by Heather Burgoyne, Owner, Soar Pilates
Pilates is a series of exercises that builds strength with balance and control. It provides mobility through flexibility. It is a mental exercise as it requires precision of movement and coordination within the body.
Perhaps what I believe to be most important, Pilates is an exercise for everyBODY. Yes, that means men, too.
I am pretty confident if I were to wager money on what the response of most men think Pilates is, they would say something along the lines of: “Pilates, yeah, my wife/girlfriend takes Pilates lessons.” Or, “Pilates, yeah, that’s a girl’s exercise.” Or perhaps if you anything like my father (and I say this with the upmost respect and love), “So Heather, what is Pilati?” suggesting it is a singular exercise and not actually named after a person who created it – Joseph Pilates.
From what I have learned from my mentors, peers, books and numerous web articles, is that Joseph Pilates was a boxer. He was a prisoner. He was a man of few words and perhaps even less emotion. He demanded respect and commitment to contrology (the original name of the exercise).
And his only requirement to take part in his studio was that you were there because you believed contrology was going to make your physical and mental health better. It was not an exercise fad to lose weight and get a six pack.
I will state the bulk of my clients are female. However, the male clients I do have typically walk into the studio for the first time and admit they are nervous. The majority have pretty strenuous jobs and in turn discuss ailments in their bodies such as low back pain, tight hamstrings, lack of flexibility pretty much throughout their body. I will also state that after one session with my male clients, they are shocked by how tough Pilates is — that they felt use of their muscles in a whole new way. After our second session, they usually are addicted, and after a month, they feel revived in a way they haven’t in some time.
I am constantly impressed by their commitment and growth; their acknowledgement that Pilates has healed their ailments.
And a personal highlight, working with men makes for some of the best laughter and camaraderie throughout my week.