#Realclients and their real strength…

Working out is hard.  If it weren’t it might instead be called ‘playing out’, or maybe ‘funning out’?  Either way its tough, and for many reasons.  No matter what anyone tells you there is no easy way to getting stronger and more fit.  It takes hard work, discipline, and proper direction, and that’s without all of the obstacles that get in the way.  Schedule conflicts,  stress, injury are all culprits.  But sometimes your worst workout enemy isn’t something external, but instead its yourself.  We would argue that more often than not a person’s biggest challenge is not the class, the arabesques, or the pretzels, but instead it’s their lack of faith in themselves.  All too often we truly do not know our own strength, we don’t know what we are capable of or what we can overcome.  Today’s #RealClients #RealResults blog post comes from someone who has some experience with this particular challenge.  She shares with us her journey of overcoming at The Barre.  We are very pleased to have her as part of The Barre family and she brightens our day every time she walks through the door.  In her own words, we give you Dawn Potkins:

My friend, who, at the time was 60 years of age and training for an Iron Man Triathlon asked about my first visit to The Barre. I had come across the principle in a woman’s magazine and much to my surprise found a studio within driving distance.

Although the private Physio plus homework had really helped after the hip fracture I felt stuck. I was underweight and looking like a lemon on a stick. Being a ‘bit young’ for a hip replacement the fracture had been pinned and I was discharged with no NHS physio to a life on crutches for three months. My exercise regime was very good but a boring weekly swissball circuit.

My response to the enquiry was quite morose. In a nutshell, I had arrived quite late for the 1st Barre class being delayed by traffic jams. It was in the time of the old studio and I felt very exposed arriving in my flustered state to be greeted by an open area with sofa and magazines plus a very well groomed middle-aged woman at a desk facing me. I came out of the class really narked and frustrated: sets were counted to 10 and not 8 like in the decade of Jane Fonda classes, there was not a mirror to see what the instructor was doing and it was so fast a class with really stupid poses that I had no idea what I was doing. Even worse the music blared out so how could I hear these instructions anyway and the woman Maxine looked like she was far too young to have proper teaching skills.

My friend and I decided that another shorter class with a different instructor, Natalie, may be worth a try. ReAb was chosen as I remembered in the dim and distant past it was loads of little tummy crunches so surely with all the coughing from my chronic chest condition that should be ok? Plus, there would not be any standing on my legs. I was met by a diminutive Natalie: figure of The Sugar Plum Fairy topped by a shock of cropped, bleached hair. The first exercise required me to stand on a bent leg reaching out with one arm, tuck my butt with other little adjustments leading to a very precarious stance and then lift the raised leg even further to tap the still elbow. We started on my weak leg.

I still go to The Barre.

Yes, I still attend the Barre.

The Barre still sees me coming through the doors of the current studio. If I am early, I may sit on the cushion marked with an L so then you will see the word PIES across the sofa.

Despite the high DNA rate and late cancels The Barre and I have melded in some way. In the conversation with Natalie after ReAb class, I knew I had to leave the small bubble of a world that chronic ill health brings as I had lost touch with reality in terms of my potential for becoming stronger.

My health conditions require a medication regime of 6 puffs of inhalers a day plus a daily tablet regime that alters across the week from 9 to 11 per day. When the chest plays up I graduate to the dizzy heights of Domestos Strength meds pushing the daily intake up a further 6-8 tablets.

Breathe: is my litmus test class and one I will attend if I can make the car journey. No matter how long I have been away or how early it is in the recovery stage I can focus on the lateral breathing I will need in other classes and test my hip muscle strength with the M stretch. The roller keeps the hip muscle spasms at bay. I have a roller for use at home peeps! Sometimes, I come out feeling as tired as some of you do as you pour out of Barrdio to give me your welcoming hugs but I have a real sense of achievement with it because we should all celebrate reaching the top of whatever mountain we have climbed.

1st Barre is great as Maxine’s cheerful voice gets me through the plies. I can really focus on technique as it really does slip, my friends, so that all sorts of ‘little cheats’ appear. I get inspired by the newcomers and sometimes there is a known Barre attender keeping me company.

At the moment, I am just entering the faster Open Barre and have a little clutch of Express classes to hand. I have not left 1st Barre behind as I can really push the edges of the exercises at a safe pace which will stand me in good stead for more technically demanding classes.I have attended Power classes in the past but do not have the stamina for them at the moment. They are really fun you know.

My bubble has grown as The Barre has provided intellectual stimulation, great folk for friendships and a much better understanding of mind/ body connection. I have gained weight as my appetite has improved and I am not a lemon on a stick anymore. I have learned how to use eye liner plus loads of other stuff that comes from a better quality of life.

So what to the future then. Well, no-one can predict it but it is my wish that if all goes well and I am here in 15 years time for my 75th birthday someone at The Barre will roll out the red carpet as I arrive in my driverless car.

Editor’s note: Dawn and Max are now best of friends 🙂


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