Monday, May 16, 2011

Pilates personal training and a great paleo lunch

I spent part of my day today doing something I love but haven't done in years: Pilates. April Tillman, owner of Urban Pilates in Northeast Portland, invited me over to her facility for a Pilates personal training session -- one hour on the Reformer (quite possibly the most incredible piece of exercise equipment ever created) is all took to get me hooked, once again.

Carl and I originally discovered Pilates about nine years ago. I took mat classes twice a week, and we also took several Reformer classes in a small group setting together. Carl liked the Reformer so much, actually, that he wanted to build his own machine (at the time, the Reformer classes were really expensive and there was no way we could continue to fit them into the budget). He found plans and started researching materials, but life got in the way (and everyone who knows him knows that if he had the time, money and materials he would indeed build a Reformer). Eventually, the mat classes didn't fit into my schedule anymore. That was in 2006, and we haven't done Pilates since.

So, needless to say, I was super excited about this re-introduction to Pilates and the opportunity to train with April.

April spent one hour taking me through a beginner series of Reformer exercises. Some of it was familiar to me -- like The Hundred and Stomach Massage -- but lots of it was brand new. My favorite part was the short box series. Here I am with April, doing the portion of the series called side-to-side:

I also got to try out the Chair, The Electric Chair and the Cadillac. Every moment of the entire workout was challenging. I had to really think about ever single movement I made, because form and posture are so important in Pilates (they are important in every other workout, too, of course). I know I am going to be feeling this workout tomorrow.

I just absolutely loved my experience with April. She is very nice and extremely knowledgeable (she's been teaching Pilates for 15 years). As for the studio itself, it is beautiful, welcoming and located in a fun urban neighborhood (Northeast Alberta in Portland). Here are a few photos of the interior ...

Inside Urban Pilates: Chairs and Cadillacs.

The Pilates Reformer is one incredible piece of equipment!
In addition to personal and group Pilates classes, Urban Pilates offers a variety of other classes, including Zumba, Bollywood Beatz, functional training and yoga.

Pilates and pregnancy?
So, is Pilates a good choice for pregnant women? Well, it kinda depends. If you have previous Pilates experience and are already fit, then yes. Otherwise, probably not. But if you are a good candidate, April says it can help maintain and improve flexibility and balance during pregnancy. It will also help create body awareness, she says. Of course, the further along you are the more modifications you will require. At 17 weeks, I was OK with everything in the beginner series -- but pretty soon that will change (and even now, mat classes are out) and modifications will be required. I am definitely going to find a way to fit this into my schedule, even if I have to wait until after the baby is born. Thank you, April, for a great session!

After Pilates, lunch
Since I was in Portland anyway, I decided to check out a new food cart called Chili Inside/Chili Outside (located near the corner of NW 19th and Quimby). I usually don't pay all that much attention to food carts (I know, it is probably a crime to say that in Portland), but this one caught my attention because I read a review that emphasized the fact that they serve chili without beans. And beans, as we all know, are not paleo. It can be tough to find decent paleo choices away from home, so I decided to investigate ... just in case it turned out to be a hit.

Before I ordered, though, I had to ask about sugar. Bean-free chili is a great step, but sugar is also a deal breaker. So, I asked the guy working if their recipe contained any of the toxic sweet stuff. I totally expected him to say yes, in which case I wouldn't have stayed. But guess what -- he said no! So, I ordered a small cup of chili (without the cheese, sour cream, onions or corn bread).

It was the most delicious chili I've ever tasted. Ever. That's really all I can say about it. Well, except that I'll definitely go there again with Carl. I know he'll love it, too.


  1. Nice blog! I'm going to try some bean free chili tomorrow!

  2. Hi Dawn
    Thank you for the great comments about our chili. That's the kind of reaction we strive for!
    chili inside / chili outside team

  3. Dawn, Thanks again for coming into Urban Pilates and checking out our space and taking a session...You did a Great Job! Hope to see you again soon for your Fitness Suite Classes.

    That chili does look amazing!!

  4. Thanks again Dawn for coming into Urban Pilates and taking a session with us...You did a Great Job!! Hope to see you soon for your Fitness Suite Classes.

    The chili does look amazing...:)


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