You Can Get Fit!

Posts Tagged ‘Pilates

Hi, Friends.

I’m typically not much of a Wednesday poster, but inspiration struck (duck and cover!) and I totally felt the need to get this out to you.

While driving yesterday, I realized how much time I’d lost this past week wallowing over this freak vocal cord nerve injury. And before that, I’d probably done the same over the hip surgery that didn’t go well (in 2010) and had to be redone, plus some.

But why waste time crying over things out of our control? None of us are getting any younger.

It’s fine to feel sorry for ourselves, true. And I’ve found that sometimes, the current path just seems so unbearable that I just can’t find focus and have to chill out. But either to ourselves or others, it just becomes the broken record after a while. And just like a broken record, it continues on the same useless pathway. At some point, we have to pack up and move on as best we can.

Which is what I have done and have continued to do. And you know what? This approach has shown me opportunities I never would’ve imagined, if I’d been left to continue along my same road.

OK, so the Leprechaun of Ideas doesn’t jump onto your shoulder at 2pm every afternoon. (I wish! But then, we’d all be rich.) This takes some brainpower. But think of it this way: you’re developing awesome critical thinking skills!

Case In Point 1: prior to my first hip surgery (April 2010), I was running a fitness business with two corporate clients and a few private clients as well as teaching fitness classes for 4-5 gyms. I wanted to expand my business, but I didn’t have time to think about how to do that, or to do it at all… despite being married to an MBA in marketing. Surgery #1 led to complications and Surgery #2. After the requisite feeling sorry for myself, I got going and put my brain to work. I talked to other instructors. I did some marketing (and learned what does and doesn’t work in this area and field). I hired more contractors. I expanded my business to include other types of classes. I even tried a second business (which… didn’t work, but it was a great learning experience!). I now proudly call myself a small business owner!

When I was getting ready to teach again (that is, working for others), I almost didn’t want to let previous employers know I was available. I preferred having the time to strategize for myself! (Though, gotta say that I do like the steady income stream that I get from bigger companies.)

Case In Point 2: My current struggle. Just when I literally got my feet under me to teach again (and also got a college class to teach in the fall), I have a timeline of potentially three months until I can talk again. This hit me from out of nowhere–I didn’t anticipate this sort of limitation when I was dreaming up projects to take me into the end of the year and going forward.

But life has a way of throwing us curveballs, doesn’t it? And again… we can’t stand still while it blows past us. To me, that just isn’t living!

So, during the next few (loooonnngggg) months, other than non-work-related stuff such as improving my piano playing and cleaning up the jungle that is my backyard, I’ve come up with four work-related projects that don’t require speaking:

1. Getting my body back to the strength that it was before Hip Surgery #1 (which was the best shape of my life other than torn hip cartilage)

2. Make a new trifold brochure for my business, now that I offer Zumba classes, which may get me more corporate business (and plan a guerrilla marketing attack for the beginning of the year!!!)

3. Keep going on the….. (book) that I write in spurts. Since I’m oh-so-experienced in rehab (plus 500-hour Pilates certified), I’ve been working on a… document, in laymans’ terms, to help people recover from injury using Pilates-based exercise. I need to redouble efforts.

4. Lower priority, but script videos. I intend to create a YouTube channel of short videos that, once again, use Pilates-based exercise to help people reduce pain in various parts of their body. Big goal of mine in life is to help the world feel better without pharmaceuticals! (Ironic, given my masters’ degree in pharmaceutical chemistry…)

See? It takes a little bit of the gerbil running in that mental wheel, but you can come up with some fruitful projects that will get you toward your life/career goals, despite current limitations. (Try to make your projects meaningful, rather than, say, learning Swahili. Unless you are absolutely taken by the Swahili language, and by all means, go for it!)

Maybe by the end of allllll of this… I won’t need or want to go back to working for the man at all. Now, wouldn’t that be a hoot? Having had illnesses and injuries that supposedly take me out of work for a combined few years, but during that time, I end up generating a successful income stream. That would be amazing, and it’s my goal.

I encourage all of you to share this with anyone who’s going through a rough time in life! Any rough patch can be turned around… and can lead you into more exciting territory!!

Happy Father’s Day! I hope you all are doing something nice. I was raised by my grandfather, so I just posted some fun memories of him on Facebook. He was a small business owner, too, and taught me a lot!

The past two days’ Trust30 prompts have also been about “the one goal you want to accomplish in life”. Perhaps if they want to hold this challenge again, they should take a read through the prompts for redundancy prior to publishing them… unless one of them is totally different, I’ve had it!

So now, remember my goals lists from before? (Those were so long ago! part 1 part 2) I’ve been listing these in parts, so that I can tell you why each one is important to me. So, here goes with the next 10!

Goals 21-30
21. Post (and hopefully sell) and item on etsy.com I’ve done a bit of fairly simple painting and artsy things here and there, and recently, I’ve gotten ideas for how to create products/monetize my talents. Why not at least try? What does it hurt?
22. Finally finish the plan at 100pushups.com This was a fad on a lot of the running and fitness message boards for quite some time. I’ve tried so many times and give up partway through, because about halfway through, their plan ramps up too quickly (unless you’re an 18-year-old boy). This is not only a lesson in strength, but also a lesson in patience. I need to learn that it’s OK to repeat weeks in the plan.
23. Create videos for Pilates project… Not saying too much about the project yet, but I’ve gotten some advice about videocameras that are good to use. I’ve made progress on this goal!
24. Compete in a Sweet Adelines competition Nerd alert! OK, I sing with a young, vibrant female barbershop chorus. They compete each year, and I missed this year’s due to my surgery. I want to go to next year’s, so this goal should be easy! The only thing that I imagine might hold me back would be money… so, work work work!
25. Attend a unique small-town festival Kinda vague, eh? And I haven’t put my finger on it. I went to the Fremont Solstice Festival yesterday, but other than some naked folks in the parade, it didn’t feel that unusual.
26. Finally finish the kitchen remodel This will make me happy, to have a space that looks complete.
27. Make a list of “10 things that made me happy” every week for 3 months Awww, crap. I guess I have to start this, now, eh? (how’s that attitude? hee hee!!)
28. Eat vegan for a week See, my gut would LOVE for me to eat vegan. It’s not quite happy with dairy, and also not thrilled with meat. But I like these other foods… (and I believe that humans need nutrition from omnivorous sources) I’d like to challenge myself to plan my nutrition from vegan sources for a week. This will probably be one of the hardest of the 40 goals.
29. Participate in the Global Reading Challenge—start with easy I realized that most of my–and probably most Americans’–reading is American/European. I’m trying to expose myself to more and different viewpoints.
30. Take a trapeze class Both from a “facing fear” and an “it looks fun” viewpoint–and also, because my body can do it!

Now, since the first 20 have been out there for a month, what have I done?

  • I’m in the middle stages of planning a yoga/Pilates retreat for late August!
  • I’ve been working on losing 10 pounds. The scale fluctuates between 1-3 pounds down, but my clothes are definitely a lot looser!

I guess that’s all I’ve done, so far. I’ve had lots of business-growing tasks that have overwhelmed my life–also not a bad goal!

How are all of you doing with your goals? List them here, on your own blog, or somewhere public–be accountable!

Finally–again, happy Father’s Day!

So, I’m setting a Big, Audacious Goal for myself. A year ago, I woulda thunk this was nothing. But things happen (and I’m not just talkin’ ’bout “hey, I felt like coming home from work and watching Jersey Shore and eating pork rinds for months on end” things…) that we can’t control, and we have to work around those things. In the end, those of us who do something to correct our deviation from the path are better people, no matter how far off-course we’ve gotten. It doesn’t matter where you start, you can always get stronger!

you can do it!

As for me–if you’re just joining the blog today, you probably aren’t aware of the ongoing hip saga. My “thing that happened”. Between a work injury (cartilage tear) and congenital problems (femoroacetabular impingement) I’ve ended up with two hip surgeries over a ten-month period. My last surgery was at the end of February, and I’ve just gotten back on my own two feet over the past week or so.

You can imagine that rehabbing from all of this is going to be a long road, but considering my fitness level going into it all (and between the two surgeries!), I know I’m strong enough to conquer this, physically and mentally. I am still a Pilates and fitness instructor (though considering the lingering pain after this last surgery, I had my moments of doubt that I’d ever get back at it, again!)

I went from “that girl who thought nothing of teaching 4 spin classes in a day” to “ten minutes on the elliptical”. But from here on out, every day is a new day. Each day presents opportunities to get fitter and stronger, assuming that I make the right choices (and believe me, I have the motivation to do so!).

Here’s my new mission: to lose 10 pounds healthfully. Meaning, it won’t happen by the end of this week, or even by the end of the month! But I’m feeling a little… fluffy after the layoffs here and there. The scale’s actually only up 3 pounds since the second surgery, but my clothes are definitely tighter. But–10 weeks of not being able to do any cardio??? (Now I can do it! So pleased!)

My safe’n’sane methods to help shed the grease and tone up:

  • Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day. I’ve been doing that for a while!
  • Limit fatty foods and sugar. I don’t want to eliminate, because life would be no fun!
  • Pilates daily, at least 30 minutes. I am a Pilates evangelist and believe that I wouldn’t be able to move half as easily in my body otherwise.
  • Cardio per my PT protocol at least 6 days per week, and follow my PT strength exercises.
  • Upper body weights in the gym twice a week, with a third round at home.

There… I think I can handle that!

While I’d really love to lose the weight, my main goal is to get strong again and be back doing the activities I love. So–keep on reading and following along… and I’ll tell you how I’m doing!

At the risk of sounding like a weight-loss infomercial…

This was me in 1989:

very large Brooke in high school

Now, there were a bunch of ups and downs that got me here, but this was me, working with a client in early 2010:

thin Brooke with client

This was a story I documented in a guest post on Susan’s blog last year, but why not share it again here?

Growing up, I thought I was destined to be large forever. Almost all of my friends were thin. What I didn’t realize at that age was that they played more outside, while I stayed indoors and watched TV. Food was a reward for me. Even entering double-digit age, I had “baby fat” that I was going to “grow out of” at some point. I had a few close friends, but was largely unpopular at school (except for a few years, when I learned to overcome my shyness).

I was still large in junior high, high school… finally, not too long before my 16th birthday, something clicked. I don’t remember what my trigger was, but I knew I wanted to make a change. My grandmother was constantly being put on weight loss plans for her health, so we became weight loss buddies together. This worked great. Unfortunately in 1990, a 1000-1200 calorie/day diet was deemed “normal”, which set me up for disordered eating later.

At my highest weight, I was pushing 240 pounds (at 5’7″.) At my lowest, I was 120. I struggled to maintain that weight, but really wanted to, because I felt I “should”. I was hungry all the time. When I moved away to college, I had ups and downs with weight in a 15-pound range, which barely showed, but I really beat myself up over any gain. I didn’t spend much time in my apartment, because my eating habits had gotten so disordered and strange that I didn’t want my roommates to know.

And then, my last year of college, I got a place to myself. If you’ve ever been a victim of disordered eating, you know how relieving this is–you don’t have to hide from anyone, anymore. I could eat my 1/2 bagel breakfast, go for a few miles’ run, eat my two apples throughout the day, and come home and eat a baked potato with fat free cheese at 10pm. (Sometimes with black beans–I needed nutrition, after all.)

My body rebelled and put on weight after this in grad school, when I started truly eating again… and I couldn’t take it off. (Screwed up metabolism, anyone?) Again, I thought I was destined to be a large person–either that, or starve to death in order to be thin.

During one of my heavier times, I met my husband (we’ve been together over 12 years!) and he loved me for who I was then, not for being ~50 pounds overweight.

But since then, I started working out smarter. More strength training. More Pilates. Not wimpy weights, either–I work out hard. Building lots of lean tissue. I started actually getting a real metabolism, for the first time in my life!

And when I did so, only about 30 pounds overweight, I decided to start working as a fitness instructor and share my enthusiasm with others who share my struggle. It is such a joyful line of work, especially given my background.

I’ve continued to streamline my body over the years, and I’m at the point where I can eat the occasional treat without it affecting my weight! (I never thought I’d say that. Nor did I think I’d consider fruits or vegetables as treats!)

Just over a year ago, I suffered a setback, and I’m powering through and hoping for the best: I had surgery on my hip to fix an on-the-job injury, and needed a second surgery a few months ago to take care of things that weren’t entirely resolved. Unfortunately no one knows if my hip will make a full recovery. But, all we can do is make the best with what we have, and I have plans even if things don’t work out 100% for my body. I hope I can return to my “groupies” at the gym, one of these days…

So–there’s my story! (Thanks for reading all my blabbing.) I must say, I feel a trazillion more times comfortable in my body than I did as a kid. How has your self-perception of your body changed over the years?

Happy dyed eggs and bunny ears!

Time for the twice-monthly list of interesting posts and articles I’ve found on the web… all helping YOU get fit physically and mentally!

Fellow Pilates instructor Karin Singleton talks about maintaining a strong foundation in your body even if you’re working out other parts of your body. One of my favorite Pilates metaphors: if the trunk isn’t strong, the branches cannot be supported!

A great post from Melinda’s Fitness Blog on overcoming 10 common workout distractions. We can do it!

I read Janetha’s blog all the time, and this (garbanzo bean turkey bake) is going to be one of the next things I make. It looks so yummy! 🙂

OK, this one isn’t fitness-related, but it’s good for the soul (and the dessert is bite-sized, therefore portion-controlled… kind of…) Have you tried cake balls? They’re like truffles, but with cake inside! Easy to make, too! I made my batch with homemade cake and frosting (because that’s my style) but store-bought works just as well. Great party food! (For spring, you could do a yellow cake with colored white chocolate, flavored with peppermint oil… now I want some!!)

Hope all of you are having a joyous holiday!

Hey, y’all! We’ve had so much wonderful sunshine here… sure hope the weather has been gracious to you!

So,, how have your workouts been going? Have you been doing the same-old, same old workouts, getting the same-old, same-old results? Zzzz. Yawn.

yawning kitty

Maybe I’m not the first person to tell you this, but your body and soul CRAVE change! (And not the kind you get from the vending machine.)

You’ve all heard the old saying about the definition of insanity, right? The insane person does the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Are you this person in the gym, seeing the same results?

I used to be this person. Running used to be my only form of cardio, with occasional stationary biking if my knees bothered me (but to be honest, I really didn’t like it). I lifted a weight or two because it was good for me. And I was getting nowhere.

But then, I started taking spinning classes at the gym. (Fun! New form of cardio to mix in!) And I started doing step again–am I the only one who started this in the early ’90’s, way back? I fell totally in love with Pilates and made it my life. I was having fun and getting leaner!

Bottom line: Explore your options, and find a variety of forms of exercise. (A gym class, outdoors, gardening, cleaning house–whatever gets you moving!) Attempt to find 2-3 forms of cardio and strength to cross-train your body throughout the week, rather than trudging through the same type of exercise. Even more ideally, the exercise is functional, mimicking our daily activities.

So there’s your task for the week–change up your activity! (I’ve been laid up post-hip-surgery for weeks, and I think I may have permission to add stationary biking to my upper body weight repertoire in the next few days! Hey, it’s an exciting change for me! Read this space for progress…)

Happy Sunnnnnnday! What’s going on?

(I see you, lying there on the couch in your pajamas, trying to muster the motivation to do anything other than hit the button on the remote. And I’m not saying that I don’t have many, many days like that–I’m human, too!)

feeling laaazzzy

So if you’ve hit a Sunday–or any other day–where you’re having a case of the blahs but really want to do a little bit of good for yourself… what to do?

In no particular order…

  • Get outside. Sometimes, just getting some Vitamin D on the skin and feeling the sun’s rays (yeah…. I live in Seattle… we feel rays of overcast) is enough to perk us up. Don’t commit to going for a “30 minute walk” when you set out–just go outside and start walking with no time goal, and see what happens. You may surprise yourself. 🙂
  • Bottoms up. Dehydration can cause fatigue–have you been getting enough water? Often, just a few glasses of water can perk us up.
  • What if it’s icky outside? Yeah, I’ve heard this one a lot. No excuses–we have our ways around this! There are plenty of great online options for gentle, energizing exercise:
    • My favorite is Pilates Anytime, with videos from 10 to 75 minutes long taught at a variety of levels. The instruction is top-notch.
    • Yoga Journal has a 21-Day Challenge consisting of a daily yoga practice of varying length and focus (morning practice, challenging vinyasa flow, shoulder openers, etc etc). You can repeat days in the challenge as many times as you want.
    • And I posted on this a few weeks back, but for a quick pick-me-up, Amber at Epic Self has a 3-minute video involving breath and core muscles to immediately boost our energy. It only takes 3 minutes, folks!

So if you’ve hit a slump, I hope these ideas get you going again! And if you go for your walk or your 3-minute posture break… and you still feel ICK… remember: these times will pass! You will feel like a ROCKSTAR in due time!

What do you guys do when your body feels in a slump? How do you get going again?


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