Archives for category: working out

I did a really great thing for myself yesterday. I got back into the swing of things with Pilates. Not practicing Pilates on my own. I haven’t missed a beat with that. No, I am talking about student teaching to get all of my hours for my certification. I had been on a break of sorts. I was just dealing with so much in my personal life that something had to give. With the home buying nonsense, my grandpa passing away, having a toddler, my IBS flaring up from all the stress, and injuring my neck, I was constantly spent.

The last thing I wanted to do was stand up in front of a room of people, not feeling confident at all, and try to safely guide them through physically demanding moves. No. I was not up for that. I spent all day giving my best to my son. I couldn’t put him on the back burner. No matter how depressed I was over my grandpa, I couldn’t mope around all day not caring for my child. So, by the time my husband got home at night I was just exhausted. There was nothing left to give.

I started to feel better last week, slowly but surely. Then, the weather started to warm up. We went to the park about 3 times in a week’s time! Ah, glorious sunshine and fresh air will do anyone some good. I went back in yesterday to student teach a private session with my amazing teacher. It felt ah-maze-ing to get in there and do this. I felt so great afterward. I am ready to get back into this. I am ready to finish what I started. I am ready for life to continue on.

I needed my mourning period. I am by no means over it. I never will be. Grandpa randomly crosses my mind regularly. I will be doing the most simple thing and suddenly some memory will flood back. I also got very attached to being around Jack. I have barely let him out of my sight since this time last month, actually. Other than one sleepover at my mom’s home. I think she needed that as much as I needed to take a break from student teaching. Clinging to this life that I created just felt right and safe. Looking at his cute little toddler feet, watching the way he plays with his toys, listening to his HUGE vocabulary, and just taking in his face, were the places I wanted and needed to be. The thought of being away from him several nights a week was just not something I wanted to actually go through with. Even if some days I felt like he was driving me crazy. I just didn’t want to miss a thing.

Death is a funny thing. Dealing with it and trying to put your own life back together can be tricky. I have been to a good share of wakes and funerals. This was by no means my first. But they were always more distant relatives. Not what I consider an immediate relative. It was different this time. It has been hard. Bottom line. How long should one mourn? There is no definitive answer to that. I cringe at the thought that if I ever have another child my grandpa will not have met that baby or even know about his/her existence. I hate that. A baby is not a big priority on my list, but I have thought about that scenario. Does that mean if I actually decide to have a 2nd that I shouldn’t? No. Because life does go on. The living have to keep living. Keep loving the loved ones we have with us while remembering the ones we have lost. I just squeeze my little man a little tighter and rub his hair a little more and kiss his toes just one more time.

It was time to get back to my life that I worked really hard to achieve. I put so much time and effort into training to teach and to be derailed much longer would just be a waste. My grandpa would not have wanted me to waste my talents. That much I know.

Two days ago my new baby arrived! I am head over heels in love. I was from the moment it arrived. My new Balanced Body Combo Chair!!!!! I have used it twice since then and I will use it again this morning. I have been trained to teach it, so I know how to use it. I knew how to set it up. I knew how amazing it would be. But I didn’t realize how amazing it would be to know that this Pilates machine is mine all mine.

We have a very large master bed room. It could really be two rooms. They should have made it a 3rd bedroom in this townhouse. But we don’t own this place and with all luck we will be moving into MUCH more space in a little over a month. The appraisal is today, keep your fingers crossed. Anyway, the 2nd half of our bedroom is used for our exercise equipment. I arranged my Pilates area rather nicely. I am looking forward though to having an entire room for my Pilates stuff.

pilatesarea

I do have to move the chair away from the window a bit when using it. So I have full range of motion, but it works. It is my space. I love it. It felt amazing to get back on the chair. I missed it. Things have  been so bananas since my grandpa went into ICU and then passed away. I haven’t been into the studio in a while. I guess I have been a little depressed and overwhelmed with everything I have to handle right now. Three days ago I started to feel a bit better overall. I am hoping this keeps up. I think I am coming to terms with his passing. I am still sad but Saturday I had a little release. I cried a bit . Also, exercise helps. And what is better than a brand new toy to workout with? Nothing I tell you, nothing!

 

 

Yesterday marked a big milestone in my Pilates teacher journey. I officially finished the training courses! We are all done with classroom time. I have to complete my million hours of practice teaching now. Yikes! I cannot believe we have reached this point. It feels like September was only yesterday. pilates

I have a myriad of emotions about this all. They range from excited, to terrified, to frustrated. I am not sure I can explain entirely why I am all over the place. This is an off week for me in general. That has to be a contributing factor. I am excited for obvious reasons. I did it! I finished a huge part of this. The next is to apply my knowledge. Terrified because I have to apply that knowledge. And frustration is likely over the same thing. Working out how to articulate what I know. Getting to know the clients and their needs. Many of these clients have been there for years. When I enter a class to teach I feel blind, since I don’t know them like their regular instructors do.

I am excited to get my own clients. I would like to start to build a relationship with people and train them. I want to share the love of Pilates with everyone. I want to help make someone’s life better. I want to help them move and feel better every single day. I am frustrated because sometimes I feel like I am not seeing what my Master Teacher sees. I know that is why SHE is a master teacher and I am still a novice. But I have said this before and I will say this again, I am incredibly hard on myself. I get so mad at myself when I can’t see or do what I am trying to see or do. I know that it will come with time and experience. But my inner voice sometimes won’t listen to that rationalization. There are many times where I DO see what she is speaking of.  You see, the thing is, Pilates is in millimeters. The correctness of the moves are often incredibly tiny movements. Your eye really has to develop to see that. There are many times I do see it. But I hate it when I look and I am just baffled. I have to tell myself to ease up and just keep looking and practicing. I know how these feel in my own body. I know what I am looking for in general. I am always self correcting my positions. I know where a client is supposed to be most of the time. Especially in the moves I am very familiar with.

A portion of my journey is over. I am entering the next phase of my journey. This journey will never really end. I believe I will always be learning and improving myself as a Pilates teacher. Who knows what the future holds down the road. The possibilities are unlimited!

When you’re a student studying to become an instructor, moments of total “ah ha!” and clarity are truly blissful moments. When your teacher’s voice is speaking in your head, and you just get it. You get the lesson and message she or he was trying to convey. I had one of those moments on Wednesday.

I saw a Mat class I wanted to do. There was this awesome looking move. A variation of Balance Control. It just looked so cool and fancy. The cuing wasn’t amazing and I was halfway through it. I could feel the compromised position it was putting my neck in. I didn’t have the courage to keep pushing through it without a spot. I just kept thinking I am going to break my neck. I am not one to be fearful of a challenge, but this just wasn’t right. Something wasn’t right with it. Maybe it was the cuing or maybe it was the actual move being really not a great one. At first I was mad at myself, I felt weak. As the day went on I heard my teacher’s voice in my head.

She likes to explain to us that some of those fancy non classical moves are just that, fancy and pretty. They can be dangerous. They are not always very beneficial. She can always find another move that is safer that gives you the same, if not better work. The only thing those fancy moves tend to be good for is your fancy Facebook photo. She has drilled that into us with certain moves. The one I was attempting wasn’t one of those specifically. We never even learned that one, showing you that it isn’t even in our book! I got it though. I got what she has been trying to teach us. I wanted to badly to try this “cool” looking move. I wanted to move effortlessly like that. As I got there, I realized how fragile the neck is. It isn’t something I want to injure. This move was just too compromising. At one point all of my weight was on my neck! The integrity of the neck is so important, why would I even try to put it in a place it shouldn’t be?

I told her about this last night. I think she was happy that her lessons had really sunk in with me. That I had experienced first hand what she has been trying to tell us. We are not in this to injure people. We are doing this for health and fitness. To keep our clients safe and fit. Safety first. We won’t have people to help if we injure them all. That doesn’t mean you don’t challenge them. No, it means you challenge them safely! You protect their most vulnerable areas, like their neck.

When you reach this peak of your learning it feels really great. I feel like a Pilates instructor. I feel confident that I am getting the point of all of this. It is more than just a fancy move on a website. It is a way of life. It is allowing people to put the integrity of their bodies in my hands. They trust me to keep them safe. It is my job to maintain that trust as best I can.

Have you had any recent Ah Ha moments? Not in Pilates, necessarily, but in any area of life?

 

Have you ever loved something so much that you want to shout it from the rooftops?I am not talking about another person or persons. That is easy, I feel that way about my husband and son. I am talking about something outside of a human connection. A passion for anything else in your life?

I feel that way about Mat work. If you have read my blog before, you may have gathered as much. I am a hardcore Pilates Mat lover. I truly believe in the work. It is beautiful, tough, graceful, and classic. It is just a gorgeous way to build your strength, tone your body, center yourself and your life, and stay fit. I want to shout this from the rooftops. I don’t like heights, so I settle for my blog and Facebook platforms. I also can add teaching to that platform.

You can imagine how excited I am that I have a class starting on the 23rd. I asked if anyone has signed up yet. I was told no. That it is going to be a hard sell in the building I am in. I was instantly deflated. I can’t understand how it is a hard sell? People like their machines there, though. I get that, the machines are challenging. But the Mat is no less challenging. In fact, in many moves, it can be tougher than the Reformer. You have no assistance from the springs. You have to rely on your own core strength, balance, and body strength. I am not here to argue which is better. They are both amazing. It is no secret that my passion and devotion does lie with the mat. Don’t let me wittiness distract you though! 😉 I wish people would give it a shot. Let me show them that mat work can blow your mind too. Let me exude that love and passion in my classroom to you. I promise your abs will scream after my abs series. Your bum will burn after my side lying legs series. And when we finish with arms you will be saying, “no I cant do one more set.” I will say, “yes yes you can! Little black dress arms, here we come!!!”

Deflated. That is what I am feeling this morning. I bit the bullet and said I also want to start teaching some Reformer classes to get my hours in as well. I want to get teaching and if I have to start with Reformer here, that is what I will do. I am not chained to one studio. I can find other places that embrace Mat. I feel like I am itching to spring out of the gate and get going though. I know 100% I am ready to teach Mat regularly. I can do Reformer too. I know more than I like to let myself think. I have an hour long Cadillac class to develop for tomorrow as well.

I just need the chance to be able to sing my passion. I know I can bring others in, if I am given it!

What passion would shout from the rooftops if you could? Have you ever been where I am as a teacher. Or with anything else in your life? Read to go, but finding roadblocks all along the way? Have you successfully been able to transfer your passion for something to others?

I came across one of the funniest Pilates quotes I have ever read. It has been cracking me up all day. It is from a Men’s Health interview with George Lopez.

“I started doing Pilates a while back. I thought my childhood was rough? Pilates is harder. When I do Pilates, I think about those sad summers I was making Kool-Aid and trying to sell it on a cul de sac that no one traveled, and Pilates is much harder than that.”

Pilates is hard. No doubt about it. I really appreciate the humor in this though. I like nothing more than a good laugh. I will always pick to watch a comedy over a drama. But like I said, the reality is, it is hard. It is not easy. It is not a one time workout. It is a practice. Something you must craft and master over time. Weeks, months, years. I started doing Pilates in high school. My mom took me to a class. I wouldn’t be where I am right now without her influencing me. I instantly loved it. photo (2)

I am a million times better now than I ever was in my teens or early 20’s even. Especially once I decided to really focus solely on Pilates. I used to rotate between different types of fitness. I am glad I have found a focus. There is such a centering feeling in practicing and perfecting your craft. Pilates is my craft. I continually challenge myself. I know where my weaknesses are and I set goals for myself to correct and eventually perfect them. I have really opened my hip flexors since I stopped running. That was a very tight and short area for me. I can feel a difference. My current struggle has to do with the tightness in my shoulders. I also want to be able to do a perfect teaser every single time. I can do awesome teasers, but every so often I wobble, or get stuck etc. Those are my goals.

Pilates is hard. But that doesn’t mean it should scare you away. It is so empowering to practice a hard craft. When you reach your goals, big or small, you are filled with this sense of accomplishment and self worth. No one but you created that ability. Sure, your teacher/trainer guided you, spotted you, and instructed you. I cannot engage your core for you. I cannot do the work for you. Ultimately, YOU had to do the work to get there.

My motto with teaching is “We are all on our own journey.” When I am explaining things to my private clients I always tell them that. I will carry that on in my Mat class as well. That is the most important part. To stay true to yourself and your body. It doesn’t matter what your neighbor is doing. It doesn’t matter what I can do as your instructor. That is my journey and yours is different. No two journeys are exactly the same. So, while Pilates is hard, life has never claimed to be easy. Sometimes, the hardest things we go through have the greatest results. Pilates is one of those things. And as George Lopez knows, it is ok to laugh about that fact!

Part of my evening yesterday included this final confirmation.

mat schedule (2)

I knew that this was coming. I had been talking to the studio’s owner, my teacher, earlier in the week. I knew it was going to be added to the Winter II schedule. It didn’t sink in until I opened this email. I was sitting with  my very sick toddler on my lap. Watching Cars 2 for the millionth time. I think it was Cars 2, at this point all Pixar films are starting to blur together. We had a 2 hour trip to the pediatrician. I waited for over an hour with my sick toddler to even see a Dr! Then we had to go to the store to pick up what he needed. It was exhausting. I was home, cuddling him because he was in pain and upset. I was scrolling through my inbox and saw one from my studio. I held my breath and opened it, scrolling down. Hoping that it would be there, and yes, it was! I was so thrilled. I called my husband in the room to look at my screen. I even called my mom.

Why was I doubting myself as I scrolled through the email? I had been told it was being put on the schedule. Still, I held my breath. I suppose I was trying to not count my chickens before they hatched. I still have to hope people sign up! That is the next step. I need people to attend! If that all goes well I begin my class January 23rd.

I can do this. I am nervous and the reality is really sinking in. But this is what I want to do. This is what I want my career to  be. I just need to get this first group class out of the way. I have done private sessions. Heck, I have done private sessions with my husband. He does not sugar coat it for me. He is tough to train and I have trained him several times. I know mat work inside and out. I have my first class developed. Their abs will be screaming after my ab set. Their arms will be screaming after I am done with leg pull downs and pushups. I know because mine are when I am done with both of those parts of my class. I need to keep some confidence in my mind and just get past this first class. The rest will come with more and more experience.

With that I am off to go through my whole class myself.

 

Do you make sure to take rest days from your training? I am really awful at that. I just love Pilates so much that I prefer to do it every single day. I am not superwoman, so really, that is not possible. At least, after a week or two, it is physically impossible. My body screams for a break. A rest. A reprieve.

Today is one such day. My lower back is all jacked up. It has been creeping up on me for a couple days. I ignored it. Yesterday morning I should not have done the mat class I did. I was reviewing for my class that I will be teaching soon. I did mat work anyway. By the afternoon I knew I had made a mistake. I should have listened to my back earlier in the week. I can move, I can carry Jack, but the annoyance is there. A big red flashing light, screaming at me that if I don’t take it easy, I will be couch bound soon. Today I am taking a break. This is a huge deal for me. Yesterday I received my new mat AND a nice package of clothing from Lucy. Both came after I was done with my morning workout. Pilates problems, you know. 😉 I am itching to use them. I want to play with my new toys. I will wait until at least tomorrow though.

This is a little dramatic, in all reality this won't be my rest day. These couch moments are few and far between

This is a little dramatic, in all reality this won’t be my rest day. These couch moments are few and far between

I have been like this for a long time. Unable to take breaks. I just am so hooked. I actually lose track of time. I have to sit down and think hard about my last rest day. A month or two ago I took two days off in a row. I was beat. With all the training I had been doing I just needed more than one day. It was very rejuvenating for me. I felt amazing. I may be heading down that road this week. We will see how I feel tomorrow morning. I have been dealing with two sick men. Jack has a belly ailment and an awful diaper rash to boot. My husband has an ear infection. I am not sick. But I certainly cannot afford to throw my back out entirely when I have two sick babies that need me.

So, here is to rest. My Vata fitness personality has a hard time chilling out and resting. I have to though. My body is yelling at me. Monday brings us back to reality. All classes start again. Jack’s swim and gymnastics. I have a makeup class Tuesday night and Thursday start the regular training hours. I am also getting a mat class on the schedule soon. I have some private reformer hours coming as well. At this point, I have no choice but to let my injury heal for a day, maybe two. I am not a baby either. I am the type of person who would silently push through this, as I did most of the week. I just can’t afford to be totally out of commission.

Do you see me reasoning with myself here? I can’t stop that either. Ha! Off to “rest” I go. Which really means no mat work, but everything else stays the same. I am a mom, after all.

A you good at taking breaks? Do you lose track of time, like I do? How do you make sure you get rest/recovery days in? What does a rest day look like for you? 

Christmas is over. My husband returned to work today. It is rare for him to ever take a day off, so yesterday was a treat. The living room is still a half disaster. The dining room table, forget about it. I started trying to clear it of all the new things, but I didn’t finish. I hope today I get that done.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Daddy breaking my no treats rule....

Daddy breaking my no treats rule….

Christmas was amazing though. I had such a wonderful time. I loved watching Jack. He was so into it. Very into presents. Loves opening them. It truly did blow last year out of the water. I loved watching him play with his new things. He is so grown up. Not a baby anymore. His face looked older and he would quietly concentrate on his new things. In his own world, playing with his wonderful new stuff. I just sat near him a lot, watching, and being totally over the moon. I covered his squishy cheeks in tons of kisses because I couldn’t get over how amazing he is.

Christmas morning!

Christmas morning!

He is very good about immediately cleaning up the paper

He is very good about immediately cleaning up the paper

If I had to dream up a perfect Christmas I am pretty sure it would have went along the lines of this year. I just am over the moon for my two guys. We really had a great family time together. There were minimal tantrums. None really, in all honesty. The worst of it was late on Christmas Day at my aunt’s house. Jack was just clingy. He didn’t want me out of his sight. That really isn’t bad. Considering he is a month shy of 2 years old.

We had to stop mid opening to read his new book, he insisted!

We had to stop mid opening to read his new book, he insisted!

Daddy and Jack playing with a Handy Manny tool book

Daddy and Jack playing with a Handy Manny tool book

Now we move on to New Years Eve. No big plans for that. A lot of people make resolutions. I do not do that. I find them pointless. People never follow through with them. The way I see it is, if you really, really want to change your life you will start the moment you want to change things. You don’t wait for a Monday to start a new healthy lifestyle and you don’t wait for a New Year to do it either. I haven’t always been so strict with my healthy living. It was something that I refined and honed in on over several years. It started in my early 20’s when I stopped drinking pop and I started to run on a regular basis. Over time I got sucked into this lifestyle more and more. It became part of me. Intertwined to the point where I could not function if I had to stop living how I live right this second. It is me and I am it. So for me, the concept of a total overhaul on anything in life starting January 1st seems doomed to failure. I think we need to give ourselves time to change. Let it consume your life slowly, like a lava. Slow moving, yet so very powerful and consuming. That is the key to true lifestyle change. There are no quick fixes, if there were, we would all be perfect human specimens. I wouldn’t have a temper. I would snap my fingers and never be short tempered again. I also wouldn’t bite my nails, my one big vice. And maybe just maybe I wouldn’t love shopping as much as I do. Ok, scratch that, I wouldn’t change that part of me for the world. Ha!

My point is, don’t set yourself up for failure by putting so much pressure on yourself. January 1st is not some special day where all the stars align and make it easier to change yourself. You can find that path any day of the year. Also, change may take more than one year. A true lifestyle overhaul probably will. My temper is much better since getting pregnant and having a child. I used to not have to care about it. Then I had a child, and now it matters how I respond to things. So I have developed this immense patience over time. I am not perfect and I still get frustrated, we all do. But over all, I can listen to the same cars song 100 times and still not get frustrated. I can be asked the same word over and over. I can handle a tantrum in the store, for the most part, without losing my cool. Sure, I will have a day where I too am cranky, and then maybe I will yell at my child, but I try my hardest to have less of those days and more of the patient ones. It is a practice and I  have to work at it all the time, not just starting on New Years Day and then watch the gumption of my declaration fade out slowly over the next month or maybe two.

That is my advice on New Year’s resolutions. You don’t have to take it. We are all different. That is just my view from my life experiences.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas or any holiday you celebrate. I love this time of year because it is all about family. That is what is important, focusing on your loved ones. We did that to the nth degree in our home. I hope New Year’s Eve and Day go wonderfully for everyone. I won’t be putting on a skimpy hot dress and hitting the town. I will curl up with my boys in our living room and spend it with them. That is perfect for me. I may even go out and get some party hats for the 3 of us to wear! Jack is a night owl and I bet, if we let him, he will make it until midnight!

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day? Do you go out? Or do you stay home with your family and celebrate from your living room like we are? Do you feel how I feel about resolutions? 

I love Pilates Mat work. I have this deep passion for it. I have mentioned this before in previous posts. There is this grace and beauty in it. Especially as you begin to truly practice Pilates. Once you begin to find preciseness in the moves, it is like a dance on the mat.

My mom introduced me to Mat class when I was in high school. She took my aunt and me to a class through the park district. Full disclosure here, I am 27. I will be 28 at the end of April. So, you can see how long that it has been part of my world. I usually don’t like admitting my age. I am dreading the 3-0! I fell in love after the very first class we went to. As time has passed I have discovered the true beauty of it.

I love that if you break it down to it’s most classic form, you don’t need much more than your own body. Sure, a mat would be nice for comfort on the spine and to assist with not slipping, but beyond that, you don’t need all the accessories. I enjoy the accessories a lot, but if you are in a pinch, you can do a good and tough session anywhere. You are using your own body to tone your own body. Your body is finding the grace in the work. If you think I am exaggerating then I dare you to lay down and come up into a full teaser right now. That is not easy and it takes practice and strength to achieve that.

I always used to mix mat work in with my running. I quit running almost 6 months ago. I have entirely replaced it with mat work. I do some Reformer at times, as well as Cadillac work. But, ahhh, Mat work, is nearly daily for me. I have never felt or been so strong in my life. I thought running was the thing for me. Run run run and then run some more. I didn’t truly get to appreciate the long lines and defined muscles of my body until I started really focusing on my Mat dedication. I am more limber and loose. I have used the word grace(ful) over and over in this post, but truly, that is the word to describe this work.

I want to pass the love of Mat on to other people. I want everyone in the world to feel this way about it. That is a big want, and unattainable, but a gal can try, can’t she? Today I plan to do 50-60 minutes of mat work. It is Sunday. The husband is home. If the toddler wakes  up, they can be buds. I can take some peaceful time for myself. I tend to do quicker sessions during the week, in the morning. Between 30-40 minutes. Today I am taking time for myself.

Mat work yesterday. I had no idea my husband was taking this photo (creeper!) But he actually did a good job and it came out well

Mat work yesterday. I had no idea my husband was taking this photo (creeper!) But he actually did a good job and it came out well