I took my first pilates class a couple weeks ago and it kicked my butt! Pilates is all about working what I call, the trunk: abs, back, bum. These muscles serve as the trunk of your body just like the trunk of a tree. They are necessary for you to maintain an upright posture, balance, and keep things running smoothly. I would say they are probably the most important, yet under focused, parts of the body. This is because they don’t look “sexy.” Legs and arms, sure; but how many people are worried about working the muscles in their back? How many people even know they have muscles in their back. Then there are the people that just do cardio and don’t do anything about strength training–that’s a whole other post.
I went to this class at a small studio in the downtown area of my hometown. It was a small business and it was lovely. The owners were there and we super nice and answered all of my questions. I had a lot of questions. For starters, I never liked doing pilates, even at home. I do a lot of YouTube workouts but I hate the pilates ones. It’s because we always start with the Hundreds. The Hundreds SUCK, pardon my language. I’m also used to doing what is called “mat pilates,” which means you don’t need any of the fancy apparatuses designed by Joseph Pilates. This class used what is called a Reformer. I cannot even describe this machine to you, it had strings and pulls and all sorts of moving parts. Luckily, the teacher was amazing and she spent a lot of time with me to help make the adjustments I needed for my workout. It was also a small class, just three of us ladies. This made me feel more comfortable because it was okay for me to mess up and it meant the instructor could supervise my movements, since I’m new the game.
I went into class with so much confidence, not about pilates itself but because I lift weights. I thought I was strong, I was wrong. I worked muscles I thought I worked all the time, but I was definitely sore the next day. It was awesome, I felt it in my tush, my love handles, and I felt it in my lower abs. The place I was most surprised I didn’t feel it was my knee. I danced as a youth and as a result have some kind of arthritis in both my knees, especially my left (base leg for technique). It bothers me most of the time, especially when the weather is bad. It has significantly improved since eliminating animal products from my diet, but I can still feel it when I work out. The day after pilates, I didn’t feel a thing! I was so surprised. When I was doing some research for an e-book I’m working on, I found there are a lot of people who suffer from joint pain that swear by pilates. Regular practice has virtually eliminated their joint discomfort.
All in all I think pilates should be part of a well rounded fitness regimen. You may not need to go every other day like someone with arthritis but I think once a week would be amazing. It’ll kick your butt, and make it sore, but it will be totally worth it!