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“I have gained muscle where I didn’t even know I had a muscle (Holy cow; Triceps, who knew you were there all this time?!)”

~Val

Grace noun \grās\: a way of moving that is smooth and attractive and that is not stiff or awkward. Also: ease and suppleness of movement or bearing – approval, favor, mercy, pardon – disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency

The above word has never come easy to me. Ever. I never took ballet or any form of dance. I did venture into yoga about 10 years ago, but it was power yoga and I never felt that I was the one in the class, easily moving from pose to pose smoothly.

I grew up as an athlete. A powerful one who was known for her state records in stealing bases as a lead-off batter in softball. In fact, until I suffered a knee blow out, softball was to be my ticket to an all tuition paid college career.

On a deeper level I have always struggled with having grace for myself. Much like any other person in this outward appearance obsessed culture; I have never been particularly kind to myself when it comes to looking in the mirror. Plus, I work in the entertainment industry, where I was literally told to lose weight in order to get a job. Having approval for my body, being kind to myself… these are things that I struggle with; or rather struggled with on a daily basis. I stress the past tense now. I do so because of where I am today.

I decided to take part in The Bar Method Fall Fitness Challenge. I have never done a challenge in my life, let alone one that involves this type of physical work out. I was tired of saying all those things like “oh, tomorrow I’ll eat better or start working out“ or “after this project or this holiday I’ll start taking my work out plan seriously”. I knew that if I signed up and paid the money on a monthly basis I would go. I knew that I would be able to at least show up. What I didn’t know was how drastically it would change me.

In three months, by attending 56 classes; I have found grace. I walk with ease. I move throughout my day smoothly. I feel taller and stronger, but in a subtle way. Not in some truculent form moving around aggressively. I have lost inches. I have lost weight.

I have gained muscle where I didn’t even know I had a muscle (Holy cow; Triceps, who knew you were there all this time?!) These are all amazing things, however they pale in comparison to the grace I have found for myself as a human. The kindness I have now towards my appearance and body. The courtesy I have for others. The gratitude overall.

I have the Bar Method to thank. Yes: I showed up. Yes; I did the work. But none of this change would have happened if the opportunity had not been presented. None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for the incredible staff (who ALWAYS knew my name) encouraging me. None of this would have happened without stars on walls, laughter, and positive re-reinforcement.

None of it would have happened without shaking and cursing and pushing. None of it would have happened without being surrounded by a community of others that are relentless in their inspiration. None of it would be possible without a safe place to try and try again.

These are the things the Bar Method provides. This is what the last three months have given me. Because of it I walk taller, stronger. Because of it I have more confidence and joy. Because of The Bar Method Fall Fitness Challenge I am graceful. I. Am. Full of GRACE.