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A Love Affair with Pilates

Posted on April 16, 2023 | No Comments on A Love Affair with Pilates

Her name rings a bell in a number of fields—acting, modeling, hosting, even politics. She belongs, after all, to an illustrious political clan and was for a time involved in show business. These twin connections have thrust her into the limelight, something she has reaped immeasurable benefits from.

For years we saw her in the movies and on TV, notably as a one-time host of what could very well be Philippine TV’s most enduring noontime show, Eat Bulaga. However, after years in show business, she has found her niche and built a name for herself in a field far removed from her earlier claim to fame—keeping fit and healthy through Pilates.

True Calling in Pilates
“I was taking a vacation in the United States when my aunt suggested that I try Pilates. So she took me to a Pilates studio. And from then on, I was hooked,” shares Plinky Recto on how she got started with this exercise method that has taken the world by storm. She also adds that, “As you get older, you want an exercise that adjusts to you and not you trying to adjust to the exercise. In my opinion, Pilates is the best.”

She admits that before engaging in Pilates she had tried many other methods of exercise. “I did yoga, I trained under a yogi. I started my career at age 12 by taking jazz lessons. I trained with Luigi Facciuto, he’s from New York. So I did a whole cycle ‘thingy’.”

Having tried all of these things, she later found that her true calling lay in that one thing she started not knowing a thing about. Getting hooked on Pilates led her to put up her own studio, The Bodyworker, which opened in 2000. Today, The Bodyworker has become the place to be for those who want to try Pilates.

In its eight years of operation, it has attracted a wide variety of clients. In the beginning there were just a handful of men, but this has changed. As more and more men shed the “shame” of taking up activities that were once exclusively for women, more and more men are finding out for themselves the benefits of Pilates. Still, Plinky says, “the majority of our clients are women who want a flatter stomach, because that’s the chismis—that it flattens your stomach,” shares Plinky. The truth is, it does flatten the tummy, but that is only one of its many beneficial results.

Her success in Pilates has earned Plinky several affiliations—with the American Council on Exercise (ACE), Senior Fitness Association (SFA), American Kinesiotherapy Association (AKA), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), Aerobic and Fitness Association (AFAA), International Sports Trainers Association (ISTA), and National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), and has given her the title of “certified fitness specialist” in the method of Pilates.

Sharing Her Passion in Pilates
The Pilates-Plinky partnership is a match made in heaven. Ever since that fateful day in a Pilates studio half a world from home, Plinky has done Pilates everyday. Of course, as a Pilates instructor, she has mastered the very essence of the method, taking to it as she would if she had taken her lessons from the master himself, Joseph Pilates.

Plinky owes her vast knowledge of the method of Pilates from the three masters she has trained under. “My favorite is under the Tutelage School of Eve Gentry, because she believes in no pain. Her body was aching before she started, and this was at a time when there was no rehabilitation. When she did Pilates with Joseph

Pilates, after the first session, the pain completely disappeared. So she’s my favorite. Then I also did Romana and then, Ron Fletcher,” she explains, letting us in on the masters of the method.

However, she implies that patterning her teaching methods to these masters is quite hard. She believes in doing what will work well for her clients and their particular needs, and in making it as enjoyable and fun as possible. “I believe fitness shouldn’t be painful or difficult, and it shouldn’t be that hard for anyone to try to improve his or her body. We’re just one part of a big, big fitness lifestyle.” In order to fully concentrate on her clients, Plinky does one-on-one sessions.

Not only does Pilates work as an exercise, it is also used to aid in rehabilitating the injured and even those with heart problems. Plinky intimates that athletes with a common knee injury—anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear—are often referred to her. “I specialize in the spine. I also specialize on patients who are referred to me like those who had undergone open-heart surgery. So I work with people who need Pilates, who need help,” she shares.

Exercise for All
She describes Pilates as something that does a whole lot of good. “I always say, if you want mind and body control, you want to align your body, you want to feel good, you don’t want to look bulky, you want to look tall and lean, you want to have a flat stomach, you don’t want to have aches and pains in your body, come to Pilates.”

Of course, Plinky can only say good things about Pilates. Not only because she practices it every single day, but because she has personally felt the benefits of the method. Enthusiastically, she shares, “It’s the best thing I ever did. I could say that

I’m stronger, more flexible than I ever was. I’ve maintained my body and I have the same weight I had in college.”

Her website covers other known benefits. Pilates, her website states, reduces stress and fatigue, induces deep sleep, improves your focus, promotes joint release and mobility, connects to your daily activities, and improves physical and mental activity. One other benefit that has become a good selling point is its claim to “improving sex life.” “‘Yon! When you say it improves sex life, they come,” says Plinky with a hearty laugh.

Another good thing about Pilates is that anyone can do it—young, old, male, female, fit, unfit, lean, fat, even the obese! Plinky shares that her clients include athletes undergoing rehabilitation and patients who have heart and joint problems. What’s best is that even obese people can reap the benefits of the method without exerting too much effort and straining themselves. “I would say that for obese clients, Pilates really works because you can exercise lying down. And it doesn’t jar your knees or your joints. So we can actually improve your weight while you’re lying down,” asserts Plinky.

When it comes to how often Pilates should be done to fully utilize its effects on the body, “I recommend sessions at least twice a week to begin with, but most Filipinos, they want a crash course, so three times a week would be wise. But me, I do it everyday.” With affirmation she adds, “So from there, with Pilates, a minimum of six weeks will do to tangibly change your body, and I mean change your body.”

And just like any form of exercise, Pilates works well with proper diet. However, Plinky does not believe in fad diets. She believes that moderation is still the best. “When I say moderation, I mean lessen the oily stuff, lessen the refined sugar, if you can avoid refined sugar or anything white: white rice, white sugar, pasta, that’s my tip. Once in a while maybe, they’re okay, but those foods that have high glycemic content should be avoided, especially if you have a sugar problem,” she says.

Simply Plinky
It is clear that Plinky has an on-going love affair with Pilates. It is equally clear, though, that Pilates is not all her life is about, as she describes how a normal week goes for her. “Weekdays I teach Pilates the whole morning, straight, and then, since most of my clients’ schedules are by appointment, the rest of the day depends on their schedules. And then maybe in the afternoon I go to a bookstore, most of the time, you’ll find me in a bookstore. If it’s a dead hour, I just try to relax. On weekends, I’m with my son. We like to watch movies; we like to hang out with each other.”

She also says that because she sweats a lot due to her Pilates classes, she takes potassium supplements because “I can’t be eating bananas every hour, right? And bananas have high glycemic content; you don’t need the sugar, you just need the protein,” she says.

Aside from Pilates, Plinky has a word of advice for those with diabetes, “So what should people do if they think they’re diabetic or they’re gaining weight and they can’t control it? See a nutrition specialist. If they’re having heart problems because of the weight they’re carrying, they should see their doctor. They need a primary physician first. Then maybe the physician will refer them to a nutritionist. After seeing a nutrition specialist, then try to find the right type of workout for you. Now, if you have a heart problem you should be able to tell your fitness specialist that you have all these little problems or issues on the side.”

So for those who are interested in trying Pilates, go ahead and start to reap its many benefits. With Pilates, you could well be on your way to a flatter tummy, a sexier body, and, better yet, a healthier you.

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