Truth bomb: I am horrible at maintaining a consistent workout routine. And if I'm being honest, I find gyms quite overwhelming, more than motivating.
Growing up, I was always quite active. The two main sports I absolutely loved playing were soccer and volleyball, and occasionally golf if it's with the right crowd.
But when I stopped playing on club teams, I had a hard time creating a consistent workout routine for myself. For years, I've struggled to maintain a realistic workout routine that I feel happy with and confident I can keep up with.
It wasn't until a few months ago, my best friend, Amber, suggested we try a Pilates class together. I honestly had no idea what to expect, which ultimately, helped me keep an open mind and not set any unrealistic expectations for myself.
We got to class about 10 minutes early that morning and the instructor took her time to demonstrate how the reformer Pilates carriage works. She was so kind, so helpful, and so motivating!
The workout was slow paced, yet extremely intense, and physically challenging. I definitely felt the burn!
I enjoyed the class so much, I decided to stick with it, and have been going about three times a week since April of this year!
If you're looking for an exciting and structured workout routine, I highly recommend researching Pilate classes near you!
What is Reformer Pilates?
If you're a complete beginner like I was (and still totally am), you may not be familiar with Reformer Pilates.
I definitely recommend researching some videos to see how the carriage moves and functions during a class session. Here's an example video below:
"The Reformer — the name given to the entire platform and frame used in reformer Pilates — is probably the most famous piece of Pilates equipment. And, if you aren’t familiar, it looks kind of scary. In reformer Pilates, a frame, called the ‘carriage’, moves around on wheels and is attached to one end by a set of springs, which provides resistance as the platform is moved. There’s also a foot bar and long straps, which can be used by the legs and arms, and shoulder blocks for stopping the practitioner from falling off when working out." (Rebecca Gillam)
The main parts of The Reformer:
Moving carriage: This cushioned surface is flat and moves forward and backward. Some also have shoulder blocks for added comfort and stability.
Front platform: This stable area on the reformer usually houses springs to adjust tension and can be used as a base for exercises. Many reformers will also feature an adjustable bar for more Pilates variations.
Back platform: Another flat, stable area on the machine, this often houses shorter straps with handles and adjustable bars.
Springs: These mechanisms are what allows for adjustable resistance on the machine to vary exercises. Springs tend to be color-coded. Sometimes a lighter spring may not mean “easier” as increased core stability will be required.
Straps: Note that the longer straps found near the carriage are usually for balance and stability exercises, whereas the shorter ones are for more tension-driven exercises. (Stefani Sassos)
7 Health Benefits of Reformer Pilates:
Tones muscles: Reformer Pilates provides a full-body workout that can help develop a strong core and tone a variety of major muscle groups.
Builds strength: By adding springs to certain movements on the Pilates reformer, you can increase the exercise resistance and intensity to build strength.
Increases flexibility: Reformer Pilates is known to improve not only muscle strength but also flexibility and joint mobility. That's because most of the exercises incorporate dynamic stretching.
Improves posture: Reformer Pilates can support a strong core, promote flexibility and realign the body and spine, which can result in tremendous improvements in postural alignment.
Corrects muscle imbalances: Reformer Pilates starts by building a balanced core and then strengthening all sides of the body evenly to fix muscle imbalances.
Prevents injury: By focusing on posture, form and fixing muscle imbalances, the Pilates reformer can create greater balance and efficiency to help prevent injury in the future.
Improves mindfulness: Reformer Pilates requires you to slow down. Each exercise motion is done with intention, focus, and intensity. It really challenges you to stay present with yourself and listen to your mind, body, and soul during the workout.
"Pilates is the complete coordination of mind, body, and spirit." ~ Joseph Pilates