For awhile now one of my co-workers has been telling me that I have got to try Piloxing with her favorite instructor (a.k.a. one of two within a 20 mile radius). Now you must understand that, since I live out in the boonies of southwest Virginia, getting to try a relatively new thing like Piloxing is a pretty big deal. Around here we mostly have the workout classes that have been around for awhile and through the trickle-down effect have made their way to my podunk town. The only saving grace is that we live within 5 miles of a state University with a highly ranked football team. Anyway, I was in agreement; I just had to try it once and find out if it was as hard as she said it would be. So I forked over $5 and took my first class last night.
I went into the class with the vague understanding that I would be spending the next hour performing a combination of Pilates and kickboxing moves for a cardio workout and, for the most part, I was correct. According to the website, this workout is “a non-stop, cardio fusion of standing Pilates, boxing, and dance…” To me it seemed like more of the Pilates and boxing and less dance. We started out with a fairly typical aerobics class warmup with a focus on some boxing moves like punches and jabs, while a DJ began playing dance remixes of familiar popular songs such as Britney Spears’s “Ooh La La“. By the third song we were bobbing and weaving along with some punching routines. It was during this time that I was breathing heavily, but not gasping for air. I noticed that we were instructed not to jump during the aerobics portion, but to “slide your feet”. There was very little time spent in the air, which is good for people who need a low-impact workout. Then, we would do some standing Pilates, which basically meant balancing on one leg while lifting or kicking the other to the fast beat of the music. The balancing was the hardest part for me because you’re standing on one leg for several minutes, fatiguing major leg muscles in the standing leg and foot. Add to that the quick kicks or lifts with the other leg, which disrupts your balance for the standing leg.
After about 40 minutes of those cardio intervals we moved on to some exercises to target leg and ab muscles. For abs we started out doing side winders while standing, then went to the floor for roll ups. Clearly the moves for the toning section were Pilates-inspired. For legs we stayed on the floor to do some leg lifts and then alternating extensions, which I recognized as beginner Pilates exercises.
By the time our cool down song began, my muscles were warm and pliable, ready to stretch. (However, I am not sure I can give all the credit for that to Piloxing, since I had done 1 hour of Jazzercise just prior to that.) We did a lot of toe touching to stretch hamstrings and calves, and bicep/tricep stretching. At the end I felt energized, not exhausted. My assessment of Piloxing is that it would be a good fit for the following groups of people:
- Those looking to improve their balance – this will definitely give you some practice!
- People who need to cross train for running or for your chosen sport. It’s a decent workout that will help build leg muscles but you probably won’t injure yourself so that you can’t compete in your preferred sport.
- Someone looking for a low impact cardio and overall toning workout in one hour.
Honestly, if you’re into weight lifting or looking for a workout that’s going to totally exhaust your muscles this is not going to do it for you (I could’ve kept going for another hour, myself). If you’re looking for some new cross training workouts, then think about giving it a try… especially if you like boxing or Pilates in general. Check out some videos online to get a feel for what to expect. When you go, you’ll more than likely need to bring a mat for the toning portion. Some participants also use weighted gloves and Piloxing socks (which, to me, look like pedicure socks!), although neither are required. You could go barefoot (check with the facility to be sure) or wear your Vibrams. I wore my Performa Janes, which were originally created with Pilates and yoga use in mind, and they were great.
Have you tried Piloxing? If so, let me know what you think of it in the Comments section!