Workout(s) of the Week: Pilates!

Puppy does Pilates.
This puppy’s got the right idea.

I love Pilates. In some ways, I feel that it’s my fitness spirit animal. Part stretch, part ballet and all core-focused, I’ve loved Pilates since I first tried it more than 15 years ago. I even became a certified Pilates instructor along the way (though I haven’t taught since having kids 4 years ago).

Over the years, the stretches when I’ve included Pilates workouts regularly in my workout routine have been the times when I had the slimmest silhouette, even if they weren’t the times when I weighed the least. This is because Pilates works magic on your core.

Originally developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, the resistance and core-focused regimen became popular as a treatment for injured dancers and athletes. Traditionally done as mat work or on the “Reformer” machine, Pilates zooms in on all the muscles of the trunk of the body – belly, back, hips, inner and outer thighs and the jiggly parts of the arms. But today’s Pilates instructors often infuse heart-pumping cardio into their workouts, which can be a nice addition to the classic style.

This week, I included two Pilates classes into my fitness mix – one was new to me and the other was like comfort food to my workout soul.

I tried Kit Rich’s 30-minute Fat-burning Pilates Workout for the first time. As you can see in the preview, the addition of weights adds something special to this class. The first 15 minutes or so, you use weights for an intense full-body cardio-toning session. I was definitely breathless and sweating – two things that I wouldn’t necessarily associate with classic Pilates. But this is a consistent theme in Rich’s workouts that I’ve done on the PopSugar Fitness channel and on her own Kit Rich Fitness channel on YouTube. (If you have an extra minute, watch her video on her “3 or 30” philosophy for workout consistency. Great idea!) As a celebrity trainer, which she is, I guess there’s an expectation that you make people sweat – heavily – and she does not disappoint!

I love the addition of weights in this sweaty cardio-Pilates session!

The other Pilates workout I did this week is a classic: Mari Windsor’s 20-minute Pilates Workout. I first started doing Windsor Pilates when I bought the two DVD set in the early 2000s. It was transformative. Over the years, I’ve misplaced my DVDs, but a couple months ago, I was looking for a quick core workout. I thought to myself “Maybe I can find a 20-minute video like Windsor Pilates to try.” And when I searched “20-minute Pilates” on YouTube, I found that a bunch of people had uploaded the exact video! I pressed play and since then, I’ve done this video at least once a week. I just really love her style and calming tone and the lengthening you feel after your done with this workout is addictive.

Mari Windsor’s quick Pilates workout is an oldie but goodie.

In my opinion, Pilates should be a part of everyone’s workout regimen. There are so many variations that you can try from sweaty and cardio-heavy to graceful and low-impact, but all will fire up your “inner girdle” muscles and have you walking taller for the rest of the day.


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