The Fabulously Unfit Girl's Guide To Health & Wellness: pie & lattes

Mmmmm... pie and lattes. Just kidding, today I'm talking about Pilates!

Pilates was something I hadn't done before other than the "Day 4" workout in 21 Day Fix, and a random class at my gym 100 years ago... neither of which gave me a clear understanding of what it was or how to do it correctly. 

So here's the lowdown in a nutshell:
Developed by Joseph Pilates, Pilates is a balance of strength and flexibility training that improves posture, improves core strength and creates long, lean muscles created by movements that focus on quality over quantity. Pilates can be performed on a mat or of a series of specialized equipment. 

I was fortunate to spend a morning with owner, Jana Danielson, at Lead Pilates to learn more about this super popular activity and what makes it so universally respected. 

First of all, HOLY SH*T! That place is huge... 9000 square feet in fact. I think I was expecting to go to a little dance type studio and do stuff on mat and then write about it. Ummm, no. This place is like something out of the future. 

The Fitness Studio alone has adjustable infrared heating to create intentionally warmer temperatures for certain classes, enough Bodhi trainers (think TRX, but newer and cooler) for an entire fitness class mounted into the ceilings, a ballet bar, a huge wall to wall mirror (#fml), and mats, blocks, balls, and props galore that are all provided for your classes. They even have a little light saber wand thing that kills the germs of the mat once you've sprayed and wiped it down. 

Bodhi trainers in the Fitness Studio

Bodhi trainers in the Fitness Studio

And that was just one room, then there is the equipment room full of different contraptions and apparatuses that look like something out of Fifty Shades of Grey ... minus the torture and poorly written novels. More specifically, this equipment includes pieces called Reformer, Trapeze Table and Spine Corrector - all the fine makings of an adult jungle gym. 

Group Equipment Studio

Group Equipment Studio

The Spin studio includes a screen that shows you a virtual peek at the class and where to expect your intervals in order to best pace your workout, and bikes that have the cool option to weeble wobble to give your core an extra good workout for those who are gluttons for punishment.

Last, but not least, I was shown a room with equipment used specifically to show the inner workings of your pelvic floor using infrared imaging. Say what??? This is something SO many women struggle with in some capacity, and here was a room dedicated to just that. Mind = blown.

I was also taken over to the other side of the facility, Lead Intergrated Wellness. This side of Lead houses RMTs, Chiropractors, Reiki, Reflexology, and a Naturopathic Doctor. (I've actualy been seeing their Naturopath, but that a whole other post for another day!) The best part? DIRECT BILLING!!! Seriously though, hoarding all of your massage and chiro receipts in a shoebox til there is enough to justify sending in, like some sort of loser-y savings account?  Not here, just show your insurance info and boom - done. 

When I hung out with Jana for the morning, it was super cool. I tried out some moves on the equipment, learned some ways to release my muscles, and was surprised by all the insight she had into the issues I was having with my own body's mobility and tension just by watching me breathe and use small, slow movements. This lady is a wealth of knowledge.

She emailed me a list of classes she thought would best benefit me particularly and was such a sweetheart to gift me a teaser pack to try them out. Ohhhh, but what a clever girl... cause now I'm hooked. #witchcraft

The types of classes are endless... in addition to traditional mat classes, there are classes in Essentrics, Booty Barre, Block Therapy, Spin, and so much more. You can visit www.leadpilates.com you can get the 411 on all the classes. There are over 100 classes a week, so there's something for everyone. 

My personal favourite is Jump... ok, how do I describe this? You work on a contraption called a Reformer, and use a big bouncy board to work your entire body. Its SO. MUCH. FUN. I especially like Desiree's classes; she is amazing at keeping a good pace while still giving easy to follow direction on the equipment. I loathe high paced fitness classes but at the end of this 30 minute class I was like a kid being told I had to get off the trampoline. #sadtrombone

I also really enjoyed Essentrics... it was harder for me to follow because I'm generally uncoordinated on my best days, but the instructor (Kelly) was awesome at guiding me through what was what. This was sort of bunch of fluid patterns that combines tai chi, yoga, and pilates that works your muscles while they are extended. I broke a good sweat and felt like I was genuinely doing something effective with every movement. 

Annnnnnd... I signed up for the summer series Beginner Mat. Twice a week from May to August. (My buddy Mel is teaching my Thursday class, so I'm pretty pumped for that!) Plus, I clearly need to keep going to Jump.  And while I'm at it, I might as well commit to getting to an Essentrics class once a week. Seriously, stop the insanity!! These classes are like my new crack!! Ok, I never did crack... but if I did...

My husband almost had a stroke when I told him what all this will cost... ok ok, it's a bit more pricey than your standard gym membership, but its a whole different ballgame. (To be fair, my husband hoards socks with holes in them and thinks driving all the way to Edmonton for a bottle of rum is "cost effective".) I feel like the classes offered here are not just your run of the mill fitness classes; they retrain your body to operate like it is intended to, in a state of the art facility, with instructors who are the best of the best. And quite frankly, in the end, paying to stay healthy is less expensive than paying to be sick later in life. So, while you may have to sell a kidney to pay for your Pilates addiction, you only need one anyway. Ha. That said, there are monthly memberships that are well worth it if you are taking 3-4 classes a week, and your first class is free - so get your butts in there! 

You should seriously go check this place out, and while you're at it, check out all the adorable studio-to-street spring fashions available in their boutique... ahem, the Alo faux-leather leggings are to die for! I finally got them and I can't wait to snag a pair of the moto leggings when they are back in stock. Also, I am a sports bra junkie and I can say without any doubt that the MPG sports bras I scored there are the BEST EVER. There are super cute tops, jackets, and even socks. Plus, there are lots of fitness accessories that you use at home to enhance your routine.

Catch Lead at the Modern Woman Show & Exibition both at their booth and at The Runway spring fashion show Saturday, April 22 at 6:30pm. (There just may be a gift from Lead in the VIP swag bags!) Tickets available at www.modernwomansaskatoon.com. This is an absolutely awesome ladies night out... tickets are $45 and include admission to the trade show all weekend, a private VIP lounge with appies before the show, preferred seating, and a super fabulous swag bag! Plus there is time to shop all the looks on the runway after the show, so you can leave with a fresh look for spring! 

Until then, keep enjoying your pie and lattes my fellow fabulously unfit modern women... but probably do some Pilates too. #balance

Katie xoxo