I love pilates and I have been doing it for 10 years now. Pilates not only helps to strengthen the abdominal core muscles, a lesser known fact is that it also frequently works on the small muscles.
My Pilates Journey
I started pilates when I began working. I remember learning my first pilates matwork in the dance studio at Yio Chu Kang Sports Centre – Dance Studio. Our instructor was Hisham, who also loves ballet. He always pushes us to try our best and his exercises can sometimes be quite punishing (depending on his mood heh). Although it was challenging and disciplined, I’ve built up a good foundation under his guidance.
Hisham no longer teaches with the sports council, so I had to seek alternative studios. I tried pilates reformer at PowerMoves in Bishan Park and I felt I wasn’t working my body as much if I were doing matwork exercises. After completing the course, I went back to pilates matwork and enrolled at Focus Pilates. You could choose the time slots however there weren’t many for matwork since their main focus is on the reformer. I enjoyed the classes because of its small size (2-8 persons), particularly Daniel’s. He is the head instructor and owner, and I like the structured way his lessons were conducted. Alas, his classes were at night and I don’t fancy having to do exercises right after my dinner.
So, it’s time to look for another pilates studio.
I tried matwork at Bishan Dance Studio, but I didn’t like the class structure. 24 students were cramped into 1 studio. When the instructor taught us an exercise, he would leave it up to us how many times we want to do it. It was pretty messy there.
Welcome to Pilates Matwork Boot Camp
After that, I decided to try out pilates matwork at Yishun Dance Studio on Saturday mornings. I’m glad I did. It was a perfect fit for my requirements –
- Short commute time (30 mins direct bus ride / 20 mins drive)
- Disciplined instructor (someone who teaches in a structured way and pushes us to do our best), and
- A great workout that strengthens the body
It was intense, with exercise one-after-another…there’s no stopping from Siow Wei (the instructor) but you could do the minimal (8-10 times per move) and then rest if you wish or your body demands it. Due to the intensity, I make sure I take wholemeal breakfast. Otherwise, I’d feel faint.
I was in her class for 1 to 1.5 years before I stopped to concentrate on my freelance business, and I did pilates at home. A lot of students come and go. However there were some faithful ones who would regularly turn up without fail and I still see them when I went back last month.
Siow Wei exclaimed that she hasn’t seen me for about 2 years. Heh.
However this time, I felt the exercises are more challenging. On hindsight, I shouldn’t have stopped. Discontinuing it is detrimental to the body, where you will lose muscles you have trained up for a while, and there would be some inertia to kick-start pilates again. Besides, going to a class motivates you to move more, since everyone is doing the exercises at the same time and it will encourage you.
I mentioned in this post “Why I Quit Freelancing in Singapore” that I have sore knees due to prolonged sitting. When I rejoined the class, I learnt that muscles around my buttocks have become weak as the small muscles weren’t exercised. As a result, my knees were affected. After 5 sessions now, my knees condition has improved by leaps and bounds. I can feel my abdominal muscles getting stronger too.
I always refer Siow Wei’s lessons as “Military Pilates”. It’s like a boot camp. If you want to get strong fast, you can never get it wrong in her class but you really have to work your part. It also doesn’t mean that if you are a male, you can handle her exercises effortlessly – there are a lot to do in that one hour. And, I have seen men buckling under the exercises. If you haven’t been exercising for a long time, you will work up a sweat just to keep up with the moves.
Because You’re Worth It
It’s tough love for yourself. Yet when you savour the fruits of your hard work (leaner body, more flexibility and stronger muscles for your abs, back, knees, arms and shoulders etc.), it’s all worth it!
All you have to do is persevere. 🙂
With ActiveSG’s $100 credit for Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents, they will subsidize 30% of the course fee. In this case, you pay SGD82.60 for 12 1-hour sessions, once a week. Which means only SGD6.88/week!
See you around on Saturdays!
— Sharon Lee (@sharonleesg) May 1, 2015