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Exercise: What's Your Workout?

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On 5.6.2018 at 6:28 AM, DeLurker said:

I managed to learn to rollerblade around 31-32 without killing myself.  

Around 40, my son got a skateboard and I was going to show him something really basic.  I had done it a lot when I was a kid through college, even used to take my dog out on one so she could run.  Did not even hesitate for a moment to get on the board.

All it took was a moment and I instantly lost my balance, instinctively put out my hands to break my fall and somehow absorbed all the impact through my right shoulder.  It hurt for weeks, and my humiliation to this very day.

I recently bought a skateboard to shorten ways from the car to meetings (there have been a lot of no-go zones for cars implemented where I live in recent years and I happen to have meetings in one of those regularly), but then I remembered that the last time I was on one was in my teens and I'm now over 40. It has been staring at me accusingly from its space in the hallway since then, waiting for me to try and break a limb or two.

7 hours ago, emma675 said:

Y'all, I tried a HIIT workout tonight for the first time. I may not be able to move in the morning, assuming I'm still alive. I swim regularly and this beginner HIIT class kicked my ass.

Congrats! Assuming you're still alive that is ;-)

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5 hours ago, Sonja said:

It has been staring at me accusingly from its space in the hallway since then, waiting for me to try and break a limb or two.

I share your mistrust of it.  I hope it goes better for you if you decide to give it a go.

I think a Razor scooter in an adult size would be workable.

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18 hours ago, DeLurker said:

I share your mistrust of it.  I hope it goes better for you if you decide to give it a go.

I think a Razor scooter in an adult size would be workable.

Thank you! I think I might break out my old protection gear from inline skating when I first get back onto the board. Better be embarrassed for a few minutes than in a cast for weeks ;-)

Don't get me started on those things, I hate them with a passion...

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On 5/16/2018 at 8:50 AM, Sonja said:

Is there a Pilates studio near you? Not a gym with Pilates classes, but a real Pilates studio. I'm stressing the difference because due to the nature of gyms, it must be possible to jump in at any time while in a dedicated studio, you learn from scratch and build up from there. Even if you're only doing a few hours as a beginner, you learn how to do core exercises correctly so you don't hurt yourself when you continue on your own.

I couldn't agree more.  And while it's important to not hurt yourself, in the case of Pilates, so much of it is working particular muscles/areas, and you have to learn how to do it.  

I started Pilates probably 20 years ago, when the only choice was a studio.  The details are hazy now, but I know I started with private reformer sessions (these contraptions they use), and quickly got the concepts down.  I'm pretty sure I did some group reformer classes, but mainly I took mat classes.  At the studio, the mat classes never had more than 5 people in them, and they were according to level, so the people in them had comparable skills, so the instructor didn't have to do a bunch of modifications for one random beginner.

I quit for a few years for unrelated reasons, and then health clubs started offering Pilates classes, and they were a lot cheaper, so I started going to those.  Those classes could have 20 or more people in them, of all levels.  I had a good instructor, but there's only so much one person can do.  Fortunately, I had my foundation, so I was using the instructor just to get the cues and reminders, and it worked out well for me.

Then I quit for about 10 years, and recently have gone back.  I'm bouncing among various city recreation centers, which include classes with a day pass.  My oh my.

Okay, granted, my day pass is $6, so I'm not expecting Joseph Pilates's great grandchild to be doing the class, but I am over-the-moon grateful that this isn't my first foray into Pilates.  As @Sonja said, these classes have people of wildly differing experience in them.  That's never good, and I think the people who suffer the most are the newbies.  I tried a class called PiYo, which was billed as a combination of Pilates and yoga.  I have no idea what it actually was.  So I thought, "Stick to ones that are called Pilates."  So I did, and got one was cray cray.

A Pilates mat class is a structured series of moves, which has some basic ones that are always there, and toward the end, there are more advanced moves that the instructor usually picks and chooses from.  This cray cray Pilates class started with a bunch of moves using 3-lb weights, while standing.  That is not Pilates.

If you know anything about Pilates, you know "hundreds."  Well, we didn't do hundreds until about halfway in, and even then, they were something she called "reverse hundreds," with little weights.  The hell?

And there was one exercise that I never did figure out what it was.  I think maybe "rolling like a ball," but maybe just leaning back.  That's not good.

The class had only about 8 people in it, with one totally new person that I knew of.  The instructor had her doing things on a giant exercise ball (in Pilates!) so she was totally confused.  Plus, the instructor had us use a thick mat and a thin mat, in a T formation.  Nice idea, but she had us on the thick mat sideways, so that when you lie down, only the middle of your body was on the thick mat, and your feet and your head and shoulders were on the thin mat, which puts them lower than your pelvis.  One other student and I rotated so our whole bodies were on the thick mat, and the instructor actually told us not to do that.  Why does she care what we do to make ourselves more comfortable?  I can think of no reason whatsoever for having your pelvis hiked up on a thicker mat than the rest of you, and I actually think it's harmful.  Or, well, it is for me anyway.  Everybody has a sway in their lower back, but I think mine is more pronounced than others', so I'm super conscious to do what I can to minimize it when I'm doing core work.

Hmm...maybe this should go in the "pet peeves" thread, because I'm mainly bitching about something.

Anyway, maybe this was just some random lunacy, but unless you know what Pilates is supposed to be, you'd have no way of knowing it was lunacy.  And even if you do, you're simply not going to get the one-on-one instruction a beginner needs.  And for the record, I have found a rec center class with a decent instructor that is well worth my $6.  :-)  So there's a place for these classes, but not for a new person who wants to explore Pilates.

The point is that if you want to know what Pilates is and does, then you really should start in a Pilates studio.  It's more expensive than health club dues or drop-in fees, but even a cheapskate like me can see that it's an investment, and that by paying to get a solid foundation, I can go to cheaper classes for the rest of my life.

Edited by StatisticalOutlier · Reason: spelling mistake found on umpteeth read-through
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Anyone have any first hand experience with the Total Gym (that system that Chuck Norris advertises for)?  It has been mentioned by a few people I know in passing, so I wanted to look into it a bit more but quickly found myself skeptical because it sounds too good to be true.   

Mostly I could use a lot more toning.  I've toyed with the idea of actually joining the Y or another fitness facility, but I know that the likelihood of my doing something decreases substantially with the chances of actually encountering people.  I'm hyper sensitive about my physical limitations these days and just dread the prospects of answering the inevitable questions that come along with having a disability.  I've always been in pretty good shape (thanks to genetics mostly) and with age and physical limitations, that has taken a hit.  Objectively I am not in bad shape, but it could definitely use work and I'll get to bad if I don't start to do more.  Subjectively, I've got a level of body dysmorphia which further inhibits my willingness to go to a gym.

I can pick one up for about 1/2 the retail price through my community's classified section which makes the price less of an issue. 

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On 13.7.2018 at 8:42 PM, StatisticalOutlier said:

 I'm not expecting Joseph Pilates's great grandchild to be doing the class, but I am over-the-moon grateful that this isn't my first foray into Pilates.  As @Sonja said, these classes have people of wildly differing experience in them.  That's never good, and I think the people who suffer the most are the newbies.  I tried a class called PiYo, which was billed as a combination of Pilates and yoga.  I have no idea what it actually was.  So I thought, "Stick to ones that are called Pilates."  So I did, and got one was cray cray.

This cray cray Pilates class started with a bunch of moves using 3-lb weights, while standing.  That is not Pilates.

Well, we didn't do hundreds until about halfway in, and even then, they were something she called "reverse hundreds," with little weights.  The hell?

And there was one exercise that I never did figure out what it was.  I think maybe "rolling like a ball," but maybe just leaning back.  That's not good.

The class had only about 8 people in it, with one totally new person that I knew of.  The instructor had her doing things on a giant exercise ball (in Pilates!) so she was totally confused.  

One other student and I rotated so our whole bodies were on the thick mat, and the instructor actually told us not to do that.  Why does she care what we do to make ourselves more comfortable?  I can think of no reason whatsoever for having your pelvis hiked up on a thicker mat than the rest of you, and I actually think it's harmful. 

Anyway, maybe this was just some random lunacy, but unless you know what Pilates is supposed to be, you'd have no way of knowing it was lunacy.  And even if you do, you're simply not going to get the one-on-one instruction a beginner needs. 

The point is that if you want to know what Pilates is and does, then you really should start in a Pilates studio.  It's more expensive than health club dues or drop-in fees, but even a cheapskate like me can see that it's an investment, and that by paying to get a solid foundation, I can go to cheaper classes for the rest of my life.

Thank you for this, I had to laugh out loud several times when reading. You know there are actually people still around who were trained by Joseph Pilates? My instructor was at a workshop once where a 97 year old demonstrated stuff hanging from the Cadillac and they had to fight the urge of telling her to get the hell down before she hurt herself. Life goals.

I see your PiYo and raise you a Piloxing. I'm still wondering where either the Pilates or the Boxing part were. It was more of a collective flailing with weighted gloves. I did have the urge to knock some sense into the instructor afterwards though. A badly executed crunch does not make Pilates. If she had shouted 'jab!' one more time, I probably would have done just that.

Leaning like a ball sounds intriguing.

Thanks for the mental image of rolling around, trying to properly get onto the mat ;-) The studio I'm training in actually lets each of us use whatever we need however we need it and they know all of our physical issues/limitations. And would NEVER hike up someone's pelvis. I only have one properly working hip joint, so there are things I can't do (especially on the mat, the slings of the reformer can actually force that stupid bone into the right direction when all spings are loaded) or have to do differently and they tell me beforehand when we do something new that might result in injury. By now I can actually almost get into a full split on the reformer despite this.

I couldn't agree more: the number of people thinking Pilates (or Yoga or other forms of exercise) is bull because of bad experiences that showed a completely wrong picture must be legion. If you learn that stuff properly, it bleeds into all aspects of your life though. I'd never do a hollow back when reaching for something anymore.

On 15.7.2018 at 8:13 PM, DeLurker said:

Anyone have any first hand experience with the Total Gym (that system that Chuck Norris advertises for)?  It has been mentioned by a few people I know in passing, so I wanted to look into it a bit more but quickly found myself skeptical because it sounds too good to be true.   

Mostly I could use a lot more toning.  I've toyed with the idea of actually joining the Y or another fitness facility, but I know that the likelihood of my doing something decreases substantially with the chances of actually encountering people.  I'm hyper sensitive about my physical limitations these days and just dread the prospects of answering the inevitable questions that come along with having a disability.  I've always been in pretty good shape (thanks to genetics mostly) and with age and physical limitations, that has taken a hit.  Objectively I am not in bad shape, but it could definitely use work and I'll get to bad if I don't start to do more.  Subjectively, I've got a level of body dysmorphia which further inhibits my willingness to go to a gym.

I can pick one up for about 1/2 the retail price through my community's classified section which makes the price less of an issue. 

Not a fan of any 'miracle' equipment to be honest. Two questions, the first one relating closely to what @StatisticalOutlier and I were going on about in our previous posts:

- would you actually know how to use it properly from previous work out experience or is there a possibility you would get exercises wrong and hurt yourself more than benefit from it?

- do you think you'd actually use it for anything other than hanging your laundry long-term? I've had some experience with that myself ;-)
 

If you don't want to encounter too many people at a gym, is there a place with small groups of people training anywhere in your vicinity that you could stomach? Do you have a friend who'd be interested to come with? Starting with someone you know and trust might help to get things up and running. I can only speak for the Pilates studio I work out in, but we are more functioning like a family where the 20 year olds are joking with the 80 year olds and no one cares about others' disabilities - which there are quite a few of. It can actually get quite difficult to do abs-related stuff because someone is always throwing out a one-liner.

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@Sonja - Thanks for your thoughtful, and totally real factors that should be considered.  I did give those things considerations before I forged ahead.   I actually ordered it through Sam's Club - it wasn't the latest model so 1/2 the price of the latest-greatest and only $20 more than buying it used.  So it was delivered to my house last week and I've used it for about a week. 

Having it for a week isn't long enough to indicate if I'll use it all the time, but so far I have used it every day.  I do know enough about working out from prior experience that I don't worry about hurting myself.  The mechanics of the Total Gym are really pretty simple so I think I would have to make a concerted effort to misuse it.  The one area I am concerned about it my right shoulder which has some problems, so I have been very careful to limit the amount of use on it.  Based on the design though, it makes it pretty easy for me to use my feet to help do the load bearing work which allows my right shoulder to just go through the range of motion.  Between the materials that came with it, the website and just the internet, I am slowly figuring out how to target specific areas that have been problematic (other than just not being aesthetically pleasing).

An added bonus for me is I can use it and then go straight to my very own shower and get cleaned up.  I rarely used the shower at the gym when I went, but I always made sure I chose a gym in close proximity to my home.  Never been a fan of the locker room showers...

To be honest, I am already feeling better - not physically, but emotionally.  That's a pretty powerful motivator right there since I have been dealing with a lot of PTSD and general anxiety on a chronic basis for about 15 years.

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13 hours ago, DeLurker said:

@Sonja - Thanks for your thoughtful, and totally real factors that should be considered.  I did give those things considerations before I forged ahead.   I actually ordered it through Sam's Club - it wasn't the latest model so 1/2 the price of the latest-greatest and only $20 more than buying it used.  So it was delivered to my house last week and I've used it for about a week. 

Having it for a week isn't long enough to indicate if I'll use it all the time, but so far I have used it every day.  I do know enough about working out from prior experience that I don't worry about hurting myself.  The mechanics of the Total Gym are really pretty simple so I think I would have to make a concerted effort to misuse it.  The one area I am concerned about it my right shoulder which has some problems, so I have been very careful to limit the amount of use on it.  Based on the design though, it makes it pretty easy for me to use my feet to help do the load bearing work which allows my right shoulder to just go through the range of motion.  Between the materials that came with it, the website and just the internet, I am slowly figuring out how to target specific areas that have been problematic (other than just not being aesthetically pleasing).

An added bonus for me is I can use it and then go straight to my very own shower and get cleaned up.  I rarely used the shower at the gym when I went, but I always made sure I chose a gym in close proximity to my home.  Never been a fan of the locker room showers...

To be honest, I am already feeling better - not physically, but emotionally.  That's a pretty powerful motivator right there since I have been dealing with a lot of PTSD and general anxiety on a chronic basis for about 15 years.

Sounds like it was the right decision for you then :-)
I don't know which kind of exercises you are currently doing, but if there's an issue with your shoulder, try not to do those where you have to lift your arms higher than shoulder-height. For example if you have your arms in the slings and go from a t-shape to bringing down your hands towards your hips and back up, try not to go into a fully horizontal T with the arms, but stop a few cm before. I have a bum shoulder as well and one inch makes all the difference. But it sounds as if you had figured that stuff out already anyway.

I hear you on the showers!

That sounds great! Keeping my fingers crossed for you that this is only the beginning and you'll feel better and better :-)

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On 7/13/2018 at 11:42 AM, StatisticalOutlier said:

I couldn't agree more.  And while it's important to not hurt yourself, in the case of Pilates, so much of it is working particular muscles/areas, and you have to learn how to do It.

Great post, @StatisticalOutlier! Can I pick your brain a sec re: pilates? I’ve been thinking about hitting our local yoga studio’s pilates class because I want to build up my core strength and also just generally want to try it. I have a mysterious degenerative myopathy—similar to MS but it only impacts part of my body—and I’m gradually losing use of my left arm. I’m super self-conscious about it and how it limits my strength and motion, and I’m wondering if I’ll even be able to ‘do’ Pilates. Do you think—with, granted, limited knowledge of my specific ability—Pilates might be a workable choice for me? The class they offer welcomes beginners, but I don’t want to be the lone spazzy freak who can’t manage anything thrown my way. 

Thanks in advance—I really enjoyed your insights and wisdom! 

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@Pachengala - maybe ask if you could observe a beginner’s class so you can gauge how much you think it would challenge you and give you lead time to think about any modifications you might need.

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17 hours ago, Pachengala said:

I’ve been thinking about hitting our local yoga studio’s pilates class because I want to build up my core strength and also just generally want to try it. I have a mysterious degenerative myopathy—similar to MS but it only impacts part of my body—and I’m gradually losing use of my left arm. I’m super self-conscious about it and how it limits my strength and motion, and I’m wondering if I’ll even be able to ‘do’ Pilates. Do you think—with, granted, limited knowledge of my specific ability—Pilates might be a workable choice for me? The class they offer welcomes beginners, but I don’t want to be the lone spazzy freak who can’t manage anything thrown my way.

One nice thing about Pilates is that for a mat class, the moves are established, and done in a certain order.  (Of course, that's the bad thing, too, because anybody can learn the sequence, but as I said, a big part of it is making your brain work certain areas, which is immensely helped by having cues from an instructor.)

But you can do an image search for pilates sequence and see what the moves are in a mat class.  It's mostly work on your abs (core), and less so legs.  But your arms are sometimes used to stabilize you, and there is one move that involves pushups (but maybe that's intermediate).  In very general terms, I've found Pilates instructors to be open and helpful, so maybe ask if you can observe the class you're looking at first, as @DeLurker suggested.

I did a quick search for images, and saw one for a beginner sequence and one for an intermediate sequence, and realized that the one I've been going to that I like has many intermediate moves, but isn't billed as such.  The instructor is good and knows what she's doing, but it suffers from being a class offered in a rec center and not in a Pilates studio.  It works well for me for my $6.50, but I think true beginners would be much better off in a real beginner class, where you don't have some of these more difficult moves thrown at you.   A yoga studio might have similar differentiation, but you never know.  A Pilates studio definitely would.

As an aside, one part of Pilates is thinking about pushing through your arms or legs.  Like for hundreds, when you're lying on your back with your arms extended along your side with palms down, just above the floor.  They're not just extended, but you're thinking about pushing your hands farther away from your shoulders (in a straight line), but without curling your shoulders.  If you're using a reformer, you'll have your hands on some handles attached to springs that connect up by your head, so you push against those springs.  In a mat class, you don't have those springs and have to make yourself mimic that action in your head.  With a reformer, the instructor will be right there to make sure you keep your shoulder blades down, and in a mat class the instructor will probably issue a blanket cue to keep shoulders down.  That's why learning the basics on a reformer can form a great foundation. 

As for being self-conscious, one thing I like about Pilates is that it requires a lot of concentration, plus much of it is done on your back.  I'm one of those people who's always super-aware of what's going on around me, but I notice almost nothing in a mat class because the view isn't great when we're on our backs, and even when I can look around, I don't because I'm so busy concentrating on whether my hips are stacked on top of each other and my leg is swinging freely in my hip joint and my toe is pointed thisaway and my core is engaged.  Not a lot of opportunity for being a lookie-loo. 

Then again, that's what I happen to like--having to concentrate that hard makes it interesting to me.  I can imagine there are people who aren't so focused on technique, and might be looking around the entire time judging everybody.  But I don't care what those clods think, anyway. 

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On 7.8.2018 at 6:26 PM, StatisticalOutlier said:

One nice thing about Pilates is that for a mat class, the moves are established, and done in a certain order.  (Of course, that's the bad thing, too, because anybody can learn the sequence, but as I said, a big part of it is making your brain work certain areas, which is immensely helped by having cues from an instructor.)

 

May I ask which Pilates method you're doing? I've never been to a class with an established order (except for the series of 5) and am wondering how you work up to the fun parts if every class is the same.

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On 8/13/2018 at 7:25 AM, Sonja said:

May I ask which Pilates method you're doing? I've never been to a class with an established order (except for the series of 5) and am wondering how you work up to the fun parts if every class is the same.

I haven't been to a studio in years, but my recollection is that in the more advanced classes, we'd go from exercise to exercise quickly because everybody knows the setup for each one, so there was no downtime.  And once we got to a certain point--I'd guess about 10 moves in or so--the instructor would pick among the more advanced moves.

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1 hour ago, StatisticalOutlier said:

I haven't been to a studio in years, but my recollection is that in the more advanced classes, we'd go from exercise to exercise quickly because everybody knows the setup for each one, so there was no downtime.  And once we got to a certain point--I'd guess about 10 moves in or so--the instructor would pick among the more advanced moves.

Ah, got it, thanks. It's the same where I am, but the order and the exercises are never the same. They are mixing it up depending on who is there and how far they can go.

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In my Pilates class today (at a rec center, not a Pilates studio), there weren't any new people and the thing whipped right along.  I paid attention because of the discussion upthread, and at about the 30-minute mark, we were pretty much where we'd be ending the class if there had been new(er) people who needed more coaching and cue-ing.  So it really is just a matter of moving quickly between exercises with no downtime in between, to get more moves in and to get to the harder moves.

One thing I've noticed about Pilates is that I'm not sure what some of the moves are intended to do.  Like the single-leg kick, done while you're on your stomach.  It's just a little move, and doesn't really seem to be working anything (compared to, say, a teaser, or even hundreds), but I know old Joseph Pilates put it in the sequence on purpose and I trust him.

In other news, I tried a barre class.  This is the class description:

Quote

This hour long workout will stretch, strengthen, tone, and lengthen!  A fusion of ballet, yoga, and mat Pilates which deliberately works every muscle in your body.  Come ready to get stronger, fitter, and more flexible while breaking a sweat and having fun!   

There was another new person there, and the instructor did tell us beforehand that it wasn't really like ballet barre work.    Well, drat.  Not that I'm a ballerina, but I do find their barre work interesting.  Oh well.

Mainly, the class was a ton of lifting 2- or 3-pound weights.  And some planks, and the barre work was working hamstrings with a ball behind your knee and some other leg-lifting--probably not 10 minutes of the class.  I'm sure I've forgotten some of what we did, but it struck me as just an extended version of the one "arm" routine we'd do in Jazzercise years ago.  And my triceps are VERY SORE.  But I certainly didn't find anything fusion-y about it--just basic lifting of light weights, and a lot of it.

And maybe doing that really does "tone" muscles, but I'm not sure I believe in toning* and I'm more interested in strength, anyway, just for everyday living.  There didn't seem to be anything in this class, arm-wise, that I couldn't knock out in a lot less time with some heavier free weights.  Basically, I found the class to be boring.  But it's VERY popular and I'm obviously in the minority. 

*Toning:  I think it's just a term directed at women.  Which brings up something that makes me laugh every time I go into a room with weight machines.  I used to date someone who'd been a competitive power lifter, and you know those machines that you sit in and either push your legs together or push them apart?  He always referred to them as "the ladies machines," with a grimace.

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19 hours ago, StatisticalOutlier said:

*Toning:  I think it's just a term directed at women.  Which brings up something that makes me laugh every time I go into a room with weight machines.  I used to date someone who'd been a competitive power lifter, and you know those machines that you sit in and either push your legs together or push them apart?  He always referred to them as "the ladies machines," with a grimace.

I think "toning" is used to market using weights to women to make them feel they aren't going to get huge muscles if they lift weights. If you say "building muscle," they'll think their arms are going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, which they won't, particularly if they are only lifting light weights, but that's hard to convince people of.

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When I was in college, I signed up for a semester "toning" class. On the first day, the (female) teaching assistant let the class (of mainly female students) know that because she was in charge, we were going to "bulk up." I dropped the class. I've done at-home Pilates-style mat work, and I think the "toning" that is accomplished is pretty much how our bodies were designed to function. In other words, if we all stayed active, we'd all be toned. (Exceptions abound, of course, so please don't fuss at me if you are physically impaired.)

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On 5.10.2018 at 3:58 AM, StatisticalOutlier said:

In my Pilates class today (at a rec center, not a Pilates studio), there weren't any new people and the thing whipped right along.  I paid attention because of the discussion upthread, and at about the 30-minute mark, we were pretty much where we'd be ending the class if there had been new(er) people who needed more coaching and cue-ing.  So it really is just a matter of moving quickly between exercises with no downtime in between, to get more moves in and to get to the harder moves.

One thing I've noticed about Pilates is that I'm not sure what some of the moves are intended to do.  Like the single-leg kick, done while you're on your stomach.  It's just a little move, and doesn't really seem to be working anything (compared to, say, a teaser, or even hundreds), but I know old Joseph Pilates put it in the sequence on purpose and I trust him.

In other news, I tried a barre class.  This is the class description:

There was another new person there, and the instructor did tell us beforehand that it wasn't really like ballet barre work.    Well, drat.  Not that I'm a ballerina, but I do find their barre work interesting.  Oh well.

Mainly, the class was a ton of lifting 2- or 3-pound weights.  And some planks, and the barre work was working hamstrings with a ball behind your knee and some other leg-lifting--probably not 10 minutes of the class.  I'm sure I've forgotten some of what we did, but it struck me as just an extended version of the one "arm" routine we'd do in Jazzercise years ago.  And my triceps are VERY SORE.  But I certainly didn't find anything fusion-y about it--just basic lifting of light weights, and a lot of it.

 

The moves themselves should change too though. For example when a beginner would have the strechted leg for the single leg strech at 45°, later on it's parallel to the floor, barely above it. Also, the chest lift gets higher, the swan dive from laying on the mat on your stomach bending upwards to actually rocking back and forth just via tension and breathing, etc.

Re single leg kick: glutes and hamstrings.

I did 6 months of barre this year. It was great for getting thighs of steel, but extremely bad for my hip joint. We did stuff like push-ups with the hands on the floor and feet up at the barre that I loved but the more ballet-y stuff killed me, so I had to stop.

On 5.10.2018 at 11:50 PM, auntlada said:

I think "toning" is used to market using weights to women to make them feel they aren't going to get huge muscles if they lift weights. If you say "building muscle," they'll think their arms are going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, which they won't, particularly if they are only lifting light weights, but that's hard to convince people of.

Agreed, it's pure marketing. I've met women who wanted to have arms like Schwarzenegger and started to consider taking supplements because it just does not work that way. On the other hand, I've also met a lot of male trainers who refuse to believe that there are differences between how male and female bodies work and branded the women in the gym as lazy because they were not bulking up the same as the man. Welcome to the 21st century, where education is still underrated and gender marketing reigns supreme.

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13 hours ago, Sonja said:

The moves themselves should change too though. For example when a beginner would have the strechted leg for the single leg strech at 45°, later on it's parallel to the floor, barely above it. Also, the chest lift gets higher, the swan dive from laying on the mat on your stomach bending upwards to actually rocking back and forth just via tension and breathing, etc.

Right, there are differences in the moves based on skill level/experience, but I was referring to the number of moves to get through.  In a class with experienced people, the only cues needed are reminders, and not explanations of how to do the move, so it can move faster.

We had a brand new person in class this week, and the pacing was very different.  But get this--at the end, the teacher says, "Who wants to do teasers?"  I've been to probably six or seven of her classes, and we've never done a teaser, and she brings it out when there's a brand new person in there, and an old guy, to boot, who struggled through the whole thing.  No way would I pick that class to do teasers; she should have done it when the class was all experienced people.

But that's what you get when you have a "rec center" pilates class.  That, and music, which drives me INSANE.  I figured out that that's why I'm liking a yoga class at a different rec center--no music.  If the class is all about explaining moves or reminding people to pay attention to this muscle or that breath, then why have something that competes with people hearing it?  Argh.

 

13 hours ago, Sonja said:

Re single leg kick: glutes and hamstrings.

Theoretically.  But I just don't see how that little bit of movement actually works those areas effectively. 

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On 20.10.2018 at 2:27 AM, StatisticalOutlier said:

We had a brand new person in class this week, and the pacing was very different.  But get this--at the end, the teacher says, "Who wants to do teasers?"  I've been to probably six or seven of her classes, and we've never done a teaser, and she brings it out when there's a brand new person in there, and an old guy, to boot, who struggled through the whole thing.  No way would I pick that class to do teasers; she should have done it when the class was all experienced people.

But that's what you get when you have a "rec center" pilates class.  That, and music, which drives me INSANE.  I figured out that that's why I'm liking a yoga class at a different rec center--no music.  If the class is all about explaining moves or reminding people to pay attention to this muscle or that breath, then why have something that competes with people hearing it?  Argh.

 

Theoretically.  But I just don't see how that little bit of movement actually works those areas effectively. 

Ouch, the poor guy. Couldn't she have done one of the countless teaser prep excercises for the 'general public' and told those who wanted to do the full teaser to go ahead with it?


We've got a new guy of the tender age of 81 who is shaming half of us on the Cadillac. He does accept his limits, but it's embarassing for those of us half his age. The oldest in the studio is 84 (oldest woman 80), those are some life goals right there.
I would probably protest if anyone tried to play music. We did it a couple of times during summer when there were special classes, but she let us choose (Chopin, Bach, Haydn and the likes) and it was very much in the background.

I think it's supposed to be the speed of the kick in combination with keeping your upper body in the raised position to maximize the strech without losing form. I really need to research why some of the excercises are supposed to be done slowly and some as quickly as possible in order to be effective. Maybe it was just Pilates being German by experiencing Schadenfreude when everyone in the room was flailing ;-)

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On 10/22/2018 at 8:59 AM, Sonja said:

I would probably protest if anyone tried to play music. We did it a couple of times during summer when there were special classes, but she let us choose (Chopin, Bach, Haydn and the likes) and it was very much in the background.

I'm new to the Pilates class where the instructor plays music, and I'm an itinerant so I don't feel like I have the standing to protest.  Now, grounds for grumbling to Mr. Outlier?  Oh yeah.

The thing is, she plays "regular" music, like rock.  To me, if you're not using the beat of the music, you don't need the music, especially if what you're doing is cue-heavy.  BUT today, she was setting up the music and said, "Oh no! I thought it was charging!"  I thought, "Hallelujah!" but it turned out it was good for about 50 minutes of music.  But there was a blissful ten minutes of silence at the end. 

I realized that's what I like about a yoga class I found--no music.  The instructor uses the bowl thing to make some racket, but no background music.  And she sometimes talks about finding self worth or other new age-y drivel, but only at the beginning and end, and not always.  And I'll take that over superfluous, never mind intrusive, music any day.

If I weren't such a cheapskate, I'd go to "real" Pilates and yoga classes, in a studio, and not have to deal with this music nonsense.  But I just can't pass up a $6.50 day pass to the rec center, and I can do my 15 minutes of weightlifting  before class and be in and out in 1-1/2 hours, including a shower.  (I like the showers at both places I go to, but they're very new and so far, meticulously maintained.)

But I will put a plug in for rec centers for those who are intimidated by gyms.  Granted, I go during the day, so maybe the demographics are skewed, but it's far from a nonstop parade of tight women in figure-flattering yoga pants and beefcake men strutting around between grunting and dropping heavy weights on the floor.  That said, the one out in the suburbs definitely has more realistic clientele; the one near downtown has plenty of young people, even at noon on a Monday--I assume they're millennials who "work from home."  But it's still not the type of scene I've encountered in "real" health clubs. 

Evenings after work?  I'm sure it skews younger and fitter, but probably not as much as "real" health clubs.  Whatever...it's as non-intimidating an atmosphere as I've found in a place where people exercise.

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On 26.10.2018 at 1:12 AM, StatisticalOutlier said:

I'm new to the Pilates class where the instructor plays music, and I'm an itinerant so I don't feel like I have the standing to protest.  Now, grounds for grumbling to Mr. Outlier?  Oh yeah.

The thing is, she plays "regular" music, like rock.  To me, if you're not using the beat of the music, you don't need the music, especially if what you're doing is cue-heavy.  BUT today, she was setting up the music and said, "Oh no! I thought it was charging!"  I thought, "Hallelujah!" but it turned out it was good for about 50 minutes of music.  But there was a blissful ten minutes of silence at the end. 

I realized that's what I like about a yoga class I found--no music.  The instructor uses the bowl thing to make some racket, but no background music.  And she sometimes talks about finding self worth or other new age-y drivel, but only at the beginning and end, and not always.  And I'll take that over superfluous, never mind intrusive, music any day.

But I will put a plug in for rec centers for those who are intimidated by gyms.  Granted, I go during the day, so maybe the demographics are skewed, but it's far from a nonstop parade of tight women in figure-flattering yoga pants and beefcake men strutting around between grunting and dropping heavy weights on the floor. 

Whatever...it's as non-intimidating an atmosphere as I've found in a place where people exercise.

I love rock, but music has such an effect, I couldn't imagine doing Pilates to it, I'd automatically start doing the excercises in the beat of the music which might be way too fast. That's too bad. We usually team up in the changing room when there's something we don't like and then one of us tries to break it diplomatically to the teacher. We had to do that just a couple of times with new ones (doing Level I stuff with a Level III group or being too scared to correct us), but it has worked so far because everyone present was on the same page.

That's funny, one of the very few yoga classes I tried was basically music plus drivel. When he asked if was coming back, I told him I preferred to keep my sports and spirituality seperate. He looked at me as if I'd just grown a second head.

I don't think we have such a thing as a rec center (I'm not in the US) and actually setting foot in a gym or a studio of any kind is a big hurdle for a lot of people. It's such a shame that bad experiences, stupid trainers or idiots who think the gym is their runway scare people off something they might actually love. I know a female personal trainer who looks like an amazon and a guy actually walked up and tried to mansplain pull-ups to her and when she talked back, tried to intimidate her. Big mistake. If he did that to an actual newbie though, that person might never try again.

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I regret signing up for a gym membership because I don't go anymore and it's a yearly contract that is a bitch to get out of. The main problems are that a) I don't drive and the gym is a mile away on a semi-dangerous road and while I walk a lot in general, I don't feel motivated to walk there, b) I hate the treadmill and elliptical, weights are ok, but the treadmill and elliptical are so boring and I get really itchy and overheated, and c) the shower situation is pretty awkward (no hooks to put stuff while you're in the shower, etc.) so I don't like showering there, but it's also awkward to walk home in sweaty gym clothes and impractical depending on the weather. I like running on a track but a large percentage of this year was either above 85 degrees or below freezing so it's not something I can do regularly (plus, our town track is also almost a mile away, and I can't run on the street because my town has a lot of broken uneven sidewalks, bad drivers, and pit bulls). I think I'm probably an exercise class person because I need external motivation and the class helps you to stay motivated and it's doing a variety of things instead of just running in place. There's a gym that is really close to where I live and has lots of exercise classes like kickboxing, barre, etc. and it has great reviews. The problem is it's $80/month for unlimited classes or $10/class if you drop in. And I'm already paying $20/month for my stupid gym membership which I never use. My husband is an exercise junkie and always trying to get me to work out so I might drop into a class this week and if I like it, ask if he will help pay for it. I'm going to pitch it as "it's an investment in my health which saves money in the long run" (especially because diabetes runs in my family). Do you guys think it's worth it though?

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Start by cancelling the gym membership that you don't use and reading this article by Consumer Reports: 8 Ways to Save on a Gym Membership.

I found this other tip too:

Check out hospital-affiliated fitness centers

Hospital gyms are usually rehab-based or geared toward the hospital staff. They’re clean, well run, and don’t force contracts on you. Best of all, most will sell memberships to the public. Visit the hospital nearest you to see if this kind of gym facility exists in your neighborhood.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid29023586001?bctid=64735561001

Look for the free, unlimited access trial period to see if the environment really suits you, especially the classes and instructors*.

If it does, let the gym manager sell you - don't tell them that their location is geographically desirable or anything else that gives them insight into why you are looking at them.  Like car shopping, once they say the price per month, don't be afraid to say that is more than you budgeted for.  If they don't start to negotiate, ask if paying annually upfront (if you can do that) will give them more flexibility.  Given your husband is already a member, I would think some family discount should apply too.

If you can't come to terms, tell them you'll need to keep looking and to call you when they have more pricing flexibility.

* Instructors usually work at a variety of places.  If you find some you like, you may see where else they work.  When I was with a gym, I found it because I took a community yoga class and loved the instructor.  At the end, I asked her where else she had classes and ended up joining one of the gyms she worked with.

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On 12/5/2017 at 10:04 AM, DeLurker said:

After owning a jump rope for several years, I finally got the nerve and opened the package this morning.  I went into my garage, set my cell phone timer for 5 minutes and gave it a try.  snip>

I've decided to go get a hula hoop today and give that a try - possibly tomorrow, possibly a few years from now.  Since I can safely do that in the privacy of my garage and I won't need to have one of my poor children supervise.  I have a feeling this is one of the things that your childhood muscle memory won't remember which is entirely too bad since I was pretty dang good at this when I was a kid.

So the jumping rope didn't last log because the ungainly thudding on to the concrete was hell on my ankles.  I'll put some padded gym mats on the Christmas List and give it another go.

I did get around to buying a hula hoop - actually a weighted one as I read that they move slower and are easier to manage when you are no longer a single digit.  I got around to breaking it out this morning and gave it a try.  My efforts were in no way graceful nor fluid, but I managed better than I was expecting* - which means it did not immediately fall to the ground.  I only tried for a few minutes as I did not want to over do it.  I just tried again and it went better.  I managed to keep it around my waist for several revolutions - can't count them yet because my brain is too busy trying to communicate with my midsection.

*With the TBI, my brain and body do not communicate fluidly any longer - I literally have to consciously tell my body parts what I want them to do.  Being able to do even this limited amount of hooping (?) is a HUGE deal.

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On 11/26/2018 at 12:14 PM, DeLurker said:

Start by cancelling the gym membership that you don't use and reading this article by Consumer Reports: 8 Ways to Save on a Gym Membership.

I found this other tip too:

Check out hospital-affiliated fitness centers

Hospital gyms are usually rehab-based or geared toward the hospital staff. They’re clean, well run, and don’t force contracts on you. Best of all, most will sell memberships to the public. Visit the hospital nearest you to see if this kind of gym facility exists in your neighborhood.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid29023586001?bctid=64735561001

Look for the free, unlimited access trial period to see if the environment really suits you, especially the classes and instructors*.

If it does, let the gym manager sell you - don't tell them that their location is geographically desirable or anything else that gives them insight into why you are looking at them.  Like car shopping, once they say the price per month, don't be afraid to say that is more than you budgeted for.  If they don't start to negotiate, ask if paying annually upfront (if you can do that) will give them more flexibility.  Given your husband is already a member, I would think some family discount should apply too.

If you can't come to terms, tell them you'll need to keep looking and to call you when they have more pricing flexibility.

* Instructors usually work at a variety of places.  If you find some you like, you may see where else they work.  When I was with a gym, I found it because I took a community yoga class and loved the instructor.  At the end, I asked her where else she had classes and ended up joining one of the gyms she worked with.

I actually found out that my current gym does unlimited classes for an extra $10/month so instead of going to the super expensive place I will probably do that. The super expensive place has small class sizes which is why they are more expensive. You can also drop in to a class for $10/each at my current gym so I will try that first, probably on Wednesday, to see if I like it or not. I actually went to the gym on Saturday since my husband was going and I did the elliptical with resistance, speedwalking "rolling hills" at 4.2 mph on the treadmill (which is a lot less terrible than running), weights, and lunges, and it wasn't too bad. Also, my MIL got a recumbent exercise bike this weekend because she's disabled and is supposed to exercise every day, but if it is too hot/too cold/raining/snow and ice on the ground she can't exercise outside. So I used that yesterday and today and I also did weights and lunges today at home. I like the exercise bike because it has an actual seat with a back instead of just the typical bicycle seat, so it's comfortable to exercise on it. Today I was even studying from my textbook on my phone while I was using it.

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I just finished my first ever barre class....and now I'm dead.

Seriously.

I did ballet for over a decade growing up so I (stupidly) thought this would be pretty much just like barre work in ballet.  It's not.  It's torture.  I can't feel my legs right now, but I'm sure I'll be feeling them tomorrow....and the next day...and the day after that.

But, yeah, I'll be back for it again next week!

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Mine was almost all at the barre.  There was what I think was a standard 15-minute warm-up--I've been to 3 classes now and we've had the exact same warm-up in each class.  Then, other than a few times when we did free standing plies, we were on the barre.  The last 2 classes had a short ab period where we were on the floor but holding onto the barre for a foundation.  We have done a little bit with light weights, but more with gliders and the balls we put behind our legs (which I logistically can't seem to do!  I'm not sure if I have the wrong size ball or if my capris are too loose or if I just suck at it).  The class is very lower-body oriented, which I think is because there is a mat pilates class following it which focuses more on abs and some upper body (of so I've been told).  I did find a barre-inspired upper body workout to do on days I don't go to barre class to balance things out.

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On 1/25/2019 at 1:37 PM, HazelEyes4325 said:

the balls we put behind our legs (which I logistically can't seem to do!  I'm not sure if I have the wrong size ball or if my capris are too loose or if I just suck at it). 

I can't do it either, and the ball is touching nothing but bare leg.

And speaking of bare legs, I think I have discovered why capris are so popular: they cover your upper knees and thighs.  I'll tell you--it's horrifying the first time you're lying on your back with your legs up and over you, like in a yoga plow position, and the skin above your knees is hanging there right in front of your face, like some goddamn 90 year old's.

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On 1/27/2019 at 12:15 AM, StatisticalOutlier said:

And speaking of bare legs, I think I have discovered why capris are so popular: they cover your upper knees and thighs. 

I wear them because my knees really don't appreciate a lot of kneeling without being covered and there are some changes on the reformer that I can do by just turning when there's fabric, but my skin would stick on the carriage, but I so get what you mean. I had a 'bloody hell, what have I done to you?!' moment with my right knee last summer. We didn't wear any protection gear playing volleyball back in school, so I have a skidmark on it and I fell on a run a few years back and crashed onto the same one. Looks way better in capris - or at least not up close doing the scissors 😉

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I've been working out more lately. Still not that much compared to people who are really into exercise, but at least it's something. We bought an exercise bike a few months ago since my MIL needs it for her physical therapy and the three of us have all been using it. My husband is really into running and on the rare occasion when he can't get to the gym or track, he works out on the bike instead. I don't like exercise that much but I have been using the bike about once or twice a week also. My home workout right now is 20 minutes on the bike, 4x10 bicep curls with 10 pound weights, 4x10 tricep extensions with 5lb weights, 2x24 lunges, and 2x5 pushups. Maybe not that much but it's definitely a workout for me.

I'm also considering getting one of those small workout trampolines. As long as it doesn't make too much noise or I don't fall off and get injured.

Another thing I have been doing is speedwalking. I usually walk at 3.5 to 4mph for around 45 minutes. It is definitely more of a workout than regular walking, but also isn't painful and unpleasant like running. I do that about 2-3 times a week.

I still haven't gone to the gym since November, sadly. My husband and I have had a lot going on lately and have been busy almost every weekend with freelance projects and interview prep, which is the time I usually went to the gym in the past. I hope to go back next week to get back into it since we will have less stuff to do on the weekend after next weekend. I also still want to try out an exercise class like Zumba there. At the gym I don't really do anything too difficult either. I usually either run really slowly or speedwalk on the treadmill and then do various weights and weight machines.

Overall I think I like exercise more if I'm doing a variety of exercises instead of the same one every time, and I'm not pushing myself too hard so it isn't unpleasant. Also if I have PBS or NPR news in the background, or a true crime podcast or something. I still feel tired for the whole rest of the day after I exercise though. Eventually I would like to work up to exercising daily -- two days at the gym, two at home, and three speedwalking.

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