No Shame. No Gain.

I have no qualms admitting that Todd is a well-made man.

Todd was the instructor in today’s episode of masochism. You know you have a problem when you struggle getting out of your office chair to walk.

My goal during my trial at Equinox is to sample the gym. So far that has meant taking classes and an occasional shower. I apologize to my coworkers for Monday. I didn’t have time to scrub off my grime and shame before returning to the office.

I have gone to three classes in three days: vinyasa flow on Monday, Stacked! yesterday, and today I dropped in on a Pilates class.

The only other time I attempted Pilates was at my former gym. That class was more of a variation on yoga than Pilates movements. Today’s class included a block, weights and a magic circle.

Similar to Monday’s yoga class, the instructor began by asking if anyone wanted to focus on certain areas or had injuries. I neglected to share that my everything was sore from living at the gym for the past few days. During my silence a woman urged for “glute work.” Then another chimed in “abs!” Have you women no decency? Did you not see me shuffle in the room like a roomba with a low battery?

Todd put on some acoustic music and guided us through some stretches and warm-up activities. Pilates is given a tarnished reputation as being a feminine activity. It was established to keep a man for while in a POW camp. Fitness is an everyone activity. Male/female. Young/old. Just stay active. Whatever motivates you or excites you beats inactivity.

Pilates deviates from standard cardio that elevates your heart rate through movement. Instead, the goal is slow and controlled movement. I still sweat profusely and raised my resting heart rate. Pilates also includes pulsing, a term I had only encountered with ab work. Pulsing are micro movements that isolate a muscle group, seemingly all abdominal.

The class was predominantly geared toward core and leg work. Two areas I seldom workout. The hour went quickly and the instructor was very good. Unlike my experience with yoga, where I have comparisons, I don’t have other teachers as measurement aids. He was extremely enthusiastic and inspiring from a strength perspective.

I have a no-win situation with in-class adjustments. When I don’t get corrected, I assume I’m doing everything correctly. But I like some level of personal attention and guidance. Todd was one of the best I’ve seen at giving personalized feedback on improving a movement, while encouraging everyone. He helped me with a few exercises to properly align and target the correct muscle groups. After today’s class, I would argue those areas are missing from my anatomy.

When someone can do a pose with no seeming distress and instruct a class, I’m in awe. He held what looked like variations of boat pose and instructed the class on the desired movement. He wasn’t winded. He didn’t even struggle. His flexibility and core strength was incredible. My legs quaked trying to hold the foam block in between them. If I were able to move my arms, I would have applauded Todd.

Each style of fitness has an end goal. Body builders chase bulk. Marathon/cardio nuts tend to be lean with little muscle definition. Yoga, no homogeneity. If the instructor is the poster child for a Pilates body, which I’d argue Todd was, Pilates builds great posture, functional strength and flexibility. Coincidentally, three areas I need to develop.

If I am able to walk in the near future I’ll be finding my way to more Pilates classes. Off to foam roll what once were my legs and whimper before passing out and repeating tomorrow.

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