By Karen Asp
ALTHOUGH PILATES has been around for
decades, this mind-body exercise is still one of the
hottest fitness activities—and for good reason.
Pilates offers mental benefits such as reducing
stress and improving focus, but the physical bene;ts are the biggest draw.
Pilates was created in the early 1900s by
Joseph Pilates, a gymnast and bodybuilder who
devised a series of exercises focusing on the core
postural muscles, which include the muscles
that wrap around your torso and hips—
abdominals, gluteals and lower back. Breathing
and spinal alignment are also crucial.
While Pilates isn’t a cardiovascular activ-
ity per se, the exercises do involve ;ow, so
while you’re strengthening your body you may
feel a slight increase in heart rate. For example, one
fundamental exercise is called the Hundred. You
start lying face up on the ;oor. You then
li; your feet, shoulders and head o; the
;oor and, with your arms at your sides,
pump your arms up and down 100 times.
So why should you choose Pilates? “In every
exercise, you’re engaging all of the muscles in your
body so you’re getting a total-body workout, strength-
ening your muscles equally and proportionally,” says
Andrea Rogers, Pilates instructor and creator of the
Getting ;t with
COURTESY OF STOTT PILATES
10 Minute Solution: Quick Sculpt Pilates.
Another well-known bene;t of Pilates is improved posture. “Not only do you build strength to
hold yourself taller, you’re also more aware of how
you move throughout the day,” says Suzanne Bowen,
a Costco member and owner of Seren Motus Fitness
Studios in Tennessee.
And because Pilates is a mind-body exercise,
“you have to focus on what you’re doing, and because
of that you don’t have time to think about your worries, so you naturally relieve stress,” says Rogers.
While Pilates is designed for everybody, no
matter the age or ;tness level, it’s best to start with a
beginning Pilates workout, usually done on a mat.
Rogers recommends taking a class or private
instruction at ;rst. “Working with an instructor can
help ensure you’re using proper form so you don’t
injure yourself,” she says.
As you become more advanced, you can add
Pilates tools such as the magic circle, arc barrel, resistance ball and resistance band to your mat workouts.
“;ese props add resistance and increase the focus
on the muscles you’re working,” Rogers says.
;e mainstay of Pilates equipment, however, is
the reformer. ;is piece of equipment features pulleys
and springs that activate muscles di;erently than on
a mat. ;e reformer also requires a little more balance
and coordination, Rogers says, adding that beginner
through advanced Pilates practitioners can use it.
Doing Pilates several times a week can bene;t
your mind and body. An added bonus? You’ll
tighten those abs and perhaps lose a little weight,
which is why Pilates remains so popular today. C
Freelance journalist Karen Asp specializes in ;tness,
health and nutrition.
;llustrating anatomy take photographs,”
p u e
By Steve Fisher
THUMB THROUGH the exquisite illustrations in
Frédéric Delavier’s books Strength Training Anatomy
and Women’s Strength Training Anatomy and you
realize what the human body could (and some say
should) look like.
Each illustration takes a month. “I work with
models of whom I
Delavier explains. “It is
necessary that they are
well proportioned so
that I do not have to
improve the structure in
the drawings. As I begin
a drawing, I build the skeleton before anything else,
then I place the muscles on the bones, then with a
computer I retouch the drawing, and ;nally I ;nish
by placing color with brushes. My drawing is thus
built from the interior; this is what makes it realistic.
Costco.com carries several
items from Stott Pilates,
including a reformer, stability
chair, and arc barrel and
props package. Pilates
Strength Training Anatomy has sold 2 million
copies internationally, in 22 languages. Women’s
Strength Training Anatomy has consistently ranked
among the bestselling books on strength training
DVDs are available in
Strength Training Anatomy
and Women’s Strength
“As far back as I can remember,” the Paris,
France–based Delavier tells ;e Connection through
an interpreter, “I always loved to draw. Drawing has
always been a part of my life. In parallel, I always
had a passion for the natural sciences, and I always
Training Anatomy are available at Costco warehouses.
Delavier started in advertising at age 17. A;er
the ;rst Gulf War, he had a di;cult time ;nding
work, so he studied morphology (the study of form
or structure) for nine years while attending courses
on dissection at a medical college. He combined his
newly acquired knowledge with his pro;ciencies in
drawing, anatomy and sports.
“As for the sketches, I am inspired by the shading technique of Leonardo da Vinci, and I always
use a bluish color, which brings to mind the silver
look usually used in the Renaissance.”
Costco will also feature this
month an expanded variety
of diet, exercise and fitness
books in the warehouses and
on Costco.com. Look for titles
such as The Mayo Clinic Diet,
Delavier sets a higher goal for his work than
people simply looking good. “I wish that people
would be a little more conscious of their body and
the way in which it functions,” he says, “which can
help them in many ;elds, because we live with our
bodies all our life, and as the old ones say, ‘Know
yourself.’ It is the beginning of wisdom.” C
The Flat Belly Diet, Eat This,
Not That and more.