Saturday, February 19, 2011

Take a Chill Pil(ates)

I was wrapping up my work day a few weeks ago and chatting with my friend Molly about the gym we both go to.  You guys remember Molly, right?  She mentioned that she was going to a pilates class with her friend Kristen and that I should join them.  I thought, Hey, I've been working on my core, this should be great.  Plus, my mom and my sister looooove their pilates class so it must be good :)  So I said "sure".

We met at the gym and went into the torture chamber pilates studio.  The lights were dim and a number of people were already stretching on their mats.

So peaceful...

We found a spot that let us be side by side...right at the front and centre of the class. Awesome.

Our teacher asked those of us who were new to her class if we had ever done pilates before. Now, the truth is, I *had* taken pilates a couple of years ago.  A whole sixteen weeks of it.  I stopped because I didn't feel challenged by it.

I realized the class started when our sweet little teacher started barking orders to do things like hold a crunch while flapping our arms, and count to A HUNDRED. That exercise is called-shockingly- 'hundreds' (but I'm just calling it 'a really long time'...who's with me??)  I jumped in enthusiastically because this was going to be an awesome workout.  And then, after about ten minutes of keeping every fibre between my ribcage and my pelvis tight enough to play a rousing round of "Dueling Banjos", the teacher stated that we had completed our warm-up and were ready to:

Pardonnez-moi?? That was *the warm-up*??

It's all a bit of a blur, but I do remember the roll-ups (and I wish I was talkin' bout fruit roll-ups.  You know, those snacks you roll out, some have little tattoos you can make on your tongue...but I digress).

You guys, I am not lying when I say that *everyone* else in the class balanced back and forth gracefully, like those little glass birds that tip forward into a cup of water:

*I* was more the little birdie that couldn't.

Another fun pose I "learned"?
Balance on your "sit bones" (yoga and pilates are all about the sit bones), straighten one leg and hold it.  Now straighten the other so your legs make a V. Now gently rock back and forth...


We finally got a reprieve from all that rolling around on our backsides and it was time to roll onto our, well, just our sides. Simple enough, right? Now all that was asked was to lift BOTH legs at the same time and point them to the corner of the mat...without wobbling or falling over. After completing failing miserably at that task,

I tried to follow along as quietly as possible. This worked for about 10 seconds, until I pointed my toe and my foot curled up tighter than an armadillo in the middle of a biker bar parking lot.

Seriously. Who gets a foot cramp while lying on the floor??
(Well, what has two thumbs and poufy hair?)

I wouldn't say I did well during that class but I would say that I finished that class.  I suppose the *nice* thing about pilates is that it seems like there are three levels of difficulty for every pose.

Level 1 a.k.a. OPTION A

Level 2 a.k.a OPTION B

Level 3 a.k.a. OPTION C

In. My. Dreams. But honestly? Not even then...

Finally, I feel the need to apologize to spinners and all manner of indoor cyclists* for calling y'all disturbed:  Mr. Joseph Pilates was one crazy mo-fo, and his disciples are a little coo-coo for core work.  But hey, I really like weird people, so you, pilates-lovers, have my respect.

*I had a reader point out to me in some detail that the class I took was not an actual SPIN class so I do not want to offend...or risk litigation.




  1. I HATE pilates, mainly because I'm way too spazzy to do it. That class sounds way too intense for me. At least you can say you made it through! I love the little birdie pic!

  2. This one made me laugh out loud! If your Mom can do it (mostly) so can you! Sis :)(The one who looooves pilates!)

  3. OMG! You are describing my pilates experience perfectly! I am LOL! I once made a cartoon a la the Far Side about my pilates class...with the cows doing was a riot! "One of the fatter cows said, I smell something burning>" One of the sleek pilates cows said, "That is your fat burning off."

  4. Ohhh boy! I've never tried pilates, but I did bootcamp (of the fitness variety) before, & it sounds similar to this.

  5. Meg: Thanks! You're such a loyal commenter! Keep talking to Ryan about VEGAS!!

    Sis: Yay! A comment from you :D I know you are addicted to this class--I definitely see you as the glass birdie...which one is mom??

    cece: Doesn't it feel good to know there are others out there like us? I love Far Side...sounds like your cartoon could be a great 'encouragement' greeting card!

    Daisy: You are a brave soul! I hear 'boot camp' and I start shaking in my booties!

  6. okay..will avoid pilates..lmao!
    this is the best description i ever heard!!

    ps. thx for popping by my blog..nurse jackie starts in March!

  7. Thanks Vanessa! Oh good, I can wait another couple of weeks for Nurse Jackie!

  8. You are a very brave woman to even finish the class! I probably would have passed out a quarter of the way through. :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

  9. Julie - I enjoy reading the commentary of the regular (non-professional exerciser) person. As trainer's we often forget that it's just DAMN hard work to stay fit and healthy.
    Plus many of those in the industry just take themselves a bit too seriously.

    Keep going to the gym and keep us laughing.

  10. Holly-thanks for coming by!

    Dane-yes, we mere mortals do struggle from time to time ;)

  11. I took a pilates class in college and it was pretty easy...yours sounds like it was straight from HELL! I am constantly amazed at the things you tough out, Julie. Seriously. I don't know if I can keep reading this blog -- it's making me feel too lazy. :)

  12. hi andrea! it seems like there are 2 different kinds of pilates and the one i took a couple of years ago was the easier kind. And, please don't leave...i'll be sad if you go. but i'll try to look less 'active' :D

  13. Woah...sounds like the first (and last!) time I attended a yoga class.
    New blog hop follower
    Sweet T Makes Three
    Networked Blogs

  14. Wow........note to self...
    Don't go to a pilates class! LOL!
    I'm following from the blog hop.
    I'd love a follow back at

  15. Hahaha, nice. I've wanted to try some a hot yoga or pilates class for a while... considering how uncoordinated I am though... I'm guessing I'd be worse than you, thanks for the laugh! :d

  16. I LOVE your illustrations! too cute! what a great little post

  17. Andrea: I'd say there's a learning curve...glad i made you smile :)

    Toesthattwinkle: Thanks!

  18. Your post made me laugh, but it hurt -- because my abs are still aching from Pilates class last night. My instructor is like a little chic elfin Terminator.

    Thank you for writing!

  19. M: That makes me laugh but i'm sorry it hurts!!

  20. I love Pilates, but I am always the one with body parts flailing all around, or falling out of positions and landing with a thunk. I am sticking to dvds for now, so I can look like a fool in the comfort of my own home. Your drawings are awesome btw!

  21. Lindsay: You are a commenting star!!

  22. ooo gosh!! It reminded me of my classes of pILATES!! It was like in a HORROR-Comedy movie!!! I like pilates, and yoga... but sometimes I think that i have more bones that a normal body should have, so that is why I can´t do all that positions!!! But I would really like to... to impress my BF :D:D:D

  23. Iloshka: I'm always amazed at how bendy people get in those classes :)

  24. I am back again because I got a "spam" comment sent to my email on this post, but it couldn't be more timely because I went back to Pilates class with a new Terminator (you know how they have the several Terminator movies? They have several levels of Terminator instructor at our studio) today after barely a two-week hiatus (I mean, there was the Open, and it was my birthday, and stuff) and ... he's been kicking my butt so hard the months I'd been taking classes with him prior, that I don't feel it yet.

    But I'm know I'm gonna feel it tomorrow.

  25. M: Oh, sorry you got the spam comment. Those never show up on the posts, so I thought mine was the only email that got them :( Glad to know there's always a new Terminator on the horizon! Enjoy the DOMS tomorrow :D


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