Is Your Workout Not Working? Try Adding Pilates Mat Exercises
When it comes to fitness I’m always willing to try something new…not only do I think new workouts help keep fitness exciting and keep you out of a rut but I know that constantly challenging your muscles with new exercises is one of the very best ways to stay in shape without having to spend hours and hours working out. How’s this? Because if you do the same exercise over and over and over again your body becomes very efficient at doing that particular exercise and pretty soon you aren’t even challenging yourself.
Ever see a runner who does nothing but run (and run and run and run!) and never seems to get tired but also somehow doesn’t seem as fit as she should be for all that dedication to running? Chances are, she’s trained herself to be extremely efficient at running and so she really isn’t exercising very hard after all, which is why her body reaches a plateau.
One of the keys to time-efficient fitness is to keep mixing up your workouts…you want to constantly challenge and “surprise” your muscles, which is one reason I love mixing in some pilates here and there. And don’t worry if you think it’s something only for experienced exercisers…you’ll actually get a better, more intense workout if you are a beginner!
If General Fitness Is Your Goal, There’s Something To Be Said for Not Perfecting Any One Type of Exercise
I consider myself to be in pretty good shape physically, but I’m really not totally great at any one particular type of exercise. I have friends that can literally run circles around me (they run marathons!) and I know a lot of people spend a lot more time working out than I do. When I was younger and performance in gymnastics or dance was my entire motivation for exercising I worked out A LOT and I did very specific types of exercise to be the best I could be at those particular sports. By the time I was a senior in high school my body was extremely efficient at doing backflips, toe touches, plies, etc. I could do walking lunges all the way across the football field and back flips all the way across the high school gym but I couldn’t run a mile. When I went on an “Outward Bound” excursion with my class and was forced to swim a ½ mile at the end of the trip I was practically the worst in my entire class!
The point I’m trying to make is that if you are training to be a runner or a gymnast or an Olympic swimmer your best bet is to run, flip or swim…do those things over and over again and your body will become extremely good and very efficient at that form of exercise. But, to maintain a high level of fitness you’ll need to spend a lot of time doing those exercises because your body will soon become so efficient that you won’t really be working very hard at all. I hope this is making sense?
A Workout Based on Pilates Mat Exercises Can Be Very Tough!
If you find you are in a fitness rut or that your workout is no longer working and just not giving you the results you want, adding pilates can be a great way to mix things up and take your fitness to a new level. If you don’t have the time or resources to take a pilates class you can get a very good workout doing pilates mat exercises in your own home. And, don’t kid yourself into thinking a workout where you lie on the floor is a joke. Pilates mat exercises can be very, very intense. If you do the exercises properly you will see and feel measureable results in as little as 10 sessions.
If you don’t have a background in fitness I admit it can be a bit difficult to learn proper body mechanics with any new exercise program, pilates in particular, so I can’t stress enough the importance of getting some professional instruction. And, if you have the time and money to spend for a pilates class using the reformer, chairs and other equipment I can’t recommend this more! You will truly be blown away with what an amazing workout it is.
If You are Lucky to Live Near These Trainers…
• Palm Beach Pilates: I’ve taken numerous pilates classes from a good friend of mine, Trisha Millet Hardin, and if you live in the Palm Beach area and are looking for a top-notch instructor I can’t recommend Trisha enough. If you have any injuries or back issues she’s also very knowledgeable about helping you customize your workout to your body needs. To contact Trisha email her at email@example.com
• S. Pasadena Pilates: My good friend, and international fitness expert, Tracey Mallett, also offers an incredible pilates workout at her studio (ATP Fitness Productions) in S. Pasdena, California. To contact Tracey visit her website at www.TraceyMallett.com Tracey is the author of several books and numerous workout DVD’s.
Final Fitness Thoughts
We all have different goals. But if your goal is, as mine is these days, general fitness that will just help you feel good, keep you strong and keep you lean then your best bet is to mix it up a bit.
So, for me, what works now that I am in my thirties is to keep trying new workouts and keep challenging my muscles regularly. I don’t spend a tremendous amount of time exercising nor do I do any one particular exercise so much that I become super great at. But still, I’m happy with my results because I feel like I’m strong enough and fit enough for the things I want to do at this stage in my life (which no longer involves seeing how how many back flips I can do!)