Body Movin': My experience with the Fit Part 4. Work that Core! Pilates!
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Reformers, Magic Circles, and a Century Old Ideology
Does this sound like a boss fantasy series that has a wizard with a scepter on the cover? I think so, but it also describes Pilates. I signed up for a Try It Together workout with Find Where You Fit and I knew at the end we would get chocolate and a discount on wine at Winan’s Chocolates and Coffees. Obviously, I was motivated by chocolate. Let’s be honest. I’m completely and utterly food motivated. In my workout routine, I’m a complete and total Taurus. I did the Barre to Bar thing with FWYF and it was awesome. So I knew I needed to trust Lindsay and see what it was about but again, I was nervous. We went to Club Pilates in Grandview and I had seen pictures and I had seen lots of equipment. Needless to say, I was nervous. Where I work out regularly is not about equipment and I definitely come from a less is more ethos when it comes to working out. Again, I love supporting other people (especially people who aren’t always included in the business world) who are brave enough to start a business. Also, I consider Lindsay a friend and I wanted to support her. Cue the Golden Girls theme song. I learned about the equipment and the foundation of Pilates. It was a fun and challenging workout that actually made me feel better in the morning as opposed to wickedly sore. Disclaimer: part of the reason I’m enjoying these workouts so much is that I am as strong as I have ever been. These might be harder for you. However, even if I wasn’t where I am at, I think this class would be a good intro to group fitness. Who knew?
Try It Together
What are Try It Together events? Basically, they are fitness classes that you do as a group that Find Where You Fit organizes. Afterward, you walk to a local business and get a drink and food. The food is included in your cost and you generally get a discount on wine. I KNOW. It’s awesome. But then, if you are an anxious person like myself, trying a fitness class with a group of strange people is scary. It’s like “what if I make an ass of myself and then try to make friends?” I’ve written about my lack of confidence in making friends lately. I mean, again, I have a ton of friends I have had issues making new ones since being a mom because of a. My hours of availability are completely different and b. My priorities are different. Which is why Try It Together events are so perfect! They tend to be in the early evening so they are good for people who work (so many things for people who are parents are during the day. I actually got uninvited from a mom group that I tried to join because I kept on having to change the schedule during the day. They eventually gave up and it was a bust.) They are an hour of workout and an hour of hangout. In the case of this one, I think it was from 5-7. Perfect, I could get back to my son and put him to bed. Oh, and the workout part, Pilates and Barre (which are the two I have done and I signed up for another Barre one) are intense but not so intense that you are a completely winded sweaty mess. The Try it Together workouts that I have done are low impact so you get the workout high but it’s not too intense. There are ones that are more intense if you are into that kind of thing. I got comped a class at the first one I did and it literally was one of the best events I have gone to. I loved it. I love how it encourages walkability and community. I can’t recommend them enough. It’s been interesting to have fitness be part of my “getting out” routine but honestly, it’s great. Once I learned that the only person I want to compete with physically is myself and no one really cares what you do...it’s been so great. I’m a perfectionist in a lot of ways. I throw a lot of energy that way and fitness is my way of letting that go. I’m loving trying new things.
So sidebar about Skylar and, again, I am an affiliate of theirs but this is relevant to my workout. I started wearing fragrances when I lived in a un-air-conditioned apartment. I just wanted to smell nice. I got one of their roller ball things to see how it was. I have to say, it’s nice and hypoallergenic so you don’t have to worry about irritating other people. That’s the main turn off with fragrance is that it affects people with allergies. I put on some of this before my workout because it was a hot day and it was towards the end of the day. It wasn’t obnoxious and it lasted through the workout. It was a nice little thing for me and something that made me feel nice after the workout. I really liked it. It also could fit in a gym bag or wristlet. As a woman who works out, there is usually a weird chemical smell in the locker room because people use harsh body sprays. Or like you walk by a bar where there are a bunch of youths and you can just smell that cheap cologne. This is like the opposite of that. It’s subtle. The fragrances are made without parabens, SLS, phthalates, allergens, animal-derived ingredients, and synthetic dyes. If you take a quiz and discover your signature scent you get a $20 credit with a sample. As the summer months are upon us, this would be a nice considerate way to smell good.
History of Pilates
Before I went to this class I hadn’t done Pilates in literally 11 years. Back when I had first graduated college and was but an innocent assistant proofreader at a textbook editing company. So it was during our lunch break and there were no machines or anything. It was like you just did it in an office room. This was a completely different experience all together. Pilates was really really trendy when I was growing up. Sidebar a lot of actresses who are my age and older love it and it’s all about length and leanness. So naturally if you want a “toned” body that is what is available. A lot of what I read about it is all about tone without “bulking” which as you know is a huge pet peeve of mine. I bulk up like the Hulk when I workout and guess what? I love it. But lots of celebrities like Mandy Moore, Liv Tyler, Reese Witherspoon, and Kate Hudson use them. What do all these celebs have in common? They are my age and a little bit older.
It was the celebrity workout and as someone who loved print media and cut out pictures of celebs...it was something I thought rich Californians did. I didn’t know it had been around for over 100 years. It was invented during WWI in an Internment Camp for German people in Britain (glamorous right?) There was an actual Joseph Pilates that I may have suppressed a laugh about in class because it was like hearing the name Joseph Crossfit. I thought Pilates was like some bourgie made up name like Haagen Daz. It’s all about corework. It used to be called “Contrology” and apparently the belief is focusing on your muscles and controlling them in ways you don’t realize. If you had parents like my parents they probably warned you not to believe in made up words with the suffix “ology” in them. I know this was a branding thing and I’m glad they stuck with Pilates. You know how when someone tells you to breathe and be cognizant of how you breathe? It’s like that with your muscles. When you first start working out you generally are really sore because you are using your muscles in new ways. Pilates allows you to control your body in new ways and focus. That’s the gift of fitness right? I get distracted easily so when I have time to hyperfocus on my body it’s great. As someone who has a very weak core and has suffered because of it...it is good to know about. It was studied in the New York dance world in the fifties and became huge in the 1980s when it started in Beverly Hills. As more celebrities started doing it the trendier it became. Now it’s something that people use for toning it’s kind of code for stuff rich people like to do. But I will tell you, I had a lot of fun doing it and if I can have fun doing it you can too.
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I was really nervous because there was a lot of equipment. While I feel that props can be useful, I get overwhelmed using them. Also, they had reformers which are hard to describe but they are like rowing machines only you can do a ton with them. The instructor had to adjust my settings because I’m really tall. She also did this cool thing where we had to do a tabletop like you do in yoga. She wanted to see how familiar we were with controlling our bodies in a basic position. Again, yoga taught me how to be aware of where all my muscles were going and the basis of a good starting position. The class was really fun and but not easy. I actually had fun with the reformer. My favorite part was when we hooked up our feet to it and it was like running up a wall because we were on our back moving the carriage. I also loved doing lunges with it because it allowed for a longer range of motion. We used the “magic ring” which was super hard. It looked easy but again, it made you focus on your core. The other thing I loved was that because of the equipment there were only so many people in the class right? So you all had enough space to move freely. As a tall person, that can be difficult especially in yoga studios. We worked every part of our body and it was great. The instructor was energetic and fun. It was just a really cool class and it got me out of my workout comfort zone. Worth doing. The other thing I love about these classes is that in both of them I have been complimented on being strong. My whole life as a right brained person, I have been complimented on my skills with being creative. I live, as John Goodman in Barton Fink would say, the life of the mind. To have someone say “you are strong physically” is a wonderful new experience. I love being strong.
Ok, I’m curious what do I need to do Pilates?
First of all, the first Pilates classes I took were during lunch breaks at my first office job. Really you can do a lot of these with a mat at home. It’s all about what you want to focus on. Here are some things you can purchase!
If you are working at a studio, you don’t want to slip and it’s just nice for balance.
This is something that helps you focus your arms and works your core. Trust me, it helps with your core.
I use these at my gym and they are intense. Even if you don’t use them for Pilates they are great for push ups.
You get in a push up position.
Put one hand on the Bosu and one on the ground.
Do a push up.
Use a different hand on the Bosu.
Repeat. It adds a lot of resistance and it adds a new twist to the basic push up.
Read this one article and now you want to invest in a reformer? Thanks bae! This is the kind of machine that I used and it was really really fun. I was in a barre class and two women said they owned one of these machines and didn’t use them. So I’ll be honest, if you were going to buy one using my link would be great! Here’s what they look like and you do really stretch out your body.
Even if you don’t purchase a reformer, it wouldn’t hurt to look at this book. It shows the multiple ways you can use a reformer.
More Pilates Info
Do you want to learn more about this? Let me know if there are other workouts that you would like me to try! They do have to be low-impact due to my back. Have you done pilates? Did you have fun? What made you do it? I’ll keep you updated on my fitness journey.
Club Pilates (I went to the one in Columbus but there are studios all over the country).
PopSugar Fitness Pilates (Sidebar-I really like the free videos and it introduced me to new ways to workout)
This played during our workout and it was really hard because I couldn’t do the hand motions. Also, I listened to Billy Eichner on Conan last week and it inspired me to post this. Also, we need to thank Willi Ninja for being a wonderful person and a vogue pioneer.