I’ve written a lot about my workout experience over the last 11 months and I’ve talked a lot about Pilates along the way, but I wanted to take some time out and really look at my experience at Redbird. I’ve been working with them for a little over 6 months so I thought it was time to look back of that experience and share some of it with you.
I’m not much of a joiner… I never have been. Exercise classes are no different than anything else. The fundamental reason is always fear… most of the time I don’t even know what I’m afraid of, but it invariably stops me from doing some of the things that might help
“What if I can’t do the things they want me to do?”
” What if I keel over and die?”
“What if I’m embarrassed?”
These are the kind of things that always run through my mind especially walking into some sort of an exercise class. I say that like I’ve actually taken a class before, but I never had till I got to Redbird.
Before I ever went to my first mat class I had an hour long evaluation with both Elizabeth and Lee. Over the course of each evaluation they put me through all of the exercises that were going to be used in the mat class. They both worked with me to help me learn the exercise and evaluate my ability to do each one. On some things I was going to need a modified version of the exercise and they showed me what that was, so when the time came to do each exercise in the class I knew what to do.
I had taken a couple of beginner’s yoga classes in the past, and every time I walk in and they act like I’m supposed to know what they’re talking about. I guess there was an assumption on their part that I already knew something about yoga – I didn’t. I spent the entire class feeling like an idiot and not being able to follow along. Both times I never went back. So these evaluations turned out to be crucial for me to overcome that initial fear of what was going to happen in the class. It made things so much better once I got there. I could do this… Well, I could barely do it at first, but I’ve gotten stronger & better at it with time.
I had been working out 5 or 6 days a week at Gold’s Gym for 4 months before I ever went to a class at Redbird. I’ve been doing cardio and some strength training, and a lot of super sets – moving back and forth between two or three different exercises until you done 3 sets of each. I had managed to lean out my muscles and greatly improve my stamina, & I was starting to feel like I was headed in the right direction. And then I did Pilates.
Don’t get me wrong, all of the workouts I had done at Gold’s where invaluable and necessary to get me to where I was. But the things I was doing at the gym were not addressing some of my core issues. My major muscles are all strong… always have been. But my core needed work, & I was not very flexible. And no amount of leg presses or running on a treadmill was ever going to fix that… Or even uncover it. It wasn’t until I started the mat classes that I realized just how tight my hip flexors were (are… some things done change very quickly). It wasn’t until I started doing chest raises and leg circles that I realized just how weak my lower abdominals were. All of this core stuff… I haven’t worked on it at all! All I ever did at the gym was work my major muscles. That’s what the machines were set up to do, that’s what I know how to do, so that’s what I did. I really have no idea about all the rest of it until Elizabeth and Lee began to show me.
The time I spend it Redbird has it just been about exercise and fitness. To a large extent their focus is on something bigger than that. I’ve really gained more of a total body awareness since I started working with them. I’m aware of how I’m standing. how I’m moving through space. I’m aware when I start punching my shoulders up and hunkering my neck down. I can feel that tension come on, only now I realize it and adjust so that I’m using proper form in whatever it is I’m doing – standing, sitting, walking, everything.I constantly find myself throughout the day adjusted my posture or engaging my glutes when I’m walking instead of letting my quads do all the work. It’s a much more integrated way to live with your body, at least it is for me.
Elizabeth has given me a number of referrals to help me deal with other physical issues that I face. I’ve just begun seeing an awesome nutritionist who I really believe is going to be able to help me. She believes that the plateau I am stuck on is related to some of the physical and digestive issues that have plagued me for the better part of a decade. I have begun to make the changes she has suggested and things are beginning to show improvement. I would have never found her without Redbird.
I’m also in the process of fixing to get ready to start thinking about maybe (you like that? It’s the grans southern stall tactic…) looking into making an appointment with a massage therapist both Elisabeth and Lee have recommended. Apparently all the stretching and foam rolling in the world may not be enough to let my hip flexors relax so I’m going to need some myofascial release. Once again, not something I would have realized working on my own.
Although I have not lost anywhere near as much weight as I would like to by this point in the process, I HAVE made an enormous amount of progress in overall health and fitness. In fact, I may be the most physically fit 60 lb. overweight guy you know. And that is in large part due to the care, instruction and support I have received from the entire Redbird community. I am not the most approachable guy, but as I have gotten comfortable being there more and more people have let me know that they are following my journey and that has really helped me feel at home and stay motivated. I am incredibly grateful that the opportunity came along when it did. It breathed new life and new understanding into my search for not only weight loss, but overall health and fitness.