Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Share the Love: The Dailey Method {1/3}

Blame it on two babies in two years, unfortunate genetics or having spent most of my life overweight and under-toned.

Whatever the reason, I've come to accept that my core needs some serious work.

Though several health professionals have nicely relayed for quite some time that I've needed to engage in some serious core strengthening to target those minor muscles in the core and back that don't get much attention, I continued to live in denial.

I mean, I own a Curves for goodness sake, and I work out there. Certainly, I have strong muscles, I'd rationalized.

But the neck pain, the lower back pain and my posture were saying -- sometimes screaming -- something else --mostly they were echoing what my health-care professionals knew: indeed, I do have strong muscles in my body; some just aren't nearly as strong as the ones that were getting serious work four days per week at my club.

Nonetheless when recommendations of pilates and yoga were given, I scoffed. Both sounded unappealing and boring. I mean, I thrive on movement during my workouts and all I'd seen from either of those were small, quiet poses.

Call it an answered prayer I didn't know I'd uttered, but an opportunity landed on my doorstep in serendipitous timing when the words core work kept getting dropped in closer intervals: a 30-day unlimited membership to The Dailey Method of Lake Forest, featuring classes that specifically aim to improve core strength, posture and flexibility as well as promote long, lean muscles through a combination of barre ballet, yoga and pilates was offered in exchange for writing about my experiences.

Like any one contemplating adding {more} exercise to the week, I spent about 20 minutes making excuses. I debated internally about committing for several reasons, the first being that we own a Curves. Wouldn't this essentially be cheating on my beloved? But John and I discussed and I knew I really needed to supplement specific additional exercise to gain the core strength I so desperately needed, so I jumped. 

And I'm so glad I did.

After my first week of classes at The Dailey Method, I know I made the right decision for my body.

I spent the majority of the first class trying to keep up with the instruction and get a hold on these foreign-to-me fluid movements and poses.

After my second and third classes, I knew better how to engage, and I felt sore in muscles I didn't know I had, thus further proving that, oh, yes, they do exist and oh, yes, they do need to be strengthened.

The day after I completed my fourth class, my body began craving these new-to-me movements. Thanks to one instructor, Emily, who took the time to reposition me myriad times during that class, I finally feel like I'm really learning the intricacies of the deep poses and what engagement of some of these small muscles actually feels like.

Five hour-long classes later, I feel balanced and lean and energized. My posture has noticeably improved as my muscles are already holding onto the new memory of positions acquired while engaging in the poses and movements during the classes.

Of course, these new muscle memories were hard-fought victories; I silently cried through some of the poses we held as the class instructors rallied us to pull certain muscles even tighter and then add small pulses to the pose. That said, The Dailey Method workouts are quite challenging and require some serious mind-over-matter committment. One woman in my class who has been taking TDM classes since January said it really well: Once you think you've got it down and it's going to be easy, it gets harder again because you know what it means to really engage the muscles and pull them even tighter.

During the next few weeks, I'm excited to experience that for myself and discover whether working these sneakily hidden muscles and stretching them diliberately and thoroughly significantly decreases my neck and lower-back pain while improving my posture.

Though I'm tackling these classes to gain core strength rather than lose weight {my doc advised I let my weight stabilize after such rapid loss from last summer's Curves Complete challenge followed by more drastic loss while healing my GI issues this year}, I decided anyway to post pictures simply to show whether posture improvement and core strengthening can be measured visually instead of only by feeling. 

{Note that I'm doing The Dailey Method classes in addition to my regular Curves workouts.}

So here's week one, two classes in:

photo (40)

Stay tuned for the second of three updates next Tuesday. 

The Dailey Method of Lake Forest has generously gifted me with unlimited classes for 30 days in exchange for writing about my experiences. All opinions are my own, and I take seriously the responsibility to share my  true experiences and feelings. 


  1. Work it, mama! Work it hard. :)

  2. Go! Hy Go! So awesome. I do Reformer Pilates once a week and I used to do it three times a week after the kids were born. It's the only thing that kicked my back pain, eliminated the muffin top and fixed my hips {ok my hips are still jacked up, but they don't hurt as much} I can't wait to see more.

  3. love it! keep up the hard work- it will pay off! :) can't wait to hear more, and to finally meet you!

    xoxo, tina

  4. Look at you, you skinny minny! I am going to keep up with your progress because my core needs SERIOUS work.

  5. Yay! (And I've done lots of silent crying too. haha!)


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