So I was thrilled when the online program launched. RB360 lets me work out to programs I love and have found to be so effective for strengthening and toning. I get the expertise, the energy, and the training wherever I am, whenever I can fit it in. I homeschool my younger two a couple days a week. One day we were having a rough day, so I sent them out for “recess” and I pulled up a body engineering program. 45 minutes later, we were able to come back to the table and finish up our work. Another day was full of errands and chores and to do lists. I picked my oldest up from school, told her she could have a snack, then literally locked myself in my room to get a quick 40 minutes of cardio. I came back out ready to talk to her about her day and start cooking supper.
After I had my first kid, my body changed dramatically. I also became isolated from my peer group, experienced interrupted sleep for the first time in my life, and had to learn how to care for and keep another human being alive. I was exhausted, run down, and overwhelmed. When my son was six months old, I found a group of other new(ish) moms to work out with. Elisabeth was my trainer and this is where our relationship--as well as my relationship with movement--really began. I’d always been active off and on throughout my life--spurts of activity mingled with spurts of inactivity. But it was in this season when I began to learn how much I needed to vigorously move and strengthen my body. I learned that caring in this way for myself caused me to be a better mom and wife, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I wish I could say that the lesson stuck, and this wasn’t something I would have to relearn, but I forgot.
Once again, Elisabeth intervened in my life, at a time when I needed to remember how important movement was to my emotional stability. My husband and I had just added kid number three to our family, this time via the adoption of a ten-year-old girl from Uganda. The emotional toll of that on me caught me by surprise. I found myself withdrawing from life, becoming a shell of a person. Elisabeth reached out to me, hoping to recreate something similar to the program from years before. I found myself getting stronger physically, but by far the biggest benefit was mental. I became more present in my life. My emotions stabilized. I was able to be there for the people who needed me because I was taking care of myself first.
My kids are no longer little, but life has gotten fuller, if that’s possible. I spend my days being a taxi-driver, laundress, housekeeper, butler, financial planner and chef. We’ve got friends and family and practices and games to attend. And it’s hard to fit in time for the things I need. It’s always a balance. And that’s why RB360 is so important to me. I love it when I can make it to the studio and work out around people. I love the energy. I love the community and the connection. Lee and Elisabeth have created something truly special in the heart of Austin. But in the season I’m in right now, it wasn’t happening as often as I like.
It’s not easy carving out those spaces for me. But again and again I see how I’m a better version of myself when I do. That’s the drive. I love RedBird for so many reasons, but the main one is because they’ve tapped into a language and heartbeat that makes sense to me. Every movement sets the intention to do better than you did the time before; to find your range of movement and stay there. We’re all different--and I love how RebBird and RB360 hold space for that and honor that. It’s not about perfection. It’s about showing up for ourselves. It’s about being present in this one beautiful life we’ve each been given.
Lee Vallely and Elisabeth Kristof bring you informative articles about exercises, Pilates principles and the RedBird community!