Wishful Thinking Won’t Make You Fit
Pilates Profile: Bill Trapmann, Age 65, Retired Economist
I’ve been practicing Pilates for slightly more than four years. I practice with regular sessions in the Excel studio at least once a week, except when I’m travelling. Between the formal sessions I try to include some Pilates exercises into my own personal workouts. As well as improving my technique, I find Pilates exercises to be a good way to warm up the body core.
Initially, I was curious about Pilates because I thought it might be helpful to augment my usual routine with something different. Over the years, I’ve found multiple benefits to changing my exercise regimen. Varying my exercises provides different challenges for my body, improves my strength, helps counter any physical imbalance from underworking any one part of my body, and gives me renewed interest in my overall exercise program. I’ve had my share of injuries over the years, and I appreciate the expert guidance and oversight provided by the instructors at the Excel studio. Their expertise imbues in me a confidence to attempt challenging exercises that I probably shouldn’t even consider, much less attempt, on my own. Thanks to the instructors, I have surprised myself more than once with what I am able to do.
Since I began practicing Pilates, I’ve noticed improved core strength and greater flexibility overall. I consider core strength to be an important benefit because it provides me a more stable platform for other activities such as swimming, biking, and running. Also, I’ve gained a better awareness of the interrelation of the core and the rest of my body, which has enhanced my performance in each of these other activities. In addition to the direct physical benefits, I’ve found the practice of Pilates to positively influence my mental outlook. Feeling stronger and more capable provides a degree of personal confidence that is actually comforting to me. I know these results are the product of the time and effort I’ve invested in the work, which I find very gratifying.
As for which Pilates exercise is my favorite: one answer is the last exercise of the session, especially on a day when the workout didn’t come easy. But to be more specific, I suppose my favorite exercise is the Short Spine Massage. I found it difficult initially, but as my form and movement have improved, it’s come to represent a personal success. In doing it, I feel greater strength and flexibility. Perhaps my second favorite is the Teaser because it’s the one I love to hate. Most often I don’t do it very well at all. On the rare occasion, though, I almost look good. It makes me nuts. The challenge is good for me.
I greatly value having a good quality of life. Being well and active is at the foundation of my quality of life, and this motivates me to continue my Pilates practice. Good health and fitness are not things that simply occur—I must work for them. I believe that if you want to be active, you must stay active. I’m not familiar with many quotes from Joseph Pilates, but I’ve seen a few that resonate with me. I like, “Physical fitness can neither be achieved by wishful thinking nor outright purchase.” On a similar note, “Don’t expect to see a change if you don’t make one.”
That being said, my self-motivation only goes so far. Another motivating factor for me is to have good instructors. The instructors at the Excel studio are clearly knowledgeable, as well as helpful and encouraging. Their interest in my performance inspires me to try harder. (It also helps that they all seem to have the patience of Job. I still don’t remember the exercises well, much less do them properly. They continue to have faith in me.)
Over the course of a Pilates session, I enjoy the physical challenge as I warm up and then perform more challenging exercises. After a workout I feel invigorated. My energy levels are higher and I feel satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. I’ve told my friends about how Pilates makes me feel, and how the results enhance my performance in other activities in which I’m interested. Additionally, a stronger body and increased awareness of my body help me avoid injuries.
So what are you waiting for?