My return to reformer pilates in March has my body saying "YESSSss, thank you!" So much so, that I got to thinking -- is reformer pilates my first love? I think yes, it is my very first love of exercise! After all, it was the only exercise I felt comfortable doing when I was 300+ lbs 5 years ago. I still remember the very first time I shyly walked into the studio. I couldn't believe I had mustered up the courage to take a group class with complete strangers. I remember stumbling my way into the machine and how awkward I felt...thinking oh god I'm going to be the elephant in the room, everyone else will be teeny tiny. And then she appeared - the perky instructor / OWNER / EX-ROCKETT!! I wanted to run, but I was stuck in the machine, trapped, so I had no choice, I stayed.
There I was with the owner of the studio who was like this magnificent ray of light. She made me feel comfortable while we waited for the others... as faith would have it, NO ONE ELSE showed up so I ended up having a private session with the Rockett!!
She was awesome, took everything slowly. Not once did I feel self conscious about my body, although I was grossly out of shape! I fell in love with reformer pilates from that moment on and have been practicing for the past 5 years. Last
Saturday - I saw her again after about a year of absence (she has since sold the studio but still trains clients one on one) and her JAW DROPPED when she saw me. She screamed "OMG, you look fantastic!!" She actually cried when I told her I was now down 80 lbs. and that I keep coming back to reformer pilates because this is my first love and that SHE was pivotal at showing me this path. She cried more and hugged me until we were both late for class. It didn't matter though, we had shared a moment connecting over reformer pilates love! It's all good!
Reformer pilates is not mat pilates (similar, but done on a Reformer Machine) - Articles written about the subject aren't conclusive about whether a reformer pilates program on its own promotes weight loss. To that I say - Pssh. Reformer pilates works great when you ADD it to your existing program of cardio, nutrition, tracking, cross training, sleep, meditation, prayer. What I can say from experience is that reformer pilates HAS contributed to changing the shape of my body. It's helped transform my mid-section, stomach, hips, thighs, like nothing else had in the past. Your results will vary, because you are uniquely you and I am uniquely me.
Here's what it looks like:
Reformer pilates is done on a Reformer Machine. The cutesy woman standing at the lower right corner of this picture is the former NYC Rockett and my first instructor.
This is the basic pose - it's called Table Top - legs extended at 90 degree angle, core muscles activated; most moves are built on this standard pose.
This is a killer core move called Hundreds/100s - it works!
This move is called Plank - because you extend your body out in a plank, not as easy as it looks because you are lifting your entire body weight.
This move is called Skiing - you balance with one leg stationary on the track, the other leg slides the carriage. Core activates to control the carriage distance in & out.
This move is called Short Spine - It really helps stretch the lower back. It took me 2.5 years to actually be able to do this move. My gut, that looked like a spare tire, got in the way. I couldn't go up and over without feeling uncomfortable. Once I lost some of the stomach fat, and actually developed core muscles, I was able to benefit from this move.
My return to reformer pilates this month and the chance encounter with my former instructor made me realize how hard I've worked over the past few years without giving in or giving up on myself. Is this love? Yes, I think it is the ultimate expression of self love. There it is -- the AHA moment.
Do you have a first love exercise that changed your life? What is it, what's your story?
SKINNYINMYHEAD (Annie) commented that reformer pilates is expensive and she's right. I don't want to mislead anyone about cost. Most gyms have an upcharge to your initial membership.
Here's what I did to mitigate costs - I consulted my primary physician and asked her if she would support me by writting a "Medical Necessity" letter that I could submit to my Health Care Benefits Administrator under my Flexible Spending Account Plan from my employer. I showed her that it could be done utilizing IRS Publication 502 - check pages 13, 15:
My goal was to use my PRE-TAX FSA money to pay for reformer pilates classes. My physician was all for it and immediately wrote a letter saying I was morbidly obese and this was a good first step at exercise which she prescribes ASAP. IT DID STING - to admit that I had let myself go to be part of the "Morbidly Obese" BMI category. But admitting it, got the job done. For the first 3 years costs were covered by pre-tax dollars. Then our FSA administrator changed / my Doctor moved out of TN and I no longer was able to get the costs covered. I have a new doctor now and plan to try again this year.
My point being - If you really want something, don't let cost get in your way. Check out REDCHILIFLAKES recent blog on the same subject: