A week before Christmas of just this last year, I went to get my home-schooled son a gym membership to supplement his Aikido training. He had some personal goals for cardio and weight training and because the weather was proving so extreme here in the Maritimes, his usual running routine was proving treacherous on slippery sidewalks. We live in a extremely hilly community so you’re up or down hills in any direction you go from our home.
When we were given the tour of this enormous facility, I could feel all my resistances going up with the feeling that folks just felt like rats in a maze of treadmills. On the perimeter of the facility were two phenomenal rooms, one for RPM (used to be called Spin) classes with about 50 stationary bikes facing a stage and another hardwood floored studio with mirrors that looked like it could accommodate about 300 ballerinas with their partners. When I asked what this room was for, I was told that a variety of weight resistance classes were taught from Body Flow (Pilates/Yoga) to Body Pump (Step/Barbell) and Body Attack (I still fear what this class is about).
After my son and I left with information in hand, I slept on a niggling curiosity for a couple of nights. While I’d mostly done a walking/hiking routine in combination with Yamuna Ball Rolling (a type of movement/core strength training done with balls) and Fred Hahn’s Slow Burn, I wanted to change it up after 6 years as my motivation with my same routine had been ebbing for some time. I also wanted a jolt with something less comfortable for my 49 year old physicality. I’m a giddy up kind of gal!
I joined the gym and started a routine of 2 days of 55 minutes of RPM class and another 60 minutes, twice per week of Body Flow. I’ve not looked back as I love it! And up until recently, I didn’t really know why. The first 2-3 weeks were bloody painful. Sitting on that narrow, grey plastic seat was like mounting a wide metal razor blade. Even though I brought a towel folded four times, my sitz bones screamed in protest competing with my lungs and quads for virginal fitness purchase.
The yoga-based stretching and pilates was hilarious as I’m about as coordinated as a Rhino on roller skates. The muscle groups being asked to “plank-pose” for what seemed like hours were more rebellious than a teenager asked to go to the principal’s office on a Friday afternoon. The moment I lifted my belly off the ground, my breath stopped in abject shock! I was really wondering what I’d gotten myself into and was in awe of the other women who could stand tall while grabbing their foot to stretch it out, fully extended 90 degrees from their sides. My tiny dancer looked like a grunting, floundering polar bear during a drunken brawl in an earthquake.
As a former competitive swimmer who’d held records for breaststroke in my early teens, this new regime was totally demoralizing. Even though I told myself to, “suck-it-up-you-middle-aged-buttercup,” I was truly hurting at a profoundly deep level. Thankfully my son was studying Bowen and so between his rolling of my muscles, and the daily hot epsom salts baths, by week three, I was off my bike seat for “standing climbs” and sitting back down without my eyes filling with tears. Also, my tiny dancer was only dealing with minor inebriation on a mostly stable fault line.
The coolest part is that in just over 4 months, I’ve gone from 42% body fat to 29%. I’m also standing taller, feeling stronger in my body and noticing that I have a ton more energy, bearing the stress of spending hours in a chair serving clients, researching, thinking or writing a whole lot less stressful. The only thing is that I am really, really, really hungry. As long as I plan my 6 baby meals stocked with protein, veggies, nuts, cheese and fruit (I’m a High Oxidating “B” Blood Type with some Thyroid/Adrenal stress) I do alright without waking for a “feeding” in the middle of the night.
My hubby, Jeff, is so well disciplined with his Slow Burn weight resistance training on Mondays as well as 3 days of peak eight running or Couch to 5K regime that I often admire his Calc Carb. tenacity. He’s an O blood type with some thyroid issues that he manages well by methodically Eating Right For His Type. My Sulphur personality hates routine of any sort and I thrive on change, never satisfied for long with the same ol’, same ol’.
I’m not wholly sure where this is going to take me, but for now, I’m loving it. The Instructors have been warm and encouraging and I enjoy their sense of humor. One of the Body Flow Instructors is also an Accountant while the other a retired Nursery School teacher that keeps calling us her “team”! I’m thinking that possibly because I spend most of my time instructing others with regards to the principles of Heilkunst Medicine, that I’m loving that the running shoe is on the other foot for at least 4 hours of each week.
When my new friend, Brad, puts on the Billy Idol track, and tells me I’ve hit the peak on my bike (I haven’t the heart to tell him that it never actually goes anywhere) yelling “Go!” I race like an enthusiastic kid over the imaginary top like I’m in the south of France with a winery full of luscious, tantalizing B blood type fare on the other side. For now, I’m loving my renewed strength and tenacity and the fact that I’m at play for this time every week letting someone else lead me in the physical game of life for awhile.
(Note: All class terms above are trademarks of GoodLife.)