I’ve just been to my first reformer Pilates class. Was it difficult? Yes. Was it fun? Erm, I wouldn’t say so. Do I think it will get results? Absolutely. Do I want a body like the instructors? Yes, yes, yes – I do!
So, what to say about reformer Pilates?
Well, it’s hard. It’s blo*dy hard in fact!
I knew it would be. Madonna does it doesn’t she, and she’s got a body most twenty something’s would die for and she’s 58.
So when I received the unexpected but very welcome invitation to join a 45 minute arms and abs class earlier this week – at a studio less than 250 meters from my home – I jumped at the chance (or should I say I didn’t have the time to make up an excuse…).
On entering, my first thoughts were, “OMG, the studio looks like a modern torture chamber”, and I wasn’t far wrong. I don’t think a reformer Pilates machine would look out of place in Christian Grey’s red room of pain. They look scary and intimidating to say the least. However, as soon as I was shown how to work it I started to feel slightly more comfortable.
The class I did was mixed level. Some of the girls had done it before, whilst I was a complete novice. I am, however, not new to Pilates, and I’m certainly not new to Yoga, so once I’d figured out how to use the machine I actually found the moves quite easy. That’s not to say I didn’t find them challenging – I did – very much. But the machine isn’t dangerous and nothing bad will happen to you if you break the pose. And if you can’t hold the pose for as long as instructed you can just move into a simpler one. Because you’re in charge of your own machine it’s easy to work out at your own level simply by adapting the poses that the instructor suggests, so anyone, of any fitness level can do it.
The interesting thing was that I was concentrating so hard I had no idea how long I’d been doing it for and when we got to the end it seemed like we’d only just started. I’m not sure I’d feel the same way if I went regularly. I think once you get used to the machines the time would pass more slowly and I actually doubt it would get any easier.
It is, however, an expensive fitness hobby to take up. I went on a ‘deal’ but at £25 per 45-minute class you can’t really do that 3-4 times a week (unless you’re seriously wealthy), I think it would be cheaper to buy your own machine in the longer run if you liked it that much (I’ve seen them for sale on Amazon.com for around £1000).
I would recommend it though, particularly for anyone with lower back issues, and I will definitely try to incorporate it into my fitness routine in the future, even if it’s just for two classes a month.