Pilates. What mental images does that word bring to your mind? For me, I think of rich, snooty, brainless blondes from some of the chick flicks that I have watched over the years. It brings to mind a passtime for wealthy people who have nothing else to do with their time.
I never considered it to be a difficult workout like a cardio class or hitting the weight room and, quite honestly, felt no desire to ever try pilates in my lifetime. Until recently!
As many of you know, I started a weight loss journey back in October. I met with a nutritionist and started my first real diet ever, I started going to the gym regularly for the first time since graduating high school, and have lost over 20 pounds since starting this journey. For the avid foodie I am, this has been a huge accomplishment for me! I am proud of the progress I have made and want to continue my transformation.
My friend and I were talking at work one day about how different types of activities can shape your muscles in different ways. It’s one of the reasons runners and swimmers can be so muscular, but so thin and wiry at the same time. They have muscle, but it is not the bulky muscle that many weightlifters get.
I have been pretty successful dropping the weight I wanted to lose, but I still have some weight loss to go and am more concerned than ever about toning. Is it possible to tone my thighs and get a thigh gap without losing all of my feminine shape? How do I gain some definition in my abs and keep my arms from flapping around every time I move them?
Those were the questions I asked my friend as we discussed muscle shape and toning. She was seeing the same nutritionist I was at the time, and that nutritionist had mentioned a local Pilates studio to her. When my friend brought up Pilates, I’ll admit that I openly scoffed. Pilates was supposed to do for me what other workouts had not been able to accomplish?
Considering my opinion on Pilates, it should be little surprise that I did not find much merit in this idea. But she explained the local Pilates place had free introduction classes so we could go try out a class before making any financial commitments. Who was I to pass up a free new experience? We booked two spots in an intro Pilates class.
The day of the class, my friend and I met at Club Pilates and checked in at the front desk. The ladies were VERY nice and friendly and chatted with us as we waited for the class to begin. The studio was clean and looked well kept. There were reformer machines lined up along the mirrored walls that were really intriguing to me since I had never seen reformers before. After seeing the studio, I was actually kind of excited to see what the class was like.
Each of the students got their own reformer for the class. The instructor gave us a brief introduction and then walked us through a series of exercises for the next half hour. She was great at carefully walking through each action for us newbies and paid attention to each of us individually. She would help correct our postures and walk through any positions or actions we did not understand. I loved that she was so encouraging!
The exercises themselves were so interesting to me. Pilates was unlike any sport or exercise I had ever tried, and I was a three sport athlete and weightlifter through school. Each stretch focused on different muscle groups and took a lot of concentration. I found myself focusing so much on trying to get stretches right that I didn’t even notice the strain on my body.
You use your own weight as the resistance for a lot of the exercises, and several of them focused on areas like balance and flexibility. All of the exercises used a different part of the reformer or studio setup and I was fully engaged the entire time. The class flew by, and was over before I realized how much time had passed. The instructor thanked us for coming and handed us over to the instructors at the front desk, who happily answered any questions we had about memberships or Pilates in general.
I did not think it was possible, but in one 30 minute session and a few minutes of conversation, these women COMPLETELY changed my perspective on Pilates. My opinions made a full 180 as I learned about their older clients who come and do Pilates every week. These people can live on their own, bend to pick things up off the floor without falling, and are more self-sufficient than most people their age. Pilates is a performance-type fitness, in that it improves your balance, flexibility, and overall strength.
My research after the class only solidified my resolve that this is something I need to sign up for. In addition to all of these lifestyle benefits, pilates has proven to be excellent for toning, which is what I was looking for in the first place. So to my previously skeptical self, yes, I really do think that pilates can do for me what none of the other exercise routines I’ve tried have done.
The Club Pilates instructors expressed that it usually takes about three months for people to see the results they are looking for with Pilates. So guess who just signed up for her first three month membership at Club Pilates?? That would be me. 🙂 My first official class is tomorrow morning and I cannot WAIT to get started! I’ve taken my “before” pictures and measurements and am ready to see what Pilates can do for the average woman. I look forward to sharing my results with all of you as I go! Wish me luck!
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