- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I showed up at Pilates ProWorks Alexandria expecting a “yoga class.” When the staff saw my yoga mat and clear naivete about what I’d signed up for, they smiled as if to say “you poor, dear, delusional person, you.”

I’d never tried Pilates, but I had always thought I should. Now I have, and I am here to tell you that it is much, much harder than it looks.

My instructors at Pilates ProWorks Alexandria, which will have its official opening Friday, told me this is true of — well — men. They see it through the window and assume (incorrectly) that if women can do it, surely it’s a cakewalk. I never assumed this, but, in my own nondefense, I did pick up a pair of 5-pound weights instead of the 2 1/2-ers the rest of the class did.

Big mistake.

With a pair of helpful instructors (and yes, I was the only dude in the class), I was off and running on the exercise regimen that utilized weights and the machine in intervals. It was tough to keep up, and I’m not as flexible as I’d like, so the instructors did help me with some of my range-of-motion problems — further aggravated thanks to chronic low-back issues.

Several times during the hour, I prayed for it to end, but, as I always do, I pressed on, knowing this was both good for me and a new experience.

I enjoy exercise like almost nothing else. But I must say that the class wore me out like nobody’s business. I slept that night like I haven’t in months, and I was “good sore” the next day.

Everyone at Pilates ProWorks Alexandria was friendly, helpful and positive. I was made to feel incredibly at home by owner Betsy Weissman, ever cheerful.

If I have a single complaint about the place, it’s that the neighborhood where it resides is a bit, uh, interesting, and when I arrived, I was frankly uncertain if it was even the right place. But a brisk walk up two flights brought me into a well-lit, open and welcoming studio that will be a fine alternative to the workaday blues.

For more information, or to join a class, go to PilatesProWorks.com/alexandria or visit Facebook.com/PPWAlexandria.

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