It’s Just Pilates- Signs You’re Taking Your Workout Too Seriously

Killer Workout- The Movie

We’ve all heard that Pilates is “good” for us. Experts spout a myriad of benefits to getting your sweat on. They range from disease prevention to weight management, with the added bonus that it will make you look good in skinny jeans. So, while we know that we “should” get our weekly workouts in- when does something good for you go bad? Here are my signs that you are working too hard:

  1. You are so sore you can’t _______(bend, sit, pee, or tie your shoes) the next day. Soreness happens, butbalance and consistency take work. The pain you feel after killing yourself at the gym, comes from your body trying to repair tiny tears in the muscles fibers. While some soreness will be normal especially after vigorous exercise, too much can indicate injury. Plus- being incapacitated will make it almost impossible to make your workout the next day, and then maybe the next, and the next. You get the idea.
  2. You aren’t having a good time. I don’t know about you, but getting to the Pilates studio or the yoga mat is challenging enough as it is. If I’m forcing myself towards an activity that I absolutely loathe, then I’m more likely to skip it. I believe fitness should be fun. Walk the dog because you get so much joy from Fido. Put on some tunes and dance until you can barely speak. Do it because it makes you happy and feel magnificent.
  3. You’re should-ing on yourself. Most of my life I’ve battled a case of the should-s. I  should have my leg higher on that battement (dancer speak for a big ole’ kick.) I should be 5-10lbs thinner. I should be more muscular, flexible, proficient, etc. When you feel like working out and being fit becomes a measure of how loved and accepted you are by yourself, it’s time to change that record. Like food, exercise can get obsessive and destructive if you let it. Consider it a practice in self acceptance and just cool it.

 One of my mentors, a life-long Pilates instructor and master teacher Bob Leikens, told me one day in a particular grueling workout, while I was gritting and scrunching my face, “ Lindsay relax- it’s only Pilates”. When you find yourself making faces and gritting your teeth stop and ask yourself, “Am I  making this a big deal?” Remember- it’s just Pilates.

If working out, feeling great, and being healthy without killing yourself is just your style come and visit us in NYC! FORM Pilates is a gorgeous boutique studio in the heart of Manhattan. First-time guests can try us out in style for a steal. Click here for more info. We hope to see you on the mat soon!

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Balance is an Illusion

 

You see it everywhere- “Find balance in your life” “Balance work and play” even the “balanced diet”. Well honey, I have some news for you that you may not like…balance is just an illusion. Yes, that’s right, like a shiny oasis in the middle of a desert, balance is a place you never seem to reach, simply because it doesn’t exist. I feel duped just like you. I’ve read every article on the subject, poured over many a self-help book, watched every Oprah episode that claimed to help me regain the balance I had lost, but nothing changed. I was still chasing balance like it was a sample sale at Barney’s. The thing is- you can’t regain what you never had. Balance is ever-changing and in the rare moments that the scales sync up- they tip yet again.

I propose a new way to view life’s equilibrium, a paradigm shift in steadiness. Life guru Danielle LaPorte has a new program all about goal setting and the disappointments that come from not meeting yourself where you had planned to be. The rigidity of goals and balance don’t allow you to be in the moment and follow how you feel day to day. For this very reason, I stopped putting my workout schedule on my calendar. Gone are the days of forcing myself into my skinny spin pants when the previous day was a particularly tough one filled with lots of cookies, too much Cava, and too little sleep. Instead, I’ve learned to bend my knees, kneel down, and meet my inner child right where she is. I look her square in the eyes and sweetly ask her, “What is it you need today, sweetheart?” If that’s a nap, a little walk, or a snuggle with my dog- I honor that.

Turns out that when I stopped hammering myself on what I “should” be doing or chastising myself for who I “should” be instead of who I am…everything got balanced ok on its own. So, I opened a fresh page of my journal and wrote out my new credo. I want to share it with you:

  • Lead with your heart not your head. I like to think I’m a pretty smart gal, but when it comes to knowing what’s best for me my brain can get me all tripped up. When I can turn off my endless stream of thoughts and breathe, I can open to what my soul knows . This takes time- heck, I’m still working on it. My bossy brain spent its whole life notifying me what I’m required to feel, believe, or be.  Unfolding into yourself takes time and patience, but I promise if you follow your heart you’ll always be exactly where you need to be.
  • Catch more flies with honey. Kindness is key here. I know. I’m guilty of more than one occasion of emotionally thrashing myself for some mis-step or mistake. Then afterwards I waste time licking my wounds and trying to rebuild what was broken. Showing yourself the affection and care you would for a child will get you where you want to be much faster and much easier. Not to mention with much less scarring…
  • Just be. We live in a culture of smart phones, constant buzzing, rushing with time flying us by. Especially in my city, New York, we’ve lost the ability to s l o w things to a roll and enjoy the scenery. My yoga practice and meditation help me steady my frantic pace and bring me back to the moment. The present is just that- a present. It’s not about the 5 lbs you want to lose or the 5 lbs you gained, because it’s just what it is right now. So, if all we have is this moment why not just be here with whatever it brings.

So, stand up, steady yourself and find the “balance” of the moment, because in the next one, you’ll just have to find it again. Knowing that my dear, is true balance.

At FORM we know how the struggle for the illusive balance can get you down. Our expert instructors can get you as balanced as you can be. Email our Pilates Concierge and let her set you up with your first session today!

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