trying reformer pilates for the first time

In college, I was all about getting out of my comfort zone –especially when it came to working out. When I stopped doing high school sports, I knew I had to figure out a way to keep working out fun. So I made it a goal to try new activities every year. One quarter I did yoga, another quarter I did ballet. I also took hip hop classes and learned how to partner stunt (even though I never actually cheered). One of my favorite workout classes I ever took was Pilates.

Fast forward a few years and I’ve continued to run and go to the gym but I’m finding myself wanting variety in my workouts. So when Seattle Pilates Collective reached out and asked me to collaborate, I was so excited! I’ve been wanting to back to Pilates but I was a little nervous about the reformer (the intimidating machine that wasn’t present in my first Pilates class). Before we get to my Pilates experience, let me tell you about the Seattle Pilates Collective…

athletic women - pilates studio - seattle pilates

reformer pilates - seattle pilates collectiveSitting on the carriage of the reformer - reformer pilates

So what is Pilates?

The Seattle Pilates Collective describes Pilates like this: “Technically, Pilates is a method of exercises that is low impact, with a focus on strength and flexibility emphasizing proper alignment, core strength and muscular balance…  It is the conversation and relationship you have with your body. It’s taking time out of your day to focus on how you feel, check in with how you’re moving and hopefully let your body teach you something new about yourself.”

To me, Pilates is a workout that focuses on strengthening both your body and mind. I love how Pilates shows me new ways to move and challenge my body while also improving flexibility and core strength.

What is the Seattle Pilates Collective?

The Seattle Pilates Collective is a group of instructors focused on creating a space that makes Pilates more approachable, supportive and fun. The Seattle Pilates Collective aims to inspire, motivate, and educate their clients as well as encourage them to kick some ass and have a great workout.

Reformer Pilates - Scissor Kicks - Leg Pilates workouts Reformer Pilates - Seattle Pilates Collective - Arm Pilates WorkoutsReformer Pilates - Seattle Pilates Studios

Who founded Seattle Pilates Collective? And where are they located?

Nathalia and Jake! They found Pilates 10 years ago and founded the collective together. All the instructors with the Seattle Pilates Collective are focused on building a welcoming community. They are also super nice and take the time bring you up to speed in the classes. You can take group Pilates classes at the Seattle Pilates Collective Greenlake studio and private Pilates lessons/duet in their Ballard studio.

Now that you know who Seattle Pilates Collective is,

Here is a recap of my private lesson and first group class:

Seattle Pilates Collective Private Lesson with Rachel:

Nathalia and Jake recommended that I work with Rachel for a one hour private lesson before starting the group class. Since I’ve only done mat Pilates, I’m glad the offered this option. I honestly really enjoyed my one hour private Pilates session with Rachel in the Ballard studio.

She introduced the Reformer to me for the first time. I was really intimated by the Reformer at first– a traditional piece of equipment that is made of a bed springs, pulleys, and weights. The Reformer allows the user to add weight and resistance to their exercises. Rachel led me through changing the weights/resistance, using the straps for both leg and arm workouts, and even showed me exercises with the box on top of it. It was truly a unique, personalized workout experience. And I appreciated that I could ask questions 1 x 1 without feeling embarrassed. I was so excited that I learned how to navigate and manipulate the the Reformer during our lesson!

Seattle Pilates Collective - Seattle Fitness Blogger - Seattle SportsSeattle Pilates Collective - Nathalia helping Emma's Edition Nathalia from Seattle Pilates Collective - Assisting Emma's Edition

Reformer Pilates Group Class with Jake:

After my private lesson with Rachel, I was ready to take on my first reformer group class with Jake. The Greenlake location is absolutely beautiful! It was spacious and light and airy in the studio. I was grateful that I was introduced and worked on the Reformer before the class. I felt way more comfortable working with the carriage, adding and removing weights/springs, and using the pulleys. I really liked how the class sizes were smaller – I felt like we got the attention we needed to confirm if we were doing the exercises correctly or not. The class pace also moved smoothly and I didn’t feel like we were rushing through the exercises.

Seattle Pilates Collective Studio in Greenlake

Greenlake Seattle Pilates Collective Studiobeautiful pilates studios - pilates reformer workoutOverall, I had great workouts with Seattle Pilates Collective.

I highly recommend Pilates if you’re looking to change up your workout routine or even just want to try something new! Right now Seattle Pilates Collective is offering 20% for either a 4 or 8 class package for any new students. Check out their website here! Thank you Seattle Pilates Collective for inviting me into your beautiful studios!

If you are interested in trying out Pilates, here are a few tips:

1.Don’t be afraid to set up a private lesson. One on one instructor time will help you ease into Pilates -especially if your nervous to try it in a group setting. An instructor can go over the foundations with you too!

2. Don’t be afraid to try Pilates. I think there’s a lot of fear around the Reformer machine. I personally was intimated by the Reformer before actually doing workouts on it. Honestly, it’s just an exercise machine that’s there to give you an all body workout.

3. You wear socks to Pilates. There are actually Pilates socks that help you not slip during workouts! I haven’t invested in a pair yet but I do need to find a pair of Pilates socks!

4. Pilates is great for strength building, core strength, and alignment. If you want an alternative to running and lifting weights, Pilates is a great cross training workout!

Have you tried Pilates before? What are your tips for trying Pilates for the first time?

happy working out - pilates studio in seattle

Photos: Karya Schanilec

*This is a sponsored blog post made in collaboration with Seattle Pilates Collective and all my opinions are my own*

Thank you for reading!



money talk - close the gender pay gap

How much money do you make?

How many student loans do you still have?

How much do you charge for a blog post?

Did these two questions make you cringe? Well it also made me cringe a little thinking about asking you personally how much money you make. This is no surprise because we’ve been raised that talking about money is taboo. But secrecy is the easiest way to ignore inequality. We’ll never close the gap if we can’t talk about money or finances – comfortably and without judgment.

Remember that partner I asked you to tag in this 3 day challenge? One way to become more comfortable about talking about money is having a go to person. I would recommend level setting expectations if this if your first time asking your friends about money. Feel free to begin the conversation with “Our conversation about money will be without judgment about our worth. We are talking about money is to empower us, to break down pay secrecy, and to encourage us to be more comfortable asking for our value” – or something along those lines.

Here are some sets of questions you can work through with your partner to become more comfortable talking about money in your life:gender pay gap campaign - UW grad student project


Money Topic #1: The Warm Up with the First Job

What was your first job and how much money did you make? Why did you choose that first job? What did you spend your first few paychecks on (if you remember)?

Money Topic #2: Life & Financial Goals

What type of lifestyle do you want to live? What are your life and financial goals? (buying home, having a big wedding, going back to grad school etc)

Money Topic #3: Debt, a Budget Diary, Savings Goals (Rich Bitch)

If you and your friend want to take your conversation about money to the next level, I highly recommend reading Rich Bitch by Nicole Lapin. She does such a great job introducing and diving into financial literacy!  The three topics from the book I would recommend having a conversation about are: Debt, Budget diaries, and Savings Goals.

Personal Exercise: Prioritize your Debt

You should prioritize your debt in order of interest rates:

  1. Credit Cards – Your credit card interest rates can be upwards of 18%. You should work to first pay off all your credit card debt.
  2. Car Loans – After credit cards, pay your car loans next. *Know that a car is a depreciating asset. The moment youdrive a brand new car off the lot, it immediately depreciates.
  3. Loans – Federal student loans have the lowest interest rates out of all these four things. *Stafford loans are currently at 3.76% – but the Treasury Department is raising them to 4.45% (still lower than that credit card interest rate). Parent PLUS loan is currently at 6.31% and is being raised to 7%.It is up to you how you choose to see your overall and your student loan debt.
    4. Mortgage – whether you have a home or not, Nicole Lapin recommends that after the three items above, you should make payments on this asset.

Partner Exercise: How have you prioritize your debt in your life? Are you aware of all the interest rates of your debt?

Personal Exercise: Create and share your Budget Diary 

What is a Budget Diary/Journal?
A budget diary or journal is where you identify your income and you expenses. It’s important you create one after graduating and getting a job so you know where your money is going. If you feel like you’re constantly broke, try this exercise:

Either pull out a piece of paper or pen – or – an excel spread sheet.


INCOME: (here would be your income, any cash, investments)

Less EXPENSES (Monthly):

–         RENT:


–         UTLITIES:

–         CAR PAYMENTS:

–         CAR INSURANCE:


–         GROCERIES:

–         SAVINGS:

–          FUN MONEY (Amount spent on going out to eat or
–      ETC.

Remaining Amount: $$$

Now reflect, how much money are you spending on fun vs. how much money are you saving?

Partner Exercise: Are you spending what you expected on your expenses? Are you spending what you expected for fun money?


Personal Exercise: Create Savings Goals

Now that you and your partner have started a budget diary or journal, let’s discuss creating savings goals. At some point in your post grad life, you may want to go on a big vacation, buy a new car, or throw a down payment on a house. Unless you have tons of discretionary income after you pay your rent, bills, and other obligations, you have to save for these items. I recommend making short term and long term savings goals:

Year 1: (Short Term) Save for trip to Thailand ($2,000)

Year 2: (Long Term) Start saving for grad school ($5,000)

Year 3: (Long Term) Start saving for grad school ($5,000)

Year 4: (Long Term) Start saving for a down payment ($10,000)…

Whatever your goals may be, add them to your budget diary or journal so you actually put the money away to save for those items. Remember your goals and circumstances can also change! The point of writing down these goals is just so you know what general direction you’d like to take your life and finances in.

Partner exercise: Share with your friend your short term and long term savings goals.


Money Topic #4: Talk about money with both the women and men in your life

money - gender pay gap - include men

We can’t close the gap unless we all (men and women) recognize the gender pay gap and acknowledge that pay secrecy and discomfort about money has to be worked out. I’m not asking you to write your salary on a sign around your neck, but I am asking you to not self select the men out of your money conversations.

We all have boyfriends, dads, uncles, best guy friends, and male co-workers in our lives. We have to include them in our conversations and provide them the opportunity to step up even if it makes us uncomfortable. Pick one of these topics and see if the men in your lives have made savings plans or asked to negotiate pay in their last promotion.

What are your tips to help others be comfortable talking about money? What other pieces advice would you share to help close the gender pay gap?

Thank you for reading and participating with the Close the Gap Campaign! Here is Day 1: The Gender Pay Gap is NOT a Myth and Day 2: Believe, Know, and Ask for Your Value.