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Thread: Getting back in shape: Pilates and Macrobiotics

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    Getting back in shape: Pilates and Macrobiotics

    Some of you might know that I was a mountain biker before I got troubles with my knees at the beginning of this year. In about March or April, I can't remember the exact date, I stopped biking due to a bad diagnosis about my joints - and did nothing, absolutely nothing. No sports, nothing. I rapidly lost a lot of muscles and - of course - condition. And, to be honest, I gained weight. Well, first I lost it due to the loss of muscles (I was at 47 kg in my best training condition, then got down to 43 kg, which was really scary), but then I gained some kilos due to being rather inactive, which maked me stay at 50 1/2 kilos. And this felt sick, unhealthy, out of shape and completely against my nature.

    So I did some research on joint-friendly sports and ended up with Pilates. Had some lessons now and - damn - after my first course I lay gasping for breath on the floor. Me, the one who made more than 200km a week on her bike, felt close to death after 30 minutes beginner's training. And this feeling didn't went away even after several days.

    And believe me, it wasn't this "no condition"-gasping, it was worse. I know how it feels to start training again after a break, but here my whole body was rebelling against any form of movement.

    So I had a chat with my "personal coach" (sounds like I am a popstar ) who told me that I probably have to change my diet, because all this hardcore-protein-food isn't as good for a "Pilatesian" as it is for a biker.

    After doing some reading and having a long talk with a friend who is a nutritionist, I started eating macrobiotic. It's almost the classic Oshawa version, but modified a bit to my needs (more water, more fish, more milk), and, ladies and gentlemen, it feels great after the second week now. Somehow cleared, light. Hard to explain. Also the training got much better and I don't feel "dead" anylonger afterwards. And I can sense and see the muscles come back.

    So here ends the complain thread. Just wanted to share this experience with you.


    The word macrobiotics was first used by the German physician Dr. Hufeland who published his book Macrobiotics: The Art of Prolonging Life in 1796. In 1793 he was called to the chair of medicine at Jena. His focus was on a diet of natural foods. Although primarily vegetarian he did include some animal foods. His books were later published in Japanese and it is assumed that George Ohsawa, generally considered the founder of macrobiotics, became familiar with his ideas whilst formulating his own philosophy on diet and health.

    More facts on Macrobiotics here and here.

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    Pilates

    The Pilates Method (sometimes simply Pilates) is a physical fitness system that was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Pilates wrote at least two books about the Pilates method: Return to Life through Contrology and Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising That Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education.

    Pilates called his method Contrology, which refers to the way the method encourages the use of the mind to control the muscles. It is an exercise program that focuses on the core postural muscles that help keep the body balanced and are essential to providing support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath and alignment of the spine, and strengthen the deep torso muscles, which are important to help alleviate and prevent back pain.

    History
    Born in 1880 in Düsseldorf, Germany, Joseph Pilates, a German national of Greek descent, became an avid exercise enthusiast (skier, gymnast, diver, martial arts student) and developed his body into superb condition. In his teens, he was used as a model for fitness charts. Traveling to England before the first World War, he worked as a boxer and circus performer. During WWI, he was interned in the Isle of Man with other German nationals and POWs. A trained nurse in his native Germany, he was investigating ways that he could rehabilitate bed-ridden victims of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Thus he created a series of movements that could be practiced within the confines of this controlled environment. The Pilates Reformer (a piece of Pilates apparatus) is based on an old hospital bed. Returning to Germany briefly after the war, he then began training professional boxers, notably heavyweight champion Max Schmelling, and police officers. He then moved to the United States and opened his own training studio in New York city in 1926 with his wife Clara.

    Instead of performing many repetitions of each exercise, Pilates preferred fewer, more precise movements, requiring control and form. He designed more than 500 specific exercises. The most frequent form, called "matwork," involves a series of calisthenic motions performed without weight or apparatus on a padded mat. He believed that mental health and physical health were essential to one another. Pilates created what is claimed to be a method of total body conditioning that emphasizes proper alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement (The Pilates Principles) that results in increased flexibility, strength, muscle tone, body awareness, energy, and improved mental concentration. Pilates also designed five major pieces of unique exercise equipment that he claimed should be used for best results. Although the two components are often taught separately now, the method was always meant to combine both matwork and equipment exercises. In all forms, the "powerhouse" (abdomen, lower back, and buttocks) is supported and strengthened, enabling the rest of the body to move freely.

    Pilates practitioners use their own bodies as weights in training to build strength and flexibility. This is targeted without a focus on high-powered cardiovascular exercise. Today, Pilates is used in the rehabilitation process by many physical therapists. Pilates is an old approach to movement re-education that is becoming popular in the field of fitness and rehabilitation. The Pilates environment can be used as an assistive environment that optimizes the acquisition of movement with a reduction of destructive forces and can be used to progress individuals through more challenging movements that represent their day-to-day activities. Pilates' focus on building core muscles and postural awareness are especially well indicated for the alleviation and prevention of back pain. Research and theories in motor learning, biomechanics, and musculoskeletal physiology help support the phenomena experienced by many Pilates-based practitioners; however, the Pilates-based approach needs to be subjected to the rigors of research to better evaluate its efficacy in the field of rehabilitation.

    Pilates has been used to train dancers and many professional athletes in flexibility and physical strength. Joseph Pilates died in 1967, with Clara running the studio for another 11 years. In recent years it has become a popular fitness modality, with many stars attributing their lithe bodies and increased muscle tone to Pilates.

    In more recent years Pilates has been the subject of peer review research articles and is now gaining acceptance amongst the medical profession, even for conditions previously contra-indicated such as pregnancy. Adi Balogh wrote a substantial review article in the Journal of the Royal College of Midwives.


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    Joint problems sound horrible, and I'm glad I haven't had them in my yet short life.

    Pilates? Hmmm...so how much is it like Yoga? I mean, I know for one that Yoga makes you quite agile - a good friend's been doing Yoga for a number of years and can get his foot behind his head and stand on the other at the same time!:eek In any case, and kind of slightly meditative stretching usually does its service, as little as runic stance have made my hip muscles - for years my weakness, I was born with shortened ones - stretch far enough so that I can finally touch my toes!
    But how does it work for muscles? I always thought it is all mainly for the muscles to be stretched and for one to get agile - I never knew it built up physical strength though.

    But I am glad to hear that you found something that works for you and that you feel better already!

    We´ll, I am currently also trying to get back into shape. Originally already a heavyset dude who was going to restart exercise with 94 kg, quitting smoking has gotten me to a frightening all time maximum of 109kg. I've kicked the habit, but at what a price?! ])

    Well, I guess, that's a few lengths more at the pool next time?


    In any case, I have decided to make a change in my diet, radically. (Less meat in any case!) And I need a sport, for training purposes one could use swimming on one day (been always endurant at that) and working out the others. And for a sport, we'll see. Maybe I'll finally break that awfulshot put record of mine from school? (11.44 metres...:runaway)
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    I have a friend that mostly eats vegetarian but when she is doing more excessive (usually riding her bike:-) she eats more meat for the protein. I can respect this kind of vegetarian, who eats what makes their body feel better. I, on the other hand, start to feel really weak without enough meat, especially fatty red meat, even when I'm quite sedentary. I don't know if this is because of my health issues, because of patterning from the forms my exercises took in the past (I used to be a dancer) that affects my use of food for any movement, or because of my body type -I keep large muscle mass (not highly functional right now) without any exercises. I know that when I'm at my mom's and able to eat extremely healthy foods, fresh organics, much right out of the garden, and hormone free meat, my need for meat decreases somewhat. A fresh salad, with all sorts of things in it, straight from the garden, satisfies the body in the way little else can. *drool* There is nothing better than being able to follow the bodies natural cravings, if you can figure them out:-), it really does know what it's doing once you wean it off sugars, caffeine, and simple carbs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rúna
    Some of you might know that I was a mountain biker before I got troubles with my knees at the beginning of this year.
    See, now I knew absolutely none of this stuff about you! Quite silly that you never told me, don't you think? A mountain biker, eh? That sounds like a lot of fun. What happened to your knees? Just general wear and tear, or did a specific injury impair you?

    So I did some research on joint-friendly sports and ended up with Pilates. Had some lessons now and - damn - after my first course I lay gasping for breath on the floor. Me, the one who made more than 200km a week on her bike, felt close to death after 30 minutes beginner's training. And this feeling didn't went away even after several days.
    My sister-in-law is a Pilates instructor, and has been for many years. She is petite and has a very toned, athetic build, so I know the Pilats must be worth the effort. However, I am still not quite exactly sure what Pilates is, or rather what it entails. Can you enlighten me a bit?

    And believe me, it wasn't this "no condition"-gasping, it was worse. I know how it feels to start training again after a break, but here my whole body was rebelling against any form of movement.
    I get that way a bit after weight training. I've been doing circuit training for almost 3 months now, and recently added heavy muscle building to my regimen. My muscles reach get so fatigued that I can barely turn the steering wheel of my car when leaving the parking lot after working out!

    So I had a chat with my "personal coach" (sounds like I am a popstar ) who told me that I probably have to change my diet, because all this hardcore-protein-food isn't as good for a "Pilatesian" as it is for a biker.
    What sort of high protein diet did you have before? I find it difficult to find high protien foods that are low in fat and carbohydrates. Mostly I eat a TON of Tilapia to fill this need.

    After doing some reading and having a long talk with a friend who is a nutritionist, I started eating macrobiotic. It's almost the classic Oshawa version, but modified a bit to my needs (more water, more fish, more milk), and, ladies and gentlemen, it feels great after the second week now.
    It truly is amazing how much different one feels once you change your diet.

    So here ends the complain thread. Just wanted to share this experience with you.
    Good for you! I have never been a "workout" type of guy, but 3 months ago I decided that I really needed to change my eating habits and be more active, so I joined a gym and ever since, I have been a fanatic. My friends and family regularly call me the "fitness Nazi." I work out roughly 90 minutes a day, 6 days a week. 30 minutes on the eliptical trainer (which can be quite brutal,) 30 minutes on the circuit, and 30 minutes weight training. I also squeeze in a minimum of 100 Ab Lounge's per workout.

    I have never looked or felt better in my entire life. I simply cannot stop and on the off chance that I miss a day due to my schedule, I feel absolutely terrible about it, which only makes me work harder the next day.

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    I am proud of you Runa It is hard to get back into things...I know firsthand...

    I am training for a marathon, yes I know eyes: , it is something I have always wanted to do, but it is killing me too. Just when I get comfortable, I have to run further or faster, so my feet look and feel like mush. I do weight training, but mostly for my lower body. I am doing 8minute abs about 3-4 days/week...and I run(I am up to a 5k now running and walk after for 30 minutes) 6 days/week and walk for an hour my day off.


    Pilates is a great workout and puts your body and mind in a better place. I took classes before I got pregnant the first time and was in the best shape of my life!

    I have never tried macrobiotics. I am on a modified Weight Watcher diet, since having Jena. Is it hard to get used to? I might try it...

    And yes, EG, you get "addicted" to the exercise, but hey, it is a GREAT addicition to have
    "I can stop trying to discover shortcuts or easy answers to why I feel dissatisfied at times. I am the only one who can make changes, right here and now."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ewergrin
    See, now I knew absolutely none of this stuff about you! Quite silly that you never told me, don't you think? A mountain biker, eh? That sounds like a lot of fun. What happened to your knees? Just general wear and tear, or did a specific injury impair you?
    Accidents, but ages ago. Now it comes back to me. Crushed cruciate ligaments, meniscusses, patella sinews, bones. Now I got a lot of metal and plastics in both knees.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ewergrin
    My sister-in-law is a Pilates instructor, and has been for many years. She is petite and has a very toned, athetic build, so I know the Pilats must be worth the effort. However, I am still not quite exactly sure what Pilates is, or rather what it entails. Can you enlighten me a bit?
    It's a mixture of Yoga and fitness (gymnastics). Breathing is very important, everything you do you are doing in the rhythm of your breath. It's no fast sport, no rushing movements, everything is slow so that you can feel every single muscle when you move.

    It lets your muscles grow but you don't get these massive muscles, but long and athletic ones.

    But it's not just about "getting in shape", it's more about "feeling better". And you actually do. It's really relaxing although you might sweat and here and there a muscle aches.

    You can read more about it here

    Link 1
    Link 2
    Link 3 (videos)


    Quote Originally Posted by Ewergrin
    What sort of high protein diet did you have before? I find it difficult to find high protien foods that are low in fat and carbohydrates. Mostly I eat a TON of Tilapia to fill this need.
    I just consumed Body Shape Low Carb Protein Shakes, Cytogen Milk and Egg Protein, and Weide Soy Protein. Together with a lot of chicken, rice and water. Bodybuilder-like, actually.

    Gave me huge power, but wasn't so very healthy probably.

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    Quote Originally Posted by freya3
    I have never tried macrobiotics. I am on a modified Weight Watcher diet, since having Jena. Is it hard to get used to? I might try it...

    Yes, it is. I really missed some things, like all milk products (milk itself, cheese, yoghurts...) and fruits. It's a quite harsh change from almost "eating everything" to macrobiotics. No breakfast with bacon anymore, no lunch with potatos and meat, no orange juice, and so on.

    But at least I got used to it quite fast. You learn to taste food in a new way. And you recognize that you've sometimes eaten just out of boredom or generally too much. With eating 80% grains and 20 % vegetables now I eat smaller portions now without being hungry afterwards or getting hungry soon again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rúna
    And you recognize that you've sometimes eaten just out of boredom or generally too much.
    Most of the time, when people feel they have to eat just to eat, it's their bodies way of telling them to drink water, so that our bodies can get the bit of water it needs from the food eaten. Drinking plenty of water is an essential tool in fighting the urge to snack unnecessarily.

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