Circa 8th grade, my mom got sucked into an informercial and bought the “Windsor Pilates” DVD’s.  I remember spending one summer determined to figure out what all of the hype was about.  I was going to become a pilates professional.

By day two I had quit.

How the heck was I supposed to be focused on breathing rhythmically while moving my limbs at a quicker (out-of-sync) pace, while counting to 100 repeatedly, while not losing my hip alignment, while relaxing my shoulder blades, extending my vertebrae, and pointing my toe?  I felt like I was doing that old trick where you try to rub one hand in circles on your stomach, while the other one pats your head.  It was harder than doing a double full in gymnastics.  I literally was getting a brain workout and forehead wrinkles from concentrating, but definitely not a workout.  I don’t think I even sweat one drop, must less got my heart rate about 60.  I concluded that all of the celebrities raving about pilates were stupid.

Over a decade later, I still haven’t stopped hearing about pilates.  So recently, I bought a LivingSocial deal for one a month of unlimated pilates, using one of the “pilates machines” dunt dunt dooo….  enter this bad boy into my life:

The megaformer!
The megaformer!

I figured that attempting pilates again with the high-class expensive version– versus the late-night informercial version– would perhaps finally lead to a “come to Jesus” enlightening moment, where I dedicated my physical well-being to pilates forever.

Fortunately for my bank account (sessions are about $30-60 per 50 minutes), I have not become a pilates addict, but I have come to appreciate it.

Each workout is 50 minutes long and consists of a series of 50 different exercises that you do for a minute.  You usually start out with a series of core exercises, before moving to a series of exercises on one leg.  Then you reverse, working back to the core exercises, doing the same exercises on the other leg, in reverse order.  Throughout, you’re constantly adjusting the springs holding the “carriage” (the moving sliding part), to increase or decrease your resistance.  The bars on each end of the machine also twist 10 different ways to allow for grips.  Then there are three sets of hand/foot pulleys and two bungees which can be used in approximately 5000000 ways to challenge your muscles.

I’m almost done with the month, and I definitely appreciate what pilates can do for your core.  But then again, since the workouts really focus on your butt & abs, I’m not sure that devoting 50 minutes by myself in the gym to squats, lunges, and planks wouldn’t yield the exact same results.  I mean, if anyone did 30 minutes non-stop of different types of squats & lunges (which is the middle part of each pilates workout), I guarantee you’d get in better shape.

What I will miss about pilates, is the grip socks 🙂  Before getting on the reformer machine, everyone has to put on their funky-looking socks, that prevent us from slipping during the workout.  (During pilates on the reformer machine, I can confirm that you do actually sweat.)  Whenever I wear my socks, I feel sort of like a gecko.  They’re pretty legit!  (My grip socks are obviously purple, not ugly striped.)

Grip socks!
Grip socks!

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