With so many workouts out there, how do you decide which one is best for you? Well, allow us to inform you about some of the health benefits (both physically and mentally) of our favorite workouts, namely Pilates, Barre, and Yoga.
Here's the bottom line to all of it (spoiler alert for the rest of this blog post!): with this wonderful trio of workouts, you will build both the large and small muscle groups to sculpt your body into a long, lean, and toned physique. Let's put it this way, have you ever walked by someone on the street and thought "man, how did they get those toned arms and shoulders without looking bulky?" or "how did her butt get so perky!?". First of all, it's ok if you have had those thoughts about strangers, it's totally normal. Second of all, we have an answer for you. That muscle tone without bulk? Pilates and Yoga. That lifted booty? Barre.
If that isn't enough for you and you'd like to get down to the nitty gritty about what makes Pilates, Barre, and Yoga so beneficial, then read on my friends, read on...
There are endless benefits of Pilates for your body and mind. Some of those benefits include:
Pilates makes you more aware of your body at all times, during and after the workout. People who practice Pilates regularly will start to notice their posture during everyday activities like brushing their teeth, sitting at their desks, or standing around socializing. With the body awareness and muscle control you get from Pilates, you can start to correct your everday posture--engaging your abdominals and pulling your shoulders down your back--which will help you feel better and prevent future injury and back pain.
Pilates focuses a lot on strengthening your core (the area from your shoulders to just below your booty). A strong core will help ease as well as prevent back pain and injury, and will help you stand straighter and more confidently. Consider this quote from Dan Westerhold, a Pilates-trained physical therapist from Seattle, "People sit slouched at computers all day, then go to the gym and work out their extremities...they don't use their core. Think of a tree. Does it have all its strength in its limbs? No, the tree is only as strong as its trunk and roots." Turns out that is the same with humans, you need a strong trunk (AKA core) to have a strong body. Plus, toned and lean abs are an added bonus!
Pilates helps you gain awareness, tone, and control all those teeny tiny muscles you didn't even know you had. Instead of just focusing on the large muscle groups, Pilates goes even deeper to get to those "micro-muscles" to work your whole body in synergy.
The bottom line here: Pilates builds strength and flexibility, which will sculpt your body into a longer, leaner, stronger version of yourself. Not only that, but Pilates focuses a lot on strengthening your core, which helps with spinal stabilization, helping protect your body from back injuries and allowing you to stand taller and stronger, easing any current back pain you might have.
In addition to all the mental and emotional benefits, Yoga builds strength and flexibility. You build muscle tone by holding challenging poses that engage multiple muscle groups at a time. Through stretching and lengthening through poses, you will increase your flexibility, helping protect your muscles from future injury. The strength and flexibility you gain from yoga will help correct your everyday posture, making you feel and look healthier. Plus, the deep breathing and mindfulness training you get from Yoga is extremely beneficial for your mental health; turns out we could all allow ourselves a little more relaxation and calm in our lives. In fact, many Yogi's (people who practice Yoga regularly) experience lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, increased immune function, and are at a lower risk for heart disease and stroke.
The bottom line here: Physically, Yoga strengthens muscles and builds endurance, improves flexibility and balance, increases your energy, boosts your immune system, and decreases body aches. Mentally, Yoga increases overall well-being by enhancing alertness and enthusiasm, decreasing anxiety, and increasing your ability to "cope".
Barre is a mixture of Pilates, Yoga, and Ballet and is a fun, upbeat group workout, usually set to motivating music. The benefits of Barre:
- Builds muscle while still being low impact: super controlled movements reduce pressure on your joints, tendons, and spine while strengthening targeted muscles.
- Full body workout: with an arms section, abs section, stretching, and focused movements on your legs and booty, there will not be an inch of your body that is overlooked! Plus, in Booty Barre®, cardio blasts are built in to increase your heart rate even more, making sure you are a sweaty mess when you get out of class :)
- Increased flexibility: the larger sweeping movements and stretching seen in Booty Barre® classes help increase your overall flexibility
- Lost (and/or redistributed) weight: since much of a Barre class is focused on working large muscle groups like quads and glutes, you are burning a ton of calories. The cardio blasts are just an added bonus to burn even more. Even if you don't lose weight, you are likely to notice your body re-distributing, making you appear (and feel) stronger and leaner. If you add in a healthy diet, you are likely to see even better results.
- Rapid results: you will be sore after almost every barre class. And since you are working all your muscles to exhaustion, you are likely to see results quickly.
The bottom line here: Barre is fun, energetic, and will help sculpt your body into that "dancers body" that is so attractive: long, lean, and toned!
The bottom line of this entire post is that with Pilates, Barre, and Yoga, you will build muscle tone, strengthen your core, increase flexibility, correct your posture, and get sculpted into a longer, leaner, stronger you! And since you are building in stretching with your strengthening exercises, you won't get bulky, but instead will build lean muscle tissue. Plus, all the strength and flexibility gained from these three exercises will help improve your performance in whatever other activities or sports you participate in--running, swimming, spinning, walking....
So take some time to try out these workouts. Notice how your body and mind changes and rejoice in the positive effects it has on every aspect of your life. Go with your bad selves, you long, lean, strength machines!