It was a mad rush and a £9 creche fee (plus a little bit of heartbreak running out on a crying one year old) but I made it to the gym today! Easing myself into my plan to try every class, I had booked pilates.
I went through a phase of pilates obsession when I was 23. My friend Jenny and I went at 6.30 every Thursday evening for a 90 minute class run by the man-legend who, during his years on Broadway, allegedly inspired the creator of Jack from Will and Grace. I believe this urban legend because he was so like him that I often collapsed out of downward dog in fits of giggles.
That was ten years ago. I turned up at today’s class fully expecting to be a beginner doing the first stage of every exercise. As the class progressed, however, I surprised myself. Not only were the exercises familiar, I was able to go as far as stage 3 on some of them. My core strength was much better than I had realised.
I had a series of six personal training sessions in Aberdeen towards the end of last year. Lee had used big words and Latin muscle names while promising all the exercises were compound, so I’d accepted his word as truth. Now I could see the results for myself and I was chuffed to bits. Sometimes when you’re concentrating on working on one thing, you don’t appreciate the impact it has on other things. With Lee, I’d been focusing on doing the programme properly and measuring the inch loss and body fat. I hadn’t ever thought to test my body strength, beyond lifting two small children at once – and what mother doesn’t have the strength to do that when they’re screaming and you’re trying to escape a public place?
The other part of the class I loved was the breathing. Breathing properly is hugely underrated. If you focus on breathing deeply and evenly, everything in you calms down and regroups. You feel more in control. You feel relaxed. You feel strong. You feel balanced – and balance is a huge buzzword in my life right now.
By the end of the class I felt centred. I was pleased how well my muscles had cooperated, I felt calm and strong. I could feel the benefit of a good stretch and I was in a good mood for the rest of the day. I will definitely be incorporating pilates into my fitness regime.