Pilates Shoulder Exercises
Athletes, dancers, and bodybuilders all aim to increase the size of their muscles, but athletes and dancers become strong, fast, and agile by aiming for an optimally efficient muscle size, whereas bodybuilders become weak, slow, and awkward by aiming for ever-bigger muscles, which become increasingly inefficient.
Aniela feels the most balanced at 13 percent body fat, not the 7 percent at which she competes (Figure 2.14, right).
At those higher percentages, we feel relaxed, strong, and happy. Therefore, we decided that 10 percent should be the leanness standard for men, and 13 percent for women, since they naturally carry between 3 and 4 percent more fat than men.
Most of our female clients, from teenagers to seniors, are 35% to 45% fat when they first come to us. Many of them have the preconception that women should be no less than 20% body fat, and they cannot envision themselves below that, even though they have the example of Aniela before their eyes. They assume that Aniela stays like this to compete, and they can never have a figure like hers.
Fifteen years ago, we discovered that many of our female clients would get down to 20% body fat and then go off on their own to maintain that level. However, some months later, they would return with 25% to 30% body fat. We came to realize that being average, which is 20% body fat, doesn’t motivate women to maintain that level. If they achieve excellence, on the other hand, they have something to fight for. The problem was, we didn’t know how to persuade them to be excellent.
One day, one of our clients, Mary, arrived at our studio, full of anger and self-righteousness. “You are wrong,” she said to Jerzy, “that I should be thirteen percent body fat. I looked it up on the Internet, and it said that I shouldn’t be less than twenty percent. I’ll show you. Where’s your computer?”
Since she was so upset, Jerzy took her to his computer, where she quickly called up the site she had visited at home.
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