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Posts Tagged ‘downtown workout’

Are You Half Done?

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

A good workout is better than a half done workout and a half done workout is better than none at all.

We live in a time when it’s all or nothing. We apply the “all or nothing” mentality to how we eat, sleep, and work out. This past week there was a day I was not able to go for my 60 minute. Instead of going for 20 I stayed home and sat on the couch.

Think about that for a minute. For example, does it really make sense that if we eat healthy all day and then blow it with a gooey candy bar in the afternoon, we just throw up our hands and say, “oh well, I ruined my diet for today so might as well eat junk the rest of the day”?  Does it really make sense to commit to exercise every day, do great for weeks, and then laziness sets in so motivation goes out the window and you turn into a couch potato again? It happens so quickly! We miss a workout, eat unhealthy, and so on. Defeat leads to derailing.

It’s easy to make excuses not to exercise. Even when we know how good it is for us, we just find it easier to not. We’re too busy, too tired, too…whatever to exercise. And rather than put in even half the time or half the effort, we do nothing.

I know how easy it is to get trapped into the “I give up mentality. If I can’t do it all, then I will do nothing.”

So let’s flip our thoughts.

What if we look at it this way: In stead of focusing on a goal to exercise for one hour a day, we focus on a goal to limit our sitting and sleeping time to 23 hours a day!  Sounds a bit ridiculous but it just might work. Out of 24 hours in a day I can only sit or sleep for 23. Maybe I’m not too busy!

Adding a bit of practical advice to this thinking; when you are in a slump, catch yourself quickly and choose to get back on track right away. So you have slacked off a bit lately; no big deal! It happens to all of us. Accept it as a part of the ups and downs in life. Don’t be so hard on yourself. The key is to get back on track before it becomes a lifelong habit. When it comes to food, instead of eating the whole carton of ice cream, feel terrible, defeated, and give up, realise you made a bad choice, and then follow it up with a new one; a better choice. Put a stop to your defeated thoughts before they stop you! Sometimes it’s harder to do than others, but once you recognise it’s a problem, it gets easier.

Start again and move on. Your success is the accumulation of continual good choices and effort over time. The key is to make sure you have more good days then bad ones! Don’t let a bad moment, day, week, or month undo all your hard work. Start each day fresh. And remember, doing half as much is still better than doing nothing at all.

What kind of a workout will you have this week? What will you do each day to limit your sitting and sleeping to only 23 hours?  Make a choice!

 

Looking for something new and fresh to motivate you this week? Check out Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School’s dance & fitness classes and state-of-the-art Pilates Center!

Moving Downtown Has Increased My Opportunities For Fitness

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

I’m a bit envious of my colleague Pei-San Brown, Ballet Austin’s Community Education Director. Besides being able to walk down the hall from her office to take a class, in the evenings and on weekends she just walks across the street for a great workout! No excuses for her! And as you will see, she takes advantage of every opportunity to take a class. See what Pei-San has to say about living downtown and working out…

Pei-San Brown, Community Education Director

Moving downtown was the best thing I ever did to increase my opportunities for fitness. Everything I need on a daily basis is within a 15-minute walk of either work or home, and because I’m a person who prefers taking dance and fitness classes to working out on my own in a gym, having access to classes and workshops at Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School is absolutely ideal. There are so many different kinds of classes and workshops at various times of the day, I’m always finding new ways to challenge myself and to work out muscles that I never knew I had…I get to do so with my neighbors, who are a lot of fun!

It’s hard to pick my favorite class. I love Ballet Fit, Zumba®, Turbo Kick®, Below the Belt, and Arms & Abs. The best part is that because they are drop-in classes, anyone can attend them at a moment’s notice! Ballet Fit appeals to me because I can take a basic ballet barre and get my abs, arms, and glutes worked out at the same time. I love Zumba®  and Turbo Kick® because of their strong emphasis on choreography (although they’re easy because you don’t have to memorize anything – just follow along!). Turbo Kick® is especially good for increasing my stamina – it’s my new favorite class! And I’m a die-hard fan of Below the Belt and Arms & Abs! I would NEVER work out these groups of muscles by myself for 45 minutes straight – it’s so much more motivating to work out with a great group of folks like my fabulous neighbors, and an instructor who pushes you to challenge yourself!

I also love all of the Pilates workshops, which are offered in 4 to 6 week increments. Pilates Mat Workout, Pilates Theraband® Stretch, and Pilates Ballet Barre Workout are staples in my weekly fitness routine. The great thing is that they are offered 4 days of the week, so just like the drop-in classes, I can pick the workshops that fit my schedule and simply walk over to Ballet Austin just a few minute before class starts.

My personal fitness goals are to walk everyday for at least an hour, and to take dance or fitness classes five times a week. Because of my proximity to the BCS and the dynamic class and workshop schedule offered at the BCS (including Saturdays and Sundays), I’ve found that fulfilling (and sometimes exceeding) these goals is a piece of cake and a lot of fun!

Do you work or live downtown? Join me for a class!

Words of Wisdom from Your Typical 20-Something Overachiever

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

If you haven’t noticed, the Ballet Austin staff “Get Moving Challenge” has revealed the challenges people face in their quest to to to be active on a regular basis. Today we get to hear from my colleague Eleanor Bartosh who works in the Marketing Department at Ballet Austin.

Eleanor Bartosh, Digital Media Manager

I am a planner, through and through.  Whether its meals for the week, Saturday morning errands or vacation agendas, you name it and it’s probably on my calendar somewhere… most likely a few weeks in advance. Because of this – on top of being just plain busy – it’s often hard for me to just “hit the gym after work” on any given day.

Enter in the BCS Staff Challenge. I filled the role of your typical 20-something overachiever: I work a lot, and outside of the office, my free time is usually spent running to happy hours instead of running on the trail. Clearly things had to change.

For the challenge I took Zumba® (insert hip shake), Body Sculpting (not as scary as it sounds) and I tested out a workshop called Pilates Thera-Band® Stretch (my favorite).

All of my friends and co-workers are well aware that I’m not cardio person (my gym time is spent on a yoga mat), but I’ve been dying to try Zumba® for months now. It looked like a fun way to work up a sweat and target your ‘problem areas’ – and, yes, even 24-year-olds have those. It proved to be both of those things and more. I’m not the most coordinated person in the world, but it didn’t matter as I shook my hips and wiggled across the floor for 45 straight minutes. Our instructor Rebekah Fowler was sassy, sweet and totally inspiring. Tip: Bring a water bottle and a friend and laugh at yourselves in the mirror.

The next day found me in Body Sculpting, another of our drop-in fitness classes. Thankfully I spent the morning on a mat rather than tripping over my tennis shoes, doing a variety of Pilates-inspired exercises designed to target muscles ALL over your body. I loved the full workout and my hips and shoulders were pleasantly sore later that evening. Tip: Dress comfortably (workout tights are great) and don’t worry about wearing sneakers.

To switch things up just a bit, I sampled one of our popular Pilates workshops called Pilates Thera-Band® Stretch – and let me just say… it was INCREDIBLE and by far one of the most enjoyable workouts I’ve ever done next to yoga. Despite getting sweatier than expected (sorry in advance to my 2pm coffee date), the 45-minute lunchtime session FLEW by and I found myself smiling the whole time… even while my legs were shaking and my abs were cramping. Taught by Company Dancer Elise Pekarek, it’s quick, fun and effective. I will definitely be back (and you should come, too!). Tip: Bring a towel and your own band if you’re allergic to latex.

It’s Thursday and I can’t believe I’ve already worked out three times this week – or that I can already feel the benefit! With every class I feel stronger, I’m sleeping better and my abs are starting to show some definition again. Which makes me wonder: Maybe this whole ‘exercising regularly’ thing IS worth it after all…

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.

My Motivation: Easing Into The Golden Years Gracefully

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Ballet Austin’s Director of Operations & Finance has become famous during the Staff “Get Moving Challenge“. She has been to many of the classes. I love it! See what she has to say…

Gail Romney, Director of Operations & Finance

First class – Turbo Kick. I am alive. That is good news because there is a chance now I can finish the Staff Challenge. You know me, I’m the busy downtown professional who is in the second half of a century of life and would like to ease into the golden years gracefully. Ha. I am motivated by the fact that my mother and mother-in-law are in their 90’s and, as my mother puts it, still running around loose. My mother-in-law is 95, can walk 3 miles without breathing hard, and takes Pilates once a week. Who needs a staff challenge when I have her around? I tell myself there is an outside chance that if I exercise and keep in shape, the reward will be a long and mobile life and perhaps I won’t lose my marbles too soon. So, back to Turbo Kick…this is a fun and energetic 45 minutes and if you take it for the first time, don’t worry about the jabs and hooks, punches and kicks. If you keep moving, you will sweat – and that is a promise. I can see that after a few classes, the moves become second nature, as evidenced by the synchronized movements of everyone but me.  And instructor, Tara Shakleford, is adorable (in sort of a drill sergeant way). But it was fun, and I will definitely come back to it when I am done with all my other adventures at the BCS.

Second Class – Zumba. A terrific class and again, a great cardio workout. Rebekah Fowler is a fantastic instructor and makes all the steps easy to follow, although I am sure I dislocated both hips with all the sultry Latin moves!

Third Class – Elementary Contemporary. I took this even though I wasn’t exactly sure what I would be getting into. The description sounded intriguing but I was a bit leery of the hour and a half class time since I nearly expired in the previous two classes that were half as long. Not to worry, there was a lovely warm up involving aspects of Yoga and ballet along with abs and arms work. Then instructor Dane Burch got us moving with choreography that was challenging, but doable, in a jazz/lyrical/modern style. It was great fun and Dane was very patient with us newbies.

Truly, all the classes at Ballet Austin’s BCS are wonderful, my favorites over the years have been Ballet Fit, Arms & Abs, and Body Sculpting (love this one), as well as doing the Pilates Reformer classes. The Staff Challenge was a blast and I even got my picture taken several times – I could get used to this paparazzi thing…

Yes, Gail found herself in front of the camera several times over the past week or so. Check it out on the BCS facebook page! You too could win a FREE class. Staff sightings are everywhere! Love the “Get Moving Challenge“!

Never taken a class? Get Started!

Now I’m Afraid

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

I place all the blame on my colleagues here at Ballet Austin. I was doing just fine with the Staff Get Moving Challenge idea, and even scheduled my first class for this Sunday. Turbo Kick®. Then I had a conversation with my colleagues Gail and Brooke. Now I’m afraid.

I like to exercise. I feel good after I work out. I love to run. No matter how tired I get, or how much I sweat on a 6 mile run, nobody sees me. I die alone. That’s how I like it. Now I’m worried.

Gail and Brooke probably don’t have any idea how much their comments affected me; comments like, Turbo Kick® is the hardest class I have ever taken,” and “I am so sore. Every muscle in my body hurts. I was dying!” While I don’t mind pushing my body, I struggle with the intimidation factor of doing this in a group setting.

Seeds of doubt poison my mind so easily…. “What if I look stupid because I don’t know what I’m doing? What if I can’t keep up? What if I look totally out of place? What if my sweat drips everywhere? What if a BCS student has a “Staff Sighting” and takes my picture for social media? What if…?”

Between now and Sunday I have to conquer my fear, and I will conquer it! I am saying to myself, “Just do it! Commit!” I am going to attend the BCS Turbo Kick® class on Sunday at 2:00. I have butterflies in my stomach. That “do you really want to do this?” feeling is nagging me. Of course I know it is not based on anything aside from a fear of the unknown.  So I won’t chicken out. I will go. I will not die.

Want to join me? You could be rewarded for your attendance!

The Cost of Inactivity

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

I subscribe to the Harvard School of Public Health newsletter and recently read an article that gave some staggering statistics regarding the cost of inactivity. The article stated that “according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, inactivity was associated with more than 9 million cases of cardiovascular disease in 2001, at an estimated direct medical cost of nearly $24 billion.  Another CDC analysis suggests that because individuals who are physically active have significantly lower annual direct medical costs than those who are inactive, getting people to become more active could cut yearly medical costs in the U.S. by more than $70 billion.” Take that to the bank…or should I say Federal Reserve.

The definition of being sedentary or physically inactive is this: expending less than 1.5 kcal/kg per day in leisure physical activities. This is the equivalent of walking a little over two kilometers or 1.3 miles, or approximately 3000 steps in one day. For most people, that is a walk of 25 minutes or less.

I find it interesting that despite all the promotion in this country to get active, “only about 30 percent of adult Americans report they get regular physical activity during their leisure time—and about 40 percent of Americans say they get no leisure-time physical activity at all.”

Yet according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. That’s quite a contrast!  And while many of us may feel perfectly okay with an evening in front of the TV, as long as we got our workout in, the article published by Harvard School of Public Health challenges our defense. It is not only important to to exercise more, it is actually more important to sit less! And in an article appropriately titled Meet the Active Couch Potato, Dr. Dunstan writes, “It is important the general public become more conscious about what they do in their nonexercise time. Almost everybody should look for opportunities to reduce their daily sitting time and move more, more often, throughout the day.”

I plan to give some thought to this. While my solution to inactivity is to go run for an hour, and then invite you to come take a class or try Pilates at the Butler Community School, it’s what we do with the rest of our time that appears to be even more important.

Check back next week. I’m quite intrigued with the possibility of saving 70 billion dollars a year.

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.

 
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