22 October 2012

Healthy Style: Learning How to Walk

I originally posted this on my Weight Watchers blog after a TrainerJen workout last week that made me think (ok, most of them make me think, which is part of why I love them so much). There are obvious ties to knowing and understanding who you are, which, in my mind, extrapolate into knowing and understanding your style. See, of course, Stacy London's musings on the topic of understanding yourself and where you are in that moment first before leaping into style considerations. In my mind, there are all sorts of connections in here, particularly when I get to the "foundational" and "pitching forward on my face" parts. But you're all human, so without further ado, I'll let you form your own impressions. So here's the post...

Last week I was all proud of myself for getting my rear end to the gym and doing a solo playdate, a la TrainerJen - but without TrainerJen.

Yeah, that still stands. I saw her for yoga yesterday (all sorts of awesome ujjayi breath and flows from warrior 1 through tree to warrior 3), and then again this morning for our now regularly scheduled 1x/week session. “How are you?” she asked, and I started to blabber on about my a.ss and how I must’ve done more leg work than I thought on Tuesday because it still hurts. Then I stopped and said, “I’m fine, thanks for asking. And how are you doing?” Much more polite and present to do that than blather on about myself, right?

Anywho, we went straight into a workout, complete with pullups (leaning ones, not full ones, thankyouverymuch), pushups, 2-footed block flying (jumping up steps) and frog leaping, farmer walks, and some tortuous overhead pressy things. I was sweating. It was good.

Then she walked us towards the stairs (the cardio equipment is up there, as well as the studios). I breathed a sigh of relief (and didn’t say a word because I know if I said something, she’s say “oh, good idea, let’s do that”) when we walked up the stairs instead of stopping and running up and down said stairs, as she’s wont to make me do.

Over to the treadmill.


TrainerJen more or less doesn’t believe in old skool cardio. Even when we’re using the treadmill, elliptical trainer, stair machine, or rowing machine, it’s as a 10 minute warm-up at the beginning of a workout - and even that we haven’t done for ages.

On we go. I walk. She pushes incline and speed buttons as I walk. (She never has me run.)

Then she starts to guide me into leaning forward, shortening my too-forward stride, and moving my upper body and arms. Apparently, I don’t know how to walk.

Image via

Or rather, I walk like a girl. We women, it seems, have some weird notions about how to stand “straight.” Sticking out our chests, holding our heads “high,” as I know I thought I was taught to do, well, that just makes us stick out our a.sses. The boys might like the whole T+A show, but it wrecks havoc on our lower backs.

So I spent 15 minutes alternately walking uphill at a slower pace (during which the incline pretty much forced my torso forward to where it should be), trying to release my pelvis (and therefore my lower back) and walking faster at a lower incline (during which I was “practicing” the whole pitching my face forward while I walked thing - because that’s what it feels like). I also attempted to loosen my upper body enough to just bounce it along and swing and reach my elbows and feet back far enough to get any use out of them. I’m not so good at that letting go.

It was a remarkable 15 minutes. I was re-learning to walk. I seem to be re-learning a lot of things lately. In fact, when someone asks me about Weight Watchers, that’s what I tell them: “I’m relearning how to eat well and live well.” What I hadn’t noticed, quite frankly, but it hit me in the face this morning, is that our journey to relearn our lives is as basic as re-learning to walk. It is foundational, and if we get that right, then the rest of it - whatever “it” may be for each of us, will follow. The journey, as basic as it is, is not always simple, and breaking habits to return to our foundations (some of which some of us never had to start) is often heart-wrenching, but it is a basic journey that, if we manage to plod through it and acknowledge what we’re building, we cannot help but be successful.

1 comment:

Alison (Wardrobe Oxygen) said...

This is an amazing post, and one I needed to read this afternoon. Changing a lifestyle is like learning how to walk, in your case (and should be in mine) it can be literal too!