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Norma’s Story:

norma-before

Three years ago, I broke my left leg in two places, broke my ankle in three places, and shattered my heel. Recovery was definitely NOT the ‘six to eight weeks’ that the doctor quoted!  Later that year, both of my children married and both of my parents passed away—by the end of 2009, I was drained emotionally and physically.

In early 2010, a coworker who knew that I wanted to become more active asked me if I had ever heard of the Bar Method. I did some research and thought I’d like to try it, but I didn’t have any real idea what I was getting myself into. I was 75 pounds overweight, wore a size 3X, and still limped when I walked, and I had significant swelling in my ankle where there were two metal pins. The doctor gave his OK, (probably doubting I would last through the first class), and so February 27, 2010, I went to my first Bar Method class. Somehow, I managed to struggle through it, but I could barely walk out of the building!!!

Was I hooked?  Are you kidding?

No.

I couldn’t walk without pain—I mean real pain—for two weeks. I thought about getting my crutches back out. Yet there was something about the routine, the enthusiasm of the instructor, and the overall energy and feel in that class that made me want to at least try, so March 12th I signed up for one month. That first month was pure torture. I was the heaviest, the oldest, and, assuredly, the most out-of-shape participant, and yet the teachers and students were so kind and encouraging that I continued to struggle through. Every class took Herculean effort, and yet as I watched the other students—how hard they worked, how focused they were, and how they consistently showed up—I made up my mind to keep going.

Now, a little over two years later, I have lost those 75 pounds, lost countless inches, and wear a size 8 pant. Who would have thought that I would be anywhere at 6:00 a.m., let alone at an exercise class, six days per week!!? I can do pushups on my toes, stay in the thigh work (my biggest challenge!), and love arabesque (pretzel, not so much!). My doctor is amazed at my statistics…ALL of my numbers are in the normal range, and that is so satisfying!

Maika, Bev, Luke, Pam, and all the instructors have made such a difference to me, day after day. Their energy, encouragement, support, and passion are absolutely invaluable and have changed me. My fellow Bar participants are the best! They are so encouraging, noticing even the smallest improvements, affirming and including me all the way—age doesn’t seem to be an issue here. My son and daughter can’t get over the changes that the Bar Method has made in my body and in my life.

The muscle that you don’t realize that you are building and working, day after day, is your ‘mindset muscle’… the part that tells the rest of you that you can do whatever you put your mind to. Our lives unfold with the usual high hopes, and yet they come with a share of disappointments and unfulfilled expectations. Hearing the class instructor continually repeat, “don’t give up on yourself, stay in it!” or “focus, look yourself in the eyes and stick with it!” develops that ‘mindset muscle,’ which has allowed me to rebuild my body, my mind, my relationships, and my life…from ‘the bone out’. I am more confident, self-assured, and so proud of becoming strong and fit.

In my youth, I was never heavy and always had ‘skinny’ legs that I took for granted. When I broke my leg, it turned my life upside down. I was laid up with plenty of time to think about how I was going to reconstruct my health, my fitness, and my overall wellbeing. It’s been a journey with lots of hard work, sweat, and, yes, tears along the way, but also with new friendships, new experiences, and renewed dreams. Now, I look at my legs, and while they are far from perfect, they are the legs that I, and Bar Method, have built—strong, grounded, and balanced. If you were to ask me what I am most proud of these days (besides my children and beautiful grandbabies!) it would be my walk. I walk with purpose, head up, shoulders back, and no trace of a limp.

norma-after

This summer, I will turn 60 I had been dreading this particular birthday because I thought it signified a ‘decline’— my ‘autumn years.’Now, I don’t think so!I feel great— younger than I did at 50— and I am celebrating this milestone by walking 100 miles across Spain on the El Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route. Someone asked me why. My answer? BECAUSE I CAN!

THANK YOU, Bar Method!!!