Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pilates ~ Caveat Emptor!


My pants came down in my Pilates class this morning. 

The Pilates people don’t tell you about that.  They don’t tell you about those waffle-y rubber floor mats and their gripping power. 

No!  It’s all about your core and your health and feeling so much better.  Oh Pilates!  Pilates!  You’ll be so glad you went to Pilates! 

Well, let me tell you I did NOT feel all that much better with my drawers hanging out!  It could have been a real disaster.  Face it.  It could have been a lunar phenomenon. 

There I was like a teenager doing the prison walk – britches sagging and bloomers, well, blooming! 

Thank goodness I always set myself up like a poker player at the Long Branch Saloon – near the exit with my back to the wall and a clear view of everything and everyone around me. 

I’m no fool you know.  Except maybe when it comes to trusting “fitness experts” who clearly have their own agendas no matter what they say to you with their smiling teeth and their clipboards and their grippy mats. 

I should have known better.   

They’re all skinny for one thing.  There’s always an undernourished one up at the front of the class, sweat free, calling all this “fun.”   

Where are all the normal people at the gym?  Oh, here they are, rolling around on the floor with me like so many sea mammals on the beach at Ano Nuevo, snorting and making sand angels.   

There had better not be any cameras in this joint! 

The trainers are young, too.  I hate that.  Why aren’t the old people running the gym?  We’re the ones with the money!  Oh never mind.  I already know.  We’re not running the gym because we’re on the floor with our feet in the air. 

And who is this Pilates guy anyway?  Sounds like a foreigner.  What kind of name is “Pilates”?  Has to be Greek.  I dated a Greek guy once.  Oily.  Must have been all those olives.   

OK.  Wait a minute.  Checking the web.  Here he is:  Joseph Pilates and his theory of fitness.  Whooptifrickin’do!  

Greek!  I knew it!   

“Pilates was a sickly child suffering from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever… He dedicated his entire life to improving his physical strength…  By the age of 14, he was fit enough to pose for anatomical charts.”   

Well that’s just plain creepy.  But OK.  He worked hard. 
 

Pilates came to believe that the "modern" life-style, bad posture, and inefficient breathing were the roots of poor health.  And that was the early 20th century “modern”!   

I don’t know, but I’m thinking they were a wee bit more active back then than we are today.  They walked with their eyes on the horizon for one thing.  That keeps you going at a respectable clip.   

No need to slow down to avoid mis-texting while crossing the parking lot for a scone and a latte. 

Get this:  Pilates started out as a gymnast, diver, and bodybuilder.  But ultimately he earned his living as a professional boxer, circus-performer, and self-defense trainer at Scotland Yard. 

I’ll bet you skimmed right over that one critical detail just like I did the first time through:  Joseph Pilates was a circus performer?  I’m following a fitness routine devised by a CIRCUS PERFORMER?!!   

Why not just call it the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey method of embarrassing yourself and amusing others?  A little truth in advertising, please! 

It all makes sense though, all this stiff-legged toe-pointing, swimming on the ground.  Just put me in a tutu, stand me upright on a trapeze and voila! I’m a Flying Walenda! 

Old Joe’s probably spinning in his grave at the specter of “modern life” in the early 21st century.  Of course he’d be spinning hands free, toes rotated outward, using only his lower abdominals, just like we do in class. 

That’s right.  Once you get really good at it, you never touch the ground.  You breathe deeply, pull those abs up behind your ribs and just drift upwards.  That’s right.  Float.  Now hold it!  Hold it! 

We earthbound beginners however, must struggle against gravity and the Velcro-like connection between polyester workout pants and waffled rubber mats.   

I think I’ll invest in some suspenders.