This past March, I got sick. And when I say sick, I’m talking REALLY sick: back-to-back stomach bugs, doctors thought I had Crohn’s disease sick. I lost almost 15% of my body weight. Prior to the onset of my illness, I was pretty healthy. My husband and I walked a couple miles every day and I did yoga too. That stopped, of course, when my symptoms began. After endless tests and months of suffering on the couch I was given a diagnosis of IBS.
Finally, near the end of May, I began to feel better. While I couldn’t walk up my driveway without taking a break, I didn’t require as much rest as before. I actually had an appetite and I could keep food down. When I began joining my husband for walks again he displayed infinite patience; saying he wanted to stop when he saw me grimace, giving me the keys to go back to the house so he could continue on our normal loop without me. We used to go miles at a time, up and down all kinds of hills and there I was, winded and slow and tired after a half a block.
I started to stretch again, to move my body and feel what was left of my muscles under the skin. I really looked at my stomach, the core of my medical issues. It seemed that I was in a constant battle with my body. As I regained a semblance of normalcy in my life I felt that I was missing strength. My extended sickness had sapped my confidence, so I started looking for a place to go where I could be pointed back to it.
As I searched the internet for a yoga studio, I stumbled upon live.love.BARRE. While not the closest place to my house, it looked welcoming and the classes were at convenient times. All of the reviews mentioned how nice everyone at the studio was. I was feeling ready to get back into shape, so I signed up for an afternoon class at the beginning of June with a bit of apprehension. Would I be able to make it?
My first class was rough. I had done barre-style workouts previously that were taught on DVD. This was different. But I loved the music, and while the class was challenging I was encouraged that nothing was too tough for me to handle. I signed up for a PIYO class the next week and that was even rougher. I couldn’t keep up, and the instructor was nice enough to show me modifications to use throughout the class. It was fine – I tried something new, and my body said “not yet.”
I kept going back to the BARRE, sometimes twice a week, sometimes more. Last week I signed up for a new class — the BARRE bootcamp. I had no idea if I would make it through a HIIT workout. As I watched myself do leg lifts in the mirror, sweat dripping down my face, I thought, “look at you. I’m so proud of you.” It was an amazing feeling, recognizing my own strength.
I’m taking classes four times a week pretty regularly now, and recently I caught myself admiring my arms and legs in the mirror. I’ve still got chicken legs, but I saw muscles in my calves that I had never seen before. My shoulders are defined, and I don’t struggle with grocery bags the way I used to. I haven’t weighed myself, but I don’t need to. I feel strong, I feel healthy, and I feel radiant. Let me tell you — that’s an amazing feeling. I’m so grateful that I found live.love.BARRE, and for the love that I found (and rediscovered) there.