Fun Sized Fitness: Pilates

When I was younger, I used to swim. I also dabbled in some light strength training, tennis, and yoga. But nothing ever lasted for very long. During grad school, I tried Beachbody Insanity. It was great and I could see results right away. But it was so intense that I started getting asthma attacks every night if I had completed Insanity during the day. So, sadly, I had to give that up. But last month, I started getting serious about getting healthy and getting fit. I didn’t want to be winded after going up one flight of stars. I no longer wanted to be able to only do girly push-ups. I wanted to feel strong. But I also knew the only way I would keep working out is if I did something I truly enjoyed. And I chose Pilates.

Pilates1

I had known about Pilates ever since it swept the world in the early 2000’s. And when I was in undergrad, I found a fantastic Youtube channel, Blogilates, with great Pilates videos and a great instructor, Cassey Ho. Cassey calls her Pilates “Pop Pilates” because she often pairs workouts with upbeat pop music and everyone that does her workouts are called “Popsters.” In conjunction with her Youtube channel, she also has a blog which she offers monthly workout calendars to follow and recipes, and overall great advice on leading a healthier lifestyle.

When I first started out, I could barely complete one full video of hers, let alone a whole day’s worth of videos as listed on her calendars. But I’ve gotten stronger and seen results. Not only are her videos effective but they are also super fun. She often shares entertaining stories about her life during her workouts. Most importantly, she’s there to cheer you on when  you feel like quitting. Her calendars are only available if you subscribe to her weekly newsletter, but subscription is free.

I also supplement Blogilates workouts with Pilates Reformer classes in a little Pilates studio near my house. Cassey’s workouts are on the mat and mostly do not require equipment. But I thought it would be cool to learn reformer as well. My reformer classes aren’t as challenging as my Pop Pilates workouts, but I enjoy having a real life instructor give me feedback and correct my form.

The studio I go to is small but very clean and welcoming. There only 5 reformer machines in the studio, meaning the classes are small. But the most students I’ve ever encountered was 4. Most times, it’s only 2 students in a class. I’ve also had occasions when I was the only student, which meant I received the private lesson treatment for the price of a class! The walls are lined with mirrors for students to observe their own form and motivational sayings. Several different instructors rotate through the weekly schedule. After trying out a few different instructors, I’ve settled with one that I really like and I will only go to classes that she teaches.

Before I started doing Pilates, I viewed working out as a chore or as an obligation I was extremely reluctant to complete. But now, I can honestly say it’s one of the best parts of my day. I would never give up my workout time for anything. On the days I get stress headaches from work, an hour of Pilates is usually the cure. Not only is it super fun, but it’s effective too. I’ve had more than one person tell me I look fitter.

Pilates has become something I’m super passionate about and I’ve begun to explore the possibility of becoming a certified instructor one day in the future. The morale of this extremely windy post? Find a form of exercise you’re passionate about and you will definitely see results. Plus, you’ll have tons of fun. What’s to lose?

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