Things have definitely changed. I have been talking about the changes in passing, but as I sat and considered where I am on this journey over the weekend I realized just how much things have changed. So I wanted to put my thoughts into a post – sort of gathering up everything in one place so I (and you) can get a good look at it.
My body is completely different. Not just since I started in January, but since April when I began training with Elisabeth and Lee at Redbird. I really had no idea what Pilates even was going in, but I knew Elisabeth and the passionate way she spoke about it convinced me to give it a go. Pilates is unlike any workout I have ever done. At the gym (with or without a trainer) the workouts have always been focused on major muscle groups – pounding away. The Pilates classes were very different. Everything is designed to work my core and to strengthen the smaller, stabilizing muscles that I ignored at the gym. There were some exercises I couldn’t do in the beginning, but there was always a modification that I could do. Over time I have gotten stronger and needed the modifications less and less. The workouts remain challenging, and I am certain that there will always be another level to progress to as I continue to learn and get stronger and more flexible.
I work out, I get stronger. That’s not a surprise. But HOW I have gotten stronger has been. My core (which I have always avoided working on) is more solid and flexible than it has ever been. And I can feel the connection between all of the muscle groups in my body now. Doing strength training at the gym it was always BICEPS! TRICEPS! QUADS! GLUTS! Which is fine, but it never really gave me an understanding of how everything is connected. Doing Pilates, working with Lee and Elisabeth has completely changed that. My wife and I go walking around Town Lake every Sunday and we have both noticed that instead of propelling ourselves with just our quads and gluts, we are also engaging our lower abs and hamstrings. This has resulted in cutting more than a minute off of our time on each mile we cover. It’s changed how I stand at work. It’s changed how I think about standing. The body awareness I have now is almost startling sometimes. It really drives home just how unaware I was even just a couple of months ago. I can’t wait to see what they have for me next.
If your workouts are stale, if you aren’t working out at all, you should consider giving this a try. I’m not a zealot… hell, most days I still have to talk myself into doing anything at all… but the more I do this the better I feel – physically AND mentally. And if a big old guy like me can do it, that sort of crushes your excuse, doesn’t it?