Pilates, Workouts

My First Pilates Reformer Class

Saturday morning I was off to my first Pilates reformer class. I was so excited and dying to get on the Reformer. I’d been on a reformer only once before. My girl friend had purchased one so I stopped by her house to check it out. I was immediately in love. Time passed, the Reformer was still my dream machine and I started taking weekly mat classes. Then my teacher told me she’d be offering private reformer classes over the summer to fulfill her required teaching hours. “Sign me up”.

What’s A Reformer?

Other than my dream machine? It’s a machine that has a sliding carriage and springs than can be adjusted to make exercises easier or harder. It also has straps, handles, a jump-board that offers variety of exercises. You can do exercises laying down, seated and standing. With the reformer you can work to build flexibility, strength, coordination, speed, endurance and agility.

Mat or Reformer first?

For me personally, I’m glad that I came to the reformer with several mat classes behind me. I’d learned how to breath properly, I learned how to roll down and stack back up properly, I learned to relax my shoulders, I learned to move smoothly in each exercise and not rush the movement and I gained strength (especially in the core) and stamina that I believed made my first reformer class that more effective.

At the beginning of the class, Rose had me warm-up on a foam roller. Instantly it engaged all my core muscles because I needed to balance as I moved through arm and leg movements to warm up. It only took a few minutes but I was ready to hit the reformer.

Rose took me through 16 exercises and I’m hard pressed to pick a favorite. Unfortunately I didn’t have a pad to jot down the exercises I did. But I did find a source on the web that shows all the exercises. These exercises are known as the Reformer 1 or Beginner Reformer exercises. Rose told me that these were the basic exercises and once they are mastered then we move onto other exercises. Some exercises I was very competent in and others that I need a little bit more practice with. Like the Hundreds. Even on the mat I lose track of inhales and exhales. Oye. I loved the Leg Circles, could do those for hours. The Frog is so much fun. The Stomach Massage left me a little confused. So I don’t think I was executing it properly. Love, love, love the Elephant. Running was fun and the Bottom Lift was challenging. The hour went by so fast.

I’d started the day with a good breakfast. Egg whites with half a yolk and spinach on whole wheat toast.

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Then I headed off to the gym. Arrived and met up with Rose and we went to the Pilates Studio.

Two Reformers.

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One Ladder Barrel.

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One Cadillac & a chair.

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I left class feeling energized and taller. I am totally hooked and right now I can’t imagine not having this as a part of my regular fitness routine. And at least for the summer it will be a regular part of my fitness routine. Fingers-crossed for the fall.


I {Heart} Pilates

I was introduced to Pilates a few years ago through an infomercial and about the same time fitness magazines were praising Pilates workouts for the long, lean dancer’s bodies so many Hollywood A-list actresses had. Since my first video purchase I have dabbled in Pilates. A workout here, a workout there. While I enjoyed the exercises and the challenge they gave me I never quite got onto a regular schedule with them. I eventually ended up doing a Pilates workout every few months while I spent most of my time doing traditional strength training and cardio. Then last winter I decided to take a session of 6 classes offered after work at the company I work for. And I fell in love.

The fall was hard but the stress of the day job and the desire to get out of dodge at the end of the day was far too overwhelming to continue the classes. But, it turns out that the lure of Pilates was too powerful and the day job stress did ease so I signed up for another session. Then scheduling issues interfered so my second session was it for a few weeks. Last week I went back to a class and tonight I went to another class. A new session is starting and I’m signing up. I enjoy everything about Pilates. I enjoy the exercises during class, I love how I feel after class and I treasure the mindfulness of the after effect of class on me for the rest of the week.

There are dozens of books on Pilates and articles all over the internet about Pilates. And I even suspect there’s a Pilates teacher or two reading this blog. So, while I’m no expert and certified in nothing, I can share my love for this amazing form of exercising and my experience doing the exercises. If you are the least bit interested in trying Pilates I strongly suggest finding a certified teacher and working with her. The difference between the dvds and the live class was amazing but I do know that classes can be costly so if you need to keep an eye on your budget you may consider taking a class on a regular schedule and supplement with dvds.

I think tonight at class I had an “ah-ha” moment. Walking out of our building to our cars, my co-worker and friend Ms. A told me that she could do only a two to three reps of some of the exercises tonight. This was her second class and I think it was a little bit more challenging than last week’s class. I told her that okay, you do what you can and you build from there and listen to what Rose says about the exercise. Are you supposed to feel it in your abs or glutes? Are you supposed to feel your spine elongate or have your lower back melt into your mat or feel each vertebrae sink down or each bone stack up?

Three good reps feeling what Rose tells us what we should be feeling is far more better than banging out 10 reps and feeling nothing.

I’m looking forward to deepening my Pilates practice over the summer with my weekly mat classes and twice monthly reformer classes. (Ugh, my shoulders were just creeping up to my ears. LOL. Fixed it though.)

What workout(s) are you looking forward to this summer? Or, do you play a team sport in the warmer months?