henry durant, beloved founder of wellesley college (sigilum wellesleiani), was ahead of his time. about a hundred years before the fitness craze of the neon thong leotards of the 1980s, durant believed in the sound body, sound mind theory. when he had olmsted design the campus, he popped each picturesque dorm on to the top of a hill. no chunky girls allowed at this school! similarly, since the beginning, we’ve had a gym requirement. through a combination of procrastination and a whacked-out kneecap, i needed one more credit of gym by the last semester of my senior year. for some unknown reason i chose a 9 a.m. pilates class that met twice a week. pilates sounds all relaxing, right? like one step away from yoga. probably it’s mostly going to be meditating.
then i started taking pilates with a drill sergeant woman who has three kids and an approximately 12 inch, rock hard waist. when i say drill sergeant i mean a loving, attentive woman who just really put us through the motions. try pilates sometime. it will kick. your. ass. it is easily the hardest exercise i’ve ever done. i’m big in racquet sports – tennis, racquetball (this is how i busted my knee), etc. that’s lot’s of cardio, but pilates is all about muscle control. teeny little movements that make you sweat, shake, and often want to hurl. i did it for a semester and noticed an appreciable difference in my strength, graduated college, and promptly gained 25 pounds. olmsted and durant, they knew what they were doing.
now, after having lost that 25 pounds, i want to tone up. i have a mat and a pilates video, so i got back into it starting tonight. we’ll see how long it lasts, but it does feel good. although this b*tch put me through the drill and i was red and huffing and puffing, shaking, joints popping, and now i’m sore. but the endorphin thing happened, the de-stress thing to some degree, so i’m going to do it again. but dang try holding that position for a second and you’ll get an idea of what pilates is…brutal.