In 2022, Lori Harvey graced us with her stunning presence at the Met Gala, showcasing chiseled abs that left the world in awe. She was always gorgeous, but we had never seen her body so impeccably toned before that year. When she finally revealed her secret to achieving such a sculpted physique—Pilates—Black women everywhere, including myself, took notice.

Inspired by her transformation, many of us began our own Pilates journeys, drawn by the allure of her success. After watching everyone else around me jump on the Pilates bandwagon for years, I finally decided it was my turn to take the plunge and experience it for myself.

Getting into Pilates

When I decided to try Pilates, it was important for me to support a Black-owned studio in my community. That’s how I found Add Pilates in Bloomfield, NJ. The owner, Tracy, was incredibly helpful in guiding me through the process of choosing a class that would provide the best experience for a newbie like me. After discussing my goals and fitness level, Tracy suggested an “Intro to Pilates” class. With that settled, I knew it was time to mentally prepare myself for what was ahead.

I’d seen countless after-Pilates selfies and heard all about the benefits, but I had no real idea what Pilates entailed or what it did for the body. So, I went in blind. Upon arrival, I was instructed to take off my shoes, place my belongings in a cubby, and choose an open reformer machine for the class. Tracy kindly walked me through the basics—how to use the machine, breathe properly during the exercises, set the resistance, and adjust the foot bar. Once I felt comfortable with the equipment, the class began.

We started by lying on our backs and using the foot bar to push ourselves back and forth. I thought to myself, “This is pretty easy!” Little did I know, the intensity was just starting. We moved through various positions on the reformer: standing, squatting, sitting criss-cross applesauce, and even planking.

By the end of the class, my wig had shifted a few inches back, I was drenched in sweat, and I had chugged every last drop of my water. I had no idea that Pilates was such a full-body workout. Days later, I could still feel the soreness in my arms, back, and abs—not to mention other areas I didn’t even know could get sore!

My Final Verdict

The class was far more intense than I expected for an intro to Pilates session. I’m not sure what I anticipated, but it definitely wasn’t that! However, as someone who considers herself a fitness enthusiast, I loved the challenge. Pilates pushed my body in ways that a typical gym workout doesn’t. Despite the intensity, I had a lot of fun and genuinely enjoyed the experience. I would absolutely recommend Pilates to anyone looking for a comprehensive workout and a refreshing change of pace from their usual exercise routine.