Monday, June 7, 2004


Suzanne asked me on yesterday's journal to give a little bit more information on Pilates. 

I can tell you what I know, as I have never really researched it per se.  This is just my experience with it.  I started the program I'm on because it came with the balance ball.  According to the box, Pilates can be done by just about anyone regardless of age or condition, so I gave it a shot.

The reason I wanted the balance ball is because I have a really sensitive lower back.  I can't do standard situps because my lower back right above my tailbone is so tender no one can even touch it.  So laying on a hard floor and then sitting up to touch my elbows to my knees?  Forget it.

I thought if I am on the balance ball I can do those types of exercises with minimal impact.  From what I've seen of it anyway.

Anyway I went to Target and browsed what they had, they had a complete set (hand weights and balance ball) for $30, which I considered a pretty good deal.  I bought it and I tried it. 

The thing that struck me about this tape was the beginner exercises did not seem to involve much effort (i.e. pain) on my part.  I really, for the first couple of weeks I did it, wondered if it was doing any good.  My sister was the one who noticed the change, saying it looked like my stomach was melting away.  This is a very good thing.

The trick is learning to balance on the ball.  I was over 300lbs when I started this program and I was scared to death of busting the ball.  I never could find a weight limit on them.  Steven and the boys all tried to use this ball, but they would roll off.  I never did, and I think that's where the exercise comes in at, you have to use your "core" muscles to balance.  (Core meaning your abs and the muscles around your spine).

But it's all basic stuff.  The hardest part is the The Bridge series.  It's supposed to work your hamstrings and your glutes.  You lay on your back with your feet on the ball, then, using your feet to brace on the ball, you lift yourself until you're laying only on your shoulder area.  The Bridge requires you to do small lifts while you're balanced like that.  The Rolling Bridge requires you send your feet out on the ball while keeping your spine perfectly straight.  I have been doing this program since, what? December?  And I *just this week* was able to do both fully. 

I started doing the advanced exercises pretty quick into it, and that you can feel.  But since it's a 30 minute workout with no exercise going over ten reps a piece, it's not too bad.  In fact I'm thinking about getting another tape to mix things up.  I want to try some resistance bands as well, and I found another thing at target that involves a hand ball filled with water. 

Here's what I work out with currently: Reebok Pilates Core Strength Kit

And here's a link on the history of Pilates: Pilates equipment, videos and information from Balanced Body.

I've been doing it for about six months I guess, and I do feel stronger.  My arms have more definition, even my back pain has lessened.  I can even do the reverse crunch - where I lay on my back, hook the ball under my knees and bring my knees toward my chest.  My knees keep getting progressively closer to my chest because of inches lost.  I've lost 39" since December from five major measuring points. 

I haven't done it since my company has been here.  I still haven't been delivered of doing exercises in front of people.  So no gym for me still.  I look to get back into it by Wednesday. 

Meanwhile I'm going to take Jen to the zoo today, and that's a mile long trek.  I'm finding ways to exercise anyway. 

We had a barbeque yesterday and I was really good.  Below are the stats for yesterday.

DAILY AFFIRMATION: I live with food, not for food.

Calories: 1789 / 27%
Sodium: 2250mg
Calcium: 1020mg
Water: 72oz
Exercise: None

RED means I did not meet goal
* Projected

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