lifestyle

MIA: "This is what happened when I tried a new exercise"

By MIA FREEDMAN

About a year ago, after reading yet another interview with Gwyneth Paltrow and her trainer Tracy Anderson, I had a weak moment (or possibly a motivated one) and signed up to the ‘Metamorphosis’ program.

Don’t ask me how it works. I can’t tell you exactly. Because I still don’t understand. But it involved choosing my body type (abcentric – meaning I ‘hold’ weight around my tummy) and paying US$89 to ‘join’. I received….well, I’m not entirely sure what I received because I never played the DVD and I immediately chucked the tape measure in the bin. Was there another disk or something?

Who knows. By the time it arrived, I was over it.

Never even watched the thing until last weekend when for some unknown reason that may have been the remnants of ‘new year’s resolution delusion’, I decided to abandon my usual daily exercise routine and workout with Tracy.

This was highly unusual. For the last two decades, I have been a cardio machine girl. Treadmill and, in the past few years, also elliptical trainer. Always at home. Always in the morning. I have flirted with other types of exercise – ashtanga yoga, pilates, a few pump classes – but I would always default to my treadmill.

Gwyneth and Tracy

And yes I know that the longer you do any form of exercise, the fewer physical transformative benefits you derive. Your body plateaus quickly and you don’t see any noticeable change in your shape or tone. But that’s not really why I exercise. I’m more of a head exerciser than a body one. So long as I can maintain my weight pretty much at the same level, I’m not that focused on changing my body.

I exercise for the mental, stree-relieving benefits that cardio provides and I’ve found it one of the most effective ways of dealing with anxiety – something I will write about more one day because I’ve come to realise how very common it is.

So. Back to Saturday morning, me in front of the TV in the lounge room, doing dance cardio with Tracy who is like a little pocket rocket Barbie ninja bouncing power house.

Fortunately, my husband and teenager were out and my two smaller kids were watching TV elsewhere, utterly disinterested by the sight of Mummy galumphing around the lounge room while trying desperately to follow Tracy’s confoundingly changing moves.

That’s the point apparently – to keep mixing it up and not letting your body get used to any one type of movement. No chance of that. At one point, my mother-in-law arrived to pick up my daughter and tried gamely to have a conversation with me as I huffed, puffed, bounced and jumped.

Oh, and have I mentioned my pelvic floor? Do me a favour, do some squeezes as you continue to read this post. YOU CAN NEVER DO ENOUGH PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES.

Jumping and pelvic floors are not friends.

I got through the video twice – it kept stopping after 20 minutes because it was so scratched so I had to start again – and then I did these two videos, one from last weeks GOOP newsletter and the other I found on youtube.

and,

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I pulled up quite well I thought. I was quite buzzed from the adrenaline and my body was quietly humming from the novelty of doing a new type of exercise.

Until.

The next morning when I woke up and couldn’t walk. Actually couldn’t walk. I got out of bed to go to my 4yo who had woken with a bad dream and my feet could not bend at the ankles. My calves were not humming. They were screaming, mostly abuse at me. Try walking without moving your angles.

NOTE: I did not look like this when I was leaping around my lounge room

Do you know what you look like?

A penguin. Or someone who has just had a double hip replacement.

At one point, with muscles in my back so sore it was making breathing difficult, I said to my husband seriously, “Do you think it’s possible I’ve given myself a collapsed lung?”

Naturally, I decided the best thing to do would be to give Tracy’s cardio dance workout another go. So I did. With more breaks when I pretended to myself that I needed a drink when what I actually needed was just to lie down and whimper quietly.

By Monday, I was toast.

Everyone at work laughed at me. Everyone at home laughed at me. I laughed at me.

So now I’m not sure what to do. I can see that my old workout was doing me few physical favours. But new exercise HURTS.

And the more I read about Tracy and her methods, the more it seems you need to commit an insane amount of time. In one video I found on her youtube channel (I spent much of the weekend binging on every known Tracy interview and video I could find), Nicole Ritchie ‘drops by’ her studio and does a (totally unspontaneous) impromptu workout with Tracy who gushes about how amazing Nicole is and how she is such an incredible woman to balance her work with her family.

Except then she talks about how Nicole comes to the studio to work out for 2 HOURS  SIX DAYS A WEEK. Same with Gwyneth. And no doubt, Kim Kardashian – her newest celebrity client. And that doesn’t even include travel time – best whack on an extra hour for that.

And I thought: this is bullshit. Who has 2 hours a day to exercise? Not anybody with a job. Not anybody who has demands on their time.

I understand that for these women, the way they look IS a big part of their job. But for the rest of us – Thank You God – it’s not.

I want to exercise to be healthy and to quiet my head and so that I can eat whatever I want.

But I don’t have the luxury of 2 hours a day to do ANYTHING.

There is no moral to this story. No neat ending to this post. I just wanted to tell you about it. Now I have a cold and have sidelined myself from all exercise for a few days while I fight it. Meanwhile, I need to decide whether to re-enroll in Tracy’s metamorphasis program. Just as soon as I work out what that even means……

What do you do for exercise? DO you exercise? Talk me through it, please….

Tags: exercise , health-and-wellbeing
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