My pilates journey (JT)
I signed up for my first pilates class 13 years ago when I was looking for a fun yet scientifically based way to lose some post baby weight as well as tone up. While I enjoyed the classes, I never quite took them seriously – they were just part of a one a week routine where I show up in class an follow whatever the instructor told me to do. It was only 2 years later when I was trying to have my second child through IVF that I started practicing Pilates seriously to strengthen my core. Outside of class I worked out on my own at least twice a week and long story short – I got pregnant on the first try and stayed strong and healthy throughout the pregnancy.
Unfortunately after delivering my child, I got busy with work and mommy duties that I stopped looking after my own body. Not only did I not have time to workout, I was eating poorly. It was like a vicious cycle, I slept poorly, so I was too tired to work out in the day, and since I ate poorly too (carb heavy), I felt sluggish …you get the gist. But I kept coming up with the cliched excuses : No time (especially to travel to the gym), too tired, too guilty (to reserve time for myself), no equipment (no treadmill to do cardio so I can lose the weight..Yes, I thought that I had to run and jump to get my cardio).
One day I looked in the mirror and found I looked so tired and …literally ugly! I was slouching, the post baby belly (even after over a year) was still there, my arms were flabby (the famous bye bye arms). I only wore baggy clothes which only made me slouch more. I felt really lousy.
Re-enter Pilates: I started classes with a girlfriend who is certified as a Pilates teacher. In addition to the precious sessions with her, I followed online classes so that I get my 3 times/week workouts, which eventually increased to 6 days a week. What initially fascinated me was that I could make full use of my body weight to get a good dose of cardio (e.g. push ups) and holding the plank did more good for me than those crunches I was furiously doing. The best thing was – PILATES IS SO PORTABLE – I could do it anywhere. This meant I could squeeze in a session at lunch time and even in my hotel room when I was on business trips or holiday! That felt so liberating. Externally, I noticed changes to my body – I was starting to shed weight (slowly but surely), and my body definition was also starting to show. Of course, I started to clean up my eating habits too but I made sure I put aside at least half an hour for my workouts. My colleagues (especially working moms) started asking me what I did during lunch hours and if they could join me, so we started a weekly session together. It felt great being part of a support group that kept each other strong and healthy, and set me to seriously consider getting certified as a pilates instructor so that I can be a better practitioner as well as a coach (hopefully) to those around me. I believe that in order for me to be able to improve my practice and be able to convincingly advise my friends/ family, I need to have a strong foundation in the philosophy and teaching of Pilates.
Fast forward to today and I am mugging now for the exam. At 42, I am older than the students in my Pilates Teacher training class, and am a professed late starter. But the thing is there are so many people my age going through what I have gone through, which puts me in a good place to empathize and understand their insecurities and needs. My hope is that through Pilates I will have the chance to be part of their fitness journey.