Out of Shape

People often say to me after a few weeks, or longer out of their workout routine that they are “so out of shape”. This is a phrase I do not like. I find that phrase to be negative and misleading. Yes, sometimes it takes longer to get warmed up. Yes, your body can rebel against the movements that were much easier when you were in your routine. But this does not mean you are out of shape.

When you exercise regularly, your body treats it as a practice. This becomes part of your routine and not just something you do every now and then. This is especially true with an exercise method like Pilates. I consider Pilates to be a practice; it is not something that will ever be mastered. There is always a new way to challenge yourself with Pilates. There is always something to work towards which is why it is a practice.

When you get out of the routine of your normal workout schedule for whatever reason, this does not mean you are out of shape, this means you are out of practice. Saying you are out of shape makes me think of a movie montage like Barbra Streisand in The Mirror Has Two Faces, when a character has to work for months on end before the final reveal of the perfect person. Sure there are times in our lives when a lot of hard work is needed to reach certain fitness goals. But you do not have to start from scratch.

Our bodies have muscle memory after repeated movements over time. Our bodies remember these repeated movements better than maybe what your partner told you what the plans are for next weekend. All you have to do is start again. Once you start doing the movements again, and continue to practice, you will find yourself back on track.

When I taught online health classes, I often had people that had been very healthy and for whatever reason stopped living that healthy lifestyle to a certain degree, return to me for help. They would let life get in the way and revert back to their unhealthy habits. They were present but resistant. I always reminded them that they had done this before. They had changed their ways already but stopped sustaining. They did not have to start at the beginning again. They knew what worked before, and though they might need to remind themselves of those things, there was no need to reinvent the wheel. All they had to do was do what worked before and continue to do it.

If you have already done the research to figure out what works for you and practiced that healthy lifestyle once you can do it again. This time it will be easier because you don’t have to do all that legwork again. You know what works you only have to show up and do the work.

Then there are times when the practice has not started. Exercise was something you tried to get out of in high school. Healthy eating is not something that you do. This is when the learning begins. When you are starting an exercise and healthy eating lifestyle change there can be some trial and error. Do not be discouraged. Keep trying and find what works for you.

I am asking you to throw out that negative language of being out of shape. Find the positive. Make a list of positive changes you made before to get you to the healthy place that worked for you or what you want to try. Make a plan of how to implement those changes again, either all at once if that works for you or step by step. Give yourself goals and deadlines, like wanting to be able to do teaser three without a struggle or trying a private session once a week. Put those goals somewhere you can see them everyday and write your deadlines on your calendar. Once you achieve your goals give yourself a healthy non-food reward like a new book, or anything that motivates you. If you can do this, I am sure you will find yourself needing new goals very soon.