Instructor demonstrate an exercise on a reformer

The Benefits Of Pilates (By Adam Shuty)

Let’s do a word association. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word Pilates? I immediately think of second-floor studios on the upper east side of NYC. Large windows displaying tall, thin, ethereal humans, performing graceful movements on strange machines. These machines look like massage tables with cables and springs attached. From my lowly perspective on the street, the men and women appear as gods. The way they move mimics the effortless grace of ballet dance.

For 20 years I’ve made a living as a one-on-one fitness coach. From my perspective, fitness involves heavyweights and a lot of visible exertion. I know my incomplete perspective does not provide the whole picture. Still, I can’t help that at first glance, Pilates appears slightly distant, exclusive, and (dare I say) pretentious. Like any novice or neophyte, when I look at the machines, I’m confused as I have no clue where to start or how to make them work, but that’s my problem, not Pilates.

I want to break through these self-imposed barriers and misconceptions. The fact is, millions of people around the world have positive, challenging, enjoyable and transformative fitness experiences doing Pilates every day – not to mention really challenging workouts! Sometimes we need to reorient our perspective to more accurately see what’s right in front of our faces.

How To Get Started

Pilates Reformer

Taking a Pilates lesson would be the only way to remove the blockage. Rather than simply experiencing from a distance, the visceral contact will immediately provide understanding. So I recently, I took my own advice and booked a private Pilates lesson with Konstantin at CompleteBody on 57th street. All I can say is, wow! The effectiveness of this time-tested exercise methodology was communicated first hand as I was challenged to control my core, breathing, and posture. Pilates worked parts of my body I was unable to focus on in the gym. I must say I was pleasantly surprised!

If you haven’t experienced Pilates for yourself, you should. That way you can come to understand why it has lasted for over 100 years and why some people devote their lives to it. The faithful followers receive the tremendous benefit and that keeps them coming back again and again. Although the movements seem gentle, the workouts are far from easy and can always be adapted and scaled up to infinite levels of challenge or down to aid in recovery from injuries. You owe it to yourself to take a class or private lesson, even if it’s just one. You may just find that special something that’s been missing from your fitness life. If you don’t fall in love at least you can chalk it up to experience.

Either way, you win!

Cool facts about Pilates:

  • Created by Joseph Pilates in the early part of the 20th century, this movement practice rehabilitated dancers as well as combat veterans returning from World War I.
  • The smooth, controlled movements allow even someone with injuries to participate and experience therapeutic benefit.
    When done correctly and under the proper instruction Pilates can improve flexibility, joint function, core, and muscle strength as well as endurance.
  • Over 11 million people practice Pilates globally and there are over 14 thousand instructors in the US alone. (Wikipedia)
  • The skills learned in Pilates translate to other physical activities such as sports or other forms of exercise like weightlifting or running.
  • By studying breathing, concentration, body control, and posture alignment techniques tremendous gains can be made that will be felt throughout your daily life.
  • The Pilates machine is called the Reformer because it is supposed to help you to “re-form” your body.

My advice:

Give Pilates a try and please let me know how it goes!

Adam Shuty
Personal Trainer Manager

Midtown East Location

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