Have you tried to get and stay in shape again and again? Welcome to the club – you are definitely not alone in making resolution after resolution to get healthy and finally get fit.
So why hasn’t that worked out? And how do you get past all the things keeping you from living a happy life in a healthy, fit body?
It’s not your fault
Let’s just get this out of the way first: There is NOTHING wrong with you. I have been a Pilates, Yoga and Fitness teacher since 2006 and you know what? Most people are in the exact same situation.
Where you are now
Let’s back up a little. If you’re reading this, it’s a safe bet you are not satisfied with some aspect of your physical health and level of fitness. It’s also a safe bet that you’re in one of two situations: a) You never felt you were fit – ever. b) You feel like you were in pretty good shape up to some point in time, maybe in your mid-twenties, maybe in high school, maybe before you hurt your knee/got a hip joint replacement/got that stressful job.
We can fix that!
That’s the good news. However, you didn’t get to where you are right now overnight. And no matter what the diet and “fitness industry” (don’t get me started, seriously!) would have you believe, THERE IS NO MAGIC PILL. There’s also no quick fix. But there IS a secret.
What’s the secret to getting fit for good?
There really is a secret to getting in shape for life. It may not be what you want to hear when you have that beach vacation coming up in a month. But I’m not here to lie to you – I respect your intelligence too much. And deep down, you know this to be true: Slow and steady wins the race. The secret is CONSISTENCY.
So what do I need to do?
On a positive note, all YOU have to do is SHOW UP. And give it some time. Find an activity you think you might enjoy. Find someone to design a good program for you that won’t overtax parts of your body that have been underused (because that’s the quick way … to get injured and suffer major setbacks). And then stick with it.
How much, how often?
2-3 guided sessions per week are ideal. Also, start moving every day. It doesn’t have to be dramatic and you do NOT need fancy workout gear. Put on some comfy shoes and walk around the block before breakfast or during your lunch break. Take your kids or grandkids to the park and actually play with them. Have access to a pool? Go for a swim! You don’t have to pound out laps for an hour each morning, believe me.
Watch things start to change
And then, you’ll start to notice things changing. The first thing a lot of people notice when they work with me is that they’re more aware of their posture. They might look in the mirror and notice they look slimmer because they’re standing up straighter. The next thing is often that they’re not as stiff in the morning and are less tense and in pain. Then, I frequently hear people saying they can walk further without discomfort. Pretty soon, it then goes to feeling like your body is stronger and more toned. You start to want to eat a few more salads instead of fast food. And the pounds may start coming off.
It’s different for everyone
Depending on where you’re starting from and what your goals are, this may look different. My program for you looks very different depending on whether you come in after hip replacement surgery or with a chronic condition such as fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis. I’ll design a completely different approach for powerlifters and runners who want to gain flexibility and cross-train. If you’re a breast cancer survivor, I’ll take a look at where you are in your recovery process, and if you just want to tone up and get in shape, we’ll do some very targeted work to get you there.
All in all, I encourage you to take a look at the big picture and think of your goals in the long term. Look at what your body can already do. We can then work towards what you’d like it to be able to do. Think about a big-picture goal. And then we can start plotting your path to get there.
My favorite image
During my first yoga teacher training, our teachers took us to a Hindu temple – stick with me here, I promise it’s relevant! – to get a sense of the context that yoga had come out of. We attended a presentation with a very smart, wonderful young woman who strove to explain why Hinduism allows people to worship in their own way. The example she used (this is the relevant part) has always stayed with me. She said (and I’m paraphrasing): “If you want to get to Nashville, you’re not going to take the same road if you’re starting in Goodlettsville or in Murfreesboro. Many roads lead to the destination, you just have to pick the one that will get you there from where you are now.”
And an example
Finally, I want to leave you with an example I truly know inside out – my own. Like you, I spent decades trying to lose some weight here, get stronger there, get rid of that perimenopausal tummy … you name it. I worked out REALLY hard. And the inevitable happened: I injured myself. This kept happening until my physical therapist ordered me to stop doing all that and start doing “corrective Pilates”. I had bought into the idea that you can’t be fit without going all-out all the time. So I didn’t want to do it. But I was in so much pain I did it anyway. And you know what? It fixed me. So I could then build on that and find a sustainable level of training that I could keep up for the rest of my life. I no longer work out like crazy. But I occasionally enjoy a hard workout. And I have made movement non-negotiable. If I do nothing else on a given day, I will walk a few miles and do a few Pilates moves. Because a body that is in motion tends to stay in motion.
And once you get in motion, you’ll be doing the same. If I can help you on that journey, let me know. Either way, I hope I’ve inspired you to start taking that first step on the road to getting in shape for life!
Because once you move better, you’ll start to feel better and ultimately live better.