[Up Close and Personal] My Experience with the Blogilates Beginners Calendar

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.

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Sunday Round Up #25

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

I am coming up for air really quickly to review my past week with you all. How was yours?
Work continues to be messy and annoying, seriously it is such a nuisance at the moment, but I finally got a grab on the thesis! I should be able to hand in the abstract and outline by mid of next week, yay me 😀 Here’s to deadlines!

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Let’s start with books this week!
Because of the thesis I mainly re-read the book that will be at the center of my thesis, D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. In which group were you? Be honest! The one that was like, ‘Err, whaaaa?!’ or the one that was like ‘Oh the one with all the sex!’?
I had to read the book for a seminar a year ago and I fell in love with it. Not because of the sex, but because this book has some elemental things to say when it comes to the destruction of the environment and the relationship between men and women, and I intend to prove that (whilst leaving out the sex, science has focused on that long enough in my opinion). I may not agree with Lawrence in all points but I believe the book still has some relevance almost 100 years after it was first published.

And, uh, this happened:

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-.-
I didn’t even mean to and then I lost my mind when I saw City of Heavenly Fire look all pretty on its shelf. I have the Walker edition of City of Lost Souls, I am okay with that but if anybody has the McElderry edition and would like to trade, I am up for that because the rest of my Cassandra Clare books are all in the McElderry edition with the lovely foil cover. I have to admit I wasn’t even that keen on reading the rest of the Mortal Instruments series after City of Fallen Angels but now I’ve read the prologue of CoLS and now I’m kinda hooked again. I guess you have to compartmentalize with this one, take the first three as one trilogy and then the last three also as a trilogy of their own. We’ll see if that works for me. Generally I have to say though that I am not too happy that Clare is dragging out the series the way she does. The Infernal Devices was excellent from the beginning to end, the first three Mortal Instruments lost steam throughout the series and I WAS iffy on the fourth.
But for now I am hooked again and we’ll see if it stays like that for me. I can still re-sell them if I don’t like them after all.

 

TV/Movie?
Everything is Sons of Anarchy and nothing hurts. I had a bit of bad sleeping spell and the Sons are great companions for long nights. This show, I can only repeat myself, is messing with your head though. It takes me about five seconds to get back into the outlaw mindset and all of a sudden the police are the bad guys. What I love is the discrepancy between the family life, which is so normal almost conventional compared to the club reality of gun running, pot smoking and drinking oneself into a coma. I wouldn’t last in a club like that for 10 minutes. I still love Sons of Anarchy, though, for the feeling of triumph when the club gets another ‘get out of jail free’-card, for the brotherhood between the members, for the devious and strong women, who don’t mind to ‘be the girls’ as Gemma puts it, and for the fact that in the end there is no black and white but a sea of grey.

 

Pilates? Pilates!
If you have been following me on twitter (which you can do here), you may have seen that I have been tweeting about working out. I have been doing between 30 and 45 minutes of Pilates with some Cardio blasts six days a week for the past roughly 5 weeks now. For the last 4 weeks I have been following blogilates’ ‘beginners calendar’. I didn’t want to talk about it because I thought I might not make it through but I have. I finished the beginners calendar yesterday and as of tomorrow I will try to follow her regular calendar as best as I can. I will make some modifications, though and keep one rest day in. Pilates has very smoothly found its way into my evening routine, I really enjoy working out before going to bed. It helps me to calm down a little bit and just makes me feel good. I may do a proper post on my experience with blogilates. Would you like me to?
I don’t know if I have visibly changed from working out six days a week, after all it was only half an hour, and I see myself in the mirror every day so I don’t really see subtle changes. You would have to ask my friends if they  saw any differences in me. Fact is I feel better and I have become WAY stronger ever since beginning my work outs five weeks ago.

 

Anything else? Nah, not really. My skin breaking out a little bit and I don’t know whether it is just the weather getting warmer, hormones or my RdL moisturizing gel. I seriously hope it is one of the first two and not the last. Either way I have stopped using the gel for now and hope my skin will calm down soon. How I know it is not MAC Face&Body? I haven’t worn that in 5 days, had it been the foundation it would have calmed down by now.

That was it. My week. I am moving forward. Finally! I hope you all are making progress, too wherever you want to make progress!
Here is to the new week. We got this guys, let’s keep on moving! Read you soon!