Lots of progress to report! I’m now six weeks into my commitment to work out to improve at ballet. Six weeks is the magic number!
After my first few days of extreme soreness, I’ve been jogging/running pretty consistently, anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. What’s pretty consistently? How about every single day for the past week (with the exception of wednesday, since I had morning class and all). Every day, including weekends. And the crazy part is that, after day three or so I totally began to enjoy it!
I know, my feelings toward running in the past could be summarized as “Avoid at all costs, unless you’re running for your life.” To be fair, the main reason I’ve disliked running is that I tend to suck at it. Or at least I did as I was growing up. This time around, I told myself that even if I found it unpleasant I would give it a fair shot. Told myself that I’m doing it for the ballet improvements, so just suck it up and deal with it. But after the initial shock to my body at being used in this way, I’m quickly finding something new to enjoy. I love how when I first begin to run it feels so freeing, so liberating, and it’s like a natural – instinctual yet forgotten – skill, but what I especially love is how as I start to get both more into it and more tired every other thought flies out of my mind. All that matters is the very next step. Such intense concentration, I love it! So different from walking; walking helps me think things out, running clears out the thoughts. Hard work but so relaxing in a way…similar to the reason why I love ballet…
What I’ve been doing is my usual walk but afterwards I go by the park. At the park I jog for a bit, then find a secluded (sometimes I get lucky and the park is completely empty) spot to practice my jumping. The first day I just jumped a few times in sets of 32 jumps – it reminded me of how in class we do sautes in sets of 16 or 32. Just as during sautes in class, I noticed that my first few jumps were strong but by the number 16 I was exhausted and it took every ounce of strength to keep going. But I forced myself to go on, and after resting for about a minute or so (or really, who knows?) did the 32 jumps again. And again.
There was no apparent improvement for the first several days. Then yesterday, as I began my first set of jumps, I felt lighter somehow. I went through my set of 32 somewhat effortlessly, surprising myself. In fact, I kept going after 32 – now I realize that I should have committed to doing another set of 32- for 16 more jumps before I psyched myself out and stopped. After that I did several more sets of 32 and at no point did I feel exhausted, or like my legs were getting weaker. My heart rate was up, but for once I didn’t feel out of breath.
So this morning I went for it and jumped in sets of 64. And obviously I survived to tell – I feel so proud of myself!
Now, I didn’t work on any technical ballet things like having the feet turned out or the feet pointed. My goal is mostly to get used to jumping so that in class I don’t become exhausted after only 5 jumps or so. I can’t wait to see if my sautes have improved on wednesday’s class(es).
Another drastic improvement has been my standing-up-to-getting-down transtitions. As I mentioned in my update 2 weeks ago, I’ve been doing these really slooow lunges while keeping my arms out to second. At the time of my last update I thought that i had improved but it’s nothing compared to the improvement by now. Somewhere I read once that in order to see results from an exercise program it needs to be at least for 6 weeks. They were not kidding – it’s, like, the time frame when improvement just increases drastically. My thighs feel so much stronger that before and my plies and grand plies are deeper than ever. Which is awesome since the point of all this was to improve at ballet. I’m also trying out keeping my arms in other ballet positions besides second while doing the super slow lunges.
I’m also still doing the theraband turnout exercises every day. I want to say that my ability to maintain my turnout while plie-ing or releve-ing has increased but as for my turnout itself? It’s the same as it was when I first started ballet.
However, I still credit the theraband exercises for helping me find – and strengthen – all the hidden inner core muscles that help me feel stable when I releve.
Finding extra time in my schedule for a full yoga session more than once a week is a little bit more challenging than I thought. But I’m still doing several poses – or is it postures, can’t remember – a day. While this is enought to somewhat maintain my flexibility, I do wonder if I stretched or did yoga more would I become even more flexible?
My arms are not feeling – or looking – particularly more fit. And on some level, I feel like it’s not as important. As long as my arms don’t get tired during port de bras I’m good. And yes, I know that it’s the back muscles (the lats, if I’m not mistaken) that hold up the arms in ballet, but somehow I think if the arms has no muscle and were just hanging there it be harder, like an extra load for the lats to bear. I mean, I would love for my arms to look better, but with all the other things I have to do I don’t really see myself dedicating much more time than I already am to working them out. In the meantime, I’m still doing the (probably inneffective) Shakeweight a few times a week. At least until something better occurs to me. Whatever.
Pull ups? What pull ups, lol, I’m still stuck at somewhere between no pull ups and 1. Very disappointing, this is the only one of my fitness goals that is not showing progress at all. I can’t understand why; 3 years ago I could do about 8-10 at a time and I wasn’t lifting weights or working out. I did weigh a a couple (no more than 4) pounds less, which is now leg muscle, so I wonder if that’s the difference. If so, I guess good-bye pull ups because I’d rather keep the leg muscle, but I’d love to have both.
Ever since I’ve been jogging/running, I’ve noticed that I’m absolutely ravenous. Yesterday I had double breakfast and at night I just can’t stop eating! At first I thought it was just my emotional eating flaring up, but since there’s been absolutely no weight gain (no weight loss either, despite the extra calories burned) I think my body is just asking for more food. Like I’m burning through fuel at a faster rate or something. Weird, it’s like a faster metabolism, something that I’m definitely not used to.
But I could get used to it!