Reforming Pilates - North Beach
First of all, fuck Miami. Seriously. I left my apartment at 815 for a 9am Pilates class in North Beach, and hit not one but three separate traffic jams. Fuck you very much. The bridge was up in Brickell (during RUSH HOUR? Whoever owns that boat needs to be arrested) then for some reason 195 was shut down, and then traffic on 79th going to the beach was backed up, since it was then the ONLY causeway to get into Miami Beach. This city, I swear.
But I had a nice, relaxing morning of Pilates to help me mellow out, right?
Well, that’s what someone who lumps yoga and Pilates in the same group might think. But while Pilates is not the full intensity workout that Barry’s or Soul Cycle is, it’s still not exactly a meditative hour of Zen.
So I showed up at Reforming Pilates in North Beach at the suggestion of my friend Shelly, who lives a few blocks away. Normally I wouldn’t go this far, but Justin – the instructor/owner – said he’d let me in to try a couple classes, and since they’re small I felt this would be a good class to try.
And of course, thanks to whoever it was that shut down 195 this morning, I showed up 30 minutes late. No worries, Jason saved a spot for me in the 10am class.
“Use the machine by the wall,” he said. “It’s the only one you’ll have room to work with.”
Pilates, apparently, is not frequented by people over 6ft tall.
The “machines” were floor-bound spring-and-pulley systems, where a large pad shaped to fit your head and torso lays flat on the ground, connected to the frame of the machine by a series of springs that allow for movement and resistance. It was not unlike the machines I used in physical therapy while rehabbing my torn meniscus back in 2008. Except these ones has fully wrist straps and left stirrups attached.,
Basically, it was a combination physical therapy device and sex machine. I could get down with that.
The class began with some simple leg extensions, pushing our body weight, with resistance, from the bottom of the machine to the top. It sounds simple, but after 15 minutes of pushing your Weight against springs, that burn is real. We then moved on to a squatting workout, extending our legs on these platforms as we moved back and forth, which Justin described as “skiing.”
Next, came time for the arm workout, where we put our hands in the furry wrist straps and pulled our body weight up using biceps, then triceps, then shoulders, then chest, then a combination of all of it.
Then we used this weird circle thing,, which we were supposed to press in as far as we could and hold while we did sit ups on a bench. While on the moving spring machine. It required an incredible amount of core strength to keep it all still while performing the exercise. And definitely not something I was used to.
We finished with some “Stretches,” the most difficult of which involved lifting my legs all the way into the air with my legs in the stirrups (something I guess women are used to. For guys it was a little more spread eagle than I was ready for)then using my core to push the legs down against the resistance of the springs. By the fourth one, my core was done.
The hour went by amazingly fast, and by the end I was like “That was it?” But much like yoga, when you’re so concentrated on your breathing time really does fly,. I learned Pilates is absolutely nothing like yoga, where you’ll feel burn in every muscle group by the end of the workout, and stretch yourself out. It’s not high impact, and not a crazy calorie burner, but it will work our entire body and stretch you out a lot.
As I was leaving I stopped to talk to Jason, who told me the class before me was very confused as to who I was.
“All the ladies in the last class were like “Who was THAT?”
The narcissist in me thought they were all checking me out. But Jason stopped that little ego trip cold.
“Most of the guys we get in here are like in their 50s and have joint problems, We don’t typically get younger bigger guys like you in here. So when you were waiting they were all like ‘what is HE doing here?’”
Oh, you know, just a story about doing women’s exercise classes for a month. NBD.