Before I started classes at the studio, I had already lost close to 145 pounds over a period of two and a half years. Despite losing the weight, I couldn’t seem to find a workout that I enjoyed; it always felt like a chore or something that I “had to do”. My doctor had emphasized to me that the key to sustained weight loss was healthy eating and sticking to some kind of physical activity that I would enjoy for the long haul.
Because my mind had not entirely caught up with the physical changes (dropping multiple dress sizes and a new social interaction with the world around me), I also found it very challenging adapting to this new body. This recognition triggered something in me, and I knew it was necessary to find a workout that would help me tone up all areas (especially after that kind of major weight loss), and more importantly, appreciate the new physical freedom I worked so hard for over the past couple of years.
After a lower back injury (herniated disc) flared up again last summer, my chiropractor recommended that I try pilates classes to help strengthen my core, which would ultimately help strengthen my lower back and alleviate the discomfort.
At the time, I began following The Studio (MDR)’s Instagram account and remember I was intrigued by the megaformer and this “Lagree method”. I read that it incorporated strength training and cardio, and I thought to myself, “Why not? I have nothing to lose, I’ll give this a shot.”
Within the first couple of weeks, I couldn’t believe that I found myself looking forward to working out at The Studio (MDR)! Mentally, I was feeling more confident because I was consistent in showing up to the classes. Journey led the (MDR) Essentials classes—she was so patient, encouraging (her “Yasss’s” kept me going), adjusted my form, and helped me understand the names of the different movements. Physically, I could feel myself getting stronger—I was not struggling as much with holding onto a plank. When my body began to shake from pushing myself to hold onto a leg movement, I knew that the physical changes were happening. I felt a lightness in my clothes and noticed that my legs were becoming leaner and toned.
There was also this type of amplified internal energy I was experiencing that I could not entirely put into words at the time. I now recognize that it was a new sense of drive and motivation.
Although I had made quite a few dietary changes before I started the classes, my general outlook on nutrition has really shifted since last year. When you are using your body in any kind of movement, you want to fuel it with food that will make you perform at your best. I began to integrate more mindful eating practices. In those practices, I learned that food should enhance your life, not take away from it. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to treat myself to a buttery almond croissant from Republique, but there is real power in nourishing your body, which, in turn, nourishes your mind. To me, food is the ultimate healing source and I am living proof of that.
The Escalator lunge with carriage kicks is the ultimate burn-shake move for me! I used to DREAD IT, but now I can see how much this pose has helped strengthen my quads and even ab muscles. If the move happens to be closer to the end of a class, I may feel like my legs are going to fall off, but I try to push myself to get through it!
Since signing up with The Studio (MDR) last September, I’ve lost another 14 pounds, completely re-sculpted the shape of my body, and gained a new sense of self-confidence.
At the end of my first Total Body session, I remember Stephanie said to me, “You have the strength, and I can see you don't entirely trust yourself, but you will get there!” Without even knowing my background, she completely hit the nail on the head. I had lost all of this weight, but I still didn’t trust the capability of my own body. No one knows your body better than you and I learned to tap into my own internal drive. Stephanie, in particular, has been so helpful to me since the start. She always takes the time to explain the how’s and why’s of a movement, and will stay to the end to answer any of my questions. Between the cadence and flow of her classes, her kind and energizing demeanor, and her music playlists, I leave each class with a natural high!
There is something to be said about this method and the spiritual and meditative element that comes along with your workouts. During Lindsay’s classes, she’ll remind us, “You have a choice to be better and push yourself or you can choose to stay the same.” This resonates with me the moment I doubt that I can’t complete an interval set. The best thing you can do is to focus on the power of your breath and mind, knowing that the discomfort will lead to results. The message applies to anything you do in your life, and I try to remind myself of this outside of the studio.
Going forward, some of my new goals are to work on cleaner transitions between movements and eventually cut out any modifications so I can sign up for the R&D class. I’m also still trying to make it to Stephanie’s 5am class!
I want to continue to grow mentally and spiritually, so that I can help other people realize that the true strength they are seeking has always been within them.