The Pilates Powerhouse: The Essential Home Guide for Improving Strength, Tone, Shape and Balance, No Equipment Necessary

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9780091856922: The Pilates Powerhouse: The Essential Home Guide for Improving Strength, Tone, Shape and Balance, No Equipment Necessary

A home guide to Pilates, the exercise regime that promises the following: strong, lean and flexible body tone; improved posture and balance; increased energy levels; reduced stress and a sense of calm; new-found confidence and focus.

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Review:

Help your butt say "neener neener!" to Father Time. Join some of Hollywood's best bodies (Jamie Lee Curtis, Danny Glover) who've gone gaga over the Pilates method of body conditioning. (It's intriguingly referred to as "the method" for short). Celebrities, professional athletes, dancers, and models drop $50 or more for each private lesson on the Pilates equipment (which includes contraptions with potentially dangerous-looking straps and springs, with intimidating names like the Cadillac and the Reformer). If you'd rather not shell out cash like that to help your rear defy gravity--especially when at least three classes a week are recommended--take heart. Mari Winsor, one of L.A.'s most popular Pilates instructors, has brilliantly collected the essential exercises--none of which requires any equipment other than perhaps a carpeted floor--into a supremely inspiring, snappily written, simple-to-follow handbook, perhaps the perfect book for new moms, business travelers looking to stay fit while on the road, and the swimsuit-phobic alike.

Despite the recent wave of Pilates (that's Pi-lah-teez) enthusiasts singing its praises to magazines like Vogue and Elle, the system has been around since World War I; George Balanchine and Martha Graham used the exercises to add strength without bulking up, perfect their posture, prevent injury, increase flexibility, and improve circulation. Indeed, a person who's completed a Pilates workout has a rather orgasmic glow; the workout is aerobic but not so much as to cause much sweating. This is not to say it's easy; while your behind gets a great lift, the exercises focus on the abs, or "powerhouse." Each exercise is clearly explained next to step-by-step photographs of Winsor's fabulous bod. Unlike in most exercise guides, you won't see Winsor promising remarkable results in minimum time--she says an hour a day is what you need to give to reap the Pilates benefits, but adds, "In the other twenty-three hours you will not only enjoy yourself more, but will find that you have more quality time."

Winsor even goes so far in her praise of the method to mention that she hasn't had a full-blown asthma attack since she started faithfully following the program. She adds, "it has helped me recover from devastating injuries, it has transformed my self-image and sense of worth, and it keeps me calm and centered every day." Not bad results from a workout you can do in the comfort of your own home--for free. --Erica Jorgensen

About the Author:

The Pilates trainer-to-the-stars, Mari Winsor owns and operates two Pilates studios in the Los Angeles area. She has been featured in Allure, Redbook, Elle, LA Magazine, Health & Fitness, USA Today, Fitness, Shape, In Style, Vogue, and Time and has appeared on MTV, "Access Hollywood," and "Entertainment Tonight." She is the author of The Pilates Workout Journal and The Pilates Powerhouse, for which she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show.

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