Bolder Pilates, Boulder Reservoir at 5565 N. 51st St., Boulder, 303-589-3353, bolderpilates.com
Instructor: After a series of back injuries, Donna Ligon finally found relief through Pilates. Her experience inspired her to become a certified Pilates instructor. In addition, she also took a therapeutic Pilates program in order to help people who were also recovery from injuries.
What is the workout? Pilates! That sounds straight forward enough, right? There is a twist, a pretty major one. Instead of working out on terra firma, we sailed the high seas of Boulder Reservoir. SUP stands for stand up paddleboard. Think of a surf board, but much wider and far more stable.
I had my concerns, as my balance is nothing to boast about. Ligon showed us newbies how to get on the board and paddle out to our destination. Surprisingly, I felt secure on the board, even though I was really slow. We anchored our boards before we started class to avoid floating too far from the group.
The rest of the class involved pretty standard Pilates moves, with some modifications to keep us from tipping over.
What's different? The answer is obvious, but it was more than a nice day on the beach. At first glance it appeared more like a gimmick then anything that really added value to the workout. It didn't take long to realize how hard my core was working to keep me stable.
"In Pilates, you're keeping the muscles long and you're really working on stability. You do get strong, but strength and stability are so different, and I think a lot of other workouts work the big, larger muscles groups and Pilates focuses on these small muscle groups, and the alignment is so important," says Ligon.
Often in Pilates the instructor is constantly reminding you to keep your core tight. That's not necessary when you are balancing on the board. Your core has to be tight to stay stable and keep the board from wobbling. There is also the added bonus of the waves created by the water skiers zooming past at a safe distance.
"It's like a Pilates mat class, but then you get this added challenge of being on the water, which works your core way more than a regular Pilates mat class," says Ligon.
Cost: The class price is $35 and includes the paddleboard rental. The price to rent the paddleboard by itself for two hours is $30, so this is a pretty good deal.
Level: "It's recommended that you have some Pilates experience. It's good if you've at least taken one or two classes before," says Ligon.
Simultaneously trying to tackle unfamiliar moves and using a paddleboard for the first time might be discombobulating. Instructors keep the moves simple and offer easier variations. You don't need a lot of experience, just enough to be comfortable.
When: The next session is planned for 10 a.m. on Sunday. Bolder Pilates is considering adding more dates as well as picking it back up next summer. Check out their facebook page for updates.
What to prepare: Regular workout clothes is fine. Just because the class is on water doesn't mean you have to wear skimpy bathing suits. We were all wearing regular workout clothes, mostly shorts or capris as our ankles did get wet. I'd suggest bringing a towel and change of clothes in case you do fall in. They've only had one person get wet so far, so the chance is slim.
They provide life jackets for anyone who needs it. If you can swim then it's not mandatory to wear the jacket. Bring water, sunglasses and sunscreen as well.
Muscles worked: Mostly my core was involved with this class. There was a mental workout as well. You're hyper aware of all your moves and how they affect the board underneath you.
What I loved: This was an immensely fun class. It wasn't just the SUPilates that made it enjoyable. Everyone was incredibly genial and warm. We had wine with cheese and crackers after class. It felt like hanging out with a bunch of old friends.
What I didn't like: It took me a while to realize that I wasn't likely to fall into the water. It takes some time to get comfortable and flow through the moves without trying to steady yourself. If I had more experience with Pilates off the board I might have got the hang of it more easily.
How I felt after the class: I was all smiles. It was a beautiful evening to be at the reservoir, digging my toes into the sand and drinking a glass of wine. I couldn't think of a better way to end my day.
Know of any interesting workouts? Tell us about them so we can check them out: email@example.com.