After I got out of the military, I became a quintessential ‘gym rat’. I loved weights, step aerobics, stair master, etc. As I have gotten older, I have noticed that it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep my weight under control and I would have to spend more and more time in the gym. I found myself going back and forth with my exercise routine. After 30 years of working out in gyms, taking fitness classes and trying to motivate myself, I had grown weary of even trying anymore.
In 2015, my mother passed away at the age of 71 and was 380 pounds. She had not been in good health for years but her passing was nevertheless unexpected at such a young age. I was saddened and grieving for quite some time so I decided to give myself a break and not be too hard on myself when it came to diet, exercise, etc.
Then in 2017, my younger sister passed away suddenly, she was 34. I was just recovering from losing my mother and now losing my baby sister was just too much so again, I decided to comfort myself and not push myself back to the gym.
By summer of 2018, I had gained quite a bit of weight and was tired all the time. I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without being winded. What had I done to myself? I decided I wanted to live a long life and not follow in my mother’s footsteps of obesity and I had ENOUGH! I gave up my nightly wine, sweets, and many carbs. But something was still missing - I was dieting and losing weight but I didn’t feel great and I didn’t look great. Then, I saw a Facebook ad for a new Club Pilates studio that was opening in Morgan Hill. I had taken a mat Pilates class years ago and liked it, so maybe this could be fun. I did not know what 'Reformer Pilates' was, but it seemed interesting since it combined resistance training with, what I thought was a meditative class.
For my first class, I really didn’t know what to expect.
There were only 12 Reformers and a bunch of odd pieces of equipment, some I recognized, some I did not. The instructor was calming, the music was soft in the background and we were told to lay down on our back. Uhhh, how is this going to be a workout? That thought couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was sore for two days afterward, but a good sore! I wanted to try again, and see what a different type of class might be like. So I tried another and another and another and I was hooked! Just like that, I become a "Pilates addict".
Class is so different now since I have completed 378 classes all in the last 18 months. I find that class is what you make of it and slower is always better. I’ve learned how to practice diaphragm breathing. I’ve learned more about my alignment and that I always need to pull my shoulders away from my ears. I have many friends and Reformer buddies that I see frequently at the studio. Going to class 5-7 times a week has become my normal routine and my body and mind crave the stimulation Pilates provides when I don’t go.
I have lost over 60 pounds and it’s been fabulous!
It’s not easy to take on the challenge of losing any amount of weight but it is definitely worth it. Like I mentioned before, I had enough of not looking good and not feeling good and something had to change. My diet was the first thing to change and a few months after I started changing my diet, I discovered Pilates. Pilates has become an integral part of my weight loss journey. The mind/body connection has been something I’ve never experienced before. The rhythmic breathing of a F.I.T class or enjoying a flow class and realizing your breath can give you strength - these discoveries blew my mind!
Since I had always been a ‘gym rat’ and my body (when it was in shape) was very thick, large thighs, bigger arms and wide back. I always thought this was my genetics and it’s what I looked like when I was working out and somewhat fit. But then something crazy began to happen to my body from practicing Pilates. I noticed I was getting slender, sleek, longer looking, and feeling longer too. I walked taller and I had a 4 pack, not 6 yet, but nice abs! I was impressed with myself and the more classes I attended in addition to healthy eating, the transformation was absolutely breathtaking! Pilates had provided me with a body I didn’t recognize! I had a lean, dancer type body and it was strong. I could perform exercises that I never dreamed of. I went through a health evaluation with my physician and they could not believe that all I was doing for exercise was Pilates! I had lost a total of 62 pounds and could hold a 3 minute plank!
I’ll be honest, being challenged means something different to each person
and there are days where I want a hard, butt-kicking class and there are days I want to feel something more comfortable. Each instructor is different and each class is different, so the variety in itself is the challenge for my body. If I want to feel physically pushed, the instructor can always recommend a way to level up the exercise to make it more challenging - and contrary to what you would think, sometimes that means less resistance, not more! That took me a while to understand, but now I get it! I appreciate the difference when we use ‘light’ vs ‘heavy’ springs.
I have a very stressful job at a technology company and it’s a necessity to have an outlet.
Most people I work with drink alcohol most nights of the week for stress relief. As I mentioned, alcohol assisted in my weight gain. So when I gave up drinking to lose weight, Pilates became my stress reliever. One thing I absolutely love about Pilates class is that it is the 50 minutes that I don’t think about work because I’m thinking about my breathing, my shoulders, my hips, are my feet in medial rotation, etc. I love the fact that Pilates connects my mind to my body and nothing else matters during that 50 minute class. That’s probably why I attend Pilates classes so frequently because without it, I would be a different person altogether and not a very happy one.
I have gained respect for my breathing and the power it has.
I am amazed at how much strength and concentration your breath can provide. The breath can truly assist you in getting through a tough move or pushing through those last 2 reps. It’s nothing short of amazing - breath is life!
In class, I look forward to seeing my crew - we all know each other.
It’s the ladies and sometimes a gentleman or two who attend as many classes a week as I do. Since I have been attending the classes at Morgan Hill from when it opened, we have a few of us ‘founding members’ who high five each other and like to use certain Reformers next to each other just so we can hold each other accountable. It’s a wonderfully supportive community.
I take any and all 1.5 and 2.0 classes at my studio. I love the CP FIT class, CP Control as well as the CP Suspend classes but a nice 1.5 or 2.0 CP flow class makes me feel the most complete! The Halloween class was one of my favorites - I was dressed up as a skeleton with a mask and refused to speak. No one knew that it was me except that I was on ‘My Reformer’ that gave it away.
There have been so many fun classes where several of us bust out laughing because we’re all struggling to hold a plank for 30 more seconds or the last 2 reps of a difficult exercise.
Being in quarantine has been extremely difficult since we cannot go to the studio. The virtual classes have helped fill in the gap but I can’t wait to be back with 'my crew' on ‘my Reformer’!
Wendi - Member at Club Pilates Morgan Hill
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