30-Day Challenge @ Breathe Pilates : 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Pilates

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It’s the final week and as I’ve completed the 30-Day Challenge, the first ever 30-Day fitness challenge held in Singapore by Breathe Pilates, I got a better understanding of what Pilates is all about and how it could really sculpts,shapes and tone your body. Though I may not have attain my goals for this challenge, there are several interesting I’ve discovered about this form of fitness exercise.

1. Pilates is not a form of Yoga.

I used to think that Pilates is a derivative from Yoga and it must have descended from India too. It could have been the the images of dark-skinned man I saw on several Pilates book in the library which could have led me into thinking that Pilates was somewhat similar to Yoga. The origins of Pilates was demystified after I attended regular Pilates classes and realize how different Pilates was from Yoga. 
Yoga makes you extend the body out like a warrior,balance on one feet like a tree and moves gracefully from one pose to another in a sequence but in Pilates, they make you swim frantically like a fish which has flopped out of the water then get you to imagine yourself as a coffee table top, while peddling and circling your feet in the air with an imaginary tightened corset to make sure your core muscles are fully engaged. 
You see, the art of Pilates involves a myriad forms of exercises, or rather the types of activities which Joseph Pilates,himself, is exposed to. Joseph was into Body-building,Yoga, Qi Gong, and Gymnastics to improve his physical and health status when he was suffering from asthma,rickets and rheumatic fever. I believe that Joseph has combine the essence of every form of exercises which forms the core movements in Pilates that strengthens the body physically to bring about an improvement in overall health and wellness.

2. Pilates have its own set of mats which are different from Yoga mats.

Pilates mat are much thicker than Yoga mats for proper alignment and support of the body. Pilates mat are at least an inch-thick as some of the movements requires some form of cushioning or padding on the floor if not you will be in unnecessary pain!

3. Pilates is a full-body workout.

During this 30-Day challenge, participants were invited to attend a muscle anatomy talk so that we would know where and how our muscle groups work in sync. So, for instance, even if you are doing your hundreds, besides your abs, your leg and arm muscles are also engaged.Thus, it isn’t quite like weight-lifting sort of workout which only targets at a specific muscle group.

4. An hour of Pilates can burn calories all day (when done correctly).

If you had really patient Pilates instructors (like the ones I had at Breathe Pilates) who would ensure that you’re feeling the burn and aches in your muscles, you are on the right track to be toning up your muscles which helps burn fats. In fact, I find that guidance and instructions from the instructors are really important as I always find myself working harder when I’m the only student attending the class one morning. Wouldn’t you feel pressured to do your best when a pair of eyes is fixated at you and with a voice that goes “C’mon, suck your belly in! Work it!” Sometimes I just need to hear that mantra to get myself motivated.

5. Quality beats quantity

If you could maximise your Pilates workout in an hour by putting in your very best to perform each movement, you don’t have to spend another 2 or 3 hours exercising to get that same results.So don’t go rushing to complete the number of reps to end the ‘torture’! It’s all about endurance here.

6. Pilates requires maximum concentration.

Your mind should be drifted away when doing Pilates in general because you need to have increased sense of body awareness to make sure your body is in the correct alignment, without adding any physical strains on any part of the body.

7. Breathing is the key.

I was trembling hard when I did my lunges on the reformer during the challenge because I had really weak thigh muscle and heavy bottom half. But guess what? After a couple times of practice, I find that I could do a perfect lunge during my Yoga class without trembling now! What’s the secret? Breathing. When you find yourself out of breath, it might be because your muscles is really tense and you need to remind yourself to breath in and out. With each inhalation and exhalation, your body will be in a more relaxed state as you try to find stability in your pose.

8. Pilates is not just for the ladies.

Think Pilates is an “easy-peasy” exercise for women that doesn’t make you sweat and add muscle mass? Try loading up the resistance of the handlebar of the reformer and perform your hundreds. You will definitely break a sweat within 15 seconds! In fact, there are Pilates programmes or classes which are tailored for men only especially if they want to strengthen their core and improve mobility. Good news is that Breathe Pilates is offering a Pilates programme (for men-only) called XXX Men’s Pilates.

Source: Breathe Pilates’s The Breather website

9. Pregnant women can do Pilates.

Pregnant ladies need their daily dose of exercise too! It’s important to keep yourself fit and active especially during the pre-natal stage. At Breathe Pilates, they have classes such as Preggie Bellies ( for prenatal ) or Preggie Bellies ( for postnatal) for mothers or mothers-to-be!

10. Pilates can challenge your body.

Okay, try doing planking on the reformer, with both hands on the carriage to slide it up and down. Do 30 perfect reps of it and I will guarantee you will feel as if your hands are going to break apart.

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Special thanks to Breathe Pilates and their team of dedicated instructors!

Read about my pre-30 Day challenge post here and healthy recipes by Balance Living!

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