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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

My First Workout with the Pilates Reformer

I considered myself to be a pretty fit person—and then I met the Pilates Reformer.

You can find me in the gym five or six times a week, and I try to get at least two outdoor running sessions into my weekly routine as well. Exercise is my go-to stress reliever, my “me” time, and my hobby. I’m even a fitness instructor and consider exercise my stress reliever and hobby. But still, the thought of attending a Pilates Reformer session was a little—okay, a lot—intimidating! I have attended several mat Pilates classes, and I even taught a basic Pilates class while working on a cruise, yet I had never set foot on the Reformer, which is a device developed by Joseph Pilates that creates resistance for the body through a system of pulleys and springs.

Pilates Reformer

Tara Takes on the Reformer

I am always open-minded and willing to try new types of exercise. When I found out that Pilates was NIFS’s June group fitness class of the month, I thought that I would take my lack of experience on the Reformer and use it to YOUR advantage. I know that NIFS has an amazing Pilates program, and I know that our instructors are delightfully personable and highly qualified. But I also know that our Pilates program is one of NIFS’s best-kept secrets.

When I entered the room full of Pilates apparatuses, such as the Chair and the Tower, in addition to the Reformer, I was excited, nervous, and tired from a long day’s work.

Pilates TowerI attended a private session with Morgan , one of our resident Pilates experts. Boy am I thankful that I had a private lesson! Naturally, I am very inquisitive and find myself always asking “why” and “am I doing it right?” The private session allowed me to ask lots of questions, have Morgan’s undivided attention, and learn about why we were doing what we were doing and how it would help my other workouts. Although I am thankful I started with a private session, the small class sizes (maximum of only four participants) allow the instructor to be very engaged with participants even in the group setting. I am mostly thankful I had the private session because I could get chatty!

We began as they do in every class with very basic exercises to get my body warm and my mind focused. I had forgotten how much focus a Pilates class takes, and when we were initially beginning the class my mind was all over the place, making it more difficult to maintain proper body alignment. After a few deep breaths and basic movements, my mind was clear.

Pilates allows our bodies to build muscle without overuse, strain, and misuse of the body—AND we are developing smaller stabilizer muscles at the same time!

Morgan was very hands on during our session, paying specific attention to my body’s alignment, allowing me to perfect my form and feel the exercises in the targeted muscle group. 

Pilates toys

A Challenging but Rewarding Workout

Overall, this workout was challenging for my muscles and for my mind, as I tried very hard to engage my core the entire time and focus in on specific muscle groups while maintaining my posture.

After class, I immediately felt refreshed, relaxed, and rejuvenated despite the hard work I had just completed. I had a heightened awareness of my body and the way my posture effected how I walked and carried myself. Although the workout was very different than my typical routine, which consists of running, BODYPUMP, interval training, and more high-impact exercises, it still challenged me and left my muscles fatigued the day after. I really enjoyed this workout and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to build strength and stay safe in other forms of exercise, who has difficulty completing high-impact exercise, and who wants to try something new! After one private session, I feel much more comfortable with the reformer and would feel at ease taking a group class.

Make sure to join Morgan and Glenna for a mat or Reformer Pilates class. Check the NIFS Pilates Schedule for times and locations!

Ready to try the Pilates Reformer? NIFS has an intro package just for beginners to Pilates Reformer. Click here to get started.

This blog was written by Tara Deal, NIFS Membership Manager and a group fitness instructor. Author of Treble in the Kitchen.
Topics: NIFS exercise fitness group fitness strength core Pilates