Pilates for menThis article was reprinted from the Tahoe Daily Tribune

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Ladies, have you ever asked your guy to go to Pilates with you? What was his response? “Pilates is for girls.” “Pilates is easy.” “Where are the weights?” “What the heck is Pilates anyway?”

Heard any of these before?

Or my favorite: “Real men don’t do Pilates.”

Let’s shed some light on Pilates.

Guess what guys … Pilates was invented by Mr. Joseph Pilates. Yes, a man. A strong, fit, eccentric, tattooed and cigar-smoking man!

Today, professional athletes who use Pilates to improve and maintain their game include: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Jason Kidd of the NBA; Curt Schiling of MLB; Gary Brackett of the NFL; and golfers Phil Mickelson and Rocco Mediate.

Many sports franchises have Pilates equipment on site and shipped to their players on the road. Locally, athletes at the High Fives Foundation not only practice Pilates but also house a Pilates facility, open to the public, at their C.R. Johnson Healing Center in Truckee. Skiiers, boarders, mountain bikers, climbers, road cyclists, golfers, and tennis players all turn to Pilates.

Mr. Pilates developed his method based on anatomical analysis, animal movements, and both eastern and western exercise methods such as yoga and boxing. He was a boxer and his studio shared space with a boxing gym. It’s true, Pilates used to train professional dancers, but what few people know is that Pilates was also used to train soldiers.

Delicate flowers?

Come to think of it, why do professional dancers use Pilates? Is it because they’re delicate flowers? Or because they need every muscle in their body to perform at Olympic levels? The latter.

Face it guys, the average female professional dancer could give you a run for your money!

Have you been to the gym and seen the Big Biceps Guy? He works the showy stuff for the beach — chest and arms. Sure, looking good is nice, but you know you can’t rip down KT-22 or survive a downhill on Dirty Harry with just biceps and a smile. You have to work your whole body in order to excel in sports, especially the more extreme sports which are so popular in our region.

Every body’s doing it

This is where Pilates fits in. Weight lifting, for example, targets large muscle groups and movements. Pilates targets all of your muscles, especially the smaller and deeper ones. It doesn’t matter how strong your larger muscles are if your secondary muscles are weak links.

“(Pilates) stretches the body and reconnects the lower half to the top half of my body, Pilates allows anyone (able body or disabled) to get a complete workout,” said Roy Tuscany, founder and CEO of the High Fives Foundation. Tuscany burst his T12 vertebrae in a skiing accident and is walking unassisted today. He uses Pilates (and many other forms of fitness) to keep his body in tip-top shape and moving.

Grant Korgan, avid snowmobiler, skier, world class kayaker and author of “Two Feet Back” turns to Pilates in his training, stating, “I have used Pilates to recover from a life-altering spinal cord injury, train my body to ski to the Geographic South Pole, and will continue to use Pilates for my recovery, my future athletic adventures, and my overall health and wellness goals.”

Pilates, combined with sport specific training, is the edge top athletes rely on to get the most out of their bodies. So guys, the next time your lady wants you to join her at Pilates, give it a try. Even if you think you’re in great shape, don’t be surprised if it feels like medieval torture.

You just might discover entirely new muscle groups your previous training has missed. Don’t worry if it’s too tough — our studio is centrally located to several local watering holes, which I’m sure Joe would whole-heartedly approve.

Alison Franco, owner of Tahoe Pilates Company, is a classically certified Pilates instuctor/PMA-CPT. Tahoe Pilates Company is located at 8700 North Lake Blvd., Ste. 2, Kings Beach, 530-721-7471, info@tahoepilatesco.com, www.tahoepilatesco.com.