We talked to the Peloton trainer about what makes Pilates a great workout, tips for beginners, and how to motivate oneself to work out during lockdown.
After launching Barre on its platform earlier this year, Peloton is now offering yet another oft-demanded fitness discipline on its platform: Pilates. Contrary to popular belief that Pilates requires a reformer or other complicated equipment, Peloton is offering a prop-free take on the low-impact workout known for strengthening and toning the body.
“We use our own bodyweight, we focus on incorporating our breath into our movements, holding positions, as well as coordination to make things challenging,” Peloton instructor Emma Lovewell tells FASHION. In addition to Lovewell, the 20-class collection will be taught by instructors Kristin McGee, Aditi Shah, Hannah Corbin and Sam Yo, and features intro, unlevelled, beginner, intermediate and advanced classes ranging from 10 to 45 minutes.
“When I was a professional dancer I would take Pilates classes every week and I loved it,” says Lovewell. “It made me feel longer, and stronger, and even more flexible. I saw a difference when I was in dance class or auditions; it gave me a sense of confidence and body awareness that has helped me in every career since then.”
Read on for our chat with the Peloton trainer about what makes Pilates a great workout, tips for beginners, and how to motivate oneself to work out at home during lockdown.
Pilates is known to be an incredible strength workout, great for toning the body and strengthening the core. What makes it such an effective workout?
Pilates really encourages body awareness. When you are more aware of what muscles and joints you are using, the more effective your movements and workouts can be. The fact that there is such an emphasis on strengthening the core makes it such a great workout alone and also as a supplemental workout. Having a strong core will help alleviate back pain, it will make you a better athlete: cyclist, yogi, golfer, dancer, you name it. Many of our movements are initiated at the core, or largely involve the core, so having strength there is crucial. Also think about your core as a protector of your spine, and we always want to prioritize good spine health.
What are a few things people must keep in mind when doing Pilates, whether at home or in a studio?
We spend a lot of time on the mat, so for comfort, some people like to layer two mats on top of each other. Take your time, especially if you’re new to Pilates. It might take a few times to catch on to the lingo, but remember not to take yourself too seriously. The emphasis is body-mind connection and body awareness, so pay attention to what you feel and where you feel it. And remember: progress, not perfection!
One of your favourite sayings is “Work out because you love your body, not because you hate it.” Any tips to help people working out at home find motivation and love their bodies during this challenging time?
What you focus on is what you get. So similar to dieting, when someone says “I can’t eat pizza anymore,” then all they think about is pizza. What if you talked more about what you DO want? Want to focus on eating more vegetables and greens? You’ll have an easier time eliminating what you don’t want, once you figure out what you do want. If you focus on how much you hate your body, or some part of your body, it will consume you. Change your way of thinking to highlight what you do like and what you’re grateful for. Your body allows you to walk, run, pick up your children, dance to your favourite song, etc. Especially now, in a world that seems very difficult for so many people we have to find the silver lining, and we have to find gratitude in our every day to make it through.
What’s motivated you to stay active and healthy during the pandemic?
I remember how good I feel after I have moved my body or sweat a little bit. I never regret moving my body — a walk, a stretch, a cycling class, yoga class, anything. Movement is medicine and it is such a mood booster. I also love to remind people that commitment shows up when motivation is lacking. Can you commit to something because you know it’s good for you? Can you show up because you said you would? The hardest part is sometimes just starting, a few minutes in and you’re feeling good!