Never do I love life more than when I'm on my way to Pilates. Studio Pilates, not mat, let me be clear. I didn't know I needed studio Pilates until I was offered a trial four years ago. I had tried yoga before (hated it) and dabbled in Pilates mat classes at the gym (also wasn't a fan), but nothing was drawing me back, not the promises of a perky butt, not even the celebrity endorsements — to be blunt, it was boring, I was bored, which annoyed me — until I walked into a studio Pilates class.
At some point within my very first class my attitude towards this kind of exercise dramatically shifted, I was happy, confident I was moving right (thanks to an awesome trainer) and in no way annoyed to be there. No schlepping to class in a mood, no whining "life's too hard", or wishing for it to be over. None of that. I finally enjoyed exercising!
Why, you wonder?
I had ditched group classes and found something that focused on my own goals.
No hate to group classes — they're great, if the class is capped at five bodies (in what imaginary world does that happen?) — but the thing I struggled with most was never really knowing if I was doing the exercises right. No matter how good a trainer is, ensuring a group of 20 people are doing each exercise right (and safely) is near impossible. To stop and focus on one client, making sure their form is on point, means the rest of the class sits around waiting or carries on with the wrong moves. I'm being dramatic (perhaps) but I was not OK with paying for little return and a whole lot of frustration because nothing was getting me the results I wanted (I'm talking tone, flexibility, mobility and overall happiness — is that too much to ask?). I was also done with doing things I didn't whole-heartedly enjoy.
Back to my reason for living: studio Pilates. Sure, it's costly, but because of it I no longer need a gym membership and I definitely don't need regular visits to the goddamn physio — hello, savings. I also never dread exercising, which leaves more time to dread other things, like my hairdresser's bill and deciding what to watch on Stan? Y'know, important things. It's a workout literally made for me (go to the right places and they create programs based on your ultimate goals), designed to give me the tone, mobility, strength and length I've always wanted.
If your attitude to exercise is as stubborn as mine was, it's worth trying something that puts your needs first, not something that leaves you relatively satisfied. With the right trainer, studio Pilates takes into account your body shape (posture, scoliosis, disc pathologies included), previous injuries, illness, whether your pregnant or post-natal — the lot! — and adapts each class to your body's needs at the time. It's a workout that will see you into old age too, which might not mean much now but will have you thanking 2018 you when you're not on the waiting list for a hip replacement, struggling to touch your toes or bed bound with back pain.
This reads like an ad for Pilates, and I'm sorry for that, I'm also sorry to anyone I speak to about it, my passion runs deep, but it really is the body-transforming workout that dramatically changed my horrible attitude to exercise and continues to give me amazing results. My focus from now until forever when it comes to exercising is to only do things I really enjoy — running, that's not you. Cross-fit-style dance classes to the soundtrack of the Greece mega-mix, that's not you either. Working out can be something you absolutely love so go hunting for what works for you — or try studio Pilates and never hate exercising again!