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From Weights to Pilates: My Unexpected Journey into Whole-Body Fitness

My name is Frank and I'm married to Sarah, the owner of Pilates Glow. Recently, she's convinced me (against my will) to start taking private Pilates instruction with an apprentice named Sheryl. Even though I've been married to an instructor for over a decade, I've never actually practiced Pilates myself. But I began my lessons with an open mind and a willingness to learn. 


I'm already pretty physically active. I play multiple sports and weight train at the gym three days a week. I don't, however, strengthen a lot of the areas that I know Pilates accounts for. This includes core training and flexibility. So I immediately understood from a conceptual level that my Pilates practice will supplement areas that I'm not working on with my weight training.


The first thing I noticed working with Sheryl was just how different of a mindset Pilates is compared to traditional weight training. Lifting weights is all about isolating muscles, pushing them to work without assistance from others. In many ways, Pilates is the opposite. It's a whole-body workout that forces you to consider every muscle and body part in the exercise, from your feet, to your core, all the way to the top of your head. This encourages the body to be in alignment and work in unison. 


It's a more subtle workout that promotes body unity and posture in ways that I can see seeping into other areas of my weight training. One example of this I felt while doing tricep extensions. Having injured my shoulder years ago, strengthening my tricep is very important. I isolate my arm so that only my tricep is working while extending. But I found myself focusing on my posture and tightening my core during the exercise. This didn't affect the workout my tricep was getting, but it forced my entire body to be conscious of the required effort. It just goes to show that the principles Pilates employs, such as alignment and whole-body focus, are important for everyone and can be utilized in a multitude of surprising ways.


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