Fitness Files: Starting Pilates

Fitness Files

With Fitness Files I’m starting a column where I share anything related to my personal fitness journey. I enjoy reading how other people try to stay active, keep themselves motivated, and being able to relate to them. With this first installment I wanted to talk about
starting Pilates.

I went to my first Pilates class, specifically Pilates Barre in early January. I didn’t know what to expect going into the class because I had only done cardio in the past. Over the course of that next hour I worked my entire body, with muscles shaking left and right. I walked out of the class covered in sweat, exhausted and above all, surprised. Who knew these tiny ranges of motion could be so challenging?

When I was younger I took ballet for a few years so I quickly identified with the Pilates Barre exercises. Lifting my heels, doing plies,tucking my core in, keeping my chin lifted. It combines toning your muscles with the help of the ballet barre. You quickly realize that the small repetitive motions give you a strong burning sensation and your muscles are starting to shake uncontrollably. And that’s exactly what I like about it. I’m not doing any crazy exercises to get my body in shape, I’m simply doing small targeted movements that are toning my muscles.

After my starter membership ended in February, I decided to sign up for unlimited classes each month. Since then I have tried out the original Mat Pilates and Hot Pilates. I even gave Yoga a chance and went to the Hot Flow Yoga class, but it just reaffirmed my stance that I enjoy Pilates more. To each their own, right? I now go to Pilates Barre and Hot Pilates each week.

The reason I started Pilates is because I was looking for a new exercise routine that was going to strengthen and tone my body. I am a big Zumba fan but after doing it for almost a year and loosing a bit of weight, there were certain areas of my body that just didn’t seem to change. It only took me only 24 years to get the concept (insert sarcasm here) but I really have to do a combination of cardio and muscle toning exercises to stay active and reach my personal fitness goals.

Pilates challenges me every single time, there is not one exercise that comes easy to me after a while. Yes I get better at holding certain stances and my endurance has improved, but it’s not something that I will ever complete or check off my list. You work your legs, arms, hips and core – and then you come back the next time to do it all over again. One thing that has shaped my mindset is knowing that working out is a fitness journey where you never reach the end. Because once I have reached my fitness goals, I want to maintain them. I don’t want to stop and let things go back to the way they used to be. I have made exercise a priority in my life and am now more fulfilled and happy because of it.

Looking back now, three and a half months since I took my first class, I have noticed a difference in my body and it feels amazing. It feels liberating to know I’m on the right track and to finally see results from the work I have put in. It’s motivating to come back every time and continue to improve my body. I have come to love my hour of Pilates as an hour of mind relaxation.

What exercise do you do to relax your mind?

Image: Little Visuals