Contributed by Susan Simko of Club Pilates

From my very first experience with exercise, I believed I had to be sweating buckets, pounding my body, and almost miserable to feel that I was getting a “good” workout. In fact, there were days my body hurt so badly that I feared I would be unable to get out of bed, much less get through my next workout.

Nevertheless, I have spent almost 20 years not only getting myself out of bed, but (mostly) enjoying high-intensity workouts, such as 10-mile runs, boot camps, and spin classes. I even became a fitness instructor and taught other people those classes! At the present time, however, as a single mother to four very busy boys, the idea of a full-on pounding sweat session at daybreak doesn’t always fill me with joy. The gym doesn’t excite me either—maneuvering my way around the weights trying to determine which ones will be the best for me makes my head spin.  But then of course there is the mental fight I go through when a light workout or a walk feels like a fitness cop out.

Then I was invited to try a class at Club Pilates, in particular a class designed to tone the entire body while combining a stretching element. I went into the class with the perception that Pilates was like yoga (It’s not). I also went into the class with a bit of arrogance, thinking it would be an “easy” workout (WOW, was I wrong.).

The 50-minute session was accompanied by an instructor and upbeat music and it worked every part of my body, without the “sweating buckets” element. My body was sore in places that I hadn’t felt in all my years of exercising for the following two days. But—my abs! Laughing was a challenge the next three days, making it clear that my countless crunches at the gym had nothing on a class at Club Pilates. The workout was just what I needed. I was amazed at how every muscle in my body felt worked, and at the same time how elongated my body felt. From that day on I was hooked, hooked so much that I decided to become a Pilates instructor.

Try it for yourself and you’ll see! Even if you are married to your boot camp, cross fit, or running groups, adding Pilates will do wonders for your body and mind.