Pilates Chair: From Fear to Fanatic

Need some more convincing that Fuse Pilates’ Chair class is worth a test drive? Fuse Ambassador Heather Burchfield recently took it for a spin and found out it wasn’t nearly as intimidating as she had originally thought. 

My interest and confidence in Pilates has come a long way since learning the hundred on my dorm room floor to the (IMO tranquil, but annoying) coaching of Denise Austin’s “Mat Workout Based on the Work of J.H. Pilates” on VHS.  For months now, I’ve been working up the courage to try Chair.

chair-studio-199x300I took the plunge a few weeks ago and I have to say, without equivocation, this class challenged me, inspired me and has been officially added to my weekly workout regimen.

I was under the same misconception that I think most of you are—that I had to be at a really advanced level to attempt a Pilates Chair class and not come out embarrassed, having disgraced this ancient and revered exercise.  False.  Just like every other Fuse Pilates class, I learned that Chair class is a manageable class and the level of each student is different.  The start of my first Chair class began like any other Fuse class—we identified the problem areas that were to be annihilated in the hour.  We then got a quick rundown of the Chair—pretty simple—there’s a seat, a pedal (with different levels of resistance) and a base.  Not so scary.  With the music drowning out any residual hesitation, I began my first Chair class.  I immediately recognized most of the exercises and was thrilled to feel my entire body turned on and tuned in because the Chair adds resistance and requires balance and concentration with each move.  I sweat, I breathed, I shook, I learned, I trusted my body to work through each movement, and I left class invigorated.

After my first class, I was chomping at the bit to tell someone about this amazing exercise.  My husband was the lucky beneficiary of my newfound passion for Chair and much to his amusement, I found myself demonstrating a few of the exercises on our ottoman for dramatic effect!  My excitement did lead me to think to myself—when was the last time I was so excited about an exercise that I couldn’t stop talking about it?  That speaks volumes.

If my experience and obvious enthusiasm for Chair hasn’t sufficiently debunked any intimidation or hesitation that may be keeping you from trying a class, let me provide just two more reasons why I am officially a Chair Pilates fanatic.

Brain Power

I truly believe that you are as young as you feel.  We already know that Fuse classes help keep your body in tip top shape, but I discovered that the Chair class adds the brain stimulating benefit of problem solving.   “I need to drape my body over the seat this way, hold the pedal down that way, and lift my leg at this angle. Holy cow, what is that, there are muscles there?! Yippee!”  Just a preview of what was going on in my head during my first Chair class.  My brain was stimulated and active, along with my abs, arms, derriere, legs and back, for a full hour.  I’ve heard that you should challenge your brain on a daily basis to keep it young.  You could achieve this by playing Sudoku, Crossword or Scrabble, but why not get the two for one—physical and mental—benefits by taking Chair?

Nobody Cares

If you are concerned that you will be laughed out class because you aren’t confident with your level, trust me, it’s not even an issue.  Any fear that I had about what others were thinking of me and my performance during Chair vanished as soon as the music turned on.  No one was looking at me. They were so busy concentrating on each move and position (just as I was), that they didn’t have the time or frankly, the ability to look at what I was doing.  The only competition in class is with yourself—trusting your body and your brain to work together to learn new exercises and achieve a new level of body awareness and goals.

My new goal is mastering the pike at a level one on the pedal.  Don’t know what that means?  Take a Chair class today and find out!

Thanks, Heather. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves (which is probably why we have Fuse ambassadors to write this stuff for us!)

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