Meet Tracey, a competitive distance runner (she's participated in several Triathalons and Half Marathons, not to mention 10Ks, and more!), certified Zumba instructor, and now, 50-year-old Pilates lover!
What brought you to Club Pilates in the first place?
I had been struggling with some mobility issues. I was beginning to fear that I'd lose my ability to walk and stand. (I have sciatic nerve issues that were responsible for plantar fasciitis as well.) I have a friend that I knew taught Pilates (mostly mat, but I used to love watching her Reformer work on Instagram) and I started asking questions. I was very intrigued about the Reformer--being a lot heavier than average, I was always wary of weight limits on the machinery-- but she fully encouraged me to give it a try. I heard about a free intro offer via Facebook in November of 2019 and decided that I had nothing to lose by trying.
What benefits have you experienced from Club Pilates? (please share details on your incredible weight loss if you feel comfortable!)
Overall, my physical condition has generally improved DRASTICALLY (I'm almost back to my peak fitness levels). As of my 50th birthday, I'm attending level 2 classes as they are available and I'm strong enough to roller skate again. That's not bad for a woman who, in October of 2017, was dealing with back/leg/foot/gait issues and could only wish to be athletic at the levels I used to be. I experienced a circumstance where during a very trying time in my life, I found myself with extra class credits for a month and I think I went to the studio every day for three weeks in a row. This kicked off an uptick in strength, both physical and mental, and with the help of some one-on-one attention from my instructors achieved an 80 pound weight loss throughout 2020. I vowed that I wasn't going to come out of the pandemic or my personal situation the same way I went in. I made the decision to become an unlimited member in November of 2020 and I REGRET NOTHING! I've lost 8 inches off my hips, and 10 off my waist. I generally... "fit better" into the world, into life, heck-- into my own CAR!
I am reminded REGULARLY that just because I can't do (a thing) today doesn't mean that I won't be able to do (that thing) in the future. I once deeply feared doing standing work on the Reformer, and the day I actually attempted it in class was one of the greatest days ever. So much so, that the instructor that day recorded it, and we shared it to my personal facebook and instagram pages as well as the studio’s.
Most improved move/class, or favorite?
This one is kind of tough, because EVERYTHING has improved. When I originally went to the intro class, I could barely get my legs in the straps. For the longest time after I started attending regularly, I had the HARDEST time with hip bridges. I carry most of my weight in my lower body so there's a lot to hoist off the carriage. However, for the first time recently, I was able to do a bridge with my TOES on the footbar. I almost couldn't even believe I did it.
What is something unexpected you experienced in your journey at Club Pilates?
In full transparency - I was floored just by the acceptance and inclusivity. Group exercise as a large woman, specifically a large, older BLACK woman in a space that is typically not terribly diverse can be very daunting. I had heard that pilates wasn't always an accepting space. I'm very glad to say that from the owner, to the front desk staff, to the instructors, to my classmates... It's just a group of amazing people that come together to do something great for our bodies. Everyone is supportive, encouraging, convivial and FRIENDLY. I've even found roller skating friends through the club. I also add that I'm coming up on year three, I'm almost 350 classes in and that makes this the activity that I have remained consistent with the longest. It's something I feel like I can take with me through mid-life into senior status.
I'd also like to add that my pilates practice dovetails with all of my other fitness exploits. Pilates makes me a stronger skater, and as a stronger skater my form in class is better. I'm more flexible and able to complete yoga poses I struggled with. I'm looking forward to continuing leveling UP.
What is one thing you would tell someone who is thinking about trying Pilates?
Just go and give it a try! It's probably the greatest half hour you've spent on yourself in a while. You may find yourself falling in love-- I know I did. There's always a new way to challenge yourself and grow and THAT right there is one of the most rewarding processes you can ever encounter in your life. (and further in honestly, I tell people that YES fitness is expensive but it's a worthwhile investment in MYSELF).