Prior to coming to Calasanz, Stacy's quest for physical fitness lead her to a local Pilates studio where she was told that she wouldn't be able to do the exercises until she lost weight. What happened to Stacy is what happens to many large women on a daily basis. Whether it's outright insults or subtle discrimination, sizism is alive and well in our fitness industry. Stacy was also concerned with a back problem that had limited her physical activity for some time. Choosing the right fitness regime and the right school was essential to Stacy's health.
After her experience at the Pilates studio, Stacy heard about Calasanz from one of her co-workers. In contrast to her previous experience, Calasanz was very welcoming and encouraging. He assured Stacy that he had been training people with physical problems for years and that there was no reason why she couldn't benefit from what he had to offer.
Initially, Stacy was worried as she watched her classmates. "Everybody here is so good ... I can't do this," she said. Within weeks however, Stacy saw a tremendous change. Calasanz special exercises and supervision helped improve her back condition. "My chiropractor encouraged me to continue training. We found that my back healed quicker and that my herniated disks weren't protruding as much as usual."
Gradually, Stacy's strength and stamina improved and so did her confidence. Calasanz suggested that she participate in the group class. "The classes are very well paced," says Stacy. "Calasanz encourages you to participate according to your body type and ability. Everyone here is so supportive that you just don't feel the pressure to keep up with the class." "You have to be particularly careful when training individuals with physical problems," says Calasanz. "It is essential that the instructor create an environment that encourages, rather than discourages a student with physical challenges. I have spent most of my professional life learning how to tailor an exercise program so that people could benefit from the martial arts and not get hurt." Instead of turning students away who don't fit the stereotype of a physically fit person, Calasanz uses his creativity to create a program that is suitable for them given their capabilities.
Stacy has trained regularly for over a year and a half and has earned her yellow belt. She has improved her flexibility, which has been quite noticeable with the increased height of her kicks. Stacy can often be found practicing her kicks and punches on the bag. "It's a great cardio workout and it also soothes the mind like meditation. My biggest accomplishment here is that my back feels so much better, which has improved the quality of my life."
"Calasanz encourages you to participate according to your body type and ability. Everyone here is so supportive that you just don't feel the pressure to keep up with the class."