I’ve been thinking a while about posting this, because I didn’t know if I would actually be able to pull through, but I did and here we are.
About five or six weeks ago I realized I had to do a little more than just change my diet (which I am struggling with occasionally) and do something to strengthen my body. Being healthy is good, being strong and healthy is better.
I knew right away that the gym, etc. were no options because I simply don’t have the time to travel a lot at the moment. And frankly I don’t want to share my hot and flustered, tomato-red self with the public while attempting (and probably failing) to force my body into all sorts of contortions.
I had heard about blogilates before and I thought I would just start there and give her Total Body Work Out for Beginners a whirl. Pilates works with your own bodyweight which means all you need is a mat, sometimes a strap, dumbells or a pressure ring but Cassey usually gives alternatives for that. Pilates aimes at strengthening the core and the whole body.
And so I did. Let’s just say my first round of doing it was miserable as expected, but there were also some things I was not too bad at, so I decided to do this work out every day for the next couple of days.
The first time I realized I got stronger was on the third day when I was able to hold the pilates stance longer than before, by the way my muscles felt a little tight but I wasn’t hurting all that much (that being said, I have a heightened tolerance for pain, so you may wanna take this with grain of salt). So I did this for about five days a week, two weeks in a row and then I got bored.
I knew, though, that I liked Cassey’s personality. Cassey Ho invented POP Pilates and started the blogilates youtube channel. She is a certified Pilates instructor and personal trainer and it feels like she knows what she is doing. She is a very happy, positive girl, and while she is able to push me to hold on a little longer or do one more rep than I feel I can do, she also gives a lot of modifications for beginners even in her regular work outs, she never makes me feel like a failure.
Either way, I found out that Cassey had put together a beginners work out calendar that would stretch over four weeks and I went for it. The beginners calendar has work outs for six days of the week (the sixth day is a lot of stretching, though) the seventh day is a rest day, 2 to 3 days of the week have cardio blasts, the rest are pure pilates work outs. The work outs are usually a total of 30 to 40ish minutes per day and Cassey has the playlists on her page blogilates.com.
In the Beginners Calendar Cassey manages to show different varieties of Pilates, (e.g. stretching with a strap *yowza) but she also repeats certain work outs which helped me at least to see my progress. The work outs get gradually harder every week and every day but I never found them too hard or impossible to do.
Every day of the week has a specific focus like lower body, abs, total body, etc. All in all I found that all of my muscle groups were targeted evenly .
So how did the Beginners Calendar work out for me?
Welp, I didn’t miss a single day, that pretty much says it all. I found it really easy to incorporate the work outs into my days. I usually work out at night before I go to bed. I like getting my heart rate up and the sweat running before I go down to sleep. I had a little progress every single day and in the end I guess that is what kept me going.
I never did this to lose weight, all I wanted was to get stronger and I succeeded with that. On sunday I wrote I didn’t know whether my body has changed all that much over the last 5 or 6 weeks of working out but it has, very subtly maybe but it has. My arms are more defined than they were, my quads, abs and obliques (thighs, stomach, sides) are much tighter and stronger. It is less visible for others than perceptible for me. So much for the physical benefits.
Another important reason for me to start working out was to benefit my mental health. Mens sana in corpore sano. A healthy mind lives in a healthy body. I knew from the start that this would be one of the most demanding years of my life and that I would need to stay healthy physically and mentally to survive this and for me a big key to stay healthy physically is to stay healthy mentally.
Did the Beginners Calendar benefit my mental health?
I think it did. I’m going through a lot of anxiety at the moment. I am currently trying to get my shit together to apply for my master program, while writing my thesis, while working my regular classes and trying to keep my job under control. I am not complaining. All I am saying it is a lot and I need to stay strong and I need to stay focused. I know I can do it. I know I will do it but I need to fight for this. And I am ready to put in this fight.
Before I started working out my body was this vessel that I was logging around with me, I didn’t have a good if at all a relationship with my body, this has changed fundamentally. During the work outs I became a team with my body as weird as that sounds. I felt my body respond to my wishes and kind of help me out, setting free more energy than I thought I had, bending quite literally to my will. The most important thing I take away from the last weeks is that I fell in love with my body. It is not the prettiest or the most perfect but it is my body. My lovely powerful miracle of a body.
Short term the work outs do take the edge off of the anxiety at least for a while. While I work out I get distracted and I relax, it is like a little oasis in my day.
So you finished the Beginners Calendar, what now?
I took the plunge and moved on to the regular work out calendar that Cassey posts every month. Yes, it is harder then the beginners calendar, but during the beginners calendar you learn a lot of modifications, and I just use those. I do as many videos as I can but I don’t get upset when I have no energy to do all five and just do four. The regular work outs are between 45 and 60 minutes. I take on the challenge every single day and it feels good. The regular calendar makes me sore but hey, sore today -strong tomorrow. Regular calendars go for 7 days a week but I may keep sunday as my rest day we’ll see. I find it increasingly hard NOT to work out. I read somewhere it becomes something like brushing your teeth. I may be on my way there.
Over 1300 words on working out. Didn’t see that coming. I hope this helped some of you.