Imagine you didn't have to work (out) hard? Imagine all you needed to get fit, was to pay attention? You don't think that's possible? Maybe you don't because you've never experienced it first hand.
The Comfort Rule
The goal of a good Pilates session is to learn to move more efficiently. By allowing less strain - I like to call it "side effect" - we change our movement habits to use less energy during everyday movements. Instead of being exhausted at the end of the day, you can have energy left to do fun things, like play with your children, grandchildren, or pets.
If we strain ourselves in an exercise, we teach the body how to do the wrong thing. If, for example, your wrists, and shoulders are "killing" you in plank, then the only thought that's floating around in your head is "This is torture." You still don't allow yourself to stop while the instructor is counting, so you try to hold it for two more breaths, even though now your neck bothers you, too.
The thought of being comfortable during a workout might bring up the thought: "How am I going to get stronger if I don't push myself?" At first, it can feel as if you're not getting anything out of your workout, but let's reassess how Pilates works its magic.
Pilates is not Bootcamp, it's not a spinning class, it's not yoga, it's not ballet. Instead, it's intelligent, mindful, corrective movement, specific to your body type.
I have been dancing from a young age. I have taken and taught so many dance, yoga, Pilates, aerobics classes, that I'm afraid to count.
I've found over the years that if my body is not comfortable, then I won't stick with it. If I'm exhausted and sore all over after class, I will not go back the next day. If pushing myself to the point of falling asleep on the subway on my way home from training, not having the energy to play or spend time with friends and loved ones, then what's the point? Just to be mean to me?
My student's first reaction to Pilates is this: "It's amazing while I'm in class, it doesn't feel like exercising at all, but then the next day, I feel almost every single muscle in my body has worked." YES! Need more proof?
Related: Is Pilates a Workout?
Your body is pretty smart. It has its own language. It tells you it's happy if your movement is efficient. It signals its unhappiness if your movement is inefficient and could potentially be harmful.
At work, you wouldn't dream of getting rid of your computer and going back to doing all your projects on paper just because it's harder. "If it takes me three more hours to complete this project and if I suffer more, then I'll be very happy with myself. I'll have less time for leisure. I love spending extra hours at the office." Whaaaaaat?
Rethink the torture you think you have to go through when exercising.