Building More Than Strength at Pilates Studio City

By On May 21, 2019 · Leave a Comment

Pilates Studio City just celebrated its 15th anniversary. For most of those years I have had the privilege of being a part of this community of movers, watching friendships develop. Seeing that the effects of Pilates are more than just physical brings me great joy and fulfillment.

Community of movers

With that in mind, how can we as a community of movers support each other? How can our conversation and words build each other up and help one another stay on track mentally and physically?

Perhaps the following thoughts expressed to me by friends, clients, and relatives will help us answer those questions. Each of these persons experienced pain from assumptions, well-intentioned words, and/or humor in poor taste.

Person A expressed to me that the campaign “Real Woman Have Curves” left her wondering if she was not woman enough because she didn’t have curves. It brought to mind painful memories of people telling her to go eat a burger, implying that her shape was wrong or that she harmed herself on purpose by not eating. She ate and enjoyed food. This was just how she was shaped.

Person B does not enjoy being told that it looks like she lost weight. She has a history of fighting an eating disorder, and she tries really hard to focus on health goals—strength and fitness—rather than aesthetics. When someone compliments her for losing weight, she has to fight harder to get those old, negative thoughts out of her head. Compliments on her improved strength, endurance, and form are encouraging.

Persons C and D (unacquainted to each other) both would like to gain weight. Due to respective health problems, they are slim. Those health problems hold them back in many ways, and when they gain weight, it is a sign that they are making headway on their other health problems. Being told that they should eat more is like salt on an open wound.

Person E has a full-framed figure, and others assume she would like to lose weight. However, she is in good health and doesn’t mind her figure. She finds assumptions that she is trying to lose weight annoying at best, hurtful at worst.

Weight loss is not everyone's goal.
Weight loss is not everyone’s goal.

As an instructor, I am privy to my clients’ goals—whether they are aesthetic or fitness-based—and I strive hard to support my clients in achieving said goals. However, how can we support each other if we do not know the background and goals of one another? I do not deny that this is a difficult question to answer, and I certainly don’t want my classes silent from here on out due to fear of offending each other. But here at Pilates Studio City, we have always been about progress, not perfection. Perhaps keeping the experiences and expressions of these anonymous persons in mind will be enough to help us steer the conversation to a place of encouragement and support.

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