Why you too should try pilates

Pilates studio

Ok so here is a question for you:

What do I have in common with Madonna, Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet or Reese Witherspoon?

Yes, you got it… the undeniable sexiness and charm… and besides that … we all rock pilates and we are lovin’ it!! (anyway I think I sort of gave it away with the featured image and the post title :-/)

OK, truth be told, I’m rockin’ it only for about 5th time now but who cares!!  I totally fell for it and I am sure you will too!

I am a total pilates convert and let me tell you why you too should try pilates…

First thing you need to know about me is that I am not a sporty person.
I like sports.. watching it, discussing it, commenting on it but doing it? Naaaah, not so much.

I tried, I really did.
I had my best intentions when I tried to go for regular jogging (beurrk) or gym (hummm) or yoga (oh my knees!!) or nordic walking (that was actually very nice) or home exercise (yeah, hahahaha!!)..

….then I visited my good friend in Istanbul, she is in her early 40ties but any 20 year old could envy her body! She stands tall, looks fit, well-toned and lean, she is super-sexy and super-feminine.

When I asked her if she is on diet and what kind of exercise she does she just laughed and said:

“Pilates, bitch!!”

Sorry for my French here, we are good friends and catching up after long time and few glasses of bubbly… we tend to get bit frivolous..

Fast forward couple of years (yes, some things take me time…much time) and hearing a lot about pilates I finally decided to try it for myself.

I desperately need exercise. After two kids I still carry some overweight, but that is not my primary issue.. I just recognise how totally out of shape I am!! Unwell, tired, no energy what so ever.

I managed to block my back twice last year and end up in emergency for fix (both times were pretty hilarious stories I must say). I have zero endurance and my body posture is strikingly similar to that of 60 years old lady waiting for a bus.

So what is pilates? What is so great about it and why you too might like it?

  1. What is pilates?
    Pilates is an innovative and safe system of mind-body exercise using a floor mat or a variety of equipment. It evolved from the principles of Joseph Pilates and can dramatically transform the way your body looks, feels and performs. Pilates builds strength without excess bulk, capable of creating a sleek, toned body with slender thighs and a flat abdomen. (Source, read more).
  2. Why do I go?
    As I said earlier, following to my frequent back injuries, posture issues and weak muscles it is the perfect fit to my needs (simply put, I need lean and mean sexy body, hahaha!!)
    The other reason is unexpected though. Because pilates is a mind-body exercise you need to concentrate a lot. A-L-O-T. Especially being a beginner.The quality of movement is stressed over quantity of movement, meaning you either do it well or don’t do it at all.. Our pilates trainer explains all the movements, gives lot of cues, including visualisation techniques and to employ all that it requires 100% of my concentration.

    This is the only time that I am forced to manage to switch off and concentrate only on myself, my body, my breathing, my exercise, my wibble wobble  muscles. It is not by choice, simply the concentration on the exercise is so overwhelming that there is no space or moment left for any other thoughts, worries, planning, questions, answers, doubts, nothing. Nothing what normally runs through my mind non-stop. And that is pretty amazing!

  3. Why choosing small(er) class is better?
    Today there are plenty of gym and fitness places proposing pilates classes. What you need to watch for (even more so if you are pilates beginner) is how much time the instructor has to spend on you. To see and correct your posture and exercise. In a class of twenty people that is nearly impossible and correct execution of the exercise is essential in pilates. Remember? Quality over quantity…
    pilates-studio-2I also appreciate the personalised approach, as our trainer knows about our weak body parts and history of injuries, she always pays special attention when needed.
    We are four in our group, I find it ideal number. Enough of us to have fun and motivate each other but not too many so our instructor can make regular rounds, checks and corrections.
  4. What do we do in pilates class?
    As easy as pilates might look from outside, do not get fooled! It is a real hard-core workout!! It is all about strengthening core muscles through intense small movements combined with resistance and correct breathing.

    There is about 500 classical Pilates exercises designed to train the body’s “powerhouse” — the abdomen, lower back, hips, and buttocks
    by working against resistance:

    • Mat pilates: The focus of these exercises is on strengthening the muscles of the hips, back and abdominals. The exercise is done on the mat on the floor and the key to performing mat pilates exercises well is correct breathing (belly  breathing instead of chest breathing). Own body weight creates the resistance.
      Additional equipment is also used: resistance rings, balls and bands.

      pilates-equipment-4
      Pilates equipment: weights
      pilates-studio
      Pilates equipment: mat, ring, chair and reformer

      Mari Winsor, founder of Winsor Pilates, agrees. “Mat work is a great option for beginners because of its emphasis on learning how to control your muscles during exercises,” she says. “The work is too specific to be done in a group Reformer class. You need to be watched like hawk in the beginning.”

      Many Pilates experts recommend Mat classes as the best bet for beginners.

    • Reformer pilates: pulleys and springs create resistance. This exercise can provide more challenging strength and endurance workout than mat classes. It may also produce visible results sooner — arm, leg, and abdominal muscles can look more firm and defined within a dozen or so regular sessions.

      And what does reformer looks like?
       
      … imagine a torture apparatus… there you go, this is how pilates reformer looks like!
      Exercises can be done lying down, sitting, standing, pulling the straps, pushing the footbar, perched on the footbar, perched on the shoulder blocks, with additional equipment, upside down, sideways and all kinds of variations thereof.

      pilates-equipment
      Pilates equipment: mat, ring, reformers and chair
  5. What to wear for pilates class?
    You don’t need any fancy or expensive outfit. Simple, body fit attire is the perfect choice. Remember that you will exercise in all possible positions so shorts, loose t-shirt or largely open neckline t-shirt is not suitable. You will be bending down, lifting your legs up and putting them behind your head so your clothes need to be stretchy but tight enough for the trainer to see well how you execute the movement.
    We do not wear shoes to pilates but do have good pair of socks.

    20160901_111117.jpg
    My pilates attire: tight and comfy
  6. How fast do we get to see the results?
    Well, that is the one thing I won’t be able to tell you. It depends on the frequency of your exercises, the quality of it and many other factors.. but it is said that the average active person doing 2-3 classes per week should see some results within 10-12 classes.I do 1 class a week and our instructor says that it takes about 5 classes for her to see the results, 8 classes for us to feel the results and about 10 classes to see it. I have successfully survived 5 classes and I am very excited to say that I feel I have more strength and flexibility in certain parts and also that I already see difference in my posture. I’ve noticed that I stand tall and straight up with tummy tucked in as opposed to either bending backward (when the pressure is on mainly on your lower back) or with loosen abdomen, bending forward (with pressure on my mid back).It just motivates me for more..
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Proud me after first session

I hope I managed to motivate you to give it a go and try pilates!  Take a step to improve your well-being, tenacity, flexibility and overall body awareness! It totally worth the try!!

Remember to watch out for the pilates myths.. (click for link)

Love, A.

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Coffee, soup and happiness addict, girl of controversy I miss daydreaming and slow time. Leaving corporate world, pursuing my dreams and blogging about things close to my heart. Swiss based.

15 thoughts on “Why you too should try pilates

  1. Totally with you on loving the Pilates. I haven’t actually been to my class since before the summer holidays but I’m really looking forward to going back. It’s relaxing, it’s strengthening, sorts out back pain, and I also agree with the small group aspect, it’s a lovely social outlet too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeyyy!! Another pilates enthusiast!! Judging by the suffering of my classmates it seems to be tough to catch up after holidays.. good luck 😉 How long have you been doing pilates?

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      1. Thanks for the encouragement :-o. I’m not sure exactly when I started. At some point in the last school year, so maybe around 6 months or so? Maybe a bit longer. I only stayed noticing that I was getting better after a few months, although even after a few weeks it went from being impossible to more possible but hard. I looked at one video online which was just so advanced, it was scary!
        I think it was in your post that you said about what to wear. I found I needed something with no thick seams on the back because otherwise it digs in when you are lying down!

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      2. Love it “it went from impossible to more possible” Same here. Still impossible but already imaginable… 😀 Yes, the outfit is important, we do spend lot of time on our backs!! But I do appreciate that there is no need for fancy and expensive attire (my husband spends fortune on his running shoes, watch, etc..etc..) I just grab my leggings and off I go. Are the classes expensive in London? Here in Geneva you can find all price range, I did not include it to the post because it just vary too much. From 110chf per individual/ class to 55chf per group class. I found amazing deal for 350chf 10 classes/group (4 prsn)

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      3. Everything in London is expensive!!!
        I go to a small class in someone’s home, it costs £11 per session which I think is quite a lot, but then you get the individual attention, (there are usually between 4-6 of us). There are probably cheaper classes if I went to a gym but I imagine it would be much larger class. It also isn’t intimidating because I know all the ladies who go and it is very relaxed and not competitive (until it is the plank!)

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      4. Wow that is not expensive!! I found a bargain but it is 28GBP a session! Geneva is mad!! You are totally right to enjoy smaller class, it is more intimate, less intimidating and the instructor can watch you and make sure you suffer the way you are supposed to LOL

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      5. I went to Geneva once at the end of secondary school we had a trip to visit CERN. An amazing trip, and I do remember though that even by London prices everything was crazy expensive! I guess we all kind of cope with what we have to!

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      6. Very kid friendly. Easy public transport, lots to see (if the weather permits). Parks with playgrounds, right now great dinosaurs exposition in nh museum and arena next to the airport.. boat rides on the like, etc. Depends for how long you wish to come and what’d do you like to do.. It can simply be a stopover and then you go up to mountains or more inland..

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    1. Sorry to hear about your injuries! .. I never rode a horse in my life… I should try! It is impressive that pilates have such a relieving affect. I just love how soft these exercises are for our body but powerful at the same time.. How did you discover pilates? Were you actually recommended it for your back aches? How long do you practice? Sorry, too many questions at once 🙂

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    1. Thank you Rachel! I tried yoga in the past but couldn’t get over my pain in knees.. some of the postures are crazy n so impressive 😲 kudos to you that you can do that 💪👍

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