Pilates, Resilence, and Grit

Grit. It is what you become, turn to, and evolve into when times and circumstances get hard.  Grit will help you get through the hard times, it will push you forward, and it will define your success or failure.

kelly and I

Last night and then again this morning I did Pilates, and the class was with Tammy.  Tammy is like a fluffy drill sergeant who doesn’t take crap from anyone, who will push you to the brink, and make you feel good about all of it, while simultaneously wanting to curse her name, sort of kidding.  She has been away for awhile, and Kelly has been teaching her class.  They have very different styles of teaching, and both are wonderful in different aspects.  Tammy, her class is like an hour of core work.  There are legs, arms, etc. mixed in, but it seems primarily attached to core.  Kelly’s class is a lot of about balance work, which is so important to me personally.  Yes, I realize they are both involve core.  They just seem different somehow, Tammy’s are more intense and Kelly’s seem more fluid.  Both really good workouts for different reasons.

I did not realize on signing up for the two classes that they were the same class, and as soon as I realized it this morning, I was like “oh no.”  I stayed in the class and pushed through the kick-ab workout (see what I did there?) because that is what it’s about.  It’s about pushing through when you don’t necessarily want to do something because you know deep down that it’s for the best.

My abs were not sore this morning, but they were a little tight.  My abs are a little sore now, so I can’t even imagine what they will feel like tomorrow morning.  I am manifesting for them to be fine, and drinking lots of water.  The grit comes in when you are on your last couple of exercises, and your abs and legs are screaming no more.  You push through, you finish the class, the workout, the dream, the homework to get to your goal.

I have several goals I am working towards, but none more important than my next qualifying for my next promotion in Arbonne.  I have never felt more strongly about completely a goal.  Are there doubts?  Sure.  I have addressed the current ones, and I am positive there will be more.  I will knock them down one at a time, just like I have any other obstacle that has come into my journey.

I will do this.  It’s not for me.  My mentor told me (verbatim), “you are incapable of doing things for selfish reasons.”  I need to do this for other people.  I need to paint the way, be the inspiration, and show them that it can be done no matter who you are.  Introvert, extrovert, or introverted extrovert (me).  I am getting this done, and it’s just the beginning.

Ankles, Balance, and Improvement

I have had weak ankles since my first sprain, and the many subsequent sprains.  I have high arches, small feet, and am five and half feet tall.  All of those things are not helpful for ankle strength, and I had previously thought I was doomed to have weak ankles forever.  One of the many unexpected consequences of this fitness journey has been the improvement to both my coordination and balance.  These have occurred in a relatively short period time, especially since I picked Sphericality and started taking classes on a regular basis.  All of which seem to involve balance and coordination.

I have loved almost every single class, the instructors are great, and liked the boot camp (the pace was a bit over my head).  The instructor that has helped my balance the most has been Kelly.  She seems to stress it the most, and does many what she calls “balance challenge” exercises every class.  For me, they are definitely challenging and for anyone that knows me, I love a challenge.  I may have to reset, flex my ankle, and restart the pose.  I do not quit, which she pointed out to me.  I am a stubborn person when it comes to challenge, and I do not rest until I at least get better at it.  When you push your limits, you grow EVERY TIME.  No matter what area of your life it is, and your confidence grows along with it

Weekend and Beyond

I spent the weekend paddling, hiking, and with family.  It was the quintessential perfect weekend, the only thing missing was live music.  I paddled approximately 12 miles, hiked about three miles on Sunday, and then spent the majority of Easter playing with my three year old cousin.

On Tuesday though, I was looking for a kick-your-ass workout.  Paddling and hiking are workouts, but they are different. They are generally short bursts of energy followed by lackadaisical energy depending on the conditions of the trail and/or water body.

Enter Sphericality.  I have made the determination that I will attend the 9:40 AM Pilates360 class on Tuesday because it stops me from goofing around all morning.   I love the instructor Tammy.  She is full of get your ass in gear, but in  a tough love kind of way.  She is all about form (which I am super happy about) and taking it one step further.  In anything, if you don’t push yourself past your limit that you thought possible, than you are playing small.  If you are playing small because of some fear of failure, the only person that hinders is you.  As they say, get your big girl panties on and deal with it.

dorian and I

Dorian, the owner of  Sphericality, and I after a Barre Class

After the class, I realize there’s a TRX class after that also with Tammy.  So, I also stayed for that.  It was my first doubleheader, and now I realize I have official become exercise-crazed.  As my friend says, that’s a high-class problem.  I was surprisingly not too sore the next day, just a touch in the arms.

One of my main focuses lately has been improving my balance, coordination, and getting my ankles stronger.  I have little tiny feet, high arches in my feet, and I’m not small.  All of those things lead to a need to improve the above.  My ankles have always been a weak spot.  I basically look at them wrong, and they go out.  Since I’ve been taking these classes, I’ve noticed them getting a little stronger.  I’m not sure how much my balance has improved yet, but I know that my coordination is.  It’s really satisfying to know that what I am doing in these classes not only improves my overall health, but also is having some positive unanticipated affects in the above categories.

Barre Boot Camp

This is my second boot camp class, which I enjoyed significantly more than the first.  It was less militant, more intense actually, and left me sweating.  I usually am not much of a sweater.

This is also the first class where I got progressively more sore as the day went on.  Is this supposed to happen?  My friend Jenny, who has been into health and fitness all of her life, said that sometimes it take up to two to three days for full soreness to set in.  I have proven her correct.  I was actually pretty excited when I woke up today because I wasn’t nearly as sore as I thought I’d be.  I had some soreness in my glutes and hip flexors, but very little in my quadriceps.  This has been evolving, especially as I reached 7 PM tonight.  This thought has actually been a relatively common occurrence throughout this journey, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised each time by how not sore I have been.

This has not been one of those times.  When I say this class thoroughly kicked my ass, I am not exaggerating.  I may not have drank enough water beforehand, but still.  The soreness I feel right now is both reassuring (for some reason) and a reminder of how far I still have to go.  It’s reassuring because it means I’m pushing myself past the limits that I thought I could go.

I think it’s like personal development.  One doesn’t simply reach the pinnacle in fitness nor in personal development.  There’s always another milestone, another goal, and another obstacle.  I am loving what all this has brought to my life.

I am truly craving it now.  I went three days without going to a gym, and my friend Maria and I both said on Sunday we were going to do 6 flights of stairs.  Yes, six flights.  Both of us willingly did them because we were craving exercise.  This is a high-class problem that I am loving.

Fitness, welcome to a permanent part of my life.  Love, Lex.

20 Gyms in 30 days-summary

It turns out the 20 gyms in 20 days was a bit unrealistic, but you never know unless you try.  It’s better to aim high and fall slightly short, then aim low and miss completely.  This challenge did as I intended it to do, which was develop discipline, get toned, and in shape to go along with the weight loss through the Arbonne nutrition and clean eating program.  Now part one of my mission is complete.  I have picked out a gym, it’s Sphericality in Flemington, NJ.  In the end it came between Cornerstone Fitness and Sphericality.  Here are my synopses of the two.

 Cornerstone Health and Fitness in New Hope, Doylestown, and Warrington, PA.

cornerstone

This was my first gym I went to, and if the location was more convenient to where I am moving to shortly, I would join this gym in a heartbeat.  It’s about 30 minutes from where I currently live, but will be almost an hour from where I am moving to.  I can’t travel an hour to a gym, no matter how good it is.

Here are my reasons why it would be my first choice.  It has both kickass classes, and your traditional style gym.  The gym I joined in Flemington seems to be class based, and not open at anytime with equipment I can just use whenever the gym is open.  This could be a misunderstanding on my part for Sphericality.  It is also locally owned, very affordable for everything you get with your membership, and it has a definite community feel to it.  This is amazing since I only attended one class.  I truly do like the place, and if things were different would be joining there instead.  The atmosphere, camaraderie, the people, and energy of the place is perfect.  The locations are just not convenient for my life right now.

Sphericality

There are a few things that pushed Sphericality ahead of Cornerstone.  The convenience of the location, 5 minutes from where I work, the schedule of classes was convenient, and the overall vibe of the place.  I’ve taken two classes there now, and when I came back tonight the instructor, Kelly, said, “I’m soo glad you are back!”  It made me have a huge smile.  I had told her what I was doing, the 20 gyms in 20 days things.  She said, “you will come back here because we are the best.”  She didn’t mean it in a bragging, superior way.  She said it from a place of knowing her worth and the gym’s worth.  It played a role in my decision.

I will keep you guys apprised of my progress with the gym, results, and affects in my life.  I am truly hooked now.  I went like 2.5 days without going to a gym, and I was practically tweaking for a gym fix.  It’s one of the reasons I started to do this, to develop discipline and commitment to something outside of paddling and Arbonne.  I have found another niche to love and develop.  I can safely say, I don’t think I’ve loved my life more than I do right now.  It feels damn good.

Day 18, Gym 17

My friend Krissy is an instructor kickboxing at Freedom Xtreme Fitness in Branchburg, NJ.  I had done a one kickboxing class at Sweat Like a Girl which incorporated other things, but this would be a strict kickboxing.  I was both a little nervous and excited at the prospect of it. 

post workout

A much needed Arbonne After Workout drink to prevent soreness.

The class did not disappoint, and it kicked my ass.  I’m not just saying that because she’s my friend.  If the class was less than stellar, I’d still be writing this and saying so.  One of the best workout classes in terms of whole body workouts, cardio, abs, and oh my fizz legs.  There was an abundance of leg work.  Favorite quotes of the class:  you can do anything for 30 seconds; no one brags about a small butt, and when it hurts that’s when growth happens.  We did everything, squats, lunges, burpees, pushups, laps, and of course bag work.  The class pushed me to my limits, and past them at times.  It is dead true that it is when growth happens, and not just in terms of the physical..  She was great mix of motivator and encouragement without being military style about it.  She was full of tough love, encouragement, and “hate me now, love me later” attitude.

If you are in the area, and enjoy something that is both fun and sweat-inducing, this is for you.  The drop-in fee is usually a very reasonable $12 for an hour class.  You will not regret dropping in for this.

Day 17, Gym 16

I attended pickup volleyball at Central Jersey Volleyball Academy (CJVA) in Flemington, NJ.  It reminded me of everything I loved about sports, and everything I did not like about sports.  I did not like the cliqueness or the pressure when I didn’t feel good enough.  I have always loved the camaraderie, friendship, and community when you met the right people who were laid back and liked to help you get better.

I found both at CJVA.  I got there and was quite excited since I haven’t played volleyball since college, and then it was recreational.  There were mostly young people there, a couple older, and then some kids (aged 13ish).  I started off with the young people, where they were rotating on and off, but then I noticed that there was a court where there was no one waiting.  So, I went over there.  There I found my laid back happy group.  There was a couch, Lynette, Jerry her husband (I think), then me, and on the other side of the court were the three girls she coached there.  I had a blast with them.  I never really felt like an outsider, at the beginning I felt a little sheepish because clearly they were better than me.  I got over that pretty quickly, and was actually improving in my skills by the time we were done.  It’s a great workout, you are running, bumping, diving, and twisting your body in all sorts of ways.

 

kit n kaboodle

my ritual after working out.  Yay to no soreness

We broke up into larger groups again, and the cliqueness returned.  I was over it by that point, and have spent too much time on myself to feel like an outcast.  I saw one of the thirteen year olds I was playing with practicing her skills, so I went to go practice with her.  I saw a lot of myself in her, the shyness, awkwardness of youth, and a slight self-confidence issue.  But she’s tough, and quite good.

I found another purpose for my journey though.  It is to provide a place where kids can play sports without cliques, pressure, or anything like that.  I loved sports growing up, was never very good at them.  As I got older, all those things above infiltrated the sports field.  I felt intimidated, alone, and an outcast.  If I can prevent that for any other kid who loves sports as much as I did, but got pushed out due to their own insecurities, that’s what I’m going to do.

Day 16, Gym 10

I was looking to get into a kickboxing class, and found one in Flemington, NJ at MMA 10 at 6 PM.  I was really excited to try it at a real martial arts school.  Their website was fully functional when I signed up for the class that afternoon, and thought it was slightly odd I didn’t receive an email.  I got to the address a little before 6, and found that the school had closed.  At that same address, however, I did find a volleyball center with open courts on Fridays 8-10 PM.  I am excited for that because I played on a recreational (more like pick-up) in college, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The universe conspires.

So, I thought it’s now a little after six and most classes start at 6 and run for an hour.  I had a business appointment at 8, so even if there was a 6:30 class available, it wouldn’t work.  I checked out the schedule I had for Health Quest, and saw there was a class called CXWORK that ran from 6:30 to 7.  Perfect!  I had no idea what the class was, but I thought I’d try it and give Health Quest a more rounded perspective.  The class was focused on core toning, while using your legs and some arms, too.  I got there a little early, and had the previous class instructor get me set up with the equipment needed.  She wasn’t teaching this class, but usually did.  She said, “focus on your form.  You could end up hurting yourself if you don’t.”  I agreed, and said thank you.

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The class itself was a honed, efficient workout that really did what it said it would do. The instructor was decent, but I wish she would have focused a little bit more on the newbies (myself and another woman) form.  My coordination is getting better, but it’s not my strong suit at this point.  I will say towards the end of the class, she was watching my form and giving some instruction as to how to improve it.  There was another student who about halfway helped me with my form, and I was thought why is she helping me and not the instructor?  At the end of the class, I find out that she also teaches the class.  So, that made me feel a bit better.

At the end, the instructor said, you did really well, especially since it was your first class.  This class is one of the most awkward you will take, and it takes some getting used to.  This made me feel a bit better.

Overall, still not super impressed by Health Quest.  I did enjoy the class, and it really is a tremendous workout, especially for 30 minutes.  The gym may not be my preference, but it’s hugely popular in the area.  I may take another class or two since I have a 5 day pass.

 

Day 15, Gyms 14 and 15

I decided to go to the Health and Wellness Center in Clinton, NJ for a leg day since I’ve been doing a lot of arm exercises.  It is run by the local hospital the Hunterdon Medical Center, and it has two locations, one in Whitehouse Station and they opened one up in Clinton as a second location.  The Clinton one is closer to my house, so I went there.  I have been to the Whitehouse one years ago, and was even a member.  I remembered liking the gym, and the atmosphere.

The website said they were open until 5, and I got there a little later than I would have liked.  I got there at 4:25, and thought this will give me just enough time to complete my leg workout.  I was told when I got there that the exercise area closes at 4:45, and I said on the website it says 5.  She explained, we close the exercise area 15 minutes before closing.  Now, I can understand this from an employee point of view.  They want to leave, go home, and don’t want to waste time waiting for members to get off the floor, shower, and change.  However, I wish they had stated that on their website.  We both are at fault a bit.

I first noticed that everything seemed very clean, even though it was late in the day. The equipment wasin good working condition, clean, and well labeled.  I went over to the free weight section of the gym, and it’s relatively small.  It may be one of the smallest out of the traditional-style gyms I’ve been to.  The gym features more options in the cable, “Nautilus” style weight equipment found near the cardio equipment, and there it appeared you could get a circuit strength training.  There was a lot of cardio workout equipment, which is always a good thing and something to look for in a gym.

The configuration of the gym was interesting.  There was a decent amount of room in the free weight area to not feel crowded.  The rest of the equipment area seemed close together, almost too close.  When it gets crowded, I’m not sure how the well the room would flow with people moving in and around equipment.  As I stated, this is definitely the smaller of the two locations, with doctors offices on the second floor.  The Whitehouse one at least from what I remember was more spread out, had more equipment, and featured a full-sized pool.

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The second “gym” was the great outdoors in the form of a hike along the South Branch of the Raritan River in High Bridge.  The river was high, so none of my usual rock jumping was going to happen.  It was a short walk, but as anything in nature, I immediately felt a calming affect to my body.  So I got my cardio and legs in all in one day.

Day 14, Gym 13

I travelled to upstate New York for an Arbonne training, and an incentive power hour.  It was pretty incredible.  Regardless of the training, I woke up early yesterday and hit the  small gym at the Hotel Hyatt in Balston Spa, NY.  There were some free weights, and four pieces of cardio equipment (2 treadmills, 1 recumbent bike, and one elliptical).  Since the elliptical was taken, I hopped on the stationary bike for about 15 minutes.  The hotel also had a pool, which is a very nice accommodation to have for a relatively small hotel.  The fitness room was open 24/7, and the pool from 6 AM to 10 PM.  As far as hotel exercise rooms go, it got the job done for me.  If you were there for a week, one might get bored.

Update on my TRX class from the other day.  A friend of mine told me that sometimes it takes a up to two or three to be sore.  Well, she was right.  It wasn’t the day after that I was sore, it was two days.  My legs, shoulders, upper back, and abs were a bit sore.  Nothing extraordinary, but I suppose I should have used my Phytosport line the day after, as well.  It’s a good sign.  It feels really good, both mind and body, to be getting back in shape again.  This time, just like when I did the clean eating challenge, it will become a lifestyle, not just a temporary phase.