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Suck It In: A Lesson About My Abs

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I’m 5’ 2" and 125 pounds with a “mesomorph” body type (think Yellow Labrador Retriever versus Greyhound). I’m happy with this … I love being strong and muscular. That said, I’ve always thought of myself as being muscular in a “thick” way.  


About a week or two ago, Tara Bridger, our resident Pilates expert, and I had a little one-on-one mat session together.  Unfortunately, I’ve not taken too many Pilates classes, but as a certified aerobics instructor, I have taught my fair share of “abdominal classes.” Up until this point, Tara had done a great job of educating me in the “core” differences (pardon the pun) between Pilates and abdominal exercises, but working with her first hand definitely enlightened me. 


When I spoke to Tara about my stocky build and specifically, how it pertains to my “thick” core, she said, “You have a very strong core, but you built the muscles out … instead of in.” I didn’t realize that there was an option! I thought strong and firm abs were strong and firm … regardless of how you worked them. As it turns out, however, for the better part of seventeen years, I had been pushing my muscles out during abdominal exercises instead of squeezing them in, hence making them “thick.”


Through my short, private lesson with Tara, I learned that Pilates has the power to transform all of my muscles. Pilates is based in strengthening muscles through lengthening versus building. Since our session, I have spent more time focusing on drawing my abdominal muscles into my spine throughout the exercise, and boy, is it different. It is also more challenging! For the better part of the last two weeks, I’ve been “sucking it in” and I will honestly say, I do see and feel a difference. Granted, a very slight difference, but still a difference. Tara also explained that Pilates, as well as Yoga, have the power to transform your body, to lengthen it and to make it appear longer and leaner. To see these results, however, it takes a couple of classes a week with a good instructor over the course of a few months. 


I’m curious, has anyone experienced something similar?  Have you had a transformation from Labrador to Greyhound?

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