Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
March 4, 2019
The last couple weeks have been pretty fun. Pitting various workout methodologies is kind of challenging and entertaining, and I am sure some people would have some comments about which they think is better. But let’s face it, in this era of one on one face-offs, people are always doing hypothetical “what ifs” and they always seem to be centered around rap battles. I don’t know what is funnier, seeing really good rap battles that take some pleasure in doing actual research (https://youtu.be/0N_RO-jL-90) versus people that try so hard they make something awful (https://youtu.be/fKnbvaKbrW8). Yes, I cannot even get through that second rap battle without cringing. Anyway, to keep up with the list, we are pitting Mega Man vs. Sonic the Hedgehog. Oh wait, that would be too easy considering Mega Man would easily win. I mean, he just needs to use his time stopper weapon and Sonic is a sitting duck. Match-up over.
This week we pit a couple of philosophies approaches that for some reason have been labeled as “feminine” workout methodologies. Back the 90s, when you heard the term pilates you instantly think upper middle and lower upper class house wives who were stay at home moms trying to fill in their day and try to get the flat stomach they had before they started having kids. It almost became ubiquitous with the suburban mom trope, and needless to say men were kind of steered away from the venture considering people accused said men of trying to pick up women (more on that later). https://www.pilates.com/BBAPP/V/pilates/origins-of-pilates.htmlEither way, pilates was mostly started as a way for people to use their own body as a form of resistance training, resulting in several moves that worked to strengthen the core. Joseph Pilates started the method as to compensate for his inability to do standard weight and physical training due to a childhood sickness. There is no wonder this exploded in the United States in the late 80s when intrepid pilates instructors started appealing to post birth women….and hence a trend was born. Now Yoga has been around much longer, some say for at least a thousand years. But the yoga that has hit the United States has really only been around for a few decades. Now yoga also emphasizes a strong core, but yoga also focuses on other body parts and creating a total body strength workout without using weights. Balance and the ability to hold that balance is key. This too became strangely marketed toward women, and once again any man that did this was either some weirdo or some guy wanting to stare at women bending over all day (thanks to countless examples in media). Oh and don’t forget, the male yoga instructor was just a sexed up, manipulative lothario. Thankfully other media forms have illustrated that pilates and yoga is good for everyone, but it is also good to understand these things and the context. Just like watching a movie before there were cell phones…no wonder horror movies have taken such a dive in quality.
So how do we understand which one is better? Since we have a good idea of what yoga is, what exactly is pilates? https://www.self.com/story/5-things-to-know-before-you-take-pilates-classesIf anything, pilates is a low impact workout methodology that forces you to hold positions rather than utilize weights. It is a pretty simple workout on paper but this really does a lot to your body. This is kind of how planking started getting really popular, for this is something of an offshoot of pilates. When doing certain positions, you are not necessarily being asked to go balls to the wall and hold that position until infinity. Typically you have a set amount of time and then you rest. Usually you are going to see a lot of soreness the next day, especially if you take more advanced classes. The simplest pilates move can be considered one of the hardest, like just holding your legs up or getting yourself in a 45-degree sitting position. The magic of pilates is that not only are you pushing your muscles and fighting the natural element of gravity, you are going to start pushing your cardio as well. Think of all the heavy breathing you start engaging in to keep your muscle from spazzing out on you? Now yoga…that is a completely different beast.
You have multiple types of yoga, multiple levels of yoga poses and you can even do it fast or slow. The only thing that is making yoga cringeworthy these days is that boutiques are desperately trying to create some gimmick for the medium, like serving beer during the session or choosing only yoga poses that might help expunge gas (I wish I could find the article that showed the studio doing this). Now yoga does a lot of the same core building that pilates might engage in, but it also utilizes poses which can help with your arm strength and shoulder strength. As you move up the ladder in the yoga pose arsenal, you start started doing wild hand stands and extensions that can make someone do a double take or gasp in ecstasy.
The overall idea of these two different mediums is to build strength and pliability to the body through the body, not through weights. Both ideas have very little to no equipment, though having a slip proof yoga mat is certainly a helpful addition to both. However, these leads to a very obvious reason why should probably choose one over the other….yoga is just flat out better in developing both flexibility and balance. This is not a knock on pilates and for people that really dig this sort of workout, but yoga just has so much more going for it. Both mediums improve flexibility, that is one certainty…but yoga is just superior when it comes to fixing balance due to the fact many of the poses are lean toward this idea. Now some might think balance and flexibility are the same thing, they do have some very stark comparisons. Think about walking funny on an uneven surface. Flexibility allows your body not to contort in a way that would lead to your falling in a strange manner. Balance is what keeps you upright, using that flexibility to contort your body into a different direction and change the momentum. Now this sounds like these two really go hand in hand, but being able to establish the balance through muscle memory is key. You can be flexible and still be klutzy, for being flexible might mean you can go deeper on a toe touch. Balance is something that plays into every step we take, every mile we run and every weight we lift.
Now I will not lie, this one was a pretty close race, for both are considered supplementary fitness regimens, even though you could technically build a pretty solid physique with focusing on one or the other. Either way, don’t let the sexism stop you. Both methods are good for men and women, and one should never be afraid of exploring.
About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
Meet the Author
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
When you read this blog you are reading through the eyes of someone who is winning the battle of real weight loss. Steve is not a fitness professional, but he is someone we can all learn from.
Steve shares his journey once a week here on our blog. We hope that you find a spark of inspiration from reading his blog.
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. The author of this blog is an independent writer and is not an associate of Parsons Training, LLC. Any information or images displayed are done so solely at the authors discretion. Any dietary or fitness commentary is exclusively that of the author and in no way dictated by the company.