A Brief Introduction
I had the wonderful privilege of trying out the Zero to Hero online workout programme for free, designed and run by Megan Densmore. It’s based on pilates and tailored for those who live with chronic pain, who are unable to keep up with a full on fitness regime. Megan herself lives with fibromyalgia; in fact, the name of this very programme stems from a painful transition in her life due to poor health.
There’s plenty of information on her website, so I won’t rehash them here. I’ll be honest with you though; as wonderful as the programme is, I fell off the bandwagon. This is no fault of Megan or the programme itself – in fact, there are many positive reviews here – but due to my personality type and how I learn best. Below are some of my personal thoughts on the programme, based on my individual needs.
You Can Do It Anytime
We’re all different, and our daily optimal hours vary as well. I’m quite unwell in the mornings, but some of you may find yourself the most energetic, then. Chronic illness is unpredictable, and committing to a class where I’ll need to show up in person can be a problem. The Zero to Hero programme is 100% online, which means that you can complete the workout of the day at your optimal hour, in the comfort of your own home.
You Can Pause the Video as Needed
It’s nice to be able to pause the video to figure out how to get into a position, while taking my time to get into it. I don’t have to worry about keeping up with achy joints, like in a regular fitness class. It doesn’t matter how long you take to complete the exercise of the day, just do it at your own pace. The goal is to get stronger a little at a time.
Inspiring New Healthy Habits
While I did fall off the bandwagon, it was this programme that inspired me to get moving more on a daily basis. I now try to do at least 30 minutes of walking or exercise every day, even if my joints are aching. This may not sound like much, but the key lies in building a consistent habit. I do play high intensity sports like squash now and then, but these are usually impromptu events. Moving a little every day is definitely more effective for long term health and wellbeing.
Direct Access to Trainer
It’s easy to find Megan’s email address, and there’s a form to fill in every week for feedback. It’s always a positive sign when a mentor is available for some one-on-one communication, as it shows that she cares about your wellbeing.
I actually found the exercises more relaxing than exhausting, and sometimes used them to help me fall asleep with more ease! There are some calm, deep stretches, which loosens up tight areas in my body. Combined with all the mindful breathing, this is perfect for calming down before, or even in bed!
No One to Physically Correct My Poses
While I can pause the videos to adjust myself, I often don’t even realise that my pose is a little off in the first place. Yoga instructors are always correcting my positions during classes. These adjustments may be subtle, yet make an impact on whether they’re helpful or harmful to your body. We all have some blind spots as well. While the exercises in the beginner videos were easy enough to do without getting them wrong, this was a thought I had, especially as it progresses.
The programme starts out with two weekly workouts, together with a mix of other personal fitness activities. This goes on for five weeks, before the next set is available. Perhaps this is the best pace for many with fibromyalgia and chronic illnesses, but I found the timeline a little slow going. Megan did suggest that I find some new form of exercise I could love on top of the programme, but I admit to being a little lazy there.
I’m Not Active in Many Facebook Groups
To avoid drowning in newsfeed overload, I turn off notifications for many Facebook groups. Megan and participants in the programme are highly active in her Facebook group. She does many live chats, and answers people’s questions there too. This is great if you like interacting in this manner, but it’s not my favourite. I’m not sure how active she is on other social media platforms, but this is just an observation for those who don’t use Facebook. For those who do – there’s a wealth of collective knowledge there.
I felt very fortunate to have had the opportunity to sample this programme which Megan painstakingly and lovingly built. If you’re not sure if this is for you, there’s only one way to find out! I would encourage you to drop Megan a message to arrange for a 30 minute consultation, and I’m sure she’ll give you a sincere, helping hand. She seems like a nice person with a great attitude. All the best in your fitness journey with chronic illness!
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