Fitness Goals: 2014, The Yearly Review

In keeping with my trend of posting fitness-related posts on Tuesdays…

If 2013 was the year I discovered ballet, then 2014 was the year I decided to give it a(nother) go at this whole Getting In Shape thing. For the first time, it appears I am succeeding!

Back in 2011 I lost a lot of weight.  I’m not sure how much exactly, as I always refused to weigh myself at my heaviest – and it paled in comparison to Boyfriend’s loss of almost 150 lbs. – but it was a lot.  At the age of 28 I found myself at the smallest size I’d been in adulthood. In fact, the last time I had seen such numbers on the scale I had been a very pudgy, though not completely rotund, 9-year-old.

But all this did not mean that I was in shape. It took ballet to make me realize how out of shape I was, slimmer body or not.  I entered this Getting In Shape thing reluctantly. Exercise was something that I had previously pursued for the sole purpose of losing weight; any notions of getting stronger had been previously lost on me.  While my first semester of ballet was enough to realize that I was Weak with a capital “w”, for the longest time I held on to delusions that if I just practiced ballet every day I would get strong enough to improve without the need for cross-training.  And this may have been true to an extent, as my barre work did steadily improve throughout my time balleting without working out.

But the same could not be said about my center work, in particularly my jumping.  It seemed I lacked the muscle to jump, having never been much of an active person.  Not only that, my stamina was completely inadequate.  Getting winded during combinations (and being unable to hold the final pose at the end of them) is no fun.

As you know if you’ve been following this ballet-and-fitness adventure, I first started with strength training at home, no cardio yet.  While this was due to my past dislike of anything cardio, I’m glad it ended up happening that way, an unintentional helpful coincidence; given how weak I had been previously I think that if I’d started running right off the bat I would have possibly hurt myself.  It appears starting running after two decades of couch lounging and occasional walking is not the wisest choice…

By the time I started running (six weeks later) my legs had already built up enough strength.  While my first few times running resuted in me being horribly out of breath, my legs did not feel any pain, just good old-fashioned soreness.  And as I started to increase my running distance I started to see some benefits in ballet class: I was no longer out of breath during combinations, I could actually do more than 5 sautes without feeling like my legs were limp noodles on fire, I could even manage to point my feet midair (which has been the single hardest thing for me in ballet. Yes, even harder than ballancing!).

But I also realized that I like running for its own sake.  I find it a relaxing activity, an enjoyable activity. It’s still really hard for me to believe that sometimes…

I plan to continue working on increasing my fitness level in 2015.  At some point I would like to participate in a race, perhaps just a short one like a 5K race (hey, you’ve got to start somewhere…).  As a child, one of the only physical activities I participated in was swimming (I was on a swim team for about a year and a half until my mom decided to withdraw me since I always came in last) and I was thinking that it’d be nice to get into that again (for fun, like do laps and stuff, not for competition).  Don’t know how much time I can allocate to that, as it doesn’t necessarily fit into the whole cross-training with ballet thing as much as running, but it would be fun.

Of course, I’m still obsessed with my progress on my backbridge, working on getting over my fear of pushing my head off the ground. But my cambre back does seem much more improved ever since I started backbridging.  And I’m still doing “modified” pushups (on my knees), waiting for the day that I’m finally strong enough to do more than 3 in a row of the regular ones.  It’ll happen when it happens…

And while my core feels stronger and helps my body feels much more stable while balancing, I’m not holding my breath on my increased ab work actually resulting in a 6-pack.  I mean, if it did I’d be super amused, but I’m not counting on it.  Better to be pleasantly surprised than disappointed by too high expectations.

But above all I think I’m just on a mission to make sure that this fourth decade of my life is the best one so far!

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