TRANSFORMATIONS in their own words
Nelson Mandela, social justice warrior and eloquent lawyer, wrote about doing one hundred fingertip pushups, four days a week, during his years in prison. Rodger C., also an eloquent lawyer, learned this movement in less than six months. He can now perform them just as well as Mandela.
And that's just the beginning.
"Ms. Natasha Nesic is an extraordinary, sensitive, intuitive, committed, trainer with a deep knowledge of human musculature, and highly refined communication skills. When we began training I was in excellent physical condition, I thought, for a sixty year old. I’d been frequenting the gym regularly for four years, varying my time between swimming and using the stationary bike. Nevertheless, Natasha showed me that I had been shortchanging myself physically and I could accomplish more, be in better shape, be more comfortable in my skin. In the two years or so we’ve been working together, the benefits I have realized from Natasha’s tutelage have amazed me. Some of these include, improving my balance and stability, eliminating the constraints around my right shoulder and right knee from earlier surgeries, extending my flexibility and mobility, achieving a greater agility and control by strengthening my core muscles, and being able to experience a greater overall sense of physical control and well-being. Because I am a librarian, writer and scholar, I spend much of my day slouched in a chair gazing downward at a keyboard. Natasha has worked with me to offset many of the resultant physical problems, developing my neck muscles to widen my range of motion, and my shoulder and back muscles to stave off physical fatigue.
There are many other particular gains I can list, and many ways in which I feel more physically alert, springier, lighter, more forceful, and more physically present; however, one benefit from my work with Natasha outshines all the others. Natasha has helped me to eliminate the chronic pain in my lumbar region that I had suffered for almost thirty years.
When I began to work with Natasha, I anticipated a few sessions that would teach me how to operate some of the machines at the gym, and give me a clear snapshot of my strengths and weaknesses. I was in fact skeptical of training and felt sure I didn’t require a trainer.
That I had in fact settled into a limited way of evaluating regarding myself physically became clear to me the first time we worked out. Natasha carefully and patiently—both by demonstration and by instruction—expanded my view of the possibilities of physical conditioning by isolating weaknesses and addressing them within a regimen I found both comfortable and challenging. She focused both on specific problems (e.g., balance, abdominal tension, the sternocleidomastoid and trapezius muscles) and on general strengthening, and provided me with exercises that I could follow at the gym. Over the time we’ve worked together, our training sessions have changed. One of the qualities I most value about Natasha is her ability to improvise and adapt. While they are regularized to some extent, our sessions have never lapsed into predictability. We don’t do routine. Our workouts have always resembled the performance of a good musician who might perform the same piece hundreds of times, and yet will always bring a certain freshness and spontaneity to each performance. But they have always observed “the score,” evolving while keeping a clear focus on conditioning, flexibility, balance, and body awareness.
Natasha’s lessons have generated routines I can follow on my own, both at the gym and at home. These also have also slowly evolved, assaying more complex and challenging moves, while having a clear grounding in a purposeful conditioning program. Part of Natasha’s methodology as a trainer is to pay attention to how training can beneficially connect to other aspects of a person’s life.
I would like to conclude by observing that although Natasha is considerably younger than me, she has shown an extraordinary awareness of the constraints confronting a sixty year body without surrendering to or patronizing them. She has made me realize there are certain limitations that exist only in my mind, and helped me to surpass them. I have always valued her as a partner in my own physical project and always felt valued by her."
"I’ve never been athletically inclined. I have next-to-zero self-motivation. Given the choice, I might take a visit to the dentist over working out. Sleeping and eating are my activities of choice.
All of this is matched by the fact that I hate being out of shape.
If I’m going to get any meaningful exercise, I need someone in my face or it’s not going to happen. This led me to take up mixed martial arts some ten years ago. Last year, through sheer force of persistence and six months of intensive training both on the mat and off, I earned my black belt. I would have liked to maintain that level of conditioning but at 51 I didn’t see that happening, physically or mentally.
Following my black belt training, I called on Natasha to help fill the impending gap in my workout regimen. I’ve been working twice a week with her, more or less, since July 2017. Our sessions serve as a complement to my martial arts classes, which I continue to take three or four times per week. Basically, whatever breaks during MMA class Natasha helps me fix. She’s taught me how to use muscle groups I didn’t know existed. She’s taught me there’s more than one way to carry out tasks we usually take for granted – more than one way to breathe or to walk, for example -- in order to minimize strain and maximize results.
While our work serves as a contrast to my martial arts training, it has greatly enhanced my MMA performance as well as my approach to everyday activities – like breathing and walking."
Juan's words are kind, and he definitely does the work. Here he shows off an underhanded pushup designed to improve wrist flexibility and forearm strength, shot during a WLF workshop at Remedy Massage, one of our affiliates:
The beauty of movement is that it always seems to linger in a dancer's body. Leigh proves that smart training and self-care will make sure that it never leaves.