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Turn on your mental movie, and play this: the hard-dancing audition scene of A Chorus Line, with everyone getting sweatier and more flexible while we watch in amazement. And the running and punching sides of beef part of Rocky where he's high-fiving everyone on his regular workout route while "Gonna Fly Now" plays. And the sweat-flying, feet-running-super-fast-in-place, "Maniac"-playing part of Flashdance. And the part in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts tries on ALL THOSE CLOTHES. I LOVE a movie with a time-passes-before-our-very-eyes scene, complete with a magical physical change. Or makeover. Same thing, right?

So, that's how I imagined my spring would be. I would be sweating up a storm with a determined gleam in my eye, high-fiving my regulars as I ran (Yes, ran. Dream with me a minute.) down Belmont Boulevard, possibly baring my midriff as time wore on to reveal my ripped abs. I would get my splits and my grand jete back, natch. I would hurriedly down a healthy, blender-borne concoction on my way out the door to another fulfilling workout. I would somehow get a healthy tan, and my hair would be sun-streaked (Dream, please.). I started all of this on March 12th, the day after my birthday. By Memorial Day weekend, I'd be right there, goals reached, muscles rippling in the sunlight. No problem. Short term goals are my thing. It's the long term stuff that derails me, like "What do you want to be doing this time next year?" Too far away. Too much focus required. Too long term.

Willow Pilates studio, where I work, had a two-day photo shoot last week. And I am a mere 10 days away from a fitness presentation at a conference in California. These were the motivators behind my scheme, to be completed by Memorial Day. Needless to say, my hair not being sun-streaked is the least of my disappointments. For the first 30 days or so, I powered through hunger (relying heavily on caffeine) and the multiple tears in both my menisci (Who knew that was the plural of meniscus? Go figure.), only to gain 2 pounds. At least it was only 2. The ensuing 35 days or so have produced a 3 pound weight loss, with spotty dieting. So a net loss in over 60 days of ONE *%#@$!ING POUND. A very hard-earned 1 pound at that. By the time of the photo shoot last week, I had to face the inevitable: it's too late for anything but Latisse and Crest Whitestrips. 

Or not. I have made my peace with my caffeine dependency for now. I have been diligent about my countertop push ups and dips. I have realized that not all exercise makes my knees worse. I have finally scheduled knee surgery, and am kinda relieved about it. So the as-yet-unmet short term goals of getting in shape by spring are still in the works, now with an eye to going into surgery as fit as possible. Because even though they don't say it out loud, physical therapists are judging our performance. I am gonna blow the doors off that competition. Fighting through fitness with an ever-slowing metabolism? That might just be my first real long term goal. 5-6-7-8!

 

Something is better than nothing when it comes to fitness. 10 push-ups against the bathroom counter are better than no push-ups at all. Logging steps by doing housework may not be as intense as taking a power walk, but it's better than binging on Neflix-- and whatever snacks accompany said binge. 

I am injured (due to time and age, not Pilates), and generally demoralized. The idea of a full, exuberant workout is not only difficult to fit into my hectic schedule, but also more than a little daunting. In order to halt the internal monologue of "If I can't workout hard, why bother working out at all?", I am playing a little game with myself. The Something Is Better Than Nothing game. So I am adding little "somethings" throughout my day, like countertop push-ups every time I go into the bathroom. Ten every time. And, if I can, ten dips off the side of the bathtub. I'm also working on my hydration, so that means plenty of bathroom visits.

I am trying to identify pockets of time where little things can be added in. Standing and staring at the coffee pot? Abs in, deep breaths. Waiting for water to boil? Countertop push-ups. Between coats of nail polish? Standing kicks. On hold with the cable company? Arm weights without weights. Imaginary jump rope. Jumping Jacks. Marching. Marching and twisting with high knees. Calf raises. Burpees are not my thing, but are a good option. Balancing on one foot. I've even come up with a few things to do while sitting in a parked car, if I can resist the lure of Free Cell on my phone. And I'm keeping my hula hoop out, so I can do that while my family is watching TV.

Here's the deal:  none of these things are hard. I rarely do any one thing long enough to break into a sweat. But at the end of another day when I couldn't find dedicated workout time, I can fall asleep knowing I did better than nothing. Maybe by the end of the week I'll have clocked in an hour or two more of exercise. That's way better than nothing. And there is something about doing something, no matter how small, that makes you want to do more.

Bring a new dimension of personalization to your clients' sessions by re-discovering the Toe Corrector, Foot Corrector, and Sand Bag.  These small apparatus can produce truly dramatic results! I hope to see you at my workshop!

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"Some days you are a fairy, and some days you are an elephant."-- Karin Bergesen

A big thank you is in order to my mother-in-law, Karin Bergesen, for two things. First, she read my blog! Woohoo! Second, she distilled what I was trying to say into this perfect metaphor.

If you're still reading, thank you. This is not a judgy blog. Glass houses, as they say. But hear me out. The reason to workout every single day is that, for me at least, every day I am presented with a different body.

So you know how in the advanced Reformer work, Overhead comes right after the Hundred? And how, at, say, 6am, one's body doesn't quite feel like going upside down after only a very few minutes of exercise? This is when I say to myself,

So, you know how EVERYTHING in Pilates is supposed to come from your abs? How we’ve all heard the refrain, “Use your powerhouse more,” or “Scoop your stomach in”? I am guilty of parroting those very words, but, really and truly, they’re always true. Always. No exceptions.

Does that mean I follow my own advice and wield my abs like the iron fist they are? Not so much. I try. All the time. I even tell my clients, “If you’re awake, you’re abs are in.” But   my abdominals, like everyone else’s, are a work in progress. And progress happened today, in my jammies, on my Reformer in the basement.

Oct 14 2013

10.14.2013

this stuff will make you strong

"If you're not careful, this stuff will make you strong." — Kirk Smith

The Advanced Reformer is behind me for the day, for the first time in months. I am humbled by the power of Pilates to make every moment of a workout count, even those moments when I am lying still, panting. I am humbled by my body’s ability to work, despite months of mistreatment. I am ready to be back among the living, where living means embodying the Pilates lifestyle.