Less is more: what happens when you swap HIIT classes for pilates



 Less is more: what happens when you swap HIIT classes for pilates

The pilates studio at the Body Arts and Science International clinic in Nakameguro, Tokyo, where my pilates journey has begun.

Learn to slow down.

As a self-confessed HIIT, or high intensity interval training, addict (I go to classes daily), I admit that going to regular pilates classes came as a shock to the system. My idea of exercise is high intensity interval training that gets my heart pumping in a very short space of time: picture ’30 second waves of intensity’ and you’re on the right track. It’s only on my off days that you’ll find me doing some simple yoga poses to stretch and condition my fatigued muscles.

When I took the first pilates class, I realised that my core hadn’t been benefiting from my pre-existing routine. On occasion, I had walked past a pilates machine (that scary piece of equipment that resembles a turn-of-the-century torture chamber) sceptical about its effectiveness but never bothering to try it out – until just recently that is.
On the fateful day of my first pilates class I walked into the room carrying an invisible copy of Pilates for Dummies. That’s how foreign it felt, but I kept an open mind for the sake of being the fittest I possibly could.
So, what did I learn? Exactly the opposite of what HIIT had taught me: slow down. I also had to take note of the fine adjustments required to activate the muscle groups I honestly never knew I had.
My muscles were missing out on a serious party; I’d been craving deep tissue conditioning and I could feel my body celebrating upon that discovery.

Like the pre-pilates me you might be intimidated by pilates equipment too, but I assure you: it’s not as scary as you think. Things like pivoting your pelvis to work the inner core and concentrating on technique rather than speed during a workout can have benefits on day-to-day life, too. Pilates is so functional – you’ll notice a positive difference in the way you sit, walk, stand and feel.
Perhaps this was my cue to reconsider how I approach the other routines I’ve attached myself to in life? When it comes to exercise, diversity is what gets results.
This is a blog by Lauren Yates of Ponytail Journal.