|Pilates Reformer Machines|
About two months ago I added Pilates classes to my fitness regimen. Core strength is an ongoing challenge for me. I will likely never have a six pack due to a combination of genetics and my refusal to give up bread, but there was a time when I had a taut, feminine fit middle. Back then I was regulary using the the Mari Winsor 20 minute DVD (http://www.amazon.com/Winsor-Pilates-Minute-Workout-Dvd/dp/B000WU6YZI ) and an AeroPilates machine (http://www.qvc.com/qic/qvcapp.aspx/view.2/app.detail/params.CM_SCID.coll.item.F0351.desc.AeroPilates-4-Corded-Home-Studio-with-Cardio-Rebounder3DVDs) from QVC which I’ve had for about five years. I got great results with the combo of the DVD and the AeroPilates machine but I started slacking on my consistency and eventually stopped using them both altogether and moved on to other types of exercises.
In April of this year I set a goal to get more variety in my workouts and remembered my old faithful friend Pilates. This go round I decided to commit to classes which is something I had never done before. I am currently taking the Pilates reformer classes two times a week and a mat class once a week. My gym offers the mat classes as part of the membership but the Reformer classes are at an additional cost. I really enjoy my classes. I had never used a Pilates Reformer machine before April. It has essentially the same base as the AeroPilates machine I got from QVC with the addition of the tower. My reformer classes have four people including myself. The mat class has about ten people. The classes start at 6 am and run for a little under an hour. The videos below are very similar to what I do in my reformer classes.
I rate the Reformer and mat classes equally. If I had to differntiate between the two, I think with the Reformer the apparatus on the machine can guide/assist you, and allow you to go deeper with some of the upper body movements, which you won’t get during mat Pilates.
The movements in Pilates are controlled and precise, and there is a lot of focus on breath and form so to the casual observer it might not seem like much of a workout. That is until one tries it. The simple, subtle controlled movements are the key and while I would never compare it to a cardio workout I find myself “feeling the burn” a day after I’ve completed a class. I like the fact that Pilates is a low impact exercise that can be done by folks of all shapes and sizes and modified for those with injuries. I like the way it makes me feel toned and leaner. I also find the focus on the breath while doing the movements somewhat meditative and calming.