Coming Together – the Benefits of Pilates

One of my biggest challenges with working out, and I know it is a common one for most people, is consistency.  I am not the type of person to force myself to go work out on a regular basis- it happens, but not consistently.  Unless I have someone to hold me accountable I am less likely to get in a workout.  Which is why I LOVE 1. Having friends to work out with and 2. A studio with classes to attend where they know my name and will notice if I have not shown up.  Having a monthly unlimited membership to that studio also helps because I want to be sure I get my money’s worth. So apparently I have some financial motivations with exercise too!

When I first joined Wellnest Studios I wanted to get in shape for my December wedding.  I was super into their TRX class, a lunch time yoga session, and their Kettlebell Core class.  After the wedding I sort of fell off the band wagon and eventually cancelled my monthly membership for packs of passes.  My attendance picked up when they added a boxing class.  I immediately became hooked on letting all my energy and any frustration out on a heavy bag and the trainer, Shannon Miller, a former professional boxer from Troy, NY.  Sadly the obsession was short lived because once the summer came so did swim nights in Crystal Lake with the Capital District Tri Club and it was on the same night as boxing class.

Fast forward to now- middle of winter in Albany, NY, the lake is frozen over, and boxing has 2 sessions, plus a private small group training.  My monthly unlimited pass is back with an add on for private training and I am boxing 3 times a week without fail- unless Shannon has had to cancel for work, or on the very rare occasion, work has kept me from attending.

With that unlimited pass I have also started doing Pilates once a week.  Boxing is my favorite because it is so freaking FUN, but Pilates is up there too, not because I love doing it, but because I love what it does for me.   The instructor is awesome too and is always offering me modifications because the moves in that class are flipping HARD!  When I first started, even with the modifications, a lot of the leg exercises were almost more mental than physical.  I would try to lift my leg and it may have moved an inch, or not at all. Even though I was was flexing and trying as hard as I could, the muscle strength just was not there.  The mental work has paid off though as I am now able to physically perform the exercises Shelby doles out, with modifications.

As my core strength has increased I am noticing changes in boxing.  When we shadowbox to warm up, I have better balance and am able to incorporate a slight hip twist– I have been doing these classes for over a year now and I am only finally able to include my hips continuously without getting off balance thanks to 2 months of Pilates.  With the added torque from my hips, my punches are stronger and it’s not just me noticing.  Shannon has commented on how strong they are especially my right body hooks. He now has to brace himself when I hit him and adjust his footing when I am finished.  He is a big guy, used to taking hits from big dudes, and little old HSP’d me can cause him to adjust his stance.  Now that is pretty cool!

What else is pretty cool is seeing how all the work I am doing is coming together.  With the help of Pilates I have been able to strengthen weak muscles, and now that they are engaging it seems like other muscles that were developed are working harder too, or maybe they are working harder together.  Ultimately the work I put into exercising only really matters if it is reflected in my daily life– not just at the studio.  Which is why  I was so happy leaving boxing the other night when I did not scuff my toes once on the sidewalk.  Lifting my knees/feet when I walk is a big challenge for me and it is something I constantly have to think about, but I was shocked to not be thinking of it at all and just feeling like my feet were being propelled upward by some other force.  I guess that “other force” would be some new found muscles.  There has been an awakening The Force!  Was Yoda just teaching mental Pilates?

Last summer I noticed major gains in my swimming and I credited it to the boxing training I did.  With Pilates improving my boxing, I wonder where it will take my swimming this summer?

Author: Oh yes she cane!

My name is Kerry and I love swimming, hiking, working out in general, travelling, shopping, baking, and reading. Some of those loves are a bit tricky to perform thanks for my rare nerve disease- hereditary spastic paraparesis. No worries though as I have a super handy cane, hiking poles, and amazing friends that help me along the way! I hope to share with you a bit about my life, inspire you to live yours to fullest, and hopefully, if needed, motivate you to get whatever assistance will help you to do so!

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