In school, I wanted to be skinny; I wanted that Instagram bikini body and I thought the only way to get that was cardio and minimal eating, this is indeed not the case! Focusing on building muscle and strength was not part of my workout routines ever, as I always thought I would bulk out and lose a lean figure.
So in my senior years of school when I began to get more of a routine, I was just doing cardio, and I ate clean. Did I lose weight? Yeah, I did. What I thrilled with how my body looked? No. Why? Because I wasn’t toned and I wasn’t strong at all. I struggled with bad posture, weak knees and a shoulder injury which was in the limbo zone of improvement.
The moment I realised how important strength was for physical health was when I was sitting in a shoulder surgeons office hearing that I would have to get shoulder surgery to fix my right shoulder.
*quick flash back*
In 2015 I was in rehearsals for a show. It was a children’s show, so it was high energy and very physical. When we were doing a warm up, I was distracted, and someone came up and hit my arm upwards (it was part of the game). With the hit, my arm went straight up and around, forcing my shoulder to pull a full 360. And what I found out later was that my shoulder dislocated, pulling my ligaments and then returning to its position. This effects of this incident were worsened by me being double jointed and already having weak joints.
So fast forward to mid-2016, and here I was, being given three months with a Physio to improve my condition or it was under the knife for me. I was determined not to have surgery. It would mean I wouldn’t be able to use my dominant arm for over six months recovery; therefore meaning I’d not be able to work, drive, write or work out. Also, I had an overseas trip planned, in which this surgery would have inhibited me from doing heaps of fun activities while away.
So I began physio, and it was hard and painful, but I slowly got better. And I started to realise that my strength was building and this strength was healing and protecting my weak shoulder. A few months later, I was cleared by the physio for surgery and to this day, by maintaining my strength, my shoulder has gone from 40% to 85% (it’s still not 100% perfect).
But how have I maintained this strength? With Pilates and it has changed my view on fitness and taking care of my body. My mum had been going a local studio for about six months and was enjoying it. So after I graduated high school and had more time on my hands and more money from being able to work more, I thought I’d give it ago. And honestly, after the first session, I was hooked. Within the first few weeks of doing pilates regularly, I noticed I was getting stronger, and I felt great. My shoulder pain was further reduced, and the weight I could handle was increasing.
What I love most about it is that in the 45 minutes you’re in a class for, you get a whole body workout; your legs, abs, arms, back, booty is all taken care of. You honestly will not believe the burn you get and the post workout muscle pain you feel until you try Pilates for yourself. It targets muscles I never knew I had and I leave sweaty after every session; despite their being super cold air conditioning. I have toned up so much since starting pilates, and despite the increase in muscle, I have maintained a lean physique.
Last year, I didn’t enjoy workouts, I did them because I felt obligated to lose weight. But now my mindset has been transformed, and I have fallen in love with being fit, strong and healthy. And I love working out; I look forward to my class. Every session I’m doing a different workout, and I can feel my body getting stronger with every move. I highly recommend trying Pilates for yourself and seeing AND feeling the differences.