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“Dear Diary…” Isis Pilates. Week 2.

January 27, 2010

Isis Pilates

1615 Foothill Dr. Suite C. Salt Lake City, Utah.

801.232.8626

My name is Cher, and pardon the pun, but let me share my personal experience with Pilates and how it’s changed my life.  Nearly 10 years ago, I started running for exercise and to relieve stress.  After about 3 months, my knee started to hurt, which lead to ankle and foot injuries.  Dr.’s took x-rays and finally came up with a diagnosis that my patella (knee cap) didn’t track straight and unless I wanted to have surgery, I should find a different form of exercise.  I thought for sure I would never run again.

Today, I’m training for a marathon!  Wait, how can this be?  One word: Pilates.  Over time, Pilates has strengthened my stabilizing muscles around my knee and hip, increased my flexibility and range of motion and put me back into balance.  My patella tracking problem resolved itself without surgery, and I’m able to pursue my passion of running.  I am forever indebted to Pilates for this gift.

Another device that helped me is a foam roller.  What’s a foam roller?  A foam roller is round and made of a hard Styrofoam-like material that comes in various lengths.  It acts as a deep tissue massage; it hurts, but after you’re finished your body feels so much better.  It basically releases tension in the muscles and helps train them to release faster.  Pilates has improved my quality of life; I believe it can improve yours too.

foam roller

Jesse. Week 2.  “Dear Diary…”

December 15, 2009

Today I experienced another private session with Cher.  One thing I love that Isis Pilates does differently than many Pilates studios is the required stretching that is performed at the beginning and at the end of the workout.  Joseph Pilates (the man who invented Pilates in the early 1900’s) did not incorporate stretching or cooling down at the end of the workout, but modern research has stressed the importance of incorporating stretching into every workout.  By stretching the muscles, one can reduce the chance of injury both during the workout and in his/her daily life.

Another thing that I love about how the way Cher teaches is how she explains exactly what I am about to do before I do it.  If you don’t know what you are doing you can definitely hurt yourself on the Pilates reformer.  Another thing I found very beneficial was how she explained why I was doing the workouts I was doing.  She described the benefits I would be receiving, or what muscle groups I should be working, all while constantly assuring me that I wasn’t feeling strain in the wrong places of my body.  Awesome!  I never really have had a personal class catered just for me, and of course I love it.

One thing I notice we do in every class is the “Pilates 100.”  This involves laying on your back on the reformer and pulling the straps down till they are by your sides.  While keeping the lower back on the reformer you extend your legs at a 45° angel.  You then pulse your arms up and down in tiny little motions, breathing in for a count of 5 and then out for a count of 5. I think this is to prepare your spine and body for the exercises that you are about to do.

Let me finish this entry by stating that Cher made me do the hardest butt workout ever.  I lay on my side… on a box… on the reformer…. with my knees at a 90° angle.  I had one of the straps on one foot and was required to lift my leg off of my other leg, while keeping my knees and ankles parallel to each other.  The Pilates reformer has a series of varying spring resistances that can be adjusted according to what part of the body you are tying to work out.  The movement of this exercise (my butt muscle) moved the reformer as well as pulled against the resistance of the springs.  Wow! I had to take a mini stretching break after I did this workout.  I have never felt the muscles in my butt so isolated and worked.  Now I just need to do those more often and I should be ready for swimsuit season in no time. J

December 19, 2009

Today was not only my first group class but also my first morning workout with Cher.  I have always dreaded morning workouts, not only because I love sleeping in, but also because I usually just feel terrible while I am doing it.  I feel sick, weak, and tired when I try to workout in the morning. So I try to avoid it even though I know I could get a lot more done in the day if I exercised in the morning. The goal to do so will probably always be a New Year’s resolution.  My point in mentioning all of this is because I felt great both during and after the workout.  I definitely knew I was working hard but felt the method of Pilates exercises afforded me the pleasure of the absence of the usual “sick, weak, and tiredness.”  Yes!

This group class had a total of five people and involved four different sessions of circuit training.  We first focused on the legs, then abs, then arms, and finally a circuit of stretching, which I doubt you will find many other places.  One thing I noticed was that one of the participants had an injury in her foot.  I was interested to see how she would do in comparison to everybody else.  What I realized is that Pilates is the workout to do if you have an injury.  Cher knows exactly how to modify the move so as to gain the best workout and also to avoid causing greater strain to the existing injury.

For the entire duration of my time at Isis, I have noticed how much emphasis is placed on making sure you are feeling the workout in the right places in your body.  I believe that Pilates is truly about feeling better all around.  I think that sometimes people workout believing that the only way to get a good workout is to be in physical pain the whole time and to push themselves over her personal limits.  While I do believe that people need to be constantly improving by taking on more reps, weights, or cardio time, I do believe that some people can take it to an unhealthy extreme.  Pilates focuses, I would say, about 50% on making sure your spine and body are in the correct place and 50% on achieving the exercise.  I have never worked out this way. And what a change it has been!

Like my last entry, let me finish this one by mentioning that I did the hardest lunges that I have ever done.  They were performed on the Wunda chair (a seat with a spring board attached underneath that moves up and down according to the spring resistance).  The exercise involved standing and balancing on one leg on top of Wunda, while lunging and pushing down the spring board with the opposite leg.  I was only required to do 15 per leg.  Doesn’t seem like I should be such a ninny about this right?  But oh… my… gosh… I was dying!  I think they were so hard because you had to balance (so I was using my stabilizer muscles) while pushing down on the spring board and then resisting the resistance of the spring board as I was returning to the full standing position.

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