Dominic Byrne on the reformer, Mode Pilates, Mosman

22 Nov 23

By Dominic Byrne

Single Parent Getting After It

I had a big goal to complete >150 combined sessions of Pilates, Yoga or stretching by February 2024.

I arrived at this goal two months early, today I did my 100th Pilates session on top of >50 stretching sessions and a handful of yoga classes.

While I wasn’t specific on the break up of each discipline I wanted Pilates to be the most dominant.

What has been my reward for achieving this goal?

beautiful orange sunset with birds and water

No better reward than huge improvements in core strength, flexibility, posture, rehabilitation/ injury recovery and better athletic performance in the sports I’m able to do. Along with potential injury prevention, massive gains in muscle endurance and while hard to measure and attribute I believe stress reduction and a better mind-body connection.

This big goal and its associated gains are a foundation and base to work on other aspiring goals I’ve dreamt up.

At the commencement of this calendar year, I ambitiously documented 50 goals to achieve before 50. Achieving them all is improbable but it’s a foundation of purpose that keeps me motivated and moving.  Some of these goals, especially the ones that include a running element depend upon exceptional musculoskeletal health, which I’m devoted to bettering.

The issue is I’m working against my body clock. As I hastily move through half a ton, I feel my muscle mass decrease (sarcopenia), which causes regression in strength and mobility, bone density lessens, metabolism slows and my ageing body starts to produce less testosterone. It’s harder to respond to training, to gain muscle, to run, to move freely and react fast.

I want to slow my body’s ageing down and the number one reason is to be healthy and happy for my children and their children. Any additional challenge I complete on top of being an active dad and participating in sports with my kids, is a bonus.

I’ve been researching and putting into practice solutions to slow ageing and improve bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and cartilage. There is no secret source, a healthy lifestyle is the baseline answer; and the core ingredients of regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and stress management will mitigate age-related changes. There is a lot of work in this so you have to be super committed.

In an analysis of what I can do to over-index my effort of remaining youthful , I landed on Pilates as a key pillar to support the multiple goals I want to achieve.

Dominic Byrne, Mode Pilates, Mosman, Sydney

I did my first Pilates class at Mode in Mosman in February and today I’m 100 deep. The close to home practice and their modern training approach have been the perfect fit for me, offering dynamic mat or reformer classes, guided exercises with precision and control, with great instructors who nuke muscles in your body you didn’t know you had. I love that each class is different from the next.

The classes I attend incorporate elements from other fitness disciplines, such as yoga, dance, and physical therapy. It’s all focused on a strong core that helps support the spine, improve posture, and enhance overall stability. I have a way to go with my breathing during the flows but it’s a great discipline to make you present. Practitioners are encouraged to synchronise breath with movement, promoting relaxation, concentration, and body awareness.

I haven’t run properly for nearly two years, but over the last couple of months, I’ve completed three soft sand runs and two stair sessions with the goal of increasing the frequency and distance. My plantar fasciitis and peroneal tendonitis are the best they’ve been for 22 months. I’m doing multiple things to remedy my body’s old injuries and wear and tear, I attribute Pilates as a key ingredient to the gains I have achieved.

I have a couple of new niggles from a few little tip overs on my bike and my knees and lower back need improvement but I’ve got optimism on my side. Fingers crossed I’m running around in a 35-year musculoskeletal framework sometime soon. It’s beginning to feel like it.

When you’re perpetually injured I believe that body trauma, its restrictions and associated pain can have a negative effect on mental health and contribute to depression and anxiety. When your body is firing on all cylinders it’s truly liberating.

Healthy sports done regularly, that form part of you life and become habit, give you purpose and purpose gives you satisfaction, resiliency and joy.

Joseph Pilates was on to something.

purpose is everything


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