Friday, August 31, 2018

True Life: I Tried a Private Pilates Reformer Session

Some people see working out as a punishment and others see it as a necessity. Some people hit the gym to get a six pack and others sweat it out to preserve their sanity. Some people run outside and others are addicted to lifting five more pounds. Personally, I love workouts that make me sweat and challenge me. I'm addicted to squats, bursts of cardio, and getting really sweaty when I work out. I am not a small person. I'm not delicate in any way shape or form and when I workout I wouldn't say that it's pretty or graceful. But, I am strong, healthy, and getting better every day. Part of getting better is pushing myself to try new workouts and reach new goals. But some workouts flat out scare the hell out of me. Pilates is one of those workouts that has always remained a mystery to me. I didn't understand if it was a strength workout or a cardio workout and I didn't understand if you had to use a reformer or if you could do it on a mat like yoga. So, instead of staying in the dark I took an opportunity to have a private session with local Detroit Pilates trainer Emily Sansiri at The Pilates Method in Birmingham so that I could give you a firsthand account of what traditional Pilates is.

First, I found out that Pilates is a workout that was invented by Joseph Pilates in the 1920's. This heath fanatic and bodybuilder was fascinated with the idea of the mind/body connection and the art of being in control of your body. He believed that the "modern" life-style, bad posture, and inefficient breathing lay at the roots of poor health" so he created this method to counteract those effects. The entire purpose of Pilates is to improve flexibility, build strength and develop control and endurance in the entire body.

For my first workout instructor Emily Sansiri took me through a series of workout on the reformer before taking me over to the table to find things out. She walked me through a series of moves by guiding me both with words and with her touch. She constantly reminded me to focus on my core and my breathing, two things I am not used to focusing on. She literally guided me through each movement/micro movement that she wanted to me to do while explaining the right form, breathing, and the reason for the movement. In fact, she kept me so engaged the whole time that I was unable to focus on anything but my form and my breathing. Time went by in a blink of an eye and before I knew it, my first session was over.

The reformer wasn't as scary as I thought it would be, but the small micro movements that needed so much focus were A LOT harder than I imagined they would be. This workout made me come to terms with the fact that I'm not as strong as I think that I am that that I have some serious work do to in all the areas that this particular workout focuses on. I was surprised to find out that Pilates isn't supposed to be a cardio workout because I assure you after the hour I was pouring sweat. It's amazing how such small movements can be so challenging and engaging at the same time.  Emily was an excellent teacher too. She did a great job guiding me through and making me feel safe, supported and stable throughout the workout.  
So, is Pilates worth all the hype? I would say yes it is. And I would agree that I am surprised that this workout became such a trendy fad because it's a no bullshit routine that I am quite sure would offer great results after a few months or regular sessions. I can also see how this workout would be beneficial for anyone who works out really hard, to explore. This technique challenges muscles that you are just not working on when you are continuously doing heavy lifting or knocking out hours or cardio. It would also be a great workout for someone that has back problems and needs to build up strength and take it easy. Most importantly, I can tell you that Pilates is not scary at all. In fact, it's kinda fun and really interesting! I would highly suggest checking it out if you have any interest. But, I would also suggest that you do it with a trainer because I can definitely see how it would be really easy to hurt yourself if you weren't doing the moves correctly! 


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