Fuse Pilates Fan: Howard Chang (Or, Pilates Is Not Just for Girls Part 3)

Here on the blog we've presented plenty of evidence to bust one of the most common Pilates myths: Pilates is for girls. Need a quick rundown? • The method itself was created by a (seriously strong and toned) man. That'd be Joseph Pilates, of course. • David Beckham's rippling abs? Brought to you in part by Pilates. • If you've ever taken a class with Fuse instructor Abe Ahern, we don't need to remind you that not only do real men do Pilates, they also teach Pilates classes that will leave you sweaty and sculpted from head to toe. Yet, the pesky stereotype persists. We're not ones to give up (our roll-ups didn't perfect themselves overnight!), so we're back on the case. This time, we're going to let one of our male Fuse students do the talking. In the first of our new monthly student testimonials, Howard Chang shares his experience of being a dude who does Pilates.

Meet Howard Chang: A tattooed, bearded, real life male who does Pilates

You were new to Pilates when you first tried Fuse. What did you expect from your first class? I expected a yoga class, honestly. Lots of holding poses and stretching with a few crunches mixed in. How did your Fuse experience differ from your expectations? Well, first off, it was much harder than I anticipated. I was taking yoga, so I had some experience working stabilizing muscles, but I did not think I'd be working the smaller muscle groups so hard, too! I was definitely sore afterward. I also didn't expect to sweat. I was wrong. Would you recommend Pilates to your male friends? At first my dude friends poked a little fun at me when I would mention I do Pilates. I always recommend it to them, and they have still yet to "man up" and come with me! I think they're scared that it'll be too hard for them. And honestly, it will be, because it was for me the first time, and it's why I've stuck with it. I'm looking forward to introducing my friends to the studio, and just last week I had two friends ask about how to sign up for classes. They've started to become more interested in it now that they see that I've lost weight and toned up. I want other men to realize that it's a lot tougher than it seems, and there's a lot less risk of injury than say, flipping tires or doing overhead presses as fast as possible. It's really not a girly workout. I've gained a lot of upper body strength through Fuse -- I can knock out 40 pushups no problem now, and my form is better too!

Crushing Pilates myths one pushup at a time

Do you have a favorite move or Pilates sequence? Forearm plank into elephant, then extend one leg at a time and do left lifts from there, before walking back out and holding forearm plank. It hurts - in a good way! It makes me feel strong and I can feel it working my shoulders, upper back, abs, and legs all in one move. Any exercises you love to hate? Kneeling side kicks, which is kneeling and extending one leg out to side while balancing on one hand, and doing leg lifts and circles with the extended leg. It feels like a shark biting you in your ass repeatedly.
Difficult Pilates Exercise

Possibly the most hated exercise in the Fuse repertoire

How has Pilates changed your body/self? It's been the basis for a lot of positive changes in my life. I feel much more confident since I've toned up a lost weight, and seeing progress has just motivated me to do more. It also makes me more conscious of what I eat, so I don't do too much damage to the work I've done... obviously very hard because I'm a chef, so I'm always around food. Getting in shape has also helped with my energy, too. I'm a lot less tired after a long day in the kitchen, and I have much less lower back pain because I've strengthened my core, improved my posture, and learned how to move my body more efficiently.

Toki Underground's seriously delicious ramen requires seriously long hours in the kitchen

What's your favorite thing about Fuse? It's hard to narrow it down to just one thing. I really appreciate the simplicity and convenience. There are several class options throughout the day, seven days a week, which helps me fit a workout into a busy schedule, and the mobile app saves a reminder on my calendar. The class sizes are perfect. Even when it's full, it's not awkwardly full. The thing that keeps me coming back is the fact that each instructor and class is unique. I really recommend trying out different instructors because the each have their own style. And the playlists are a huge thing for me. I really enjoy yoga, but sometimes the new age-y reggae gets a little annoying. I like having something upbeat and inspiring playing while I work out. I think ultimately it's the combination of all the things I enjoy about other practices and workouts mixed into one method that makes me enjoy Fuse so much. The breathing and stretching of yoga, the intensity of traditional strength training, the lengthening and toning of Pilates, and playlists I'd make if I were just working out on my own, all in one convenient class. Actually seeing my abs for the first time in... ever, definitely doesn't hurt either.   Calling all males... we can work your core and sculpt your upper body. Come try a class with us. We dare you. #realmendopilates

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