Sunday Pilates class

Today was my fifth Pilates class in the last few weeks. I have decided that this class is a good fit for my exercise schedule, giving me a break from the gym and resistance training and well as some focused core work that I am not really pursuing during my daily gym visits.

I have not written about it much, other than a generalized toss-off comment in other posts, because it has been new and I have wanted to give it a fair shake and reaction before talking about it here. I think 5 classes is enough to give me a good idea of what I think and how I feel about it.

Mostly, I do not hate it. There are parts I actually really like, and parts that I do not enjoy at all. This could also be said for my time at the gym, and as J and others remind me, I can probably not love everything. But I do things I dislike anyway. Because they on a List. And I like the predictability order that comes from methodically following the List. It provides structure and satisfaction, plus I feel productive going through each exercise, each set. Lists are good.

And it’s not that classes are bad. The classes themselves are fine, but I have found that trying to double up twice a week and get into 3 classes per week is too challenging for my system. Only going once a week, however, is harder on my confidence and mental mindset; it is undermining my feelings of competency, and I simply cannot allow that to go further and impede my hard-won battles with negative girl and her ilk.

The classes tend to follow a similar structure. There are glute bridges of various sorts, and I am know how to do those and can get through the multiple sets with few issues. Then we get into core stuff, probably at least 95% of which I have done with J through the months at one time or another. Then we get into standing cardio, and this is where I really run into trouble. I can do the various squat sequences without second thought or question, and while lunges in this class are not my thing (lunges are never included in any of my happy places), I was okay and did them as J has taught me. It’s the burpees and the mountain climbers – staples in every class thus far – that have brain shutting down on and any and all commands to body.

The very worst part – I am not even trying on these. My brain sees what she is demonstrating, understands what is required, and refuses to issue commands to limbs to go forth and progress with them. Granted these are not in the J rotation, but even if they were, I can see him observing the brain rebellion, the fear response, and hear him saying “okay, lets try this another way ….” After which he would either revise the movements so I could overcome my head problem or push them back to some future date when head is more reasonable. I planked and did floor pushups instead, and if you knew me, you’d know how little I actually like these 2 exercises, making my rebellion kind of a big deal. I wanted to keep moving, wanted to be doing something while the rest of the class burpeed and mountain climbed for the 20 second segments. And for the most part it worked out fine.

I am theorizing that I see these movements as both difficult and complicated, so my brain locks up and refuses to engage. Or I’m just supremely lazy. Either way, it’s enough to bother me greatly and question whether this class is the best use of my time.

Chatting with the teacher after class, I explained that my resistance training is far and away my primary priority – it has truly been the thing that has gotten me this far. Plus I am more comfortable clinging to my Lists with their order from the chaos that was exercise for me. I wondered if only once per week was somehow inadequate? While I cannot sustain the level of resistance training and increase my pilates class attendance, what could or should I be doing in between to elevate my skills?

Because truly, if I have learned nothing else these last 11 months, I know I require consistency and practice to feel more competent and confident. Once a week in class is good in theory, but I will have to make inroads on doing more to truly make this Sunday morning class work for me.

Her suggestion was to simply do 100 reps of 4 or 5 ab exercises as well as a few planks every evening. She said start with 3 or 4 planks, holding 15 to 20 seconds and build up my stamina. As for the burpees and the mountain climbers, what I did today was fine and not to worry about it. The brain, and the body, will dive in when ready.

The core exercises she suggested are all contained on various versions of active and retired Lists in my file, including the basic plank. Thinking it over, her advice seems sound and may will be helpful overcoming this rendition of crazy brain. While I am unlikely to pursue this during my morning gym time – I am running out of minutes to finish the List of the day as it is – I do think taking a few minutes to try this in the evenings may benefit me. It’s now so hot here, a swim in the pool is typically in order at the end of the day, and I could accomplish a core set at that time. It could be a new thing – poolside crunches and planking.

Yep, doing my best to spin this in a positive and uplifting direction. But at least I feel better about my efforts today and will be back at it again next Sunday. My crazy brain setback was minor and its effects now faded, hopefully for good.

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