When I tell other guys that I do Pilates, I watch their faces scrunch as they imagine me eating nuts and seeds whilst doing the splits. It’s lucky for me that I don’t have any friends that use terms such as ‘revoke your man-card’, ‘man-date’ or ‘bromance’, because if I did, I would have to un-friend them on Facebook (harsh).
However, Pilates isn’t some relaxing hour-long yoghurt eating, meditation session (if only it was!); it’s actually really, really hard. There are two sorts of guys that go to the gym, the ones that go and the ones that don’t. But I’m here to introduce a possible third kind, the ones that do Pilates. And here’s why.
Pilates was created a long time ago by a German chap named Joseph Pilates (coincidence?). Joseph believed that mental and physical health were interrelated and therefore designed a system of stretches and exercises to help strengthen the body and mind. Being quite a sick child, Joseph managed to turn his fortune around by dedicating his life to physical health, and it shows.
Pilates’ main focus is building core strength. During the class you will learn to control your breathing whilst doing precision exercises that work your entire body. In Pilates, you mostly use your own body weight for all of the exercises, which is good because those gym weights are heavy. Another added benefit of Pilates is increased flexibility, this is particularly promising as I have always wanted to tie my shoes without bending at the knees.
For those guys who go to the gym to work on their glamour muscles, I strongly recommend taking a class. There’s no point in glamour muscles if you don’t have core strength. And if you think it’s easy, a friend of mine who looks like a non-green version of the Hulk tried Pilates and although he could bench press a couch, struggled to get through the hour (and looked hilarious doing so).
If you don’t go to the gym, I would say try it anyway. If you don’t want to bulk up, you won’t, and if you want a little more definition on your body, you’ll get it. My recommendation to all and sundry would be to try it once. You’ll feel like a million bucks the next day and sore in muscles you didn’t even know you had.
To get started, us Melbournians have a plethora of classes and locations to choose from. If you already have a gym membership, there is a high likelihood that your gym will already run Pilates classes. On a side note, Pilates classes ask you to remove your shoes, so make sure you don’t have terrible foot odour before your first try. Get busy!