I regularly share thoughts in Australia’s Get it Magazine, and this month it turned out to be high time to try a new exercise routine which is how I discovered the benefits of Reformer Pilates. If you’re looking to start a new exercise class and lacking confidence to get going, maybe my story will help you.
The benefits of Reformer Pilates: starting from scratch
Neatly drafted under the date ‘December 31, 2017’ (a good ten months ago), are a few resolutions for the year to come, including one that jumps out at me now, ‘join an exercise class’.
It’s something I wanted to try because classes have provided me with positive fitness structure in the past. I remember that first week back in January, keenly researching suitable options like dance, Barre, and the benefits of Reformer Pilates – things I was never game to try.
I was geared-up to get along to the initial sessions of the year, believing all newbies would start then too.
As the hour drew near however, the internal dialogue began: ‘Good God, you’re too old to join a dance class!’; ‘You won’t even make it through the first ten minutes without needing a sit-down and a bucket of water’; ‘Imagine how awesome everyone else looks in their designer active-wear (and how idiotic I’ll look in my eBay specials)’.
I panicked, realising exactly how many years it’s been since I survived a group fitness class, let alone be in the routine of attending.
For the past year I’ve maintained independent gym visits when I can, walks and Yoga, but I’m aware the body gets used to repetitive activities and we start to see that our efforts don’t really reap rewards. Something must change, although I’d still not gone to a class!
Getting to class and discovering the benefits of Reformer Pilates
Cooper – my fitness-fan, fun-loving other half, bit his tongue for the past year. I’ve only just learnt he’s reluctant to divulge certain truths to me. Apparently about five years into this 17-year thing we have going on, he told me he didn’t think a shirt I was wearing out one night suited me.
The wrath that ensued meant he thinks twice before sharing such insight. Of course, despite me having no recollection of said event, I insisted I’ve grown since then, and promised that honesty is the right way. (probably).
He proceeded to share a flyer found at his gym promoting a special deal on Reformer Pilates classes, reminding me that I had been interested to get into a class activity. The proposal was positively received (much to Cooper’s relief).
Reformer Pilates had always been something I knew would be beneficial, garnering similar results as Ballet which I loved, well, until I was 16. But the idea of figuring out the ‘apparatus’ (a ‘bed’ attached to springs that move a carriage along the bed’s frame – thought about too deeply, it may resemble a form of torture depicted in The Tudors), freaked me out.
Finding confidence to give a new class a go
In a headspace to give something new a go though, I signed up for a 10-class pass.
The beauty of this situation, for me at least, is that I need to use the class passes within a certain time-frame, must book the sessions in advance, and if I bail at the last minute (typical ‘me’) I lose the investment, because these come with a 48-hour cancellation rule. Seems I’m motivated by money, or loss of it, so I show up!
The first class was challenging, but not intimidating as I’d feared. The instructor set up my reformer, and explained each exercise, as has been the case in subsequent classes.
I left that first time with wobbling and shaking sensations in muscles I didn’t know existed! I still go to each class with excuses in my head about why I’m too tired, too busy and too uncoordinated to attend, but there’s something new going on now. I know for sure, that at the end of each class I’ll be glad I went.
After about five weeks I noticed the benefits of Reformer Pilates showing up – some nice tone, which has led to body-confidence I thought was long gone.
Full disclosure, I’m just back at work following a break of nearly two weeks, and I’m aware I need to leave my wine-loving-holiday-happy vibe behind and return to a healthier lifestyle. That said, I’m proud I pushed myself through significant years-old blocks to embrace something that works for me, now. Make or break your habits, one step (or class) at a time – studies show it’s how we genuinely accommodate new, better behaviours. I feel I’m finally there, and I’ve signed up for more! It’s not torture, really.
Are you a convert on the benefits of Reformer Pilates or do you have tips on starting any new exercise class? It’s daunting, I know! Please do share your insight in the comments below.
First published in the September 2018 issue of Get it Magazine, getit-magazine.com.au
Pilates is a popular low-impact exercise. It’s effective for toning up, building lean muscle, and improving posture.
Totally agree with you Jackie :-)
Energy and focus are a huge advantage during any training session. When is the last time you witnessed someone yawning their way through their sets proclaim that they are having a great workout?! Great workouts are energy fueled and to the point. The days where you are really “on” you are not talking to friends or texting. You are focused on the task at hand. The ingredients below can help with both energy and focus.
Yes I agree – no yawning in this class :-) Thanks for the comment!
If your goal is weight loss, try combining Pilates with a healthy diet and other forms of exercise.
Hi Jackie, thanks for the tip! :) I actually went for reformer Pilates to tone up and get into a regular practice that complemented gym time. It’s perfect!
Love this post! Have you heard of the XFormer?
The Pilates x-former is an adaptation of the pilates reformer and offers increased resistance and intensity but still caters to all levels of support so that you can do a comprehensive and challenging workout. We use them at our studio in Los Gatos California, it’s the real deal. The xformer machine works all parts of the body while integrating strength training, balance and stretching into each part of the body. From the upper body, core, glutes, arms, and even mind this machine can do it all.
The use of a former pilates reformer enables people from athletes to people with a limited range of movement, pre/postpartum or injury to safely perform thoughtful and healthy exercises. The wide range of spring loads on the x-former increase the flexibility of the exercises, you can make changes to, and allow you to do much more than can be done on a mat.
Its the results that inspires us the most but the punishing regimen has to be pursued for sometime to see the first beautiful and positive changes to appear, it is tough to inspire through those initial days of working out.
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Thanks a lot for sharing such a great piece of article! I found it a good helpful write-up with a good sound and explanation. Here I have seen some valuable ideas that are definitely helpful for every fitness enthusiast who loves pilates. Please keep sharing more updates!