I Thought I Was Fit Until I Took A Pilates Reformer Class

I Thought I Was Fit Until I Took A Pilates Reformer Class

The woman next to me encouraged me that the first class is always really hard – something that became the theme for the duration of the class.
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I have been wanting to try a Pilates Reformer class for a while. I have heard a lot about them via Instagram, and the results people get are incredible. The difference between normal Pilates and Pilates Reformer is that Pilates Reformer is done on a bench that has sliding components with pulleys.

Normal Pilates is often described as yoga with repetitions, while Pilates Reformer adds a stronger element of balance that helps to better tone and target. Basically, it adds more elements to the workout. I work out often – during school about three to four times per week – and I usually can handle 30-50 minutes on the elliptical followed by 20 minutes of weights.

Pilates Reformer seemed like something to try to incorporate into my regimen to focus less on cardio and more on toning.




With all that being said, I located a cute Pilates Reformer boutique in Dallas with a special for newbies and signed up. I walked in wearing my leggings and tank top ready to go, bought the sticky grip socks required for classes, and had the reformer bench explained to me by the sweet receptionist. The room consisted of about eleven reformer benches with a ballet barre upfront and weights. There were also springboards in the back of the class that we didn’t use. All of it was great - it seemed easy enough.

At 10:30 am on the dot the class started, (which I appreciated) and we got to work starting with low and slow targeted moves for our right legs. I was already confused. Although the instructor was encouraging and forgiving, I never seemed to get the right color combination of cables attached or my leg in the right place. The woman next to me encouraged me that the first class is always really hard – something that became the theme for the duration of the class.

Next, we moved on to a combination of abs and arms. I was starting to get it, but my wrists were beginning to give out, and I probably looked like a flailing sweaty hot mess. The other ladies in the room, a mixture of 20-40 somethings, gracefully executed the moves. I was seriously impressed.

As we moved into the final 10 minutes of class, we were repeating our first exercise targeting the left leg this time. That’s when I began to feel light headed. I decided to just stand in a forward fold for a minute until the teacher suggested that I sit down. She then passed my towel and water for me and led me outside to the locker room where it was cooler. As I was walking I started to feel woozier and nauseousness began to set in. I made it to the bench in the locker room where I finally passed out while laying down.

Yes. I passed out 43 minutes into my 50 minutes long Pilates Reformer class. Something I have never done before. It was only for a second, but it was long enough for every Momma in the locker room (all of whom I'd like to mention made it through the entire class) to jump into action. Within seconds I had two cold towels on my forehead and suggestions about how to regain my full conscience whirling in my brain. For that I was thankful.

I was dumbfounded. I am a 19-year-old who works out regularly and eats healthily(ish). What happened? Had I forgotten breakfast? No. Was I dehydrated? Not really. Was I low on electrolytes? I mean I could go for a Gatorade. Had I forgotten to breathe? Haha. Bingo.

As the ladies in my class left to go home they all checked up on me and applauded that I made it farther in my first class than any of them had. My instructor did the same and invited me back. I was grateful for their graciousness, especially considering how embarrassed I felt for passing out mid-workout.

Along with receiving a nice slice of humble pie, I really did enjoy my Pilates Reformer class, and I will be back. The people were lovely, the workout kicked every bit of my tail, and I genuinely pushed myself to the limit (maybe a bit past my limit) I was reminded that I am not as fit as I think I am, and doing your best doesn’t equate to being the best. Becoming good at something takes time so sometimes you just need to sit down and be humble (cue Kendrick Lamar) before you designate something as easy.

Cover Image Credit: Grace Lazenby

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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No, PrEP Shouldn't Be Used As A Replacement For Condoms

PrEP has signified a whole new level of options for safer sex. But should guys trust it enough to give up condoms?

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For over thirty years, medical experts have been searching for a cure to the AIDS virus. While a cure still hasn't seen the light of day, a new prescription drug has provided another option for safer sex.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is the daily dosage of Truvada®, a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine (two HIV medicines). It can only be prescribed by a health care professional and is intended for those at a higher risk for contracting HIV.

"Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%," according to the CDC website. "Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%."

With such a bold, new development in HIV prevention, it obviously arises debate from all sides. One of the most interesting questions to come up since the arrival of PrEP, is whether or not it can be used instead of a condom. The CDC website clears this up as well, stating that the risk lowers, even more, when PrEP is combined with condoms.

Upon hearing this, one might wonder why an individual would take such a risk by not using a condom. It is often said that sex without a condom feels better. I can understand this point, but I think an important question needs to be asked in response. That question being, is a one-time hookup with someone you care very little for worth the risk? If God forbid you contracted HIV from a casual encounter, would you honestly feel that it was worth it? Would you kick yourself for not going a bit further and making sure all your bases were covered?

The Zakar Twins mentioned another reason some men don't want to use condoms in addition to PrEP. In their podcast, MyTwin Chat, they claim it is such a hassle to put on a condom and often kills the mood. This is a point that I have a hard time taking seriously. In the eighties and nineties, condoms were the only option people had to protect themselves. Yet, they still managed to have plenty of hot sex using them.

A claim like this also reeks of laziness and unawareness. Real life is not like a porn scene. So many things can happen during sex that can kill the mood, even without a condom. Sometimes shit happens, literally and figuratively. One partner might need to switch positions because they're uncomfortable. Maybe one partner has to stop to use the bathroom. Sex can be clumsy sometimes and it's often imperfect. This is a reality we can't avoid.

Young gay men of today are quite disconnected from the struggles gay men went through in the years when AIDS was called "gay cancer." People in their twenties don't know what it feels like to watch all of their friends die one by one. They don't know what it feels like to be told on their deathbed that they deserve this because they chose a devilish lifestyle. They don't know what it feels like to fight for treatment and medical testing. All we know is a world where AIDS is no longer a death sentence and hookups are at our literal fingertips. So it's no surprise to me that many people take that progress for granted. Disappointing? Yes. Surprising? No.

We should have all our bases covered before engaging in a sexual act. We should have the self-worth to turn someone down if they're not on board with that. We should remember how we got to where we are today and not take it for granted. Self-care, self-worth, and self-reflection. Those are three simple tools to enrich your life as well as your sex life.

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