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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pilates



Okay, I looked through ten pages of Google images, but couldn’t come up with anyone doing Pilates that looked like me. Actually I couldn’t find any pictures of guys at all, except for some grainy pics of the original Mr. Pilates.

I took my first Pilates class today. It’s a free class offered by the Y for beginners. It’s called Pilates – Mat because we don’t use those big bouncy balls that I always associated with Pilates.

There were some similarities to Yoga. We didn’t wear shoes and by the end I was totally worn out. From my favorite reference source, Wikipedia:

Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates in Germany.[1] As of 2005 there are 11 million people who practice the discipline regularly and 14,000 instructors in the United States.[2]
Pilates called his method Contrology (from control and Greek -λογία, -logia), because he believed his method uses the mind to control the muscles.[3] The program focuses on the core postural muscles which help keep the body balanced and which are essential to providing support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath and alignment of the spine, and aim to strengthen the deep torso muscles.


The instructor, Catherine, was slender and very fit. Also very limber. She made everything look easy. The class was all women except for one other guy (that’s sort of the norm for mid-morning exercise classes) and was a mix of experienced and beginners. Catherine gave special attention to us first-timers, helping us to get into the right position and make the proper movements.

Some of the instructions were directed at how to tilt our pelvis. “Towards six o’clock, back toward twelve o’clock.” I know guys have pelvises, but I have no pelvis-awareness and no clue how to tilt my pelvis towards any hour of the clock. Next class I’m going to ask her what she means.

I took the mat right in front of Catherine so I could follow her closely. Well, at least try to follow her.

See how easily that woman balances in a perfect V, on her butt, while smiling and looking relaxed? I couldn’t do any of that. No perfect V; no balance, no smile and my legs shook. That’s because I wasn’t using the core muscles to balance, Catherine said. I am not sure I have any core muscles.

It was a fifty-five minute class and I was hoping for that ten minutes of relaxation time we had at the end of Yoga, but Catherine finished up by showing us an advanced Pilates exercise that is too complicated for me to describe, let alone perform.

Both YOGA and Pilates are big on breathing. Catherine would tell us when to exhale and when to inhale. There seemed to be a lot more exhaling. When do these pilatians inhale? Just trying to follow the breathing pattern was exhausting.

Catherine told me at the end of the class that I had “possibilities,” which I interpreted as “You’re not the worst beginner I’ve ever had.”

It was a good class. Strengthening my core is a key part of my training program to prepare for next year and I can see how Pilates will help me. I will be back next week, assuming I don’t injure myself in the next Yoga class.

Workouts:

Monday: drove my daughter to CVS so she could pick up her drug-test form as she needs to pass a drug test to get hired. Did some stretching while I waited for her. I had planned to run after we finished this five minute errand. After 15 minutes I was tired of stretching so I left a note on the seat of the car to let Christie know I would be back in five minutes.

Started running around the block, over and over and over and over again. After forty minutes and no Christie - I went in the store. She had left long ago and started to walk home. I guess she didn't see my note.

Tuesday: Pilates class (55 minutes)

Weight: 188.9

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