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Getting in Shape: A Body Sculpting Transformation Story
Before becoming a Bar Method student, Marilyn Catis never thought of herself as athletic. “I tended to be on the normal-to-thinner side, so I didn’t need to exercise,” she told me. Marilyn grew up one of three children within a warm, tight-knit family in a New Jersey community about 50 miles from New York City. She married at age 28 and two years later, in 2000, started trying to have a child. Her plans did not bear fruit. In six years, Marilyn miscarried all of her pregnancies, six in all. “I was very stressed out,” she recalls. “I would gain weight, lose weight, gain weight, lose weight. I wasn’t exercising at all.” Needless to say, her weight was the least of her concerns at this point in her life. In 2006, Marilyn and her husband Demetri underwent two IVF cycles that both failed. “That’s when I said to myself, “Forget it,'” Marilyn remembers.
In spite of her disappointment, her dreams for a child did not die. That year the couple started to fill out the paperwork for adoption. So now with her sights on another route to motherhood – and after so many miscarriages — Marilyn was not overjoyed to discover that she was soon pregnant again. To make it worse, she was spotting, a sign that she would yet again miscarry. Marilyn wondered if at this juncture she should have a hysterectomy. “I can’t have another miscarriage,” she told the nurse at her fertility clinic.
Luckily Marilyn didn’t have a hysterectomy. No one knows why, but this time her pregnancy hung on, and in March of 2007 she joyfully gave birth to a healthy son, Elias. During the months when she carried her child, Marilyn had been thrilled to finally experience pregnancy. “I gained 40 pounds and felt like a goddess.”
Her reality check came seven months after delivering her baby. She was still carrying 25 pounds of baby weight on her petite 5-foot 3 ½-inch frame. On her 37th birthday, her sister Chrissy decided her sister needed some tough love. “You’re the fattest you’ve ever been,” she told Marilyn. “Why are you cutting yourself that big piece of cake?”
Marilyn took Chrissy’s remarks to heart. She cried, did not eat the cake, and joined a gym, where she took aerobics classes. Her body became more fit but at a cost. “I had to pop two Advil every day,” she told me. “My knees were clicking. My calf muscles were knotted up.”
Marilyn was able to stick with her new fitness route only a short time. She soon became pregnant again naturally and delivered a second healthy son, Chris, in August 2008. She had weighed 117 pounds before Chris’ birth. She weighed 142 after having him.
This time Marilyn had a new option for getting in shape after her baby. The Bar Method had just opened in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, a few minutes from her home. Even better, this Bar Method studio happened to be co-owned by her sister Chrissy, the same sister who had confronted her at her birthday. Shortly after the Bar Method’s October 2008 opening, Marilyn began taking two classes a week. “I was a spaz,” she admits. “I was struggling with the form. Chrissy kept correcting me.” After about six classes, however, Marilyn said she “got it.” Her form fell into place, but her two-class-a-week schedule proved not to be sufficient to jump-start any significant body change. (To read more about “form,” click on the secret ingredient of body sculpting exercise.)
In January Marilyn saw the light. Her body didn’t look much different, but those of her fellow students who had been coming three or more times a week were changing. “Everybody else was looking fantastic,” she remembers. “They were very inspirational, these women in their 30s and 40s. They got these beautiful lean bodies. And to see Chrissy with her shape and knowing that she had two C sections!”
Inspired by her fellow students, Marilyn decided to try coming to class five times a week. “Once I upped it, I saw my body completely transforming. The weight was just melting away.” Over the next nine months Marilyn lost her 25 pounds and then a few more. “I’m now at around 113, but it’s not just that I’m lighter. I was flabby before and now I’m not. My upper body is defined, and my back is getting toned, things I didn’t experience at the gym. And I’m getting the results without the pain.”
Marilyn is so impressed by her experience at the Bar Method that she decided to become a teacher. “The Bar Method has changed my perspective on how to work your body without jarring it,” she told me. “You have the best of all worlds just wrapped up in this methodology. I’m excited to be on this path.”
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