After college, I struggled to find a new goal that would push me physically. I was done playing sports competitively but my inner drive wasn't about to call it quits. I really didn't know where to turn to find something that would give me the discipline and the results I wanted. Then, I met this amazingly awesome machine called the Pilates reformer.
That's when my love for Pilates blossomed.
My sister actually introduced me to it. I was in my younger 20s and at the time the investment to take classes seemed like a lot for me. But, with my sister by my side, it made it easier to commit. And, to my surprise, it was just what I needed.
After a few months, I was loving the strength I was gaining but knew I needed to add some extra cardio to my routine. So, I started to train for a mini-marathon race. I hated running but it was a focused goal that would help me stay active. To my surprise, running and doing the reformer transformed my body more than I could have imagined. I ran about 5 days a week, no less than three-milers and continued to go to Pilates twice a week. My muscles became more lean and defined and I was sleeker than I had ever been before. I loved it!
I could finally wear tank tops with confidence.
I was an avid avoider of anything sleeveless because I normally bulk up when I strength train. But not with Pilates. Pilates is primarily resistance training with springs with a focus on defining the smaller muscles. You know...the ones that burn for days post workout. I'm talking the buns, the inner thighs, and the areas of the abs that you forget about. You shake and fatigue while working these babies and it feels o-so-good. Especially for someone who spends most their day sitting down, like me. I can't wait to feel the burn and work those muscles I sit on all day.
So you want to try it out?
Here are the deets:
LEVEL of DIFFICULTY: Low - Medium
- Everyone! Beginners, Intermediates and Advanced
- All ages
- All body types
Improvements to Expect:
- Core Strength
- Lean and Long Muscle Tone
- Coordination and Balance
- Low Impact/Non-Joint Bearing
- Correct Breathing Techniques
- Full Body Conditioning
- Posture and Joint Mobility
What to Wear/Not to Wear:
- Form fitting gear (typically tights and a slightly loose top or fitted top)
- No baggy clothes or shorts
- Socks are optional in most studios but come prepared. Don't show up wearing holey or non-matching pairs. And, if you care, make sure your nails aren't an eye sore. No one is looking that close but you don't want to feel self-conscious. This is speaking from experience.
- Tennies are off regardless.
What to Bring:
- Water bottle, but most studios offer water for a fee or have a water station you can use
- Yoga Mat, only if you plan to join a mat class, but most offer mat rentals for a fee
- There are typically cubbies or lockers for you to store your personal items, like phone, wallet, and extra clothes you won't wear in class, etc.
- In tune with personal health, mind, and spirit
- Reformers range from $20-$80/session, depending on type of class and your area. The higher prices lean towards private sessions but look for a more affordable package and join a quad group so you don't break the bank. This brings the cost down, plus, you get to meet other women who are in this just like you.
- Mat Classes range from $8-$18/session, again depending on your area. Look for packages that bring this cost down by buying in bulk.
How to Find a Studio/Class:
- Download Mind/Body App in iTunes - this is by far my favorite app to use when looking for anything fitness, especially when I travel. It allows you to zip code search by type of class or service you are interested in and pops up businesses in your area. You can also browse for specials and deals on this app. It's the bestest! Search for MindBody in iTunes.
- Search Wellness Specific Sites - done-for-you sites take hours out of mindless internet searching. Sites like www.spafinder.com and www.findmypilates.com have it all already laid out for you. Similar to the Mindy/Body app, both provide a zip code search that pulls up a pretty lengthy list in minutes and they aren't limited to just Pilates classes either. They allow for all different kinds of wellness class searches, i.e. bootcamps, yoga, kickboxing, cycle, etc. These are worth bookmarking!
- Search YouTube or iTunes for free downloads - you don't need the reformer to reap results from Pilates. There are plenty of free or paid apps that will guide you through the moves straight from your iPad or phone. And, all you need is your living room and some wifi.
- Try a Mat Class - if the reformer is not in your budget then try a more budget friendly option, the Pilates mat class. It's about half the price of the reformer. This large class setting can range from 10-30+ people at once. The reformer is not introduced here but you do utilize a ton of other equipment, including the Pilates ring, the ballet bar, free weights, blocks and much more. If you are new to Pilates, it's worth trying out a mat class first but the results vary between the reformer and mat with the reformer giving you more immediate and defined results.
So there you have it. My love for Pilates brings a good balance to my routine and a more sleek and toned physique. I'm able to challenge smaller muscles, work on my flexibility (which gets worse with age) and destress in a purposefully relaxed setting. And, did I mention that about 97% of the class involves lying down?
If you are in the Indianapolis area, my favorite studio, where I train, is Invoke Downtown. They also have a location on the Northside of Indianapolis. The studio and staff are so warm and inviting. You'll love it. More info here: http://invokestudio.com/.
Leave a comment below if you have a question or love for Pilates too. I'd love to hear from you!