Since I’ve graduated from college and started working an 8-5, working out has literally been at the bottom of my list. For the most part, I am the friend that everyone hates because I eat relatively unhealthy, never work out, and still somehow remain skinny (s/o metabolism). Anytime I actually DID go to the gym, my friends considered it my “monthly workout” (pretty accurate). After about a year at my desk job I decided I needed to stop being a human piece of trash and start working out again.
As a little background, I played four years of collegiate volleyball so working out is actually something I have been used to for most of my life (I seriously don’t know why I get such a bad rap). I have dabbled in going to the gym, but I inevitably show up and start doing exercises I did in my weight lifting program in college. Obviously that never ends well when I work out literally once a month and I end up feeling like literal death the next day. Note to self: even if you think you can lift what you lifted in college and in season, YOU CAN’T.
Long story short, I needed something besides your every day gym. (I was starting to get second hand embarrassment from being the alum that still uses my college campus gym and borrowing my friends Student ID’s to swipe in.) Thus I landed in the land of Pilates (1) because I wanted a workout that was instructor driven since it is what I am familiar with, (2) my studio offered beginner’s classes for first timers like myself and (3) I finally had a chance to wear my extensive Lululemon collection to somewhere other than the grocery store.
My first piece of advice for anyone who is looking into a Pilates studio is to look on Groupon. I found an amazing deal of $35 for six classes at a local studio when I first started. If I couldn’t last six classes, I had bigger issues to deal with. While Groupon is awesome initially, you need to be prepared to drop some cash on classes if you decide to keep up with it. Most studios average around $20/class but some also offer class packages with slightly better rates.
Pilates has a few different versions, the most popular are done on the floor or on a Reformer. For the sake of this post I am going to talk about Reformer Classes. A Pilates Reformer is a basically a large piece of workout equipment with a “carriage” in the center that moves via a series of springs to create resistance. They usually come equipped with stability bars and a few sets of handles.
Pilates essentially works your entire body and combines the following (aka pretty much the important things):
Going into my first class I expected a very light, relaxing, yoga-like workout. I was WRONG. It was fast paced, intense, and worked my entire body. For once I actually had to wash my workout gear.
How Class (Usually) Goes Down
- Arrive at class and stake claim to your Reformer + stretch if needed
- Follow the instructors lead the entire class. Classes vary, but usually consist of a circuit of different body exercises that are enhanced by using the Reformer/creating different levels of resistance depending on your type of exercise. For example, the highest resistance is used for squat-type exercises utilizing your legs while the lowest resistance is used for arms.
- Series of Ab Workouts (Planking/Crunches/Sit Ups)
- Arm Exercises (Bicep Curls/Tricep Extensions/Push Ups) using hand weights or the handles on the Reformer to utilize your body weight
- Legs (Single Leg Squats/Leg Extensions/Lunges)
- Glutes (Squats/ Lunges/Bungee Cord Kicks)
If nothing I have said so far makes any sense, I have created a list of Pro’s and Con’s to Pilates.
- Full body workout
- Small class sizes – My studio maxed out at 8 per class
- Length – Classes last anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour
- Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy
- No shoes – Pilates is done in socks only (with grips), which gives it a more relaxed feel
- Disclaimer: Most class goers wear toe socks. It will throw you off at first and slightly disturb you.
- Cost – Groupon is a great place to start, but monthly packages can soar as high as the $200 range depending on how many classes you take
- The Reformer can be confusing – It takes a few classes to get the hang of, but instructors are usually pretty helpful
Overall, I would recommend Pilates to anyone who is looking for a good workout. It’s challenging, quick and definitely worth what you pay. I would recommend it more for anyone who is looking to work on their tone rather than weight loss because for someone like myself, it worked best at helping me maintain my body while building my muscle back up.
Studio Recs: I highly recommend trying out a Pilates Plus studio if you don’t know where to start. I took my first classes at the PP in Westlake Village and they had amazing classes for beginners as well as more advanced Pilate-goers.