A couple of the most common Pilates misconceptions involve contrasting absolutes: It is either seen as too easy or too hard. If you sit on either end of the spectrum, then perhaps you haven’t actually tried it in its purest form. And if this is the case, we’re here to tell you it’s worth a shot.
Ole Eugenio, the trailblazer for Pilates in the Philippines, has admittedly encountered these Pilates misconceptions in his years of teaching. “Some people think Pilates doesn’t make you sweat. But if done correctly, Pilates gives you a full-body workout that strengthens the body from the inside out,” he tells TripZilla Philippines.
So, is Pilates a good workout for you?
The short answer is yes.
As an established Pilates Master Trainer, Eugenio believes that the practice works for anyone and everyone. He was first exposed to classical Pilates, then went on to study the Stott Pilates method full-time in Canada. In 2001, Eugenio became the first Filipino to be fully certified by the Stott Pilates method. Almost three decades later, he continues to find joy in the workout.
In his desire to share this experience with others, Eugenio founded Options Studio, the “first and only international chain of Pilates and Movement studios worldwide.”
Eugenio tells us all about how Pilates has changed his life — and how it can enhance yours, too. In this article, he debunks the most common Pilates misconceptions and spills everything you need to know about this cutting-edge exercise.
5 ways Pilates enhances your quality of life
1. Pilates makes you more flexible and prevents injuries
One of the biggest Pilates misconceptions is that you need to be flexible to practise it. But, the truth is quite the opposite: it does not require you to be flexible — instead, it helps you reach the flexibility you desire.
As for Eugenio, he greatly benefited from the mobility training that Pilates provided for him during his early years of practice. The former gymnast was pleasantly surprised when he noticed how the workout moved his spine and limbs in each body plane. “My first Pilates experience was a revelation that you can stretch and strengthen at the same time,” he says.
Other than being an incredible workout for trained athletes, Pilates also serves everyone else — from regular office workers to certified homebodies. Its mobility training exercises improve your flexibility, work your muscles and joints, and stabilise your movement for everyday activities.
“The forward bend, backward bend, side bend, and twisting are all necessary and functional for daily living,” says Eugenio. When you regularly practise your mobility, you reduce your risk of injury as well.
2. Pilates strengthens and tones your whole body
If you think Pilates is merely an ab workout, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. While it mainly exercises the core, it strengthens the arms and legs, too. When done correctly, it even guarantees to improve your posture.
“Aside from mobility training, Pilates also provides strength training,” Eugenio reveals. “We generate internal force that activates all the muscles in our body — whether that group of muscles are working as a stabiliser or a mobiliser.”
On the surface, you might notice how Pilates develops long and lean bodies. In truth, this particular workout tones your body because it focuses on strengthening the deep muscles that help you accomplish everyday tasks more efficiently. In other words, Pilates enhances you from the inside out.
So how long must you practise before you see noticeable changes in your body? Joseph Pilates claims that “in 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 sessions you will see the difference, and in 30 sessions you will have a new body.”
3. Pilates improves the mind-body connection
Another common Pilates misconception is that it is practically the same as yoga. Perhaps this thinking stems from the fact that both exercises greatly improve the mind-body connection.
Joseph Pilates once said, “Man should develop his physical condition simultaneously with that of his mind.” No wonder the exercise involves a lot of movements that require mindfulness and concentration. When you do Pilates, you develop an awareness of how your muscles feel and function through breaths.
“Pilates works our different organs in the body as we move with purpose and intention,” Eugenio explains. Through this aspect, the workout strengthens your internal movement. Thus, it helps you to be more coordinated and in tune with how your body moves. Not to mention, it also lowers stress levels!
In the midst of a demanding world, Pilates is the perfect exercise to focus within for a few minutes. Joseph Pilates meant the workout to be “a complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit” — something everyone can’t have enough of, especially during these trying times.
4. Pilates boosts your immune system
Being in the middle of a pandemic, most Filipinos have turned towards better habits that lead to a healthier lifestyle. Like most workouts, Pilates is a good option if you are looking to boost your immune system — especially during the coronavirus outbreak.
“As we know, COVID-19 hits our cardiorespiratory system badly. The best way to prevent compromising our bodies is by doing Pilates,” Eugenio believes. “Pilates is an investment because it prevents us from getting sick. With so much movement and breathing cycles, it boosts our immune system.”
Here’s how it works: The lymphatic system is known as the body’s first line of defence against illness. However, lymph relies on muscle contraction and body movement (i.e. breathing, walking, etc.) to circulate. Since Pilates involves rhythmic movement at all body planes, it stimulates lymph flow; thus, it leads to a strong immune system.
Additionally, since Pilates is not much of an intensive exercise, it also allows your body to recover immediately. Unlike with other strenuous workouts, the routines rarely result in overfatigue.
Of course, the mental and emotional benefits of Pilates are also commendable in this aspect. Research has shown that regular participants get better sleep, less stress, and more energy.
5. Pilates promotes a regular workout habit
Have you ever fallen out of love with a workout routine? Believe it or not, this happens easily. When your muscles get too used to an exercise, you might find the routine tedious — even useless! This is what happens when your body hits a plateau. To prevent this from happening, experts suggest to either increase the intensity of your workout or change up your routine completely.
The beauty in Pilates is that it is an extremely customisable workout. Eugenio is just one prime example. “The first time I tried Pilates, I told myself that this is one exercise that I can do until I’m 90 years old,” he tells us. Almost 30 years into the Pilates lifestyle, and it looks like he’s still up for this challenge.
“Pilates works as a system that can be gentle for a beginner. But, it also develops for a more advanced practitioner,” Eugenio explains. That said, the workout is for anyone and everyone — all you need is a good trainer who will help you customise your sessions to what your body needs.
Where can you join a Pilates class?
While there are many online workouts you can try out these days, an official Pilates class just upgrades your whole experience. “Online workouts are a good start, but nothing beats an actual Pilates session under the watchful eye of a trained and certified instructor,” Eugenio reminds us. Thankfully, every Options Studio branch is operating during COVID-19 — each one adhering to strict safety guidelines.
Since starting Options Studio, Eugenio has seen the rapid growth of interest in Pilates among Filipinos. In fact, the studio has just branched out in Shangri-La! As of writing, the studio now has six branches in Metro Manila.
With the increasing number of Pilates enthusiasts, Options Studio makes sure to empower each one with only the best instructors in the country. “A good instructor will guide you every step of the way to make sure that you are moving purposefully with stretch, strength, and control,” Eugenio says.
Once you’re finally ready to try out the best of this workout, make sure you seek only the best studio for you. Who knows? You might be debunking some Pilates misconceptions yourself, too.
Brought to you by Options Studio Philippines.