I’m always looking for new ways to keep myself in shape that I can also share with my clients. My background is in weight training, but I’ve made a personal goal of educating myself in all forms of exercise, be it weight training, stability ball, boot camps or boxing.

After coming back from a “fitness break” due to illness, I wanted to start training again and I knew I needed to begin slowly. The two types of workouts that came to mind were yoga and Pilates, as they are both great strength training programs but essentially low impact on the body. I personally like them both.

I recently hired a Pilates/ yoga instructor to teach small group classes in my studio. Whenever I introduce something new, I need to take the class myself to make sure it will fit in with my fitness philosophy and be a good match for my clients. The big bonus for me was that this was exactly how I wanted to get myself back into a routine!

The Pilates class was first on my list to try. I have taken a few Pilates classes in my time, and studied the philosophy some, so I wasn’t completely clueless — which helped. The instructor took us through some breathing exercises that not only gave me more energy, but really worked my stomach muscles. I also left the class standing taller. Later that day, I had that tight, “just-worked-out” feeling all over my body that meant I had done something, but didn’t completely kick my own butt as I have in the past with other exercises … although I did feel it in my butt! What a great workout!

Yoga is different from Pilates, but also very similar. Yoga focuses on stretching and strengthening, while Pilates centers on core strength and flexibility. I’m not flexible at all (typical of us weight trainers), so the thought of doing “lotus” didn’t sound very appealing. However, to my satisfaction, by the end of the session I was moving easily through several poses and I found myself reaching closer to my toes than I ever have before. What a wonderful feeling! I left the class feeling energized, more flexible and standing a bit taller, just as I did after Pilates.

Besides walking, the only form of exercise I have been doing for the past few weeks is Pilates and yoga classes. I feel great! My stomach muscles are toning up and I’m looking very toned overall. Also, I’m easing back into my routine slowly, which was part of the original plan.

My personal recommendations for anyone interested in either method: Try both! You will like the ambience of yoga with its serene, peaceful setting, and the core stability and muscular strengthening of Pilates. It’s a wonderful combination. You can take separate classes or look for a class that combines both.

With any fitness regimen, the key to success is to make the time for yourself. And remember: you’re worth it!