Mean & Lean: Pilates

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Have you been thinking about switching up your daily exercise routine? Maybe you’ve spent some time on the Fitness underbelly of Pinterest and are feeling inspired. Perhaps you’ve done too many crow poses and need a little somethin’ somethin’ to add some spice to your workout life. Well look no further, friend. Welcome to Pilates!

Pilates is a low impact workout, created in 1965 by Joseph Pilates. It is a great way to lengthen your muscles, build core strength, and help sculpt your body without having to break the bank on expensive equipment or a sweat (well, not a huge sweat anyway). While it is similar to yoga (I like to think that they’re cousins), Pilates digs deeper into muscle work and focuses on your core as the centre of all movements. If you’re an athlete looking for ways to cross train, Pilates is an excellent way to build strength sans weights, and can improve day-to-day functions, as well as those pertaining to your sport of choice.

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If I haven’t convinced you yet, here are a couple of reasons why you should grab your mat and hit the floor!

1. It’s a full body workout: Instead of spending your time at the gym training your biceps, triceps, glutes, etc, individually, Pilates targets all of your major muscle areas without neglecting other important muscle groups.

2. Aiming for a tight core? Pilates will give you just that! I know I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again: “abs are made in the gym and revealed in the kitchen.  Always keep a healthy diet in mind when your goal is to pop a six pack.  With that being said, Pilates training focuses inherently on your core, ensuring a strong core, strong back, and a sleek tummy.

3. Like yoga, Pilates will increase your flexibility and leave you feeling refreshed when you’re done. Pilates helps to create a greater range of motion in your joints, and unlike yoga, you won’t have to bend and snap (I meant twist, but the opportunity presented itself!) to get all the flexibility perks. Bonus: You can do it at home with the help of the Internet. No need to pay for an expensive membership at a fancy studio to get your Pilates on (although Pilates classes have become increasingly popular and are fun too!).

pilates4. Feeling that mid-day slump? Pilates helps to energize your body by giving your internal systems a work out. Not only will Pilates get your circulation moving, it ensures you keep breathing through the moves and wakes up your spine. You’d think that exercising would tire you out, but Pilates has the opposite effect! Set your alarm half an hour earlier and work through a Pilates routine before breakfast (I still strongly recommend coffee though… can’t give that up).

5. If weight loss is your goal, Pilates is an answer! Perfect for those of you who aren’t fans of high intensity exercises like running or cycling, Pilates enables you to slim down fast without drenching yourself in sweat. By doing Pilates, you’re creating a long, sleek physique that is complimented by your new, impeccable posture, lean muscles, and increased bodily awareness. Talk about looking and feeling great!

Style Guide

It’s important to wear comfortable clothes when practicing Pilates, and while you don’t want to be swimming in your boyfriend’s old sweater, restrictive clothing isn’t always welcome either. If you’re practicing in a class setting, your  outfit choice is incredibly important as what you wear affects whether your instructor is able to see your true form or not. To make sure you’re comfortable, stylish, and 100% ready to learn, I recommend a light-weight tank that skims the body, coupled with a pair of  fitted capris or shorts.

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Have you ever tried Pilates? Love it or leave it?

Feature image found here.

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