After majestically failing to fulfil my New Year's resolution to live a healthier lifestyle, I began the hunt for a new, exciting way to work out. Owing to my long-standing feud with the treadmill, gym life just doesn't cut it for me, so when the opportunity came to explore the world of Pilates at Iso Fit
, I jumped at the chance. Maybe I would be transformed into a fitness guru, maybe I would drop a dress size ... yes, I had high hopes. Well, I might not have dropped a dress size, but I certainly learnt a lot about Pilates along the way.
1. It isn't yoga.
It turns out that I had absolutely no idea what Pilates was, and arrived expecting downward dogs and sun salutations. Sure, Pilates and yoga do share some qualities. Touching your toes, breathing, bending down, to name a few - and these are all calming, yoga-like things I guess. But essentially, I was wrong. Pilates is not
Grounded in the belief that health is attained through good posture and efficient breathing, Pilates is a series of exercises and movements, which can be performed in any order, that work to strengthen your core, tone your muscles, and align your body. It isn't an exhausted-to-the-point-of-tears kind of workout, but the effects are crystal clear when you're waddling around the office the following day, looking like you've lost your donkey - oooh, the burn!
2. There is a lot of machinery involved.
Tucked up on Wyndham Street, the bright, modern Iso Fit studio is jam-packed with exciting/unnerving machinery. The Reformer Allegro (pictured), with its loops, hooks, and springs, may look like something out of the Medieval era. However, it wasn't designed for torture, and is actually rather comfortable. Using weights and balls, we toned our legs, worked on our posture, and discovered that my knees stick out at odd angles. Hey, nobody's perfect.
This isn't the only exciting Pilates prop either. We did leg stretches on the Trapeze Table, pretended to be aeroplanes on the Ladder Barrel, and flipped onto our front to paddle like puppies. The variety of equipment makes for a varied and exciting workout. Miles more enjoyable than time spent on a treadmill (in case you hadn't realised, we don't get on well).
3. Your pelvis is a clock.
Unsurprisingly, it turns out that slumping into the sofa isn't so good for you, posture-wise. In fact, your pelvis should be flat when you are horizontal. To achieve this, we imagined it was a clock, and worked on tilting it towards the different times. Then we stepped it up a notch and attempted leg lifts and other stretches whilst retaining this posture. Just ten minutes in, and I was en route to attaining the core strength of a rhino.
4. Horizontal trampolining exists.
Riding high on the excitement of becoming a fitness guru, I nearly yelped with excitement upon learning that Iso Fit throw jump boards into the mix. With eight fellow Pilates lovers, I'm going to take to my Reformer, attach the jump board to the base, and commence, what can only be described as, horizontal trampolining.
5. Mr Pilates is a real person.
Contrary to popular opinion, Pilates wasn't created by or for celebrities. Madonna may have championed it, but it was actually Mr Joseph Pilates who came up with the concept back in the 20th Century. A circus performer come gymnast, Mr Pilates believed that physical and mental health were interrelated, and so created a fitness system that would benefit both the body and mind. A total success in my opinion - all hail Mr Pilates.
Armed with my new knowledge and excitement to work out again (an emotion I haven't experienced before), I will be trotting back to Iso Fit in a flash.
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What are the benefits of Pilates?
- Core strengthening
- Increased flexibility
- Low impact workout
- Better sleep
- Lengthens and strengthens muscles
- Improves joint mobility
- Decreases the chances of injuries
- Achieves muscular balance
- Better posture
- Greater awareness of your body
- Improved balance
Keen to know more?
If you're looking to give Pilates a go, then there's no better place to dip your toe in the pool than Iso Fit. With a team of professional trainers always by your side, personalising your workout and keeping you motivated, the daunting prospect of getting to grips with unfamiliar machines is solved. Plus, you're in the perfect location for a well-deserved, post workout beverage.
Iso Fit, 8/F, 802-805, Yu Yuet Lai Building, 43-55 Wyndham Street, Central, (+852) 2869 8630
Classes start at $160
Read more! Keep the health kick going with these Top 6 Wacky Workouts or check out Hong Kong's Ultimate Healthy Eating Guide.
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