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Lisa T. -February 2010 Client of the Month


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When Lisa walked into the studio, she was in horrible pain and without much hope that she could feel better. She was on a medical leave of absence from work and spent much of her time icing her back. Before being injured, she was a vibrant elementary school teacher and avid world traveler.

 "A year and a half ago, I slipped at work and slipped a disc at the same time. I underwent four months of physical therapy, chiropractic appointments and two epidurals. Doctors were telling me that the pain was 'normal' and I'd probably be in pain for the rest of my life. My daily activities had become excruciating. I was so badly injured that walking was painful. After trying yoga, I started Pilates."

 

When Lisa started working at Aspire, we started out slowly. "The first couple of weeks in private sessions, we worked on breathing exercises to get my core muscles to kick in. It doesn't sound like much, but I was in pain and too weak for anything else." These basic exercises gave Lisa a solid sense of body awareness, began strengthening her deep core muscles, and helped to stabilize her spine. In order to minimize her pain, we also suggested changes in how Lisa approached her daily activities, such as how to sit while grading papers and positions in which to sleep, which began to make an impact on how she felt.

 

Prior to beginning Pilates at Aspire, Lisa had little success relieving her pain or strengthening her body. But with this new and careful "inside out" Pilates approach, she gained strength, stability, improved body mechanics and endurance. She worked very hard throughout the summer, integrating the new techniques into her life. Then just before school started, a dramatic announcement came from her doctor: Lisa was cleared to return to work! "When I went back to work, I was SO HAPPY, but so nervous that I was going to hurt myself again or be back in pain. Thankfully, that hasn't happened."

 

Lisa continues to get stronger and stronger. After 18 months of not being able to workout or exercise, she still surprises herself that she is now able to spend an hour on the Elliptical. "Now I really understand what it means to use my core and am always surprised that now my stomach and legs are doing most of the work for me instead of my back."

 

"At my last appointment, the doctor said that my injury was considered 'stationary' and that I was working at 90%. Tonya has made it her personal challenge to help get me back to 100%." Will Lisa ever be back to 100%? Only time will tell. But through her hard work and positive attitude, Lisa has already gone far beyond what she or her doctors had dared to imagine. With less than eight months under her Pilates belt, she gets stronger and stronger, and the quality of her life has changed for the better. Our guess? That we will soon see Lisa, once again, leading youth groups across the world.

 

Best of luck, Lisa! You are a true inspiration!

 


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December Client of the Month - Heather S.

 

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When Heather walked in the door over a year ago, Aspire Pilates Center lit up. She was energetic, enthusiastic, open minded, and ready to explore the wonderful world of Pilates. She loved high performance training and had spent many years enjoying fitness. She had explored everything from skiing, to kickboxing, to hard core, early morning, baby boot camp classes. She loved the rush of working out and her enthusiasm was infectious.

Just as with all new clients that come to Aspire, we started out slowly and carefully with Heather, laying a solid foundation to strengthen muscles underutilized in the body.She looked fit and had more strength than the average person walking in the front door, but needed improvement with her flexibility and balance.She had also developed some compensation patterns from her work outs and daily life that manifested in neck and lower back pain.

Heather was patient as we began unraveling old habits and her back pain went away.We worked a bit more to strengthen new body mechanics and her neck pain went away. She became graceful, well aligned, strong and took each challenge that was thrown at her to the next level.She soon began doing the tricky type of exercises that we see flashy characters doing in Pilates videos or on TV.

Then one day, Heather walked into the studio with a strong limp, labored movement and a panicked look on her face.I learned that this active mother of four had been battling an autoimmune condition for some time that had profound effects on her health. The illness affected the sensation in her fingers and toes and her body would severely stiffen and weaken, which assaulted her ability to walk normally.She'd have to "Start back at square one and recover externally, internally, mentally and physically", says Heather.It was an awful cycle that would manifest at important times of stress and leave her emotionally and physically drained for months.

The beauty of Pilates is that when it is taught well, it is an exercise form that is truly accessible to everyone.So what if we couldn't do her usual fancy, circus- like tricks during these times when the illness showed itself?We worked slowly and carefully, focused on her alignment, her strength, flexibility and balance in ways that were accessible to where she was on those bad days.

 

"No matter how bad a day is or how rough a week it has been... going to Aspire Pilates Center makes me walk out revived and ready to take on what is next." - Heather S.



Working carefully through Heather's bad days, her recent episodes have passed in days or weeks instead of months. Even when not feeling her best, she feels empowered that she is stronger and more coordinated, so doesn't need to fear her labored gait or "how bad it could get".She is now partnered with her body, rather than trapped as a victim of its current challenges.


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"There is always a challenge to overcome and that feeling of accomplishment is worth more than words can say!!" - Heather S.


Nowadays, Heather bounds effortlessly from one piece of Pilates equipment to the next and is a force to be reckoned with.Her muscles are long and powerful, she is pain free, and ran a mini-marathon this year.And Tonya now has to actually warm up to demonstrate her exercises because of the difficulty of her program!Whether it's putting an end to her pain so that she can care for her children, calming her body during times of crises, or training for her next "Muddy Buddy" race, Heather really knows how to do it.


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