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Baby Steps Toward Motivation

Monday, July 9th, 2012

The Ballet Austin staff “Get Moving Challenge” ends this week. It’s been fun watching staff take a variety of classes, and especially fun to receive the photos of staff in a class.  I am also enjoying the blogs as well!  Check out what LuAnn has to say about her experiences…

LuAnn Glowacz, Ballet Austin Communications Manager

A body in motion stays in motion. I have to remind myself of Newton’s law every day as I contemplate the endless excuses I have to skip that 5:30 am power walk or noontime Pilates class. Working at Ballet Austin, I’m surrounded by elite athletes. And I can’t help but covet the apparent gene they possess that keeps them craving blood, sweat, and tears (while I much prefer the couch, kolaches, and pedicures).

So it’s as if the Staff Challenge was custom made for me. During June, I used the opportunity to take Ballet Fit, Pilates Ballet Barre Workshop, and Feldenkrais. I also had the chance to duck into a few minutes of Videodance™ and Brazilian Samba…WAY outside my comfort zone. And here’s what I’ve learned on the road to better motivation.

  1. Don’t be intimidated. As someone who doesn’t exercise regularly, I’m always the “novice” in most classes that I take. What I’ve learned with near certainty is that your fellow classmates are not there to watch you or judge you. If you don’t believe me, ease your nerves (and paranoia) by bringing a friend or by arriving early and seeking out another person in the studio who seems terrified to be there (introduce yourself and make a quick comrade).  Just knowing that someone else in the class who feels as if a big “A” for “Amateur” is written across his or her forehead can be a huge help.
  2. Commit yourself. While signing up for a full workshop wasn’t requisite for the Staff Challenge, the commitment of a multi-week workshop (as opposed to relying on drop-in classes) did wonders for me. While I struggle with motivation, I do not take accountability lightly. Having a reserved spot in Pilates Ballet Barre Workshop kept me motivated to show up, week after week.  And how was the workshop? If you’ve never taking a Pilates course led by a former Russian ballerina (in this case, Pilates Program Director Vlada Sheber), you haven’t truly taken a Pilates course. My body transformed within minutes (as well as my ability to gracefully descend Ballet Austin’s grand staircase).
  3. If you want to dance, dance! I’m not a dancer and anyone who has taken a dance-based fitness class with me can attest to that (Can I hear an “Amen!” my Ballet Fit and Videodance friends?). But dancing fills an hour’s worth of exercise much easier for me than any other fitness class or routine can. Concentrating on choreography or ballet positions takes my mind off of the fact that I’m [gulp] exercising. And the added responsibility of not tripping the person next to me helps. That type of trickery is really the only way to keep me moving for any extended period of time. So if you’re not a dancer but you feel like dancing…congratulations! You’re a dancer! Don’t allow anyone to convince you otherwise.

Working Moms and Working Out

Monday, June 25th, 2012

I asked several of my colleagues to join the Staff “Get Moving Challenge”. Two of them are busy working moms of young children. What I love about both of them is that they don’t pull the ’mom card’ as an excuse to not work out. Look what they have to say. Can you relate to their story? Besides finding classes during the day that fit their busy schedule they seem to have figured out the “buddy system”!

Brooke Holmes, Senior Development Associate:

I fall into the category of ‘like to work out, but don’t have much time for it’. I’m a mom of a 3-year-old, work full time, commuting from Cedar Park to downtown Austin. I leave my house before 8am and don’t get home until 6:30pm. It’s then my second job kicks in. I begin the evening routine of making dinner, a little playtime with my daughter and then get her ready for bed. By the time she is asleep and the house is cleaned up, it is 10:00pm. I am tired.

Working out is important to me; it makes me feel good. I have to find time to make it happen. Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School daytime classes are perfect; a mix of cardio and strength training which I love, and both are available during the day. My favorites are Arms & Abs, Below the Belt, Pilates Ballet Barre, and for cardio I like Pilates Cardio Workout and Turbo Kick® (love, love, love this one!).

I think it is really important to take care of yourself even when you are a mom, especially when you’re a mom; really busy and working a lot. When I don’t work out, I feel more tired and more stressed out. When I do work out it makes me a better person and a better mom. So, I make the time during times when I can, and am always glad when I do.

Christi Cuellar Lotz, Development Director

As the mother of an 18-month-old daughter, working out has found its place in many different places on my priority list over the last year and a half…including the bottom of the list. Last summer she loved riding in a jogging stroller and was up early enough in the morning to allow me the opportunity to get a good 30-45 minute walk in before work. NOW, however, she’s a fantastic sleeper, and you know what they say…”Never wake a sleeping baby!” So, with a travelling husband, those early-morning walks are a thing of the past.

Though I’m not opposed at all to a post-work-day workout, as we enter the 100+ degree days of summer, I’m also not crazy. There are times I’ll brave it, but mostly not. The Butler Community School daytime fitness classes are such a blessing! I try to take at least 3 per week, and my favorites are Arms & Abs, Pilates Ballet Barre, Below the Belt, occasionally Turbo Kick®, and Pilates Cardio. All allow for a great work-out, targeting various sections of my body, and don’t get me too sweaty to get back into work clothes 20 or so minutes later.

I also find, like my colleague, Brooke, that I feel more alert and less stressed when I work out… Sometimes when that 45 minutes is the absolute only gap in my day, and I feel like I should sit and answer email instead of take the class, Brooke talks me into going and I don’t ever regret it!

Join Christi and Brooke in a class soon. Working mom near downtown? Check out some of the dance and fitness classes and workshops offered at Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School.

Real People – Real Stories

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

One of the best things about my job is meeting the people who take classes at the Butler Community School. I love the stories of motivation, determination, and success. They happen all around me every day. One thing I have learned from listening to these stories is that inspiration and motivation are unique to each individual. What does it take for someone to step into their workout clothing and get active; to keep going? Motivation is a lot more complex than most of us realize. I am intrigued by it. And because I am touched and inspired by many of the people who tell me their stories, I will pass these stories on in the hopes that you too may be inspired.

I received the following in an email a couple of weeks ago. While she chooses to remain anonymous, her story should be a motivation to all of us:

“In December, my husband surprised me with tickets to The Nutcracker, and while we were waiting for it to start, I saw the advertisement for fitness classes at the BCS.  The next month, one day after getting on the scale, I decided it was finally time to get healthy.  I also saw my 35th birthday looming, and I realized that not exercising would only get harder the more I put it off.  I accepted that not exercising was irresponsible and having not done any regular exercise in YEARS (a decade?) was not good.  So, I made the decision to change my way of life and signed up for a $99 unlimited pass for fitness & dance classes at the BCS.  I had always put off exercising because of the cost, type of activity, or any other reason.  Up through college, I was much more active – swimming, tennis team, horseback riding, canoeing, and ten years of ballet.  After college, other things took up my life and exercising/activity seemed to fall away.

Using the unlimited pass, I was able to get myself going right off the bat.  I tried Toni Bravo’s Body Sculpting, Brittany Harpole’s Below the Belt, Arms & Abs, Body Stretch, and Turbo Kick®.  I also tried Zumba® and HAPA.  For one month I went to 24 classes and I felt so much better.  It was a real struggle at the beginning transitioning from a sessile lifestyle to one where I was pushing my body almost every day.  I had absolutely no strength or stamina and I often had to rest during a set or do it at a slower pace.  And was I sore!  But now I can go to Toni’s class and, while it’s still challenging, I can keep up.

I am so glad I found the BCS.  It provides fun exercise, a positive environment, and personable instructors I enjoy.  There are no more excuses for me. I recently signed up for the Thera-Band® Stretch Workshop, which I am finding very challenging, but in a good way.  All the classes have improved my breathing, flexibility, strength, and overall health. I still have a long way to go, but the positive results I’ve seen so far are a great motivator.

About a month ago, my husband and I also started a gentle, beginner jogging program to add regular cardio exercise.  The BCS classes, the jogging, and making subtle changes to my diet have resulted in a 10 pound loss so far.  Weight loss is a goal, but I really just want to have overall better health.  I have about 15-20 pounds to go until I reach a healthy weight and I am hoping to be close to that by the end of this calendar year.”

What’s your story?

Email me at vicki.parsons@balletaustin.org and you might see yourself in Real People – Real Stories.

Motivation Is What Gets You Started

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

If you could get up the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.” ~ David Viscott

Ready…set…go…

Well actually, let’s stop for a minute. Rather than jump right in to the active part, do you first need to change your mind? Take a few steps back and rearrange the way you think about certain things. Garfield, One of my favorite cats, certainly never had a change of mind. Maybe you agree with Garfield’s attitude when it comes to exercise, “I might as well exercise. I’m in a bad mood anyway.”

Change your mind about exercise. A negative attitude about exercise might be what stands between you and fitness. Challenge your thoughts! They’re holding you back!

Psychiatrist David Viscott wrote, “You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be.”

Who do you want to be? How do you want to feel? How would you like to move?

Behavior is a follower. Before you do there is generally a thought behind it…good or bad! What are you thinking about physical activity and healthy living? Have you already decided that you can’t?

I once read, “A thought is just a thought. It doesn’t mean it’s reality.”

Your goal is to acquire the identity of an active person; to think like one and behave like one. You want physical activity to become a part of who you are instead of what you do.

Put the Garfield quote away. Begin to believe you not only can, but want to become more active. Change your mind and you just might change your body, your health, your life.

 

Be Active!

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34% of adults aged 20 and older are obese, and 34% are overweight. Eight out of ten men and almost seven in ten women will be overweight or obese by 2020, according to a study published by Oxford University. 18% of teens aged 12 to 19 are obese, 20% of children aged 6 to 11 are obese, as are 10% of little children aged 2 to 5. That should be a wakeup call for all of us. Be Active!

You fall into one of three categories: 1. You already embrace physical activity as a part of your lifestyle, 2. You lead a sedentary lifestyle, or 3. You are ready to take the first step to be on your way to feeling better, enjoying better and longer physical health, and having a healthier state of mind.

Who doesn’t want that? We say we do; we know exercise is good for us, but the challenge is that our bodies don’t always want to participate in what we know. When it comes to exercise, it is as if our brains and our bodies are at war.

Butler Community School dance and fitness

The key is finding something you enjoy that will get you moving and keep you active. What you like to do, you will keep doing. In fact, being more active can be as simple as spending more time on things you already do that get you moving; taking your dog for a walk, playing outside with your children, line dancing with friends, or gardening.

If asked, my advice will always be, “find people and a place you like to hang around, add some music, and before you know it your brain will be invested and your body will follow.” But that’s the easy answer, and it’s not that easy.

So what’s next? First you must agree that it’s never too late for anyone to begin an active lifestyle.

You may have no idea where to start, or even if you want to. The important thing is to take a first step. Wherever you are in your efforts to get fit or stay fit, it’s a matter of changing your thinking and changing your habits. That’s where this Blog comes in.

The BE ACTIVE Blog will feature tips and offer suggestions and the encouragement you need to get active and stay active. Think of it as your accountability partner. I will also share stories of real people taking classes at the Butler Community School.

Are you in? Stay tuned!

And by the way, I would love to hear your personal story!

 
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