fitness

Benefits of Pilates

“In 10 sessions you will fee the difference;
in 20 sessions you will see the difference,
and in 30 sessions you will have a new body”

– Joseph Pilates

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I tried my first Pilates reformer class about 7 years ago, and have been hooked ever since.  I didn’t play sports growing up, don’t have the best coordination, nor am I a gym rat, so finding a form of exercise that I really enjoy, challenges me, and has me seeing results can been difficult to find. And since I’m kind of a short fry I tend to bulk up easily with certain workouts, but Pilates helped to get my body really lean, and elongated my muscles in a way I never thought possible.

There are a lot of benefits to practicing Pilates. Not only does it help raise your own body awareness, it helps to lengthen and strengthen your muscles without adding any bulk, creates a strong core (abs and back), helps improve posture, aids in weight loss, increases flexibility, decreases neck and back pain, and basically it just makes your body look amazing!  I’ve even been taking classes about twice a week during my pregnancy (with modifications) and it’s seriously kept me super lean and toned throughout my whole body.

Honestly, I’ve found that Pilates matt classes at gyms and at-home videos are super boring, not that challenging for me, and I never really saw the same results that I did as reformer classes so I def reccomend classes over anything else if you can.  I’ve been to over a dozen different Pilates studios in San Diego, and these are my top three:

Club Pilates: This is definitely my favorite studio in San Diego. There are locations all around the county (and even popping up around the country!!), the classes are really affordable (and they always have amazing specials through Groupon, Living Social and their website), and they offer a ton of variety because they use the reformer, spring board, ballet bar, EXO chair and more in the classes. http://clubpilatesstudio.com

The Pilates Room: This is where I first tried and fell in love with pilates. They have a variety of great non-traditional classes like power classes, abs/buns or arms/abs classes and much more, and have locations popping up all around. http://thepilatesroomonline.com

Core 40: Not your traditional pilates class, this is a 40 minute faster, higher intensity routine that’s also great for men looking for an added challenge. http://www.core40.com

If you don’t live in San Diego, ask around to see what studios people you know are going to, or what I like to do is go to one of the deal websites like Groupon or Living Social to see what Pilates studios are offering good packages and then see what their ratings are on yelp or other websites and check out their feedback.  I love trying out new studios or workouts through these sites because not only are you getting a huge discount, but if you don’t like it then you don’t feel as bad as you would if you were paying full price.

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31-Day Squat Challenge

I’ve always seen these workout challenges posted on social media that challenge you to do a workout challenge for a certain number of days of some sort (abs, butt, push-up, etc.) but have never partaken in one until now. I saw a post about a 31 day squat challenge posted by The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans http://shrinkingjeans.net/2014/06/squat-challenge/ and figured I’d give it a shot since I can always use some help in toning my butt and thighs . . . I mean who can’t right?!

It’s as easy as it can be – they’ve set a schedule of how many squats you need to do for each of the 31 days, and you have a rest day every 5th day. I’m on day 2 so far and have been squeezing my squats in during times I’m just standing around waiting for something – i.e. while I’m blending my protein shake, checking emails, waiting for the water in the shower to heat up, etc. If you need a little bit of an extra challenge, you can add in some hand weights or a kettle ball, or if you’re having a harder time completing them all at once, break them up into smaller reps throughout the day.