According to this article, today is the most depressing day of the year.
(What a chipper blog intro, right??)
Everybody’s back to work, and most of us are facing our first 5-day week in awhile. Plus, the weather sucks.
And I mean: SUCKS. Look at this:
Can you fathom what -48 degrees “feels like”? From my experience spending 5 seconds in it, sprinting from car to building, I can report that it feels dang cold. But then, to me, so does anything under 32 F.
The most noticeable differences, so far, are the loud popping sounds our house keeps making, as it (understandably) protests the agony of keeping the inside 72 degrees while the outside is -20, and the massive (MASSIVE) clouds of exhaust pouring out of every car and building. Also, half the city is shut down, including schools, my husband’s office (but NOT my son’s daycare??), and even some grocery stores.
Better staff a few extra pizza delivery guys tonight…
Yesterday, we went over to a neighbor’s house (about 6 doors up) to watch football and get our kiddos together, AND WE DROVE. To give you a little more perspective. (We also had a blast–their son has a ginormous train set and Mason passed out from sheer joy.)
Anyway, the real reason I stopped in today was to tell you about my recent one-on-one Pilates lesson. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was offered to opportunity to try out an intro class from a student teacher finishing up her certification.
I’d had some exposure to Pilates–specifically, through the painful plank-happy part of Body Flow and the Pilates Perfect Body program (which I have the DVD for, but it also appears to be on YouTube somehow?)–but I’d never done REAL Pilates, with all the crazy equipment.
For example, I was really curious to try out the Reformer, which looks like this:
Instead, when I first walked into the studio and met up with my instructor, she led me directly past the row of Reformers, saying “we won’t be using these today” (with a laugh, if I remember correctly??), and brought me into a room that looked exactly like this:
I saw an early 19th century mental institution.
First impression of Pilates: not so good.
In fact, when I later researched the history of Pilates, I read that it was founded by Joseph Pilates during his internment as a German national during World War I, as a way of enabling bedridden patients to exercise against resistance. (source) When an influenza epidemic struck England in 1918, killing thousands of people, not a single one of Joe’s trainees died. This, he claimed, testified to the effectiveness of his system.
When I read that, I thought, hmm ok…wonderful idea, but: I’m not bedridden. Am I the wrong audience for this?
Eventually, Pilates became popular through the dance community, probably because it’s all about fluid, graceful movements with a huge emphasis on the core.
But back to my lesson. I was wearing yoga pants and a long sleeve shirt over a tank top (I was encouraged to “layer”), and lets just say there was never any need for the long sleeve shirt to come off. I know it was an intro lesson, but I’d planned on considering the class my workout for the day, and I never got anywhere near breaking a sweat. (I think I was actually cold when we were done, haha.)
Maybe if we’d done this, I wouldn’t be saying that:
But the routine we went through was super basic. Lots of slowly lifting and lowering parts of my body while holding onto a bar, focusing on my breathing and core engagement. As much as I tried to focus on my core (she kept saying things like, “think about your core doing the work, not your hips”), I never really felt anything. We even did the famed Pilates 100, which involves holding your body in a V-up like position while pumping your hands at your sides 100 times, and even that was pretty easy.
When I do planks, I could be thinking about polar bears doing headstands while eating pizza, and my core would still be getting a killer workout. Just sayin.
Other takeaways from the class:
–It was my first one-on-one exercise lesson ever, so I anticipated some awkwardness, but it really wasn’t too bad. Although it was kind of intimidating have the teacher’s eyes on me THE WHOLE TIME–no opportunities to zone out like I can in group classes.
–I found it difficult to keep track of everything I was supposed to be doing at once. Breathing in and out at the right times, holding my body in a C-curve position, focusing on my core, relaxing my shoulders, etc. The mental work was way more difficult than the physical stuff.
–My teacher explained that the point of the equipment was really to teach you a level of proficiency that you could eventually move to the mat. So maybe the most advanced Pilates masters don’t even use any of that stuff?
–I could see Pilates being excellent for people with limited range of motion. The equipment forces you to be very aware of how your body is moving, rather than just letting gravity pull it wherever it’s gonna go.
So that was my first official Pilates experience! I can’t say I’ll ever try it again, just because I’m already pretty happy with my yoga studio and my basement treadmill, but it was a neat experience and a check for the old bucket list.
Have you tried Pilates?
What’s your weather like today?
P.S. Target’s having a Get Fit sale right now…20% off clothes, shoes, bras, and accessories (great time to get your dumbbells or kettlebells!).