Thursday, 27 June 2013

Pilates holidays in Tuscany? Are you kidding? A male sceptic tries a Pilates Holiday

What are your preconceptions about Pilates? Perhaps you have never given this approach to fitness any thought at all. Maybe, as a man, you have dismissed it as a ‘girlie’ occupation.

Well, let me disabuse you of that notion. I know from experience, a Pilates holiday will introduce you to a completely new way of building strength which has nothing to do with using weights.

Sometimes, as we learned from the fable about the hare and the tortoise, a slow and sure, less is more philosophy can actually make a massive difference to achieving a goal. With a slight change of perspective it is possible to do things we never thought were possible. Or perhaps, had never even considered, in relation to our lives or experience.

I say this as a man who has exercised all his life, eaten too much, drunk too much and considered myself to be pretty invincible.

That all changed when I started having back problems. Suddenly life, literally and metaphorically, became a right pain. I had been used to taking my body for granted. I had given it little attention, if I am honest. So when I found that the tiniest movement, like stepping into my jeans even, would make me wince with pain I was floored. Some days that actually happened.

It was my wife who saw Flavours and suggested we went on a Pilates holiday. I moaned, dismissed it, but in the end she took the decision from me and booked a week in Tuscany. ’What have you got to lose?’ she asked.

I shrugged and a month later we found ourselves by the side of a swimming pool on a beautiful morning beginning our relationship with Pilates.

Can I admit to being a bad student right now? I had grown up with the more weight means more progress idea. Er, wrong. The classes were mixed ability and I watched in awe as, how can I say, a senior citizen breezed through every rep while I was wondering how I had managed to live with all these muscles I had never used in my life!

My Pilates teacher was great; she humoured me. As the classes progressed I was intrigued how a Pilates holiday was giving me insight into a world, of which, I had no previous experience. It was nothing short of extraordinary.

I began to understand I could do things to align my spine and that some core stabilising principles would literally change everything regarding how I dealt with my back problem in future.

I understand now that strength training comes in many forms and this journey began for me under Italian blue skies which somehow intensified the whole experience.

Pilates holidays are such a wonderful way to experience a new approach to exercise. You have the opportunity to become totally immersed. With an open mind, a different environment, a highly skilled and empathic teacher you can take the first steps towards getting serious about this incredible form of exercise fast.

I had the opportunity to really understand the potential for Pilates and have continued with a local class since returning home. Both my wife and I have really taken to something we knew nothing about before going to Tuscany. What can I say? Why not take a risk and book a Pilates holiday in Sicily or Tuscany today. It may well transform so many aspects of your life. Be open minded, try something new and begin to treat your body with the respect it deserves.

No comments: