Thursday, June 24, 2010
30 Before 30: Item 9
Item 9: Try Pilates. Not the most ambitious of goals, but hey, I've always wanted to try it and thought putting it on the List was a good way to get it done.
A self-proclaimed "cardio junkie", I just don't feel like I get in a good workout if I don't go running (or swimming or biking). So, much like in my first post on yoga, I went into Pilates a bit skeptical about the intensity level......and got in a 3-mile run at lunch, just in case.
On Wednesday evening at 5:30pm, still flying high from the miraculous US win over Algeria to advance in the World Cup, I took myself over the 24 Hour fitness to take my first Pilates class. As always at 24 Hour Fitness, I was greeted by a friendly receptionist. I trotted over to the group exercise room, picked a good spot on the floor and spread out my trusty yoga matt.
In hopes to capture pictures of me in some kind of bendy-flex move, I shared my blogging adventure with the instructor so she could snap a few shots while I was mid-workout. Excited to be a part of something posted publicly (hahahaha....public...as if people read this), she eagerly agreed and thanked me for selecting her class. That's her, below.
The class started out, as expected, with deep breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth, raise the chest, suck in the tummy, etc, etc. Feeling very relaxed (and glad I'd already run that day), we moved into abs....where the relaxation quickly melted into agonizing pain.
After what seemed like hours of shaking, sweating and an overwhelming certainty that I was going to tear a stomach muscle, we finally took our first break. I relished in the sweet, stretchy release of Child's Pose, glancing quickly at the clock to verify that we were at least half-way through the class (if it wasn't already over).
With pure shock, I took in the time: 5:42pm. Slowly, I realized that I had only been in the 60-minute session for 12 minutes. I stared with disbelief at the red digital numbers wondering if perhaps I could have participated in an earlier class and not realized it? Did we start early? Maybe it was day-light savings this week? Stunned by the undeniably tough workout I'd endured for a mere 12 minutes, I suddenly felt as though I may not be able to finish the class.
Determined to succeed in my goal, I took a deep breath. Well, I took several deep breaths, focused on the instructor, picked up the hand weights, and pressed on into the arm routine.
Surprisingly, the intensity level slipped back into neutral! We used the small weights to do several arm exercises, moved on to our stomachs to work the back, and got in a bit of a leg workout. The rest of the class included great strengthening poses, fantastic stretching techniques and a few challenging planks. When remaining 48 minutes came to an end, I honestly found myself ready for more!
Overall, I'd give Pilates at B -. The core workout is nothing to scoff at, in fact, it was possibly one of the better ab workouts I've done. Next-day soreness wasn't nearly as horrific as I expected, and being a masochist of sorts, I'm a little disappointed to not be cringing in pain every time I laugh or sneeze. Pilates surely has its advantages and I'll definitely integrate the ab-work into my regular exercise plan, but overall I think I'll stick to yoga and running for now.
If the ab-wrecker story inspired the masochist in you to give Pilates a try or if you're looking for the lower intensity, sculpting workout that we did for most of the class, I found a few videos that are fairly short and intro you to the basic Pilates moves. Check 'em out: Abs, Legs/Butt, Overall Sculpting