Pilates marketer gives it up (pain, that is) for Pilates & Movement
I’m 28 and it’s been three months since I started doing Pilates more regularly. In that time I’ve gone from serious doubter to complete convert. Here’s why….
I feel stronger, more aligned, more balanced, more confident and more aware of my body than ever before. Plus, I no longer feel pressured to do it. I do Pilates because I really and truly enjoy it!
It wasn’t always like this though. I remember making fun of my mom when she first tried Pilates years ago. I thought it looked too slow and was only for older people. What I didn’t realize at the time was that Pilates would become one of my favourite activities.
Before the pandemic, I was the kind of person who truly believed in the concept of “no pain, no gain.” I thought that if I wasn’t sweating, A LOT, I wasn’t really exercising. If I wasn’t burning tons of calories, it wasn’t good enough. You know, the old “push it to the limit” kind of mentality.
Cue the pandemic and a lot of sitting
Then, the pandemic hit. Like most of us, I started studying and working from home so I wasn’t exercising or walking nearly as much. I’d spend my day sitting in a chair for eight hours, and, like many people, destroyed my low back. I didn’t know how bad it was until things started to reopen and I slowly got back into my old routine.
My old workout routine had consisted of doing strength training three times a week and a HIIT class two to three times a week. When I tried to go back, I couldn’t. I felt way too much back pain, even when trying to go slow, so I got very frustrated.
The ironic thing is, I work “behind the scenes” for Body Harmonics so I had easy access to the company’s On Demand and Live Online classes.
I had to ask myself, “if not now, when?”
Of course, I was well aware of how much others praised the value of Pilates, especially since I manage Body Harmonics’ social media pages, but I just seemed to have a blind spot when it came to giving it a good solid try myself.
Trying is believing
It’s funny, right? It doesn’t matter how many times people say something is amazing, we usually have to try it ourselves to believe it. I used to hear someone talking about the benefits of Pilates and still couldn’t seem to look beyond my own misperceptions.
But I was desperate to find a way out of pain, so I started to give what Body Harmonics calls “Pilates & Movement” a try online. I’m not gonna lie, at first I found it kind of easy, but as I did more and more classes, I REALLY started to feel the depth of the work—I felt the deep stabilizing muscles in the front, side and back of my “core” (muscles I had NEVER felt before), and the interconnectedness of my body—how conditioning my feet and ankles, for example, could have a beneficial effect all the way “up the chain” to my back and neck.
Finding alignment with Pilates mat and reformer classes
So, when our studios reopened I thought: “Maybe it’s time to see if working on the equipment was as great as everyone said it was.”
Was it ever!
Everything made sense after one month of taking regular in-studio reformer classes, in combination with my online mat classes—all the conversations with Body Harmonics founder Margot McKinnon and my colleagues, and all the proof positive I’d seen in the research and client testimonials.
All at once everything seemed to align (pardon the pun).
Before Pilates there wasn’t anyone who was able to help me with my back pain, and I felt unaware of what my body was truly capable of. Today, my back is better, my walking is better, my breathing is better, and my gym workout is WAY better. I even get a better night’s sleep.
I could go on and on … Pilates & Movement has taught me how to use my body more effectively, efficiently and with greater integrated awareness so that my 45-minute bike ride to and from work is a lot easier: I don’t put nearly as much weight on my wrists as I used to—I relax my elbows, send “belly button to spine,” and voilà, my quad and core muscles turn on and do what they’re supposed to do!
I’m even running. For fitness, and for pleasure! That’s because Pilates has taught me to pay attention to my ankles and feet (two parts of my body I didn’t pay much attention to before). I can run for several kilometres now without any pain (before I wouldn’t last five minutes on a treadmill), even though I was previously advised by others that “you might be too heavy for running.” I’m not even kidding!
Listen to yourself AND your body
It truly is amazing what can happen when you ignore those negative external voices and start tuning into your inner strength! Pilates has taught me that.
It’s also taught me not to be afraid—that I can try any sport or any activity. That’s because I’ve learned how to feel, where to feel; when to stop, when to go deeper. Thank you Pilates (and Body Harmonics). Pretty sure I’ve found my “forever” method of exercise!