We hear that a lot of our students are intimidated by the scary looking Pilates apparatus. They do look a little like torture devices… But, what about those of you who are hesitant to try a Pilates mat class? Stephanie Yu understands how you feel:
I have a turbulent history with mat Pilates. I think it started with the Presidential Fitness Test in middle school, where my classmates and I pounded out as many sit-ups as we could in a minute (72. Not that I’m keeping track.), all for a certificate at the end-of-school-year awards ceremony. That once-a-year effort would leave me with ridiculously sore abs for about a week each time. For the next 10 years, I diligently avoided exercises that involved my midsection.
Then Pilates came into the mainstream. Back when I had a gym membership, I’d intermittently drop in to a group mat class because I knew that having a strong core was a good thing, but each class was a frustrating reminder that my core had never been worked, unless you counted the one-minute tests from 5th to 8th grades. Now an adult and in mat class, I had no idea how everyone else could curl up and hold a C curve. Pilates Hundreds exercises were diabolical. And, anything that involved rolling chafed my bum (probably an indication that my core was, you guessed it, weak). To top it off, during each of these exercises, my restless brain was wondering why I didn’t just stop.
So, being that mat Pilates intimidates me, it’s amusing that I gravitated toward the reformer, with its seemingly complicated springs, straps, and movable parts. But there are a few reasons why I love the machine classes. First, trying new things is fun. The machines were new to me. Therefore, machines = fun. Plus, Fuse made the machines accessible. When it first opened, Mariska and the gals brilliantly recognized that many of us hadn’t spent extensive time on the machines. Et voila (at least, that how I imagine it was): the Meet the Machines class!
Remember that time you went to that step aerobics class and the instructor called out, “Repeater! Charleston! Grapevine!” and by then you were so disoriented, all you wanted was a glass of red wine? Fuse’s meet and greet with the machines, on the other hand, put everyone on the same page. It’s such a smart idea for a group fitness class. But even without a machines meet and greet, each Fuse instructor I’ve had is pretty awesome in her cues, and I’ve seen first-time reformer students rockin’ (intentionally) on the machines in no time.
Second, a consistent workout challenge for me is to keep my mind busy. Heather also mentioned this in her post about the Chair class. A lot of people use workout time to zone out. I don’t. My best runs have happened while my brain was working out problems. When there’s nothing to think about, my mind starts wondering why the body working so hard. It’s the same with core workouts. Unless my brain is distracted, I’ll start contemplating whether the instructor is actually counting the Hundreds because I’m sure I’ve counted 130!
Simply, the Reformer keeps my mind busy. There’s enough going on that instead of already having counted to 130 while Randi or Addie is still on 80, I’m thinking about how to keep the carriage still.
Finally, some things, like those evil Hundreds, aren’t necessarily easier on a Reformer. But for other exercises, the springs actually help move my body into position, from which the emphasis is then to control or limit the machine’s movements. That means a lot for someone who is goal-oriented me.
Next, I’ve got to work on that uneasiness I have around Pilates mats…..
Although traditional Pilates mat classes are a little (a lot) boring at times (often), we think that Stephanie will find enough variety and challenge to keep her mind working in a Fuse mat class. That said, we think there’s nothing quite as a fun as gliding on a reformer, even when the Hundreds are involved.