Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Guest Post: Man enough for Pilates...

Today's guest post is brought to you by our funny, cute little brother, Michael. (I never read his blog without laughing my head off). When we first started FitMePink, he did NOT want to be a regular contributor--I can't imagine why not! Then I asked him a few days ago why he isn't "following" our blog. He said, "Can't people see what you're following? I don't want everyone to see that I follow a fitness blog for women!" He did decide, however, that being a GUEST contributor would be OK. And you'll thank me for convincing him. Please enjoy Michael's description of a guy going TOTALLY out of his work-out comfort zone to enter the scary world of group fitness!

In 2003, Robyn and I joined 24 Hour Fitness together. (Maybe that was when the fitness revolution started in our family.) When I joined, I started out timidly with the cardio machines. After a little while (and with the help/encouragement of my friends), I moved on to the weight room. As a new member, however, there was one place I never saw myself going in the club, and that was in the club’s Group X classroom.

When I thought of Group X, I thought of large groups of women kicking along to a screaming Billy Blanks impersonator. That was not somewhere I wanted to be.

After one year of membership, I left the country for two years to be a missionary. When I came home in 2006, my mom was actively attending an all women’s gym, Robyn had become a personal trainer, and Kimberly was soon to become a Pilates instructor. Not wanting to be left out of the family’s fitness revolution, I saved up and bought what is essentially a lifetime membership to 24 Hour Fitness.

(I paid three years up front. When the three years are up, I only have to pay $30 a year to keep the membership active. I can visit almost any 24 Hour Fitness worldwide. It really is one of the best investments I’ve made. Way better than the iPod I bought the following year then broke the year after that.)

With a new gym membership and a fit-crazed family to keep up with, I started going to the gym on a regular basis. I would usually do some cardio, lift some weights, then go home. It got to be a good routine, but it was just that: routine. I changed it up by using different cardio machines, but after two years, I needed something new.

Kimberly, who had been teaching Pilates classes for some time, had been telling me to give Pilates a try. I was torn. I wanted to try out what my sister was teaching, but I didn’t want to go against my long-standing personal ban from the Group X classroom. (That Billy Blanks impersonator had really done a number on my psyche.)

I talked about it with a friend, and after breaking through my mental block, I worked up the courage to attend a Group X Pilates class. Having grown up with two sisters, I’m usually very comfortable around girls, even large groups of them. That said, I have never felt more out of place then that night when I walked into my first Pilates class and realized I was the only guy. So much was working against me. I was a novice, the only guy, and surrounded by at least 50 expert (in my mind) Pilates enthusiasts. I’m surprised I didn’t run out with my tail between my legs.

Fortunately, as my sister’s and I have been trained, I stuck it out. You know, “fake it ‘til I make it.” In the end, I was glad I stayed. That night, I worked muscle groups I didn’t even know existed. When class was over, I could barely stand up, and bending over to put my shoes back on was completely out of the question. Though I was sore beyond belief, I was sold on Pilates.

Since that fateful night last year, I have gone to Pilates on at least a weekly basis. It’s still not easy, and I still cry with pain, dig my heels into the ground, and scream “no more” 30 minutes into the session. But maybe that’s why I keep going. I have found something that challenges me in ways the treadmill never did, and I like it.

I still do the treadmill, and I still do the weights, but Pilates was the extra spice I needed to make my trips to the gym seem less routine. Since breaking down my no-class barrier, I’ve also become a frequenter of my gym’s spin class. On nights when I’m feeling particularly masochistic, I do the spin/Pilates double hitter. I started calling it Spinlates. (Don’t you dare steal that before I can market it.) It’s two hours of you-know-what, but I never regret sticking it out when it’s all said and done. (Those endorphins keep me sane in the endless Utah winter.)

So if you can learn anything from this long, boring story of one guy’s triumph of mind over body, it would be to try something new. For you, that might mean starting up an exercise routine. If you’re already exercising but feel like your routine is a little too…routine, do something else, something new. Take up weight lifting or rent a Billy Blanks’ work-out from the library. For all you know, it could be just what you need.
There you have it, FitMePeeps. I'm considering a Zumba class...but these hips weren't made for shaking. I think Michael's convinced me. What are you going to try?


Michael said...

Am I required to post a comment on my own post?

Lyenna said...

I never tire of Michael's blogs. You are so funny!!! Anyway, I want to do spinlates. I love kicking my own, butt, and believe it or not I love being so sore I can't move. That's when I know I really did something good. Oh and Michael, you should totally market the spinlates thing. I know a whole group of women (and maybe some guys) who would be all over it.

Robyn said...

Yeah...I'll be first in line for your spinlates!

Grandma Hand said...

I love your sense of humor and I know that you will try anything. I haven't been on the blogs for such a long time and this is just great for a challenge. You are really an inspiration to me. Love ya lots!!!!

Diane said...

Too funny! I can just picture you walking into that first class. What a good sport. I'm just getting back in the gym phase and will attempt some new classes soon. Remember when I walked into my wonderful Yoga class at Total Woman and noticed no one else was taking their shoes off? Well, it wasn't long after that I realized they had changed the class to Boot Camp. I didn't want anyone to notice I was beginning to take my shoes off, so I hurried and put them back on and stayed for the class. I almost died that night! Seriously! I was trying to keep up with the cute girl next to me and soon found out she recognized me as your mom!!! She was your age and I was trying to keep up with her. No wonder I almost died!

Michael said...

I forgot about that with my friend. You wrote me about that one. Too funny.