Improve your performance

Sol Walkling

It’s a rare creature that gets up at 5am to go to a Pilates class. A type personalities “just like you”, Kylie from Body Maintenance Studio in Balmain told me. I love teaching people who want a challenge. People who like to progress and aren’t adverse to feeling the burn while at the same time maintaining proper physique. I can relate to them and love when people walk out of my classes feeling worked to their level. What a lot of people don’t realise is that you can get a great cardio-vascular workout from Pilates – not just muscle tone.

Keeping Joseph Pilates original idea of flow and ¬†almost continuous movement throughout classes while getting the heart rate up, speeding the workouts up for clients who have the ability to maintain proper form and then integrating the global mobilising muscles, you can get some very real benefits and amazing results. Of course, you’ll still need to balance your training with exercise such as running, swimming or the like to lose weight and enhance your aerobic capacity but Pilates helps you balance your muscles, making your movements more efficient and, with the right combination of exercises and by upping the pace and intensity, you can improve your performance across other sports. Your balanced muscles and greater core strength will allow you to move with more control and be less injury-prone.

My own story is testimony to this. I first came to Pilates due to a back injury and have since realised that Pilates not only helps me get past the pain and strengthens my core but it’s also enough to single-handedly get me ready for two hour runs – not at fast pace, mind you, but I still think it’s amazing.

Earlier this year, after another hiccup with my back which had me swallowing Nurofen Plus like lollies and still on the floor in agony – unable to sit or lie in any position for a prolonged period of time -, it was rigorous and regular Pilates that got me back on track. I did my Pilates reformer course at the time and kept my practice up pretty much every day. My physio wasn’t happy, others advised me to take it easy and rest more, worried I’d aggravate my back. Instead, I was back running within two months and my third training run was 2hours 15 minutes. About four weeks later I ran the City To Surf for the first time. Now, I’m signed up for a half marathon and am excited at the prospect at – maybe, do I dare say it? – running a marathon one day soon after all.

Sol Walkling, Courtesy of Body Maintenance Studio Balmain

Perhaps my body just responds better to Pilates than others, or maybe I focus harder on performing the exercises correctly but, for me, Pilates doesn’t just keep my strength and muscle tone up, it primes my system for other sports and gives me greater aerobic capacity. I largely put it down to the breathing and the way Pilates keeps your body supple while tightening your muscles. But I’m intrigued and want to know more. I’ll be speaking to an exercise physiologist soon to find out more. Stay tuned and check back in if you’d also like to find out how it works.

Oh, my classes at Body Maintenance Studio have, sadly, come to an end as I focus on local classes in Manly. I miss the driven motivated Monday morning 6am class – the ladies would barely flinch when I put them through their paces. For my new timetable, click here. Hope to see you at one of my classes soon! Beginner or advanced – let’s challenge your body!

Sol x

P.S.: Do go to one of the intermediate classes at Body Maintenance Studio, if you live over that way. Well worth it!

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