Why you should really try pilates.

If you have yet to try the exercise regime that lets you to do your leg work while lying down, then what are you doing?

I am a mere two years into my relationship with pilates but despite most people regarding this as still ‘the honeymoon phase’, I already know I want to put a ring on this sucker.

My affair to remember began the first day I set foot in a reformer class and noticed the physique of my ‘ex-contortionist’ instructor. For years I had stood, weights in hand, looking up at female trainers who were clearly in exceptional shape but were often towing a pretty fine line between being ‘built’ and being ‘Bruce’.  And as a woman who was born with her father’s physique and a voice not too far off Carlotta’s, I needed absolutely no help in the ‘Is she a man?’ department.

After forking out $70/hour to countless personal trainers in pursuit of a lithe dancer’s figure, I finally realised that my idea of ‘lean’ was totally different to that of most trainers in a conventional gym.

Have you tried pilates?


Two minutes into watching a Lululemon-encased woman achieve near impossible feats of strength and flexibility on a reformer, however, I was ready to drink all the Joseph Pilates Kool-Aid I could get my hands on. Two years later, I’m still drinking that sh*t by the Warragamba Dam-full.

Want more? Try: 5 simple yoga moves that’ll help your bad back (and your heart).


So if you’re thinking about trying pilates, what do you need to know?

Should I do mat or reformer pilates?

Ten years ago I did an eight week course in mat pilates, and by week two I was thinking, ‘I look forward to seeing the results of this in a decade'.  I’m sure there are people who swear that lifting your leg thirty times while on all fours actually does something but if I’m going to do resistance training then I need some actual ‘resistance’.  If you’re a regular exerciser and are pretty fit, I reckon you’ll be asleep in 5 minutes in a mat pilates class.  Reformer all the way!

How will pilates affect my body?

Day one

A phrase often said by our instructor is ‘find the shake and quiver in your muscles’, and let me tell you this is not a search to rival the Holy Grail. In fact, two minutes into my first class I was beginning to wonder whether I had early onset Parkinson’s.  If you’re doing the exercises right, you’ll be shaking like a leaf… which, I’ve learnt, is a good thing

Three months

Despite not seeing the kind of visible change I was hoping for at this stage, I did notice that my flexibility had improved remarkably as well as my posture and core strength.  I also noticed that a lot of the pain I had in my knees as a result of years of high impact exercise was almost gone and the imbalances from over-training certain muscles at the gym had decreased because I was working my muscles more evenly.


Six months

Hello change! I took a couple of weeks off training and I’m not sure if my body decided it would take this time to shift things around a bit but I caught sight of myself in the mirror and was shocked.  My body looked completely different. My inner thighs had slimmed down and my waist was definitely tighter and despite knowing I wasn't born with the necessary DNA to star in the next Swan Lake, I was actually some way towards the type of ‘lean’ I had been searching for.

Two years

My body is totally different to when I started this journey and I'm able to take longer breaks from training without weight piling back on. My calves have lengthened, I've managed to shift a fair portion of that impossible layer of tummy fat we ladies can never get rid of, my abs are much flatter than they ever were, my core strength is incredible and, wait for it… it has actually shaved off some of the top of my inner thighs – a spot no amount of squats or lunges had ever whittled down before.  I'm not deluded enough to think I'm ever going to be the owner of a thigh gap, but at least I'm not in danger of starting a brush fire in my pants when I walk any more.

So if you have been dead lifting, squatting and biceps curling for years and still haven’t achieved the body you want, have a sip of the old Joseph Pilates Kool-Aid.  It’s delicious!

Rachel Corbett has spent the past 13 years living the nomadic life of a radio presenter, co-hosting breakfast shows for Triple M Melbourne, Sea FM Central Coast, SAFM Adelaide and 92.9FM Perth, as well as 2DayFM’s national night show The Hot 30 Countdown and Triple M’s Drive Show Paul & Rach.

She mostly recently co-hosted Triple M’s national drive show Merrick and the Highway Patrol, was a writer/performer on ABC2?sThe Roast and can currently be heard weekly on the Paul and Rach podcast.