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.