Help, I Can’t Move My Arms!—How To Work Out the Wrong Way

Six months ago today, I quit smoking cold turkey.  I just woke up one morning and decided to lay down a 22 year, two-pack-a-day habit for good, and  I haven’t looked back.  (Feel free to applaud at any time.)

I’d love to say I feel great, but I really don’t.  Yes, I can breathe better, and  I have my sense of smell and taste back, but I’ve been constantly sick with something ever since I quit smoking.  But hey,  I can walk up a flight of stairs without wheezing now, and I actually know what my tofu scramble tastes like when I eat breakfast in the morning.  (It’s delish. :D)  If those two things aren’t incentive to stay away from cigarettes, then the fact that every time I smell cigarette smoke I gag is.  My God, those things smell like burning rubbish!

Unfortunately, like many people who quit smoking, I have replaced cigarettes with food.   I have eaten my way to a fat backside, people.  I seriously have gone up three sizes in six months.  At first I tried to blame my gall stone pancreatitis, which causes swelling, but it isn’t that.  It’s that I made upwards of FIFTY trips to the fridge and pantry a day.  OH. EM. GEE.  I was out of control, and could no longer fit into my clothes.

When I realized how fat I had become (it just comes on all of a sudden!), I joined a gym.  It’s been great fun.  I’ve taken up Tai Chi, Yoga, and Zumba classes, and am losing weight.  Woo hoo!

New Reebok Elliptical Cross-Trainer

A cross trainer similar to the one that tried to kill me last week. (Photo credit: DanieVDM)

Last week I decided to try this cross trainer machine that promises a full body workout.  Everyone at the gym gave it rave reviews, so I thought, “What the heck?  I’m going to get on it.”

Day One was OK.  After I got off this thing my arms and legs were sort of numb.   All right, they were A LOT numb.  They were so heavy that I could barely lift my arms up.  But at least I wasn’t in pain.   In fact, I felt pretty energized.

Flash forward to the next morning when I wake up—there was intense pain in my biceps AND triceps.  And there was a lot of pain in my neck and shoulders as well.

“This is normal,” I thought.  “I just have to work through the burn…”

Day Two I went a full 30 minutes despite the pain my upper body was in.  I even adjusted the tension on the legs because I wasn’t “feeling the burn” like I thought I should have.  BIG mistake.  I slid off the machine after the 30 minutes were up, barely able to get outside without help.

Day Three (yes, I went back for more)  I was unable to do more than 15 minutes on the cross trainer and went home, grimacing in pain.  When I got home, I coated both arms in ActivOn (that stuff is completely useless) and wrapped them in heating pads.  I had a restless night because the pain in my arms kept waking me up.

Day Four I decided to stay home from the gym and rest my overworked muscles.  I will probably be out the next couple days.  If the bends in both of my arms could talk, they’d be screaming profanities at me because they let me know they’re unhappy with me every time I try to lift my arms for any reason.

These past few days have taught me a lot about how to work out the WRONG way, so I am going to pass some of these tips onto you, dear reader.  If you want to be like me and be in such pain that you can’t move without crying a little please do all the following steps!


Get on a machine that you’ve never been on before and put it on a resistance that makes you really uncomfortable.


You see an extremely fit man on the same type of machine a few feet away.  He’s working really hard, and you don’t want to look like a noob, so you decide to go at his pace.  Oh, boy, you’re feeling the burn now!


Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, stretch out your muscles after an intense workout.  Stretching is for wusses.  It’s better for you to let all those acids build up in your muscles and torture you for the next several days.


Repeat Steps 1-3 every day and pay no attention to your body’s cries for help.  Everyone is a little sore after a workout.  Just work through the intense pain and ignore what fitness experts say about how it could make your muscles weaker in the long-run!

If you do all the above steps in that order, I guarantee in less than a week you will feel like complete and utter crap!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I am going to go jump in a bath so hot that all three layers of my skin will fall off before I even hit the water….

Leave a comment


  1. Too funny. Feel better soon. Two words: hot tub.

    • Indeed. My ex has a great hot tub. I’m almost tempted to call him and say, “Um, yeah…I still hate you but do you mind if I come sit in your hot tub for about an hour? I really need the jets…”

      I don’t think he’s going to be too enthused. lol

      • Perhaps not. The gym you have a membership at doesn’t have one? Perhaps the nearest parks and recreation center with a pool has one?

        If not, try epsom salt & olive oil in the bath, add some lavender oil if you have it.

      • It probably does but I go so early in the morning that I just get in and get out as soon as my workout is finished. I’m going to have a look round by the pools tomorrow.

  2. oh no, at least you are trying to get in shape. Feel better soon.

    • Thanks, Karen! The pain isn’t that bad now…thank goodness. I got a wee bit worried last night when I took 800 milligrams of Ibuprofen and it didn’t help. :/ lol

      But this is typical me. I sometimes push myself TOO hard to reach goals.

  3. Marilyn

     /  July 22, 2012

    Angie GOOD for you to be working out but please be good to yourself and yes it may be worth it sneaking over to that hot tub. Definitely get some epsom salts and some lavender EO and add about 10-12 drops. Sorry you are hurting. Love the post!

    • Yes, Epsom salt lavender EO is great for relaxation in a bath. I love that stuff! Thank goodness my pain is down by half now, so it looks like I will be able to get up and get out of here for my tai chi class tomorrow morning! Yay! 😀

  4. jamiegall1930

     /  July 22, 2012

    Yay for working out. You are far more brave than me 😉 Although if you get me near a pool I could do that for hours… so i suppose it all comes to finding the machine and/or exercise that works for you.

    In place of eating, perhaps supply yourself with fresh mints or chewing gum whenever you get a craving to put something in your mouth.

    • I’m loving my Tai Chi class. I can’t wait to get to it tomorrow. 😀

      And, yeah, mints or gum would have been better than food. lol I’m a vegetarian and managed to gain weight eating nonstop…so that should tell you something. :/ I was doing it unconsciously, which is scary. I haven’t done that in weeks so it looks like I’m over that. *wipes brow* PHEW!

  5. Major LOL 🙂 what a fun post and filled with good info…I’ve done this with sports and think of it as an immunization factor [if I keep doing X I will feel better] – but as I got older, I finally learned that’s not the way bodies work 🙂


    • Thanks very much for stopping by, Lynn! 😀 And no, this is definitely NOT the way bodies work. When one is left with MAJOR pain in their bodies, that’s not a green light to go ahead and keep doing something. We experience pain to let us know that something is going wrong with that part of the body and that we need to fix it.

      When I started experiencing unbearable pain, I came to my senses and thought, “I really need to lay off the cross trainer thing for the next couple days…” I’m a doof! ;p

  6. You are brave. I stress eat and have never smoked. I could easily plow through several pieces of Stride 2.0 gum at work per day if I didn’t mind looking like a cow chewing her cud. If you find a good way to conquer the “wanting to have something in your mouth” let me know.

    • I think I am FINALLY over that hump, thank goodness! OML. It’s really awful that I lost control like that. I’ve never eaten that way before, but I finally caught myself early last month.

  7. Great article.

  8. A L L A N

     /  July 26, 2012

    I cannot lie, i like big butts!

  9. Hi there very nice web site!! Guy .. Excellent ..
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