Monday, October 27, 2008

Pilates, Shaolin Workouts and One-Hundred Push-Ups

Perhaps those close to me would say that I like a challenge. It's one of those bland, filler phrases that seems to occupy CVs everywhere. Some part of me likes to think I do enjoy a challenge and that I rise to them. Of course when you meet one goal, the next obvious thing to do is to set a new one...I'm all for moving forward!

So I'm getting really close (like REALLY close) to my weight-loss target. I actually met the first one some time ago, and set a new one...progress! So I've been keeping my mind open for opportunities.

I've gotta say that the Pilates has been brilliant this year. I'm sure it's strengthened my core and all that jazz. I did it for over six months, three times per week quite religiously. I managed to complete a basic Pilates book by Jennifer Dufton - all the way up to level three.

I haven't found a class to push myself further, but I found something else...
I got sucked into watching a great tv series called Mind Body and Kick Ass Moves and found the dvd really cheap online and watched the whole series...a couple of times. Chris Crudelli presents it in a very down-to-earth style I found totally fascinating to watch. It inspired me to revisit my own (very short) foray into martial arts when I did tai'chi at the age of 21!

I never completed the Yang Form as it was called...and I kinda regretted it ever since. However, Amazon being the genius that it is - suggested a book that people bought when buying the dvd of Mind, Body and Kick Ass was called The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body, Mind and Spirit with Kung Fu .

I bought the book on a whim...and I expected it to be an instructional book - a bit like the Pilates one.
I got more than I bargained for!

Yes it's an instructional book, yes it shows exercises and stuff to do but it also introduces the basics behind Buddhism and the practice of Shaolin Kung-Fu. The book is structured to be completed in 28 days. The really interesting thing is that not only does it have physical exericise, but it also includes a daily meditation.

I bought it not only for the physical side of it, but also the mental discipline.

The Shaolin Workout
So when I started reading, I realised I'd taken on something quite weighty so as a teacher I was glad I had the summer holidays to practice! It's taken me since July to get through the 28 days...but I can completely recommend it.

At one point I was working my way through the book, and doing my Pilates too. I noticed that my Pilates was waaaaay better. I've felt the results of this workout really quickly in terms of flexibility and becoming leaner. It actually says in the book that most people stop other forms of exercise such as Pilates. I didn't think I would...but I have! This workout is more intense...but has similar benefits.

I can touch the ground in front of my toes, with my feet together.


Now - I'm practising the full workout everyday. It takes me around 40 mins...and on average I burn 350-400 calories. (I can tell because I invested in a heart-rate's helped me with the weight loss!) Which is a lot - considering all I'm really doing is stretches, kicks and punches...

Aside from all this, I still do a one-man-mosh-pit workout for about half-an-hour occasionally, but my latest thing (always gotta keep moving forward!) is something I've heard about ages ago (thanks Jules), but only recently looked up: one hundred push ups.

This beauty of a workout is designed to get you to be able to do one-hundred press-ups consecutively. It requires no special equipment, and no previous knowledge. Genius!

I started it on Monday this week...and it's spread over six weeks. The workout consists of completing five sets of a specific number of press-ups, three times a week. Obviously it gets harder as you keep going. Part of the workout is also measuring progress by seeing how many you can actually complete.

For my initial assessment I completed 22 consecutive, good form press-ups. Admittedly, it was straight after my shaolin workout, but apparently 22 is still quite good.

So I've started another journey.

It also gives me a reason to keep writing my blog more regularly! Watch this space!


This post was brought to you by: Pilates, Shaolin Kung-Fu, and being able to touch my toes.

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