Committing to a regular fitness routine is a struggle for most moms. Because their schedules are usually packed with mommy errands, work duties, and other obligations, squeezing in an hour or two at the gym is the farthest thing from their minds.
But as blogging mommas Chessy Alejandro, Jackie Go, Michelle Lim, and Cai Sio have found out, pursuing an active lifestyle brings forth many benefits. Since they started practicing Pilates together some two years ago, they have gotten a new leash on life.
Michelle Lim, blogger behind MyMom-Friday, says, “The physical benefits include overall wellness, better endurance, and I feel stronger, especially my core. Seeing my progress also boosted my confidence, and made me more aware of what my body can do and need. I noticed my arm muscles have become more toned too, less jiggly according to my daughter who always teases me about my “bye bye arms.” It’s true that working out helps you get in a good mood and I feel happier. My family benefits from that because I am now less grumpy and masungit, hahaha! Good vibes always.”
A stay-at-home mom with two active kids, Michelle is also a mompreneur and social media practitioner, practical shopper, home cook and foodie, frustrated designer, and shutterbug. Friday is her favorite day of the week.
“After a few months of doing Pilates, I noticed that yeah, I got stronger since I can keep up with my energetic five-year-old and carry my toddler for longer periods,” says Chessy of the Chessy blog whose blogging life dates back to her grade school days when she got a Livejournal account. These days she shares tales of parenting adventures as well as the big and small victories that come with motherhood.
Chessy adds, “I also slept better. Plus points that the flabs are getting smaller but getting my pre-kids body is not a motivation. I like going to Pilates because its a form of self-love! It’s my me-time and time with friends rolled into one!”
Cai Sio, who publishes the blog Apples and Dumplings, is a wife, full-time mom to two kids, breastfeeding advocate, and the mompreneur behind Paper Chic Studio.
She says, “I’m mostly in front of my laptop for work at home, so my shoulders always hurt. But after months of practicing, I noticed my shoulder and back pains are gone. Working out gives you happy endorphins, right? I don’t feel sluggish, I actually feel more energized and happy after each session.”
Jackie Go agrees.
“Believe it or not, I feel more energized after every workout. I feel like my day isn’t complete whenever I couldn’t workout.”
Jackie publishes Go! Jackie Go, a personal blog of a young mom and homemaker who finds pleasure sharing good things, good news, and good vibes. She enjoys motherhood but says she is still a work-in-progress.
She adds, “It has taught me discipline and has taught me to listen to my body and even practice patience (to trust the process) to learn to be better every session. I love working out with my fellow strong mommas! We encourage each other to become better than who we were during our last class.”
Michelle chimes in: “We are motivated to push harder, and get inspired by each other’s achievements. We also got to know each other better in the process. Now we make an effort to get together post-workout and simply unwind.”
Here, we have a little chat with the four Pilates practicing moms:
What made you decide to get into Pilates?
Michelle: “When the studio opened in our neighborhood in 2014, I was curious to try out Pilates. I had chronic lower back pain. At that time, I was already 41 and I really wanted to start a fitness regimen mainly for wellness. I also want muscle toning and strengthening workouts. Then I learned Pilates helps aleviate lower back pains. That was the first motivation. Rates were reasonable also so I enrolled.”
Jackie: “I started Pilates two years ago when I realized I was just 29 then but I find myself sick most of the time. I couldn’t even climb a set of stairs without panting. I was looking for a good workout that I know I can commit to and I just fell in love with Pilates.”
Chessy: “I just commented on a picture posted by Michelle and then she set our first Pilates workout! They made it look easy in their pictures, haha! Honestly, I wasn’t looking for a workout since the last time I stepped into a gym was 2010. But Michelle and Jackie explained that Reformer Pilates was most of the time done lying down, and that it wasn’t too much cardio. I tried it and loved it ever since!”
Cai: “Late last year, Michelle and Jackie asked me and Chessy to join them for one session and I got hooked after that. I think it was the company, the teacher, and workout atmosphere that made me enjoy it more.”
How did you respond to the workout?
Michelle: “I used to go to the gym for weight training and I enjoyed working with machines. I also had a few different trial classes in yoga before, but I got bored. The first Pilates class I attended was dynamic, mainly because I was on the Reformer. I liked it a lot and immediately felt my bones and muscles are “working”. I knew this type of workout is for me.”
Jackie: “At first, I found it very difficult coming from a sedentary state. I have asthma and have not really stuck to any fitness routine for the past 29 years of my life. When I started doing Pilates, it was really challenging.”
Cai: “I enjoy every class that I attend. Every class is different and it made me push harder and attend more Beginner classes at the beginning so I can attend the Intermediate classes and Suspension Pilates. Of course, sometimes it hurts, especially the first time I tried Suspension Pilates. OMG! I couldn’t move the next day! But I still try to go to the class every week, because my goal is makapag-inversion like Michelle and Jackie!”
Chessy: “Since I was the one with the least experience, I was whining during the first try! But I was back at it two days after. It was a workout I know I could do.”
Why did you girls decide to stick with it? How often do you practice it?
Jackie: “On my first year of Pilates, I practiced five times a week, sometimes six. But now I do it three times a week because I combine it with weight lifting and running. I decided to stick with it because I saw the results. It made me stronger, more flexible, and it even improved my posture.”
Cai: “I try to go as much as I can, three to four times a week. I stick to it because Pilates works. I feel stronger, it challenges me, and helped me lose weight (with proper diet). Although I’m still a bit chubby, my tummy shrunk. I didn’t really notice it until I took a photo (but I won’t show it na haha!). Lumiit talaga! One the reasons also why I stuck to Pilates is the studio we go to, Onelife Studio. I love the teachers, the staff. We’ve made friends with the regular Pilates goers, and I get to see my friends!”
Michelle: “During the first few months, I only went once or twice weekly but I already felt the effects – lower back pains lessened. I felt stronger and less sluggish. What also made me go back is I felt aligned and refreshed after each class. I was not tired, not panting, or out of breath like other high-impact workouts I’ve tried. And the location is very convenient. But I wasn’t able to enroll in 2015. I returned last summer of 2016 and have been practicing two to three times a week since then.”
Chessy: “When I have a helper, I go to the studio every day, even Sundays! I really feel that it’s a workout made for me since it’s mostly done lying down and you go on your own phase. For just an hour of practice, areas like the core, arms and back get targeted.”
What would you advise other moms who want to practice Pilates? What are they in for?
Cai: “Pilates is not boring! It’s a full body workout, it corrects your posture, makes you more flexible, and strengthens your core. It doesn’t bulk you up but develops lean muscles.”
Jackie: “You wouldn’t know if you want something if you don’t try it. Finding the right workout can be tricky. You may be influenced by the hype or even by your friends. What matters is you enjoy the workout despite how challenging it is. This is what Pilates is for me. It has been an essential part of my life because I have become a better person practicing it. I feel leaner and stronger. For those trying out Pilates for the first time, give yourself a chance to learn and fall in love with it. Take it easy. Expect that your body will be engaged during workout and at the same time there will also be targeted areas–arm, abs, leg, and back workout each session. Don’t worry, it’s fun and engaging because the teachers are so good at helping you get the right form.”
Michelle: “Know your goals first and why you want to start a fitness regimen. Check different programs and attend trial classes, if available, so you’ll know if Pilates is for you. You need to find the right program for your needs so you will enjoy it and be motivated to work towards your health and fitness goals. It is not as easy as it looks. But the teachers should guide you at every step. It helps to start with personal training so you’ll know the proper form and target specific body parts you want to improve.”
Chessy: “If I, the least active woman, can do Pilates, then anyone can! It’s quite addicting, I see some moms there for two to three classes in a day!”
Do you have other fitness plans in the future?
Michelle: “No other plans aside from just maintaining my workout schedule and improving my eating and sleeping habits. Hopefully, I can level up and progress in Reformer Pilates and Suspension Training.”
Cai: “I’ve been wanting to enroll in a personal training/one-on-one training at Onelife. l also want to try running or maybe enroll in an online program.”
Jackie: “Pilates has opened the doors for me when it comes to fitness. I actually am part of a group called The Fit Stop. We have YouTube channel and we talk about everything involving fitness, wellness, and health. Currently I’m doing strength and conditioning training as well as running alongside Pilates. I feel like my body is ready to take on more fitness activities for Pilates has prepped me to do so. Now more than ever I feel I am my healthiest and fittest and I won’t be stopping anytime soon for this is a part of who I am now and I’m loving it!”