Torture Machines

One of my pseudo-new year’s resolutions this year was to try more new things. I’ve always been stubborn and comfortable in the routine, so I decided it would be good for my well being to shake things up a little bit. A couple of months ago I bought a groupon for Pilates Plus in Encino. It was expiring this week, so I made an appointment for my first class and headed to the studio on Wednesday evening.

Woman On Pilates Torture Machine. Photo credited to and owned by Info Barrel.

When I showed up, I was shocked to see a small room filled with about 10 large, gigantic machines called “reformers”. I have heard of these Pilates machines, but have never gotten on one and I definitely haven’t ever wanted to get on one. I admit, as soon as I saw the machines, I had the fight or flight instinct and turned on my heel to flee, thinking “Bitches be crazy! I’m not getting up on one of these things!”. Alas, as soon as my head ducked around, the perky instructor said, “Are you Alyssa?”

And so it began. First of all, I knew within one minute that I was WAY out of my league. The machines consist of different handle bars, levers, pulleys and sliding platforms, and I was brand new and nervous about how the machinery worked. The teacher was super sweet and patient however, and had no problem coming over to assist me in all my sweating, rattled glory.

About half way through, I was in physical pain and actually got off the machine and told her I was thinking about ducking out. I clearly wasn’t ready for such a workout yet. “No! Please don’t go,” she said. “Just stay and take breaks whenever you need to. People throw up and faint in my class all the time.” Way to be motivating, right?! However, she did encourage me to stay, so I did.  Unfortunately, in the last ten minutes of class, I started getting the dizzy shakes and tunnel vision and had to ask her where the bathroom was. I had officially overdone it and was dangerously close to passing out among the lithe, lean-bodied pilates goddesses of Encino.

I went home that night humbled and frustrated, fed up with myself that I had let myself get to a weight where I couldn’t do everything I wanted to. As usual, Matt, who is always the calm voice of reason, talked me down and made me realize I wasn’t upset about the weight, I was upset about not being able to do something well the first time around. As I age, I notice I’m becoming more and more grumpy about not being able to do things well right away. I’m a little bit of a perfectionist in other areas of my life, so if I try something new and really, really struggle, I get into a defeatist attitude. It was a good lesson for me – not just about pilates and scary torture machines called proformers, but that sometimes, you can totally SUCK at something, and it doesn’t matter. What matter is that you tried, you put in the effort, and you made an honest attempt at trying something new. I may not be a pilates pro, but I got out of my comfort zone and did the best I could – and that’s way better than sitting at home and doing nothing.

When you try something new and don’t succeed, do you feel frustrated, or do you just chalk it up to being a newbie?





10 thoughts on “Torture Machines

  1. When I took the MAT pilates class at the SRC I was in pain so I can’t imagine what it was like using that. kudos! I agree with Matt, it’s more about the fact that you didn’t do as well as you would have liked- I would have felt the same way. My instructor told me that the proformers are for advanced pilates so be proud that you made it as far as you did. Hope we can work out this weds- Richard Simmons will be there :)

  2. i use to do pilates plus & loved it. it’s a hard class but worth it.
    give it another try – remember how we all made it through our THREE krav magas (barely:)

    but who am i to talk – i am exactly the same way. if i wavier on my first attempts. i am so upset with myself. so follow the voice of reason (matt) and be proud of yourself & we’ll have to try it together when i get back.

  3. Pilates=EVIL. (IMHO) And in response to your question, I’m super competitive, so if I try something (especially something I think I should be halfway decent at) and am totally fumbling, then I get really frustrated with myself. I probably take those failures a little too personally, but like you, I tend to have a perfectionist streak.

    I’m not thrilled at the prospect of failure and I don’t take it well. Reason #3746 that I will never run for political office or go on another cattle-call audition. :)

  4. You’re not just a perfectionist, but you, like me, have high expectations of yourself, becasue you are confident in your abilities and you believe in yourself…as you should. I like to be good at things the first time too, but as cheasy as it sounds, the old adage “try, try again,” has a purpose. It’s to remind you that you simply can’t rock everything the first time, but there’s no rule that says you can’t keep trying until you do. I say take that class again as soon as possible to prove to yourself that you’re someone who’s not willing to take “reformation” lying down…unless the particular torturous exercise calls for it of course.

  5. First off good for you for trying something new! That is awesome all in its own. I have only done mat Pilates and have never tried the machines. Although I would be interested in doing so. Trying new things and not knowing if you’ll be good at it is hard! I’m sure there are many things you do that other people would look silly trying. I bet you would encourage them to keep trying ;) I’m glad you stuck it out, way to go friend! When I try something new, I remind myself i’m a newbie and to take the first time as a the learning experience it is! I hope you go back!

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