier. If I feel a little off or pain that day, I stick to yoga, Pilates or mobility work. I try to walk a lot with my dogs and get outside. I have kettlebells, dumbbells, a mat, a foam roller and bands that I can do so many things with. And when I’m home in Arizona, I can move my bike by the TV and cycle while I watch a show.


The point is, don’t give up even if you can’t do what you used to. Try new things, and learn to be okay if it’s not what you thought. You’ll find something eventually.



Bethany Kochan started her fitness career at a local women’s fitness center at 19 years of age. This part-time job lead to a career that over 20 years later, she still loves. Bethany earned her B.S. in Exercise Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale at the same time becoming certified as a group exercise instructor. After college, she pursued NSCA-CPT and CSCS, group cycling, mat Pilates and YogaFit certifications. In 2009, she and her husband made a big move across the country to pursue his dream job in the field of strength and conditioning. At this point, Bethany began writing and training online to be both with her husband and the fitness industry. Today, the Kochans split their time between AZ and CA, pursuing their passions and enjoying life together with their two rescue Weimaraners.