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Pilates ProWorks - Chris Zimmer Photography - 3.jpg
FitFormer machine (Chris Zimmer Photography)

Pilates ProWorks: The workout that makes your muscles quiver!

From CrossFit to Barre, you name a workout and I've tried it, so when I heard Pilates ProWorks was opening a studio in Alexandria I knew I had to give it a shot.

Located in Old Town, Pilates ProWorks offers a variety of different Pilates, Barre, TRX and boxing classes for all different fitness levels.

I have done basic Pilates mat classes before and I like to think I am somewhat in shape, so I didn't think the Pilates Pro class would be too out of my league. The class description on the site says "this amped up Pilates class combines resistance, lengthening, and strength training into a high energy, music-fueled total body workout. You'll be in a small group, with everyone working, sweating on their own FitFormer Pilates machine (think super-duper-reformer)."

I signed up and holy macaroni it was hard! Probably one of the hardest workouts I have ever done.

Let's start by explaining what a FitFormer (aka the devil machine) is. The FitFormer is a resistance machine that has a carriage that moves back and forth along a frame. Resistance is provided by the user's body weight and by springs attached to the carriage and platform. The springs are color coded for different levels of resistance that you can add on or take off. The carriage is also equipped with long straps with handles that can be pulled with the legs or arms to move the carriage.

With my sticky socks on, I hopped on a FitFormer and pushed myself back and forth on the carriage thinking, "what the h*ll is this contraption." It looked like some sort of torture device that I was about to use to workout.

The instructor -- who had not one ounce of body fat on her body -- explained all the parts of the FitFormer, and armed with this knowledge we began class. With one foot on the platform and one foot on the carriage, we were doing lunges, squats and everything in between. We then switched to doing planks, with our elbows on the carriage and our feet on the platform. I was sweating from places I didn't know I could sweat and using muscles I didn't know existed. My knees were shaking, my legs were aching and my entire body was yelling at me to stop this madness, but I didn't give up! I fought through the pain and it was so worth it.

The 55-minute workout pushed my body to do things I didn't think I could do. The class was low impact and didn't involve running, jumping or anything that is hard on your joints, but still got me sweating and very sore. The instructor was patient with the newbies and took the time to explain every movement so no one got left behind or hurt. I left classing thinking "I can't believe I made it through that and I can't wait to do it again!" I had tried something new and even though I was far from great at it, the Pilates ProWorks instructors made me feel comfortable and confident.

To learn more about Pilates ProWorks, click here.