What is Pilates?

Pilates is a dynamic, supportive workout with the goal of building a uniformly strong body, Utilizing spring tension, body weight and equipment designed to first teach, then challenge stability. Pilates prepares your body for the unexpected by focusing on the “core” muscles, or “Powerhouse.” These are the muscles found in the abdomen, back, glutes and hips. They are vital to supporting the pelvis and spinal column — the central structure for your entire body. A flexible spine increases freedom of movement and provides space for the internal organs to function properly. Some of the health benefits from consistently practicing the Pilates method are better posture and alignment, improved coordination, stress relief and improved flexibility and joint mobility. Empowered Body strives to be a studio for fitness enthusiasts of all ages and levels — from the elite athlete looking for effective cross training to seniors striving to maintain a healthy quality of life.

Did you know Pilates was a Guy?

Joseph H. Pilates (1883 – 1967) was at various times a boxer, gymnast, circus performer, hospital orderly, and trainer. He was steeped in the German Physical Culture movement, and he shared that movement’s fascination with the connection between physical movement and overall well-being. Over the course of decades he evolved and refined the whole-body exercise system that he called “Contrology,” but which is known throughout the world today simply as “Pilates.” He considered his system a contribution not just to physical culture, but to “human happiness.”

It’s said that in his work as a hospital orderly during WWI he experimented with various spring-based mechanisms to allow bedridden patients to exercise, so they would not become completely deconditioned. He carried on experimenting all his life, developing and refining his apparatus along with his exercises. 

He and his wife Clara trained boxers, wrestlers, and dancers at his New York studio from 1926 until his death in 1967. George Balanchine and Martha Graham would often send students and associates to “Joe’s gym” for conditioning and rehab.

Joe’s obituary in the New York Times described him as “a white-maned lion with steel blue eyes (one was glass from a boxing mishap), and mahagonny skin, and as limber in his 80's as a teenager.”

Classical vs. Contemporary: “I’ve taken Pilates at my gym.”

There are many different types of Pilates classes out there that are fun and invigorating. “Pilates” is an umbrella term, which means it has many faces in the fitness industry. The term “Classical” delineates that the curriculum taught by Empowered Body closely adheres to the historical exercise order and apparatus designed by Joseph Pilates himself (Mat Reformer, Chair, Barrels, Ped-o-Pull).  This systematic approach ensures a full body workout that is not only challenging but safe and effective for any client. 

What do I need to do Pilates?

Show up!  Add in a little gumption and curiosity, and you’re ready! Empowered Body provides all the equipment necessary for your workout. The method is practiced barefoot or with socks. If you prefer to keep your feet covered, socks with a little grip or tread is recommended. Please wear comfortable athletic wear that hugs the body. Our instructors need to see your form to insure we are helping you build the most powerful you possible. 

How often should I take Pilates?

Three times per week is optimal, especially at the beginning. As one gets stronger and develops proper use of the body, as little as once per week is good for maintenance. Combining privates session and group classes at the studio along with mat work at home is ideal. Pilates is a practice, We aim to instill independence and savvy in our clients so that whatever activity you take on, your Pilates is always with you!

“Pilates is like Yoga right?”

No. There are many styles of Yoga, some of which teach a philosophy of living that includes meditation, breathing and chanting as well as a physical practice. Pilates is an exercise system. One session is 50–55 minutes long, The goal of the workout is to execute with dynamic flow, few repetitions and smooth transitions between exercises; it is similar in this way to circuit training. With the exception of a few exercises that emphasize a specific breathing pattern, the rest of the workout is done with natural breathing and fluidity. Pilates demands active awareness and concentration, retraining the body to move with strength and ease. 

“I lift heavy; Will I feel anything with Pilates?”

Absolutely, in fact hopping into a Pilates class will make you a more efficient weight lifter! You’ve been working hard to get those big muscle groups looking beach ready...but have you worked out those small muscles close to the bones that contribute to stability and balance? How’s your flexibility? Give us a shot, If you don’t remember us when you wake up the next morning, your class is on us!

“I have an injury; Can I Still take Pilates?”

Certainly!  As long as you have been cleared by your medical care provider all instructors are highly trained in the progressions and regressions of the Classical method. Pilates is a fantastic way to stay in shape while managing an isolated injury ( we’ll work out the other 99% of you!  ) OR is a safe and effective way to introduce exercise back into your daily routine. We strongly recommend that if you are managing a chronic injury, to stick with Privates sessions at first. Our teachers will work with you to modify the work to suit your body and prep you for advancement into the group class format. Of course if you are a person that prefers to work out in groups all of our instructors have been highly trained to modify any class you hop into. 

“I’m looking for prenatal Pilates classes”

Congratulations! What an exciting time. If you're looking for a low impact way to keep moving, please consider taking Private sessions with one of our highly trained instructors who can provide you with the undivided attention you deserve. If you’ve never done Pilates before and are considered a high risk pregnancy, we at Empowered Body Pilates do not recommend beginning a new exercise regime during the beginning stages of your pregnancy. Please reach out to us again when you're ready to get that hot mama bod moving again!