“For years I took pride in running three to six times a week, my muscular legs, speed, and endurance. Then last spring I discovered what the bump on my left shin was; a stress fracture. My doctor advised me to quit running for at least a year, if not forever. This devastated me. Running gave me self pride, made me feel strong, and relieved stress. Now I am thankful I had to stop running because otherwise I might have never had the opportunity to try Pilates. I was intrigued by Joe Pilates’ concept that I would feel better after 10 workouts, look better after 20 and have a whole new body after 30. I began following the mat workout on a DVD and enjoyed it, but worried about performing the exercises incorrectly. That inspired me to join a local Pilates gym. Now I feel better, look better, and my body does seem new! When I was running I went through a range of injuries and ailments. My right knee would snap, crackle, and pop constantly just walking down the street. There were periods where I had to stop running for a few weeks because of a sprained ankle or knee pain. Running was tearing up my body. Pilates exercises my body without damaging it.

Despite noting the improvements in my physique, most of my male friends do not seem eager to try Pilates. I suspect they view it as a woman’s exercise routine. This may be reinforced because magazines featuring Pilates tend to show women demonstrating everything. In fact, the majority of the people at my Pilates gym are women. When I started, the trainers had a “You want to try Pilates?” look in their eyes. One woman even said, “You’re braver than most men to even set foot inside a Pilates class.” These people probably didn’t realize that Pilates was created by a man, for both men and women! When demonstrating an exercise or two for my male friends, they get embarrassed expressions. “That looks good,” they admit, but their faces say, “I’m not going to do that!” All I have to do is show them how to bridge, and they’re turned off to the whole thing! That’s such a shame, because Pilates has given me so much confidence in how I walk, hold myself and sit. Occasionally I attend a yoga class where there are a lot of men. Somehow yoga has become okay for men, but in most men’s eyes, Pilates is still a female domain. I hope this thought changes, because I think so many men could benefit from it.”

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