I met Gayle in September 2016 at Pilates studio of Dunwoody. Gayle would be my Pilates client. Gayle’s goal, amongst other wellness issues she was working through, was improving posture and reducing low back pain.
After our first session, my mental note read: based on Gayle’s posture, exercise execution, lack of body awareness and engagement, there is much work to be done. However, Gayle is open to feedback and demonstrates willingness to work hard.
A month or so after consistent weekly sessions, I had a heart-to-heart conversation with Gayle. I told her I owe her an “apology” for underestimating her. She really didn’t know that but I was compelled to share how impressed I was.
Gayle just celebrated her 1-year Pilates anniversary! While Gayle’s advancement way surpasses my original expectations, there is another reason I want to highlight her success. I asked Gayle what made her stick through the discomfort and less-than-fun but ultimately super rewarding Pilates workouts. In Gayle’s own words:
“Pilates was my last resort. I wasn’t feeling well, and I had tried everything else. I refused to accept that things won’t get better. I was willing to work to feel better. I want to enjoy the rest of my life actively!”
Gayle started with a beginner package. More importantly, she showed up for those sessions. She huffed and puffed while working her body against what it knew her entire life. Something as simple as sitting tall was extremely challenging for Gayle. However, she did not complain. If she couldn’t do something the first time, she took a break followed by a deep breath and said: “Now let’s try again”.
Throughout her journey, Gayle also worked with Justing Thomas, a physical therapist (PT) at PT360. Gayle started with a large number of spinal misalignments from living with poor posture for many years.
In her Pilates and PT sessions, Gayle practiced sitting tall, muscle engagement, how to protect her lower back. Focus was on loosening tight muscles that caused imbalances and strengthening weakened muscled due to imbalance. We were retraining her brain and body what correct posture should feel like. With her regular sessions, Gayle started gaining strength. She didn’t love each exercise but she was on a mission.
It was a true team effort between Gayle, Justin and me to tackle the challenges her body presented, to get Gayle’s spine aligned with hands on techniques and to keep it aligned with Pilates and a home-exercise program.
Gayle continues PT intermittently when her alignment and mobility need improvement, and continues an exercise program for daily mobility and stability work. Gayle is in the Pilates studio twice a week. Religiously. She does a private and attends a mat class.
About four months ago in class, Gayle had her breakthrough. All of a sudden, her body knew Pilates. She was engaging, curving. We both knew what was happening. We gazed at each other in silence. She smiled big while giving me a puzzled look that said “Can you believe this?!?”. A triumphant moment. Pilates clicked! Her body now knew what to do and how to do it.
After that one transformational moment, Gayle’s workouts were at a new level. About 40 minutes into her next private session, Gayle said she was exhausted. She was confused. That’ is perfectly normal with Pilates. Pilates gets more challenging because the muscles work deeper and harder. Working week to week, Gayle’s full-force workouts grew incrementally. She could last 45 minutes, then 50 minutes, now the full hour.
Gayle is now not only a client but also a dear friend. She inspires me. She motivates me. I admire her determination. I love us high fiving after she performs an exercise that challenges her. Gayle’s results are evident not only in her physique but also her mental state. Gayle now beams when she walks into the studio. She stands tall. She is confident. She smiles. Her shoulders are rolled back. Her last physical indicated she lost weight and built muscle. She now wants to be more active. She looks AND feels stronger.
Gayle’s transformation is incredible and encouraging for anyone wanting to make a change. Gayle’s consistency and execution have amounted to her tremendous success. The multi-disciplinary approach addressing Gayle’s challenges is a powerful example of approaching wellness from diverse perspectives.
Way to go, Gayle!
If you see Gayle around the Pilates studio or know her, please congratulate her on her transformational journey and impressive results.
P.S. Gayle’s story is also a wonderful example of how Romana’s Pilates works. Romana’s Pilates is a unique set of exercises that initially feel incredibly awkward and take time to learn. However, with time, the brain and body grasp and that is when true transformation begins. Pilates is not a quick fix. Pilates is a method and a lifestyle. It rewards those like Gayle, who are willing to work with purpose, regularity and determination.
Habits take time to create. Are you ready and willing to work on creating a healthy habit? What is it that you want to change? How do you want to change it? What holds you back? Do you have a support system? Are you mentally prepared to embark on the path to transformation?
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