Life can get pretty hectic sometimes. Between family obligations, your career, and trying to maintain some semblance of a social calendar, the mere thought of adding something new to your plate may seem like a foreign concept.
I know what you’re thinking: “Ehh...who needs exercise? I can totally sacrifice working out to fit in PTA meetings or my weekly book club instead. The gym feels like my arch-nemesis anyway.”
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Me and the gym, we had a falling out too. And by “falling out,” I mean I came to detest the word “fitness” altogether. Sound familiar? While everyone has their own rationale for avoiding exercise, mine was born out of a warped perception of body image and what defined a “real” workout. Thanks for the inspiration, social media.
It’s a common misconception that you need to pound away for an hour or two at the gym and leave soaked in sweat for it to count as a good, effective workout. In reality, however, it only takes 20 to 30 minutes of movement via Pilates to not only tone and strengthen your body, but lift your entire mood.
In fact, one of my members had the following to say, “I was really hesitant about Pilates producing results because I believed that in order to see results that you had to bust your butt every day for an hour. I learned that 20-30 minutes is just as beneficial, if not better than slaving away for an hour and beating yourself up over exercises that seemed impossible (aka BBG)."
Whether you recently gave birth to a little bundle of joy, sustained an injury, or simply allowed a single busy week to transform into months of inactivity, there is still hope. In fact, emerging from your workout rut unscathed is easier AND more enjoyable than you’d ever imagine. Seriously.
So, why Pilates? Here’s a fun fact for you: WebMD announced that according to scientific research, Pilates is recognized as one of the best exercises out there.
Regardless of what the catalyst was for your prolonged break from working out, here are five ways you can ease back into working out through Pilates.
Dear Sherlock Holmes, Can You Help Me Find My Motivation?
How we view fitness ultimately comes down to perspective. While, yes, you need to be self-motivated, it stems beyond simply drudging up the desire to get your booty moving. What I mean is, it’s really about having the right kind of motivation. Instead of allowing yourself to rely on external drivers – a.k.a. trying to emulate “fitspo” accounts – you need to look deep within and find your inner self-love.
Too often, societal expectations and “material” motivators, like weight loss or impressing others, warp our focus. In reality, true inspiration comes from what we deem meaningful and purposeful in life. And all you have to do is ask yourself a simple question: Why?
When we allow external factors to dictate our “why,” it only tends to fuel disgruntled feelings towards exercise. Who wants to feel like a walking ball of anxiety? Who wants to do something that makes them miserable? Hint: no one.
Pilates is the magical unicorn that I never believed existed. I began celebrating my body instead of punishing it. I found a strength inside me that I thought was impossible to achieve.
Feeling confident...fulfilled...satisfied in life – all it really takes is shifting your mindset. And, ladies, that includes how you speak to yourself. Tearing yourself down over a slice of pizza – drowning yourself in guilt and shame over a number on a scale – it’s not a healthy way to live.
Where your focus should be is on self-care and respecting your body. Making this change is incredibly empowering – and to be honest, it’s why I became a Pilates instructor. Through Pilates, I ditched feelings of depression and insecurity and adopted a new set of habits that emphasized happiness and holistic well-being.
Pump the Brakes. Give Yourself Time to Ease Back into a Routine
Safety matters. According to the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, “taking a break from physical activity for just two weeks can result in a rather substantial reduction of muscle strength and mass — and it can take even longer to gain it back.” In other words, it doesn’t matter if you played Division I softball in college – if you were pregnant or fell out of your routine for even a month, you can hurt yourself if you try and dive right back into fitness like no time has passed.
Commit to a metered approach by starting off with a 10 to 15 minute Pilates routine three days a week, and then gradually increase the length, frequency, and level of difficulty of your workout.
You Don’t Need to Change Everything Overnight
Often, I see people fall into an “all or nothing” mentality. For instance, you started incorporating a 20-minute at-home Pilates routine into your week, so that means you also have to do a complete overhaul of your eating habits as well. Because let’s face it, if you give in to temptation and eat a donut, it’s all over. You’ll never be healthy. There’s no hope. You might as well just give up.
Stop right there. The world isn’t black and white. This type of polarized thinking is harmful because it means you’re holding yourself to the utmost extreme ideals. Forget that load of crap. Take things one step at a time and slowly acquire new habits over time – it doesn’t happen all at once. That’s fantasy. You’re setting yourself up for failure.
Instead, by simply incorporating an online Pilates routine in your day 2 to 3 times per week to start, you’ll begin seeing a natural transformation. Because Pilates uses breathing techniques and gentle movements to help you build a mind-body connection, it’ll have a positive impact on your quality of life. You’ll feel revitalized from the inside out. Happiness and motivation will come naturally as you build strength, calm your mind, improve your energy levels, and get those endorphins flowing.
Redefine Your Definition of Exercise Through a Holistic Approach
In lieu of forcing yourself to hit 5 miles on the treadmill every day, it’s essential to look at exercise from a holistic standpoint. How you move, stretch, and recover are all pieces of the equation too. The notion of “No Pain, No Gain” is a fallacy. The goal is to improve your mobility and any aches and pains you’re experiencing – not torture your body. Pilates is designed to elongate and strengthen your body, and you’ll see a corresponding uptick in flexibility from practicing the exercise.
You also don’t need to hop in a car and drive to a gym to reap the benefits of exercise. Pilates can be done anywhere – including the convenience of your home. That means, despite having a packed schedule, you can set aside a few minutes to show your body a little appreciation by performing your Pilates exercises in the comfort of your home.
Ready to get started? Whether you’re a Pilates beginner or you simply want to adopt an online Pilates routine, I have the tools and resources you need to feel good and live healthily. You got this!