I sit here writing this at the end of an extremely long weekend filled with melt-in-your-mouth pineapple tarts and chock-a-block full of egg yolk and butter kueh lapis among all the other evils. I managed to run once before the gorging began and once yesterday, on the 2nd day of the lunar new year, in an attempt to make myself feel better about the tarts, the cakes and the fried shrimp rolls.
But the running was just to hold it at bay; till Friday.
Friday is my day of pain.
That's because, on Fridays, after JED go up the bus, I break the sound barrier in a bid to get down to my Xtend Barre class at Sky Pilates at Liat Towers. Xtend Barre is a ballet-inspired Pilates class. So for about an hour, I pretend to be all ballerina again, just for that little while. It doesn't take much to fake the ballet in an Xtend Barre class because only the basics are required. Pointing the toes, bending the knees outwards, holding up the arm in position and that's where the similarity ends.
On my first class, Karrie (inflictor of torture, instructor and all around friend) warned that there is very little in Xtend Barre which is going to be balletic. It is afterall, to get the heart rate pumping. Plus it is a very big challenge to look balletic and graceful when the muscles are burning and screaming from the puny 1kg weights that Karrie gives us. Woe is us for we initially sniff at the weights because we think 1kg weights are child's play.
I am no longer as fit as I was pre-kids. So this class is a bit of a challenge. The poker face I learnt to put on from the hours of pointe training and long interval training on the track occasionally cracks and I grimace and roll my eyes at inflicting myself with this. My inner core muscles that used to be rock hard, in times of exhaustion now tremble and forget how to pull up my knees to my chest. But with my new year's resolution to attend the Xtend Barre more regularly, it's slowly regaining its memory and not letting me down so much. These core muscles are called core muscles for a reason. They are the reason we can stand straight and are connected to all those important things we take for granted like posture and a painless back.
By the end of class, my legs are jellified and I know that if I sneeze wrong, I will remain in that contorted position till the following Monday. But at the same time, my headache (which I get from sleeping in the contorted positions that the little interloper Muffin dictates) has gone away away. My legs feel a little bit toner, my jeans fit a little bit better and I walk a little bit taller.
It also does wonders for my post-natal belly (which still exists 3 years on) and Karrie knows exactly what exercises to give me and reminds me that the post natal me cannot do crunches while the pre-natal me used to self-inflict 1000 crunches a day on those muscles (there is this nasty thing I have called rectus diastasis; it's got little to do with the bum and a lot to do with the abdominal walls splitting thanks to pregnancy). So while the rest of the class huffs and puffs their way through crunches, she sets me something that is a derivative of it; that still works my abs, works at healing the diastasis rather than exacerbating it and slowly flattens out the Mommy belly; all the while checking with me to make sure that I feel okay doing it. But no, she doesn't make me do it 1000 times.
That's the one thing that I've liked best about classes at Sky where I started going in 2007 when I was first pregnant with the twins; the instructors are not just instructors, they take it upon themselves to know and remember what I can and cannot do and eventually became my friends. When I posted about any of JED being unwell, Karrie asked after them. I also fondly remember being in a cat pose in pre-natal class and Teresa (who owns the studio and runs some of the classes) came round to adjust me and pat my belly singing "Hello babies!". It made me feel warm, taken care of and loved. While they slave drive us during that hour in the studio, we chat, exchange gossip and do Starbucks after, like girlfriends do.
So, I look forward to Fridays because I get a bit of a workout, I chat a bit with people there and wave hi to others and when I step out, there is a spring in my step (that could be a good or a bad thing) and the world out there is brighter!
-- Giveaway time! --
Because Sky Pilates knows how important it is for moms, moms-to-be and non-moms to keep their core muscles strong, they are offering 2 readers a chance to try out their classes (one winner will get a free private session and the other a free group session; both of which are great!). To take part, simply
1. Like the Sky Pilates FB page.
2. Open up the Sky Pilates menu on another tab and have a look at the classes they offer. Leave a comment here stating which class you think might benefit you the most! Don't forget to leave your email address so that we can get in touch with you.
3. Share this blog post on your FB page and tag Sky Pilates.
* Contest is open to those who are not already members of Sky Pilates.
Closing date 22 February 2013.
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