Half-cobra pushups. Plie squats. Burpees.
I would rather go to Friday School than have to do five more reps of any of those things. But that’s the thing with pilates. You can’t just quit in the middle.
Anyone who knows me knows I’ve never been athletic. My miserable attempt at elementary school soccer is proof enough. Whenever I consider going into a sport, I laugh it off after a few seconds and pop a Diet Coke.
So when my friend Bethany started talking to me about her new workout, I nodded and chatted, but didn’t really get it. I’d heard about pilates before, but never cared enough to look into it. According to Bethany, pilates is, “a more active yoga.” After a few days of Bethany persuading me, I decided to finally give it a try.
Now, if you’ve never done pilates, you would probably assume it’s easy and painless. George Orwell wrote in his book “1984” that “of pain you could wish only one thing: that it should stop. Nothing in the world was so bad as physical pain. In the face of pain there are no heroes.” Apply this statement to a typical pilates workout and you get the idea.
The way I do pilates is the way I like to do most things: at home, in my room, not talking to anyone and staring at a computer screen. Bethany introduced me to Blogilates, a YouTube channel and website easily accessible from home.
Blogilates was created by Cassey Ho, an equally encouraging and infuriating fitness instructor. Cassey sets up a workout calendar each month with four to five of her YouTube videos listed per day, each day consisting of an hour-long workout.
Three weeks ago when I set up my yoga mat (which I’ve been too lazy to move since), I didn’t really know what I was in for. But after the first day of beginners videos, I already felt like Fat Amy in “Pitch Perfect,” wanting to point at my laptop and say, “Don’t sign me up for cardio.”
But after the first week, it got better. I graduated from beginners videos to Cassey’s calendar and began doing pilates for an hour each day.
Usually, I want to hit Cassey. Whenever she looks into the camera in the middle of her 76th lunge pulse and tells me to “keep going!” and that I’m “doing great!” I feel a strong rage building. Or when she yells about how good “the burn” feels and I’m about to die on my yoga mat. No matter how hard the workout is, she just keeps smiling and encouraging, all the while I’m strongly considering throwing my laptop against a wall.
But even when the workout gets too hard, Cassey is still there, working with me and telling me I can do it. And miraculously, I always do.
Even when I go to school in the morning, sore and feeling sick, I feel good. The pain of every workout makes me feel better in the long run. When Bethany and I commiserate about our thighs aching, we won’t stop. With each workout, we get stronger and healthier.
Pilates is hard, but like most things, it’s a matter of willpower. Of forcing yourself to keep going even when you want to burst into tears in the middle of a workout. But that’s the thing with pilates. You can’t just quit in the middle. You have to keep trying and pushing yourself. You have to persevere to the end.