Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bodily Functions & Fitness 101: Pee

“Just saw the CrossFit WOD (workout of the day). I’m not even at the gym yet and I already have the nervous pee.” When I read this Facebook status update from Reader Amber, I laughed so hard I had to, well, you know. So class, for part two of my Bodily Functions & Fitness series today we will be discussing number 1. And no I’m not giving you an M&M for every time you go.

1. The nervous pee - my personal favorite - is that almost uncontrollable urge to go that always happens in the five seconds before public speaking or right when the gun goes off for a race. Or, like Amber, when you know you have an intense, fast workout coming your way shortly. (Really, that’s one of the best parts of CrossFit. I think they purposely don’t post the WOD until the morning of just to make everyone do the nervous pee. Gotta love athlete humor!) It doesn’t matter if you just went and still have the toilet paper stuck to your gym shoe to prove it. Your body doesn’t care. It just knows something slightly scary is about to happen and is preparing it’s best turtle defense.

2. The excited pee is closely related to the nervous pee except this one is more likely to involve hysterical laughing, which as most of my friends now know sends me straight to the floor. No matter how many kegels I do, this body has had too many kids to withstand a really good funny. Unfortunately when I go crashing to the floor, it usually makes them laugh harder which ups the hilarity thereby worsening my condition. Frankly, I’m considering never smiling again. It’s either that or Depends.

3. The jumping rope (also known as the “Turbo air jack”) pee is a high-impact staple. Bosus, jumping over the step, trampolining and all forms of plyometrics are common offenders. For some people even running qualifies (Hansel & Gretel tracking system is a bonus!). This is probably the most common of all the pees, especially as we age and/or have children. It also seems to be mainly a female issue although if any of my (5) male readers care to weigh in, I’m all ears!
4. The weight-lifting pee is brought on by the bladder compression from a deep squat making it probably the most embarassing pee on the list as the damage is so hard to mitigate. Consider: you are stuck inches from the floor with your legs spread apart and a really heavy weight across your shoulders. As demonstrated by the poor woman above.

5. The pregnancy pee is the bane of gestating gals everywhere. One of those things that nobody tells you before you get pregnant is that the pregnancy pee kicks in from day 1. Surprisingly, it’s a hormone thing that will only later be compounded by a wee one doing jumping jacks on your bladder. Your body does many amazing things during pregnancy but I’m telling you now that few will be as enthralling as how much, how frequently and how long you will have to pee. I’ve even considered asking Gym Buddy Allison to time me - horses and frat boys got nothing on pregnant girls.

Preventing “bladder leakage” (as the marketing folk are so fond of calling it - quick, don’t think of water balloons!) is imperative. Your first step is to go right before your workout. Even if you just went at home. Go again. I promise something will come out. It’s Pavlovian - see toilet, must pee. I don’t think there is even such a thing as pee constipation, is there? The next step is to wear clothing that can handle a bit of moisture (see the recommendations for swamp crotch in the previous post). Third is to avoid all discussion of how badly you have to pee. This last rule is one the Gym Buddies and I have a hard time remembering but really, discussing it makes it ten times worse. (Although now I know which one of the Gym Buddies has the technical skill to pee in a bottle in a moving car - and no it’s not a dude.)

Damage Control
It happens. It happens more often to the very young, the very old, the pregnant and the mothers who delivered vaginally. But eventually it does happen to everyone. So what to do when you’ve just wet yourself and you still have 30 minutes of plyos left? I’m going to borrow FEMAs steps for dealing with an emergency (What? Tornados, earthquakes, bladder leakage… it’s all disasterous, right?). First assess the situation. How bad is the damage? Is it a minor leak or a broken dam? If it is the latter, you’ll just have to leave but the former still leaves you plenty of options. Second, assess your resources. Is there a bathroom nearby? Does it have a hand dryer? That doesn’t require you to stand pantsless outside the stall to use? If not, will toilet paper do to mop up? As a last resort, can you just splash some water on other places to distract attention and make people think you’re just a really profuse sweater? Third, assess your environment. This basically boils down to a) did you leave a puddle? and b) did anyone see? If either of these are true, you are just going to have to go home. I’m sorry.

Learn From Your Pee
The last thing every fitness freak should know about their pee is that it is a wealth of knowledge. The color alone can tell you everything from how dehydrated you are to if you have life-threatening rhabdomyolysis or a kidney infection. The frequency can tell you if you need more kegel work or if you are pregnant or have a urinary tract infection or even prostate cancer if you’re a guy. The smell can tell you if you’ve recently eaten asparagus or - if you’re me - Cheerios. (Question: Do Cheerios make anyone else’s pee smell funny?) And the taste… well, if you’ve tasted your own urine then that says things about you that I don’t know if we even have time to go into on this site. But I do hope you’ll leave a comment.

So, have you ever wet yourself? What fitness activities bring out the pee in you? What do you do to prevent your water balloon from popping? Anyone else kinda obsessed with the color of their pee??