A Chat with Trainer and Client: Jenny Armstrong and Jill Michaels
Jill had been a regular in my reformer Pilates classes for several years, and originally had done several rounds of Shed and Shred. Then COVID happened! When we came back to in-person reformer training, Jill contacted me and asked about the possibility of working one-on-one. When we were in person prior to the shut down, she had taken a tumble off the reformer, so I think she was feeling a little insecure about “jumping back on the horse.” In addition, Jill had experienced some medical issues including some abdominal surgery, and she was looking to recover from these. We started out just working on the basics-connecting to her breath and her core and then began coordinating limb and torso movements.
Coordination is often one of the most challenging things we work on in Pilates. I like to joke that I’m not a crossword person and I haven’t jumped on the Wordle bandwagon, but that some of the movements we practice in Pilates with arms and legs and torso controlled and moving differently are “my version of Sudoku!”
When Jill took her tumbled, she injured one side of her body, so we have been working on her balance: working both sides of her body equally as well as standing and kneeling upright. In Pilates, stepping up onto the Reformer machine can seem daunting, but Jill has come back stronger than before. We are now working on challenging her balance in split stances, such as kneeling and lunging, without holding onto something. I place myself nearby when we are doing something challenging, but she has been using my help less and less, and we are laughing more and more! It is truly a joy to spend time with Jill, whether it’s seeing her in class or working together one-on-one, she always brings her sense of humor and intelligence to the table.
I am writing this on the 10th anniversary of my husband Al Zielenski’s passing. I begin with this because it was the impetus for my checking out and then joining UVAC. You see, Al was a really good chef (learned at his Italian mother’s knee). So, our joint collection of kids and grandkids, as a result, are now very good cooks. And that meant at the time, a thirty odd pound weight gain for me over the 30 some years we were together.
So, shortly after his passing I joined UVAC and have never turned back. I was quickly drawn to Shed and Shred with John Grainger at the head of the class. I did lose all of that weight. I actually had to stop Shed and Shred because, according to my doctor, I was (amazingly for me) losing too much weight. So, I switched to John as a personal trainer once a week and added Pilates class with Jenny who turned out to be amazing. When John left, I focused on Pilates classes with Jenny.
I don’t have exact times when various changes happened, but suffice it to say, when COVID hit, things changed dramatically. At the time, I didn’t have a good home workout machine, so I bought a new rowing machine and set it up as a second choice and waited until UVAC reopened. When it did, I started to use a 2 personal training session system, one with Jenny and one with Carrie. That has worked wonderfully. Getting back in condition was a challenge, I was somewhat behind where I was when COVID hit. And then I had (and am still having) some health challenges that get in the way, but Jenny and Carrie are wonderful about rescheduling when needed.
I am turning 76. I am stronger now than I was at 55 (or maybe even 25).