Antoinette’s Current Obsessions: Pilateees, peeps!

Antoinette’s Current Obsessions: Pilateees, peeps! 
Hey ya’ll,
Today I?m talking my latest obsession: Pilates!And before, you boys, decide to leave us just right here ? be patient – Pilates is as suitable and beneficial for you as it is for your girlfriend (and if you don’t feel the urge to read it all – move straight to point 6).
So why Pilates you probably wonder?

Well, every time I hit an aerobic class, I?d leave a few minutes prior to its end and skip the stretching bit. Genuinely, it?s never crossed my mind how important stretching was up until I went to NYC and kept on stumbling upon hundreds of people strolling down Manhattan with their rolled mats in hand. Little did I know back then that they were all headed to a Pilates class? something I?ve never even considered trying ? no weights, cardio, or resistance included ? so what was the point of even giving it a go?

Well, being the curious person that I am ? I just had to see what?s the hype all about (plus most celebrities seemed quite into it anyway – so why not do it Megan Fox’s way)?
Oh dear me! If only you have had the chance to see my lying on the mat, with my hands and legs, you know, completely all over the place. Well, frankly, after my first Pilates class I was completely blown away. Even though most of the exercises were carried out on the map, I was sweating like crazy ? I know, I know TMI! I felt so out of place, you don?t even know! Everyone surrounding me was graciously going from one move to another, and there I was feeling like a clumsy little panda. 

How could I’ve been that inflexible – it was a complete mystery to me! 

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You know – me – the ?cardio workout lover?, who was yet completely unable to do the ?Hundreds?, one of the signature moves in Pilates. And not only that ? the next day I couldn’t even properly walk – my muscles ached thaaaat much! However, rather than giving up, I felt more than inspired to de-granny that body of mine – and check me out now – going to Pilates almost every single day!
It?s been almost 5 months since I started regularly attending  Pilates and the results are purely impressive! I?ve been paying close attention to the way my body and mind have been responding to it. Well, I?m more than happy to announce that my I?ve never felt more alive ? literally and metaphorically! 

1. More aware of my body 
Well, my body posture?s never been ideal. And, frankly, despite my very efforts to walk as straight as I possibly can when I get a peek at myself at some mirror surface, all I could spot are my rounded shoulders! And blogging quite often from my bed ? certainly doesn?t make the situation better. 
So when I first hit Pilates, I immediately noticed that the focal point of it was performing the exercises correctly and with a perfectly straight back. It wasn?t about the speed at which I was doing them or about the repetition times ? rather it was all about focusing your mind on the very moment, doing your best to achieve perfect symmetry and coordination. And that?s what I call practicing ?mindfulness? without even realising! And that’s the thing – when I’m at Pilates – my mind gets so focused on the moves it’s doing that I cease worrying about anything else! I stop daydreaming and thinking about the past  and instead focus on achieving blissful serenity NOW! And weirdly, I’ve noticed that even after the class comes to an end, I seem more aware of my body and especially my posture when I?m sitting behind a desk or walking around with heavy bags in hand. 
Also, during the class your willpower will be put to test!  You have no idea how many times I’d think of giving up, but yet keep on trying and trying until I get a certain move right as once I do – Gosh – the feeling!!! 
And indeed, sticking to Pilates does require quite a lot of motivation, but as soon as you notice how amazing it actually is to have complete control of your body – well, believe me – nothing and noone will be capable to talk you out of it.
2.  Graciousness and flexibility 
As I?ve never done gymnastics or ballet, so you know, flexibility and splits have never been my strong side. That’s however in the past and long long forgotten! Today, I can effortlessly twist and bend and feel no pain while doing so! And the feeling to be able to make your body work for you, rather the other way around, is purely amazing!  

3.  Core strength ? scratch that ? great body strength!

Pilates experts use a spot on ‘tree’ metaphor to explain why Pilates does it right! Just think that way ? where does the strength of a tree lies within? In its limbs or in its trunk and roots? Precisely! Without a strong stem, it would fall straight away! So, when you’re working out, you should really focus on strengthening your core first before focusing on your legs and arms. Pilates in contrast to all the other workouts will help you do precisely that – you’ll be building a strong and efficient core, while simultaneously shaping the rest of your body.

4. Forget about the Bulk
Having experimented with quite a lot of workouts, I?ve finally come into terms with reality: going to the gym or any class that requires weights – makes my body bulky. And being 5.1” and bulky is not in any way ideal, is it?  In contrast to the gym where you use isolate certain muscles to perform a particular exercise, Pilates requires you to use all of your muscles and their connective issues at once. You need only a few Pilates sessions to notice that the strength of your body is rapidly increasing – with it becoming lean rather than bulky
Today, I can clearly see that the shape of my body has changed! I do feel taller, even though in reality I’m not. But that?s the thing with Pilates ? it works towards giving you these long and leaner muscles you’ve always  yearned to have. Also, you’ll notice your tights toning and butt rounding in no time, without bulking up, with you ending up looking all fit and sexy in your jeans without worrying whether they will be able to fit.
5. A Kcal burner and metabolism booster!

Did you know that attending an Intermediate/Advanced Pilates class will help you burn up to 460 kcal per hour? Actually, every time I leave Pilates, I?m starving. Pilates experts explain it with the fact that during the class you’re investing a lot of energy to be able to use all your muscles when performing the Pilates moves. If, however, your main goal is to lose weight – my advice – combine the Pilates class with cardio workouts a few times a week. Aw, and remember when we talked bloating (here)? Pilates will not only speed up your metabolism, but will also help you get rid of the annoying bloat, with your belly becoming flatter than ever before and with the annoying love handles soon after disappearing too. 
6. Spice up your sex life!
Well, Pilates makes you more flexible and we all know what that means in regards to your ?sex? life. But this point is especially relevant to you boys, as Pilates will strengthen not only your core, but your pelvic floor too which means that you’ll end up having much more control of it. And studies have concluded that flexibility in bed is much important for you, as in reality, most sex positions( or at least the best ones) require you, guys, to be able to control your body and move your hips. Nuff said really.

7. Calm your mind – heal your body
And after all the ‘body’ talk – for me the best side of Pilates is the positive energy it supplies me with. Since I began practicing Pilates, I’ve certainly become much more patient and calm – and that was certainly something the multi-tasker in me desperately needed! My Pilates class = my daily dose of therapy (more about how I deal with feeling overwhelmed by stress and anxiety here). And at the end of the day – healthy mind and body go hand in hand. And Pilates promises both!

And Joseph Pilates sums it all up:

Below I’ve added one of my favourite Pilates’ workouts to do at home when I have not time to go to a class.

Ready to join your local Pilates class already?
P.S. Stay tuned for my Pilates series. Will be sharing with you some of my favourite Pilates exercises <3

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