Why I picked up a Pilates in the middle of a global pandemic…

A blog written by a member of the Humans of HIIT community.

A 3km run a couple of times a week was always enough for me. Then, routine faded away.

But, exercise soon became my routine and coping mechanism. 

With all this free time we’ve had, many of us turned to new hobbies. For me, this time has been used to increase running distance and improve pace. Running has always been my way to switch off and having to unexpectedly move away from London during lockdown, focusing on new goals has been a great escapism. 

Perhaps I did push myself too quick, but straightaway I was running 5km five days a week. As a result of (and the sofa working from home setup I have going on), my body became stiff and was a barrier to further development. My solution was following a stretching video, albeit most likely incorrectly. 

‘We’re back, fancy giving it a go?’ 

Those words caught my eye on my usual scrolling through social media. This was an advertisement for a local Reformer Pilates class. Intrigued by this, I tagged my friend. 

‘I can book you in for a trial if you want?’ 

I thought why not. After a straightforward message providing the instructor with email addresses, my friend and I were booked in.  

A few days before the class, the instructor shared ‘Strong Reformer’ and ‘Cardio Reformer’ Pilates videos. This made me nervous because I hoped the class wouldn’t be full of strong people, making it obvious I was a beginner. My nerves were soon settled after talking it through with my friend. 

The trial day…

My morning run wasn’t the best. BUT! I remembered I had the class in the evening. This is the first time I looked forward to it. I met with my friend a couple of hours before to have a light bite. We weren’t sure where the studio was so meeting in plenty of time was good to be able to suss this out. 

When we arrived, there was a class finishing up. Straightaway, the instructor and other people in the class welcomed us. We were asked to sign a consent form outlining potential risks and advised to declare relevant medical history. 

On top of the nerves of trying something new, there is the added risk of Covid-19. All the safety precautions were in place and machines were cleaned prior to use. 

We were assigned a machine and the instructor spent time going through how to change weights. The instructor told us not to worry if we got stuck. Each exercise required a different weight. If we felt this was too much, there was no pressure to stick at a lower weight. Exercises were aimed at legs, arms, glute muscles, shoulders, abs etc. 

Most exercises were repeated on both sides. Quite early on in the class, I noticed I was weak when exercises involved my right side. This was picked up by the instructor who explained our bodies have stronger sides and Pilates aim to balance this. I didn’t know our bodies had a weaker side and thought to myself, whilst I’ve come to strengthen my body, I could also learn about my body too. My weight was reduced and was reassured this will improve.  

45 minutes of exercises was followed by a 15 minute warm down consisting of leg and arm stretches to remove stiffness. I felt relief, especially in my upper body as I tense my shoulders when running. 

For me, I learn best visually which I think is why I enjoyed the class so much. The instructor showed us how to do every exercise. As I said before, I was probably doing the home stretching videos incorrectly; the instructor told me if there were any exercises I was doing wrong. 

I often compare myself to others and found I did in this class. This is something I need to work on and have to remember everyone starts somewhere and others would have been in my position at some point. 

Pretty much from the start of the class, I knew I wanted to continue. After the trial, I approached the instructor to ask about class times and payment. The instructor explained there is an app advertising classes and you can pay via your phone. My friend and I have signed up for two further classes and I’ve signed up for a class on my own. I knew I’d be fine once I had sussed it out. 

I feel great and I know it will help build my strength and improve my posture. I’ll report back to you in about a month on my progress with Pilates and to see if I notice a difference in my running.

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From a very young age I have always been incredibly active. Growing up I was like most normal kids, swimming lessons, bike rides and trips