Sure, I run marathons and hit the gym 5-6 times a week, but knowing my way around a gym didn’t make it any less intimidating to try a Pilates Reformer, a device I learned was originally invented by Joseph Pilates in the 1900s to help hospital patients strengthen their muscles.
Janis Luby, a veteran fitness trainer who has worked with triathletes and other serious competitors offered me a one-on-one Reformer class I couldn’t turn down. Janis owns the Sculpt & Reform studio in Evanston, IL where you can go and rejuvenate your mind and body through Pilates, yoga, and massage or spa services.
Janis and I met for our session last week where she coached me through the basic sequence on the reformer. We did each move only a few times – the emphasis in Pilates is quality, not quantity, Janis explained – and with exacting attention paid to my form. I was reminded to squeeze my ribs in and scoop my abdominals (I had no idea what it feels like to actually sit up so straight so this was a real eye-opener) and we did leg swirls that immediately helped open up my very tight hips.
The workout allowed me to really pinpoint the areas of my body that were stronger than others. For instance, since I’m a runner my leg muscles are very tight and it can be hard to open up my hips. I felt more comfortable when the focus was on my abs and oblique’s rather than my hamstrings or abductors. However, Janis’s positive tone was infectious: instead of feeling weak and frustrated, I found myself setting personal goals to get stronger.
The great thing about the classes offered at Sculpt & Reform is you don’t have to be athletic or flexible to begin. No matter how young or old, strong or weak, anyone can participate. The instructors specialize in customizing each workout, depending on your body size and fitness level, while keeping your safety their top priority.
So what did I think about the class? I absolutely loved it and I’ll definitely be back for more. I most appreciated Janis’s feedback and instructions during the class. She reminded me to tuck my tailbone, elongate my torso and I felt my body’s bones stack up in a totally novel way I had never experienced before. Leaving the studio I felt pliable, energized and wanting to learn more.
Have you ever tried a Pilates Reformer Class? What did you think?