Before we begin, you must know that I used to be a sprinter before I joined college. Competition at the state and national level was kind of my thing, but after I was enrolled in college, I got tired of competing professionally and gave up the game. After my college started, it was like I was a free bird. I ignored my body and ate whatever I could because I had no â€śdietâ€ť to follow. However, as the months went by, all the progress I had made was starting to go, and so was my will to exercise. Finally, I started going to the gym in March, but within two months, I gave up and went back to my old habits.
This continued for two years of my college life until, in my 3rd year, I realized that I am not made for the gym. So I started searching for an alternative. That alternative was pilates. For me, pilates was doing all the exercises I used to do when I was training as a sprinter. However, one unique thing about pilates was that I could do it at my home as well as workout in the open. This suited me because I could match my capabilities and have fun working out. To make things more interesting, I dragged my friends along with me. The reason why pilates works for me is that I can focus on one target muscle for the day and push my self to make it stronger.
Another plus factor was that as a college student, time is money. I am always busy with something or the other. While my academics mustnâ€™t suffer, it is equally important that my social life doesnâ€™t suck. And pilates fits right into it. I can have a quick 15 mins effective and intense workout when I am in a rush while working on my posture during a two-hour long session. For me, the internet was my guru to teach me how I can structure my workout and improve my posture.
So, what is Pilates?
Pilates is a type of exercise that is low impact, and the main target is core, while other muscles can also be worked out according to need. The aim behind pilates is that it strengthens a large pool of muscles, improves flexibility, and improves posture. A workout session can typically last from 30 to 60 mins.
How to get started?
The great thing about pilates is that you have the option to do it at home, or you can join classes. If you are someone who has never exercised or even feel that you do not have a full understanding of whatâ€™s right and wrong, then joining pilates classes is the best option. The benefit is that there is someone to guide you and correct your postures. Hence, you donâ€™t end up doing the wrong thing and injuring yourself. The best way you can get started this way is by googling pilates classes near you. There are a lot of versions available in pilates; hence, I would suggest that you go for their one day trial, which almost all classes offer. Study how comfortable you are with the teacher, environment, and the class itself. Once you figure out what works best for you, then you can enroll in a class.
However, if you are someone who is confident enough and understands the basics of fitness like how to plan your workouts, the importance of warmup and stretching, correct posture, and a general understanding of how each muscle group works, then the internet is your teacher. But that does not mean that you choose to pick a video and start your workout randomly. What I did was, I choose to follow one person. I followed her routines, and over some time, when I got the hang of the exercises, I simply took her moves and designed a workout for myself. Of course, I am not an expert here, so I do frequently visit her blog and youtube channel to improve my form and workout routines. Sticking to one instructor helps because you are doing the exercises on your own, and there is no one to correct you only to guide you. Therefore, it avoids chaos, and you donâ€™t end up doing the wrong things that may cause harm in the future.
When one starts to do pilates, you should go with a clean slate. You must understand that even if pilates does not require weights, it is still as effective as going to a gym and lifting weights. Pilates is a slow process, but that much more rewarding. But if one only focuses on the rewards, then it would turn into a dull experience. I say you focus on the process. Take it a week at a time and focus on feeling good after the workout. If a workout does not make me feel strong and accomplished, I know that I did something wrong. The whole reason why I went from weight to pilates is that I wanted to feel good after my workouts. I didnâ€™t want it to be a drag and dreading my next session.
For real though, is Pilates really that great??
I am talking about pilates from personal experience, and for me, if I am honest, pilates has worked for me the best. But none the less, the drawbacks I am going to mention is what I heard from my friends, and I found them pretty reasonable. So here it goes:
- People feel frustrated at the seeming for lack of progress. This is because Pilates is a slow process and it does not offer immediate results like other exercises
- This brings me to the next point. Other forms of exercises like swimming or running provide with more strenuous physical workout as compared to Pilates.
- For those looking at Pilates after injury needs a customized plan, and they cannot follow any routine. However, I feel this the biggest advantage at the same time because customizing means that you are making sure you make the best of what you have got
- Lastly, Pilates has to be done with a lot of concentration since there is a requirement of a high level of precise movements to achieve the results.
Even though I called them drawbacks I still feel that they also act like advantages. Nonetheless, I want to talk about why Pilates has been great for me. S
- Pilates helps with toning of muscles and hence help with weight loss
- The overall strength of the body is also improved especially the bodyâ€™s core muscles.
- Pilates improve range of motions, balance and body awareness. Many athletes finds this useful.
- Pilates is ideal for beginners. It is, in fact, easier than yoga and requires less flexibility.
- Those that suffer from joint-related problems, can do pilates.
- There is no restriction on which body part you should focus one because you are working your whole body anyways!
I conclude by saying that Pilates is an exercise that has not only helped me gain strength but as well as gives peace of mind, which for the longest time no other form of exercise had given me.