In Life

I Once Rejected Pilates Reformer. Surprisingly, I’m Now Doing It.

I first learned about the Pilates Reformer method early on my fitness journey. I read an article about it’s founder, Joseph Pilates and was instantly intrigued by the claims of what it could do for the body.

Years later, when a Pilates reformer studio was introduced as part of the  refurbishment at my fitness club, I was thrilled.

Eager to try something I had been curious about for years, I booked a trial session as soon as space became available. Walking into the class, I noticed the room was cozy, with about 10 reformer beds. The instructor, an older lady with an Italian accent, guided us through the class. I climbed onto a reformer bed that looked intimidating with it’s straps and metal components.

Throughout the class, I struggled to understand the movements. Compared to my usual intense cardio workouts like spinning, Hiit on  X-trainer, and incline treadmill walks, Pilates felt slow and almost sleep-inducing. At that time in my life, my focus was solely on torching calories. I would push myself to burn ridiculous amounts like 1000 calories on the cross-trainer, going fast and hard.

Pilates Reformer didn’t make a huge impact on my life for 3 reasons.

  1. I was hooked on the exhilarating feeling I got from spinning. I took joy in saying I went so hard in a spin class, I was almost taken out on a stretcher. My motto then was, “burn baby burn” and I would proudly announce it on my Facebook page.
  2. The studio was inconveniently located, requiring a trek to a different part of the club. This sounds like a silly reason and it probably is. However, the fact that I would have to go to a different part of the club to do the classes didn’t help.
  3. I objected to having to pay extra for the classes especially because as full racquets members in our local club, we paid the highest membership rates. In addition, at that point, our daughter was training at a tennis academy as well as doing private fitness and tennis sessions.

You could say the above points made me forget the reason why I wanted to do Pilates reformer in the first place.

Photo credit Senivpetro.


As I approached my late 40s, I began noticing a decline in my ability to perform at my peak during spinning and cross-training sessions. Achieving maximum speed on the spin bike and pushing myself to the limit on the X-trainer required more effort. The exhilaration I once felt began to fade. Despite these changes, I continued attending classes three times a week in autopilot mode, driven by habit. However, I started contemplating the future and what I could do to keep motivated.

Then, as I entered perimenopause, I started experiencing severe muscular pain and joint stiffness. Research revealed that menopause can contribute to these symptoms, exacerbating pre-existing muscular issues and old injuries.

Around the same time, our gym underwent it’s third refurbishment, unveiling a larger, more inviting Pilates reformer studio. Which is conveniently located near the women’s changing room. With our daughter now in university and our son covering his own membership, the gym dynamics shifted. To add to the changes, my favourite immersive cycling program was replaced with another program after the refurbishment. This change made indoor cycling less enjoyable.

What ultimately led me to choose Pilates Reformer

Feeling drawn to explore alternatives, I revisited Pilates reformer with renewed interest. This time, paying an extra fee for studio access seemed justified and worthwhile as I sought relief from my evolving fitness needs and challenges.

I humorously tell people that I do Pilates reformer to stretch myself a couple of inches taller, but in truth, it has become the missing piece of my exercise puzzle.

While I typically stretch for about 10-15 minutes after every gym session, I’ve always felt the need to do more. I experimented with yoga for a few months (I still do a 5-minute sequence every morning), but I eventually stopped because I didn’t find joy in practicing it at home. Although I could attend classes at our club, the studio’s location in our club once again made it inconvenient for me to do that.


At almost 55yrs old, listed below are the reasons why I do Pilates Reformer.

  • Improves Core Strength: Pilates reformer exercises target the deep core muscles, including the abdominals, obliques, and lower back, leading to improved core strength and stability.
  • Enhances Flexibility: The controlled movements and stretches performed on the reformer help increase flexibility and joint mobility, reducing the risk of injury and promoting better range of motion.
  • Promotes Muscle Tone and Definition: Regular Pilates reformer workouts can tone and sculpt muscles, leading to increased muscle definition and overall body toning without adding bulk.
  • Improves Posture: Pilates reformer exercises emphasise proper alignment and posture, helping to correct postural imbalances and alleviate tension in the spine and joints.
  • Increases Body Awareness: The focus on mindful movement and body awareness during Pilates reformer sessions can enhance proprioception (awareness of body position in space) and improve overall coordination.


Supports Injury Rehabilitation:

  • Pilates reformer exercises can be adapted for individuals recovering from injuries, providing gentle yet effective rehabilitation for muscles and joints.
  • Boosts Mental Focus and Relaxation: The concentration required during Pilates reformer workouts helps promote mental focus and relaxation, reducing stress levels and enhancing overall well-being.
  • Low-Impact Exercise Option: Pilates reformer workouts are gentle on the joints, making them suitable for individuals of all fitness levels, including those with joint pain or mobility limitations.
  • Enhances Athletic Performance: Many athletes incorporate Pilates reformer training into their fitness routines to improve strength, flexibility, and functional movement patterns, which can enhance overall athletic performance.

Core strength, flexibility, postural improvements and injury rehabilitation are the top four reason why I started reformer. As you’ve read, these benefits collectively contribute to improved overall fitness, posture, flexibility, and mental well-being. This makes Pilates a good addition to my cardio and strength training.

If you’re interested in trying Pilates but don’t have access to a nearby studio for reformer classes, you can start by exploring Pilates mat workout videos on YouTube.

Photo credit: SenivPetro


A brief history of the origins of the Pilates Refomer method

The Pilates reformer was developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s. During World War I, Joseph Pilates worked as a hospital orderly and developed exercises to rehabilitate injured soldiers. This experience informed his understanding of the importance of controlled movement and targeted exercise for recovery and rehabilitation. Pilates incorporated principles of muscle strengthening, flexibility, and dynamic movement into his exercise system.

The reformer was designed to enhance the effectiveness of Pilates exercises by providing adjustable resistance and support through a system of springs and pulleys. It consists of a sliding carriage that moves along rails within a frame, with various attachments for foot and hand positions.

The reformer was intended to assist individuals in performing Pilates exercises with precision, control, and resistance. It allows for a wide range of movements and exercises targeting different muscle groups while promoting core strength, flexibility, and overall body conditioning. The adjustable resistance provided by the springs allows for progressive exercise intensity suitable for individuals of all fitness levels.

Verified by ExactMetrics