Thursday, June 19, 2008

Taking Pilates Back

It has come to my attention that mentioning my penchant for pilates is construed as feminine. The mere mention that I got my quasi-chiseled physique through the aid of pilates elicits a giggle from the people I tell, mainly the ladies. Therefore, it is time that the record be set straight about the intensity and hyper-manliness of pilates.

For those unaware of the history of pilates, the exercise was developed to keep veterans mentally and physically strong.
"...emphasizing control and form to aid injured soldiers in regaining their health by strengthening, stretching, and stabilizing key muscles."

That's right. Soldiers and veterans. No mention of yuppies or soccer moms.

A cursory glance at fitness/pilates DVDs provides a view to some Arian society, where all the members are slim, fit females. There are very few discs that have a man as the instructor. I'll blame Mari Winsor and Los Angeles for this travesty.

My interest in pilates began when I started going to physical therapy for a hip injury incurred while practicing for a dance show. I attempted to do a dip with my partner and my leg wasn't positioned properly. Subsequently, my leg moved in a way it wasn't supposed to move.

The therapist and orthopedic doctors said I injured my hip flexor muscle, so this wasn't a standard boo-boo. Among my recommended strengthening exercises, were some pilates movements to strengthen my legs and abs. I've never been one to exercise consistently. I'm a walker not a runner. After about a month of rehab I started to notice muscles in places previously characterized as nondescript. These muscles came at a price. Pilates isn't easy. It involves sweat and, for me, a reminder of how inflexible you are and how far your toes truly are. So, I continued to do pilates and the stretching exercises. I bought a Swiss exercise ball and began branching out in my fitness regime.

So, men, rise up. It is time we reclaim pilates as our own. Women, you can keep the tight-fitting aerobics wear, but your theft of our masculine exercise regimen is over.

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