Question: What part of the body gets more exposure than any other one in a bathing suit?
If you answered “legs” then you were right. And today this is the part of the body that we are targeting with our Pilates workout. But before we get to the workout let me tell you something funny about it.
When I was recording this video a pretty obnoxious fly found its way into my studio. I had a choice either to stop recording the video and spend the next 30 minutes chasing that fly or finish my (and your) workout in spite of the fly’s best efforts to distract me.
Flies are usually very annoying but they can be a great visual reminder of our mental distractions.
Did you ever start a workout just to find yourself thinking about all the errands that you have to run, an unpleasant conversation at work or your plans for supper that night? These thoughts take over your mind and you stop paying attention to your moves or your form. This loss of concentration is dangerous in two ways:
- When you stop paying attention to your form you create perfect conditions to get injured.
- When you lose your concentration you stop engaging your deep core muscles and start working on autopilot. You lose the “control” part of Contrology (Contrology is the name that Joseph Pilates gave to his method. I believe that it better describes the purpose and the main benefit of Pilates.)
When you are facing a “fly” in your thoughts you have three options:
- You can stop whatever you are doing and get completely engrossed in chasing that fly or making sure that it doesn’t land near you. I had a temptation to stop my workout and chase that nasty fly away. However, I had only 20 minutes to record the video before my kids were going to come back from their walk. If I had spent my valuable time chasing the fly I wouldn’t have gotten my workout and wouldn’t have recorded a workout for you.
- Ignore the distraction. You can pretend that the fly doesn’t exist and continue with your activity. Sooner or later that fly will get so annoying that you will absolutely explode.
- Deal with the distraction at hand. I chose to continue my workout and to deal with the distraction when it appeared. I acknowledged that the fly was there and simply shooed it away. Simple and effective.
When you face distractions during your workout or in life in general you always have a choice of what to do with them. Each situation is different and you need to consider your circumstances before deciding on the best plan of action for you.
If you are having trouble concentrating on a workout
- Remove the distraction you are already aware of before you start working out (turn off your phone, turn on a movie for your kids etc.)
- If a distracting thought creeps into your head when you are trying to concentrate on finding your Pilates form then simply acknowledge the thought and mentally decide that you will get back to it later. Don’t let it consume you and don’t fight it. Remember, the more you try to swat a fly the more annoying it usually gets.
- Distractions are a normal part of life. Did you ever start a detox program or sign up for a series of classes just to find yourself buried under a pile of projects at work or bombarded with every possible temptation? You have the best intentions but all of a sudden you catch a cold, or your friend brings a batch of your favorite cookies as a special “I love you, BFF” surprise, or you are invited to every possible party that you could only think of. We always try to pick the best timing to get in shape but the reality of life is that something will always happen. If something gets in the way we use it as a reason why we didn’t succeed. Does this scenario sound familiar?
If you are waiting for the time when all the “flies” in you life will be gone then this time will never come.
- Flies really aren’t there to get you. For a moment there I thought that the only reason why that silly fly was around me was to irritate me. In fact, that fly didn’t care a thing about me. It was doing what flies are made to do (looking for food, I guess, I am not a fly expert.)
When you face distractions in life or in your workout remember that those distractions are not out there to get you.
If a friend invites you over for a Happy Hour she doesn’t want to sabotage your efforts to get in shape. Just let her know about your plans and ask her to join Bikini Body Rescue or take a class at a Pilates studio with you.
Let people know your goals and ask them to help you stick to the plan (or, even better, join you!)
I never thought that a tiny annoying fly could have been a centerpiece of a Pilates article.
You know, the funny thing is that after editing and watching the video I realized that the fly was not even noticeable. Sometimes we make a big deal out of very little things. Hmm, a thought to ponder upon…
Okay, let’s stop distracting here and get on with the workout. It’s time to engage our legs and glutes. Enjoy and let me know what you think!