Pacing Myself with Pilates
The Early AM Workout
How do you do it? How do you convince yourself to wake up extra early, leave your nice warm bed and super lovable, cuddly dog, and go to the gym BEFORE work? Seriously, if you have a super motivating way to get yourself out of bed in the AM – I want to hear it. Each morning this week, I set my alarm an hour early, to get up and workout before I had to be at work. Well, Monday and Tuesday, I woke up… looked at the clock… and continued to lay in bed until I actually had to get up for work. BUT… on Wednesday, I did it. I went in and took Chelsea’s 7 AM Pilates class at Bala Cynwyd. If you’re counting, I stayed in bed again on Thursday and Friday…. But, back to the point of the blog – working out.
So, as you know – I don’t know much about fitness. Seeing the word “Pilates” doesn’t mean much to me. In my mind, I thought it would be similar to yoga (only because it is in the same studio), and I’ve heard about it being good for a core workout, so that’s all I knew going in. I do want to mention, the Pilates class that I took was on a mat, up in our Jivala studio. There is another type of Pilates, Reformer Pilates, which has a separate studio. The difference? Reformer Pilates is actually done on a machine (you can see them if you look in Studio B). The Pilates Reformer machine uses different straps and cables to help and push your body into positions differently than doing it as you would just with your body on the mat. I’ll take that at some point…. but if you’ve read this blog a couple of times, you can see I’m moving in baby steps here.
So, getting up early Wednesday morning, I got to the class a little early to get set up. Right from the beginning, Chelsea was super nice. She introduced herself to me when I came in the room, and told me which equipment I would need for the day – 2 small weights, a small ball, a resistance band and a Pilates circle. Aside from the weights, this was my first time using any of this equipment, so you know – learning something new every day!
The class started off with a few sun salutations, but that and the transitions between moves were about the only thing that was similar to yoga. In my defense, I did tell you that I don’t know much about fitness. From there we did a variety of exercises, and a LOT of planking. The majority of the exercises that we did, focused on being in high plank, and worked around that – pulling our legs in, pressing our knees down, touching opposite shoulders, just to name a few. We used the equipment for some other exercises, done in the laying or standing position – inverse crunches, bicep curls, etc.
For each different movement, Chelsea explained what needed to be done – the position you should be in, what your body should be feeling, reminded of you of your breathing. For a beginner like me, this is ideal. Not sure about you, but I don’t know the name of most Pilates movements, or even regular exercises for that matter – Chelsea was great at describing everything, and did the moves with us, so I could see if I was doing it correctly, too. Plus, she knew everyone’s names – so she could instruct us individually on specific adjustments that we might need. Normally, I would have felt embarrassed by being instructed on something like this, but I didn’t feel that way here. Chelsea made me feel really comfortable and her instructions helped me to improve things that I couldn’t even see I was doing wrong.
Adore Your Core
That is what AFC Bala’s new flyer for Chelsea’s Wednesday morning Pilates class says. No offense to us, but I think we are selling ourselves a little short here. While Chelsea’s class, and Pilates in general, might be centralized around the core – she really did give us a full body workout. I know this, because my full body was feeling it the next day! I really think that the class gives you a great workout – yes for your core, but your arms and legs too. You might be deceived into thinking this is a little easier because of the class style – a little slower than some classes, mostly working on the mat and yoga-like transitions from one move to the next. Honestly though, I think this is the exact type of a workout that I need! Being brand new, I think I need something that is a slower pace, but still kicks my butt. I really like that I wasn’t rushed into moves, I was able to concentrate on my breath more and really work on getting the movements right. This was my favorite class so far, I am actually looking forward to taking it again.
Who would I recommend this class for: Everyone. I think this is a great class if you are beginner like me – you probably won’t be asked to do too much that you are incapable of. You can also move at a slower pace if you need to (like me), and you won’t feel out of place doing it. On the other hand, if you are already a pro at all of this stuff, you should take it too. You may be able to get more reps in, use larger weights, extend your body more – but you will still be getting a great workout with Chelsea. So, if you’re trying to squeeze something in before work on Wednesday mornings, head up to Jivala and take Chelsea’s class. You might even see me there sometime!