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my story: “i now have a six-pack. at 45 years old"

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Last December, Kathi Ziolkowski posted a life-defining selfie on Instagram. The clingy jersey dress she wore was something she would never have broadcast before. A year earlier, she had been struggling with her post-pregnancy shape, three years after giving birth. As well, she had had a fibroid the size of a Nerf football removed during her early 30s, which, in addition to two C-sections, left her stomach scarred and untoned. “I now have a six-pack. At 45 years old,” says the mother of two.
Bored of her frustration with her body, Ziolkowski, who had tried Pilates before, vowed to do it again with gusto in the summer of 2013. “This isn’t getting better, and I’m going to end up being 50 and complaining about my tummy,” she thought. So she returned to Retrofit Pilates in Toronto and trained with senior instructor Ana Cukic. A professional synchronized swimmer who performed in Cirque du Soleil’s aquatic production, O, Cukic possessed the athletic prowess Ziolkowski sought. “I relate to intense people, and I knew she would push me in a way that would take me to the next level,” she explains. Ziolkowski tuned into her body’s mechanics with the pro’s guidance and committed to three classes a week, which she still does.
Ziolkowski now has bragging rights about more than her fab abs: she also has a pert butt and the bravado to wear a body-con dress. “My body is more muscular,” she says. “It’s not about being thin, it’s about feeling solid.”
Today, she lifts her kids into the top bunk, playfully piggybacks her husband and is also happier under the sheets. “I don’t feel self-conscious about the state of my body anymore,” she says. “It’s nice to feel connected to it. I wish I had started Pilates 10 years before I had kids.”
Juliette Lie Baxter

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