Pilates 101: Quality Not Quantity
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very
moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” – Oprah,
“What I know for Sure,” pg. 296
I first discovered Pilates in college and remember changing
my body during one summer. I simply did these same exercises at
home in the evenings after work all summer.
Walking has always been the way I’ve tried to stay in shape
although at times life gets in the way of an exercise routine.
Right now, I’m really in need of a quick-before summer shape
up routine. I’ve been sitting around reading all winter and
haven’t been walking as much as I should. I know, these things
happen. So don’t feel guilty either. You just have to pick
yourself up off the couch and get busy again.
This is a new workout I’m trying out and I really love it
Bouncy workouts are not really my style. I prefer yoga or
Pilates-inspired workouts like “The Method Series.” These
Pilates exercises really do tone, sculpt and firm you fast. I
mean, in days you feel like your stomach is smaller and you walk
with a new confidence.
The approach is simple in the first tape. Mari Winsor focuses
on the 7 main exercises. This is a low-intensity 24-minute
instruction video with a emphasis on sculpting and reshaping the
body quickly so you can enjoy the long, thin look you might
crave. You incorporate this routine into your own exercise
So you don't get worn out at the start: I’d recommend 20-30
minutes of walking before starting the exercises at the
beginning. Mari recommends working your way to 36 to 60 minutes
of walking each day. This is needed to burn calories.
I started walking 20 – 30 minutes a day right after I
ordered these videos to try to work my way back into a good
routine more slowly. Before I was walking 60 minutes and felt
too tired to jump right into a workout video. So, breaking up
the walking into two times a day is more helpful in the long
To get the most out of these exercises, you first start by
mastering the basic exercises and by incorporating “secret
weapons.” She emphasizes the “Powerhouse.” This is a band
of energy across the center of your body. She talks about the
frame of the body and breathing to increase your energy.
You can also follow the “modified” routine. I like the
fact that Mari allows you to take it a bit easier on the first
run through. I was pleased to know that if I didn’t lift my
head during all the floor exercises, it was not a sin.
The First Workout:
7 Exercises explained in detail by Mari with tips and 3-D
1. Pilates 100 – An exercise to increase
circulation. You start with just breathing and slowly
incorporate arms and then legs. Deep breathing helps you work
your way into fitness. Soon you are doing the entire set of 100
and feeling great.
2. Roll Up – the most challenging exercise I’ve
ever attempted because you normally just start from a completely
flat position on your back and then attempt to fold yourself in
half and reach beyond your toes. Mari gives some wonderful
modifications for beginners. This is a wonderful healing
exercise that lengthens the body.
3. Single Leg Circles – While on your back you make
circles with one leg at a time. Easy right?
4. Rolling Like a Ball – The most fun you can have
working out. I love the massage this gives my entire back.
5. Single Leg Stretch – Imagine riding a bike upside
6. Double Leg Stretch – You will feel like a
ballerina while still flat on your back. Hard to explain.
7. Spine Stretch Forward – A gentle stretch.
If you feel like you are gliding over the earth after this
first workout: No, it is not your imagination. You will feel
like a goddess. I adore how I felt the first time I did this
workout and still love it.
The Second Workout:
This is sequenced to help you reshape your body quickly. It
contains fundamental Pilates exercises performed in 20 minutes.
You will be targeting every area in your body with controlled
and orchestrated movements.
The exercises include (see how she adds in some new ones?):
Pilates 100 – You start each set of exercises with
this easy to learn breathing exercise.
Single Leg Circles
Rolling like a Ball
Single Leg Stretch
Double Leg Stretch
Single Straight Leg
Double Straight Leg
Spine Stretch Forward
Side Kick Series
The Third Workout:
This is a “fast paced” intermediate to advanced workout
called “Accelerated Sculpting” with 28 different exercises
with multiple reps, mixed tempos and varied sets for interest.
This is more intense, yet still enjoyable and is 52 minutes.
It is amazing how you can work up a good sweat all while flat
on your back or stomach. I loved the lavender outfits in this
video. I’ll probably do this one instead of the second one in
the future unless I only have 20 minutes. I think the first two
videos just help you build confidence and the third video is the
one you will use the most, unless you don’t have the time to
work out for an hour. Otherwise, you can alternate between the
First you are standing and then you work into the Pilates 100
and you are back on the floor. In this video, you will also be
on your stomach. The other two videos have you on your back and
The exercises include (You will learn all the exercises in
this video, she adds so many fun and interesting moves. I
can’t explain most of them, but this will give you a good idea
of the exercises and repetitions involved.):
Roll-Up (4X Slow/4 X Fast)
Single Leg Circles (5 one way/5 the other way)
Rolling like a Ball (6X)
Roll Over – great for stretching out the spine. (6X)
It took a real effort to do these at first. Give yourself time!
Single Leg Stretch (10X Slow/10X Fast)
Double Leg Stretch (8X)
Single Straight Leg (10X Slow/20X Fast)
Double Straight Leg (8X)
Criss Cross (10X Slow/10X Fast)
Spine Stretch Forward (3X)
Neck Roll (2X each side)
Single Leg Kick – emphasis on thighs and buttocks (4
on each side)
Double Leg Kick
Little Piece of Heaven – stretching!
Swimming – On your stomach flat on the floor.
Neck Pull – Advanced (4X)
Saw – One of my favorite exercises.
Open Leg Rocker (4X)
The Corckscrew (2 each way)
The Jacknife (4X) – Probably one of the most
Side Kick Series which includes “kick kick,”
“Bicycle,” “Leg lifts,” “Big Circles,” “Little
circles,” and “Hot potato.”
The Teaser – Oh boy, now we are really getting into
the exercises. Probably the third most difficult because of the
balance factor. Once you can do this, you are officially a
Pilates goddess. I still fall over on occasion. Thankfully, you
only have to do three!
Bent Leg Tease (4 sets for each leg) – Less intense
than the teaser? I think.
The Can-Can – Now you are having fun. Real
dancer-like moves. (4X)
Kneeling Side Kicks – really funky and then you do
small circles with your feet
The Mermaid – My all-time favorite Pilates move.
Twist Preparation – Wow, that was intense at first.
Lifting your entire body up
off the floor on one hand. Tricky, tricky.
The seal – A similar exercise like rolling like a
ball, but more fun.
Also look for the “Winsor Pilates Targeted Series” which
is perfect for a busy schedule. The compact workouts are
targeted for your specific objectives.
Mari also includes a small book called: “The win in 10 Meal
Plan.” She talks about what you should and shouldn’t eat and
how to balance all the information into satisfying meals. There
are recipes and tips. She tells us to eat an orange instead of
just drinking the juice or that fat does not make you fat and in
fact, it takes dietary fat to burn fat.
There is also a “Winsor Dozen” pamphlet so you can take
12 exercises with you when you are traveling. I’m going to
laminate mine! The ten week sculpting journal is only a small
version of her workout journal also available here at Amazon.
Also look for the “Winsor Pilates” Targeted Series:
Buns & Thighs
Upper Body Sculpting
Advanced Body Slimming
Using these videos is a way to reap the same benefits Mari
Winsor’s clients enjoy. These exercises really helped to boost
my self confidence, because you start out at your own pace and
work your way into fitness as you feel you can do the exercises.
Mari has created a customized program to help you reach your
weight-loss and fitness goals She recommends you using the
20-minute video three days a week and the Accelerated Sculpting
video twice a week. Then, you can do the Winsor dozen on the
weekend. That is 6 days a week! The maintenance routine is at
least 5 days a week.
What is amazing is how fast these exercises really do work
and how uncomplicated they are. There are no fancy moves to
confuse. In the first few days you are really feeling the burn
and feeling like you are making progress.
This video series makes you feel like you are one of Mari
Winsor’s clients because she really takes you through the
process step-by-step to build your confidence.
You can do this! This is probably the most “likeable”
series of exercises I’ve ever tried. I really think this
program could work for almost anyone.
~The Rebecca Review
The Pilates Powerhouse
Three is a Charm
“If you honor the spiritual and scientific basis of
this technique, and give over all your concentration and
incorporate the fluidity of movement, you will possess all the
keys to bring “Quality” to this method and experience the
profound benefits Pilates offers.” –Mari Winsor
Mari Winsor enjoys helping people transform their bodies and
for those of us who are just discovering the benefits and
FINALLY seeing some results, we are especially excited about the
fact that Mari has organized a program for us to help us
transform our bodies.
Maybe these types of exercises are just addictive because you
really can see results. These exercises also provide a quiet
place where you can just be by yourself and nurture yourself. In
a way, they are like Yoga where you have time to yourself just
to reflect and move in the moment.
You need three items to fully appreciate Winsor Pilates:
The Pilates Powerhouse book
The Winsor Pilates Body Sculpting Program
The Pilates Workout Journal
This book is probably best purchased along with the Winsor
Pilates Body Sculpting Program and Pilates Workout Journal. To
find the Body Sculpting program, link over to the drugstore.com
area that is connected with Amazon. For some reason, I can’t
the program to list when searching for Mari Winsor at Amazon.
I would like to see this book in a “spiral bound” version
because you will want to be able to keep the pages open. This is
a book you want to use, not just read once. I would also like to
find a Pilates wall chart. No luck so far.
The exercises in this book are all in Mari’s Body Sculpting
program. To do these exercises correctly, I find it is essential
to watch the videos first. Then, you can use this book to remind
yourself of the exercises while doing other fun things like
watching movies. The journal is also useful as it has a beginner
to advance routine and you can follow the lists.
I’ve thought about cutting out all the pictures in the book
and pasting them onto note cards and placing them on a key ring
so I can have the exercises all in a row. This might be what I
resort to if I can’t find a chart.
The reason I personally love this method of exercising is
because I can do the exercises while watching TV or a movie.
This book is going to tell you all the basics you need to
know. The explanations do go into more depth than even on the
videos. Yet, I think to appreciate the program, it is best to
watch the videos first.
Introduction: Find out who Joseph Pilates was and why he was
a revolutionary force in the world of fitness.
Part One: The Power of Pilates
1. The Joy of Movement – What are the benefits? These are
rather convincing. If you are stressed out by other routines,
these exercises provide a loving, nurturing environment in which
your body can change. You feel that you are really caring for
2. Principles of Understanding – Learn about breathing,
relaxation, concentration, control, fluidity, strength,
flexibility, freedom and control. There is a certain joy in the
opposites presented in these exercises. You stretch and tone.
You relax and work out. There is a certain balance you achieve
through each routine.
3. The Powerhouse – The secret and essential ingredient. I
didn’t really understand fully what this was until reading
this book. There is not enough time on the videos to go into
depth. That is why this book is essential!
Part Two: Doing It
4. Before You Begin – More motivation and pep talk from
Mari. I love her style. I love the way she can convince me to
get down on the floor and work out. What a woman!
5. Pilates Mat Work – These are the exercises. A full list
of 41 ways to firm, tone and stretch. All the exercises are
shown with complete detailed explanations. Most have a “prep,
ready and action” area. Some only need a “ready and
action.” The instructions are easy-to-understand, but to fully
understand them, I again recommend the videos. So worth the
Part Three: Injuries and Injury Prevention
6. Defying Defeat- If you have been injured and are in pain,
Pilates might be the perfect remedy for healing and diminishing
chronic pain. I know it has helped my back and my entire body
7. Neck Injuries – Neck stretches you can do to alleviate
pain. When first doing these exercises, you will notice some
tension in your shoulders and neck, but that quickly subsides as
you build up muscles to support your head. There are also
variations so you don’t have to lift your head as much when
doing the exercises. Of course, you want to work to that level.
8. Lower Back Pain – Stretches and modifications.
“Rolling Down the Wall” is a fun exercise to stretch out
your lower back.
9. Asthma – interesting to have included this in the book.
But asthma is actually very common. Breathing through your nose
is what Mari recommends. I’ve heard that cold air on the back
of the throat can actually aggravate Asthma. Exercise induced
Asthma is a reality.
10. Beyond the Mat – Look for a Pilates studio. The
equipment can help give you a deeper stretch and added
resistance. In this section, it would have been nice to see the
exercise machines. She gives a toll-free number so you can call
and find a studio in your area.
Like Yoga, Pilates is really a way of life for many. You can
add this type of program to a walking program and see added
benefits. I like this better than Yoga, because there are still
some pretty intense moves in Yoga that will take me years to
perfect. With Pilates, you feel almost proficient from the
start. None of the exercises are “too difficult” or
A Balanced approach to Life and Exercise.
The Pilates Workout Journal: An Exercise...
A Record of the RESULTS!, January 16, 2003
Reviewer: The Rebecca Review.com
"Pilates is the most exciting and beneficial form of
exercise that I have ever experienced. In using Pilates, I have
found that sanctuary, that activity that both improves my
appearance and provides inspiration." -Mari Winsor
Pilates is a form of exercise named after "Joseph
Pilates" who invented this scientific system of body
conditioning over eighty years ago.
Frankly, I've never seen such fast results with any exercise
program. I'm amazed and my husband has noticed the difference in
my body (which is in sore need of a fast exercise remedy after a
winter of reading, reading and more reading) in the past few
weeks. If you have yet to try the Winsor Pilates workout tapes,
prepare to be amazed.
With that said, I thought it would be interesting to record
my progress in a journal. Mari Winsor has created a journal just
Why should I use a workout journal?
How to use The Pilates Workout Journal?
The evolution of Pilates - a fascinating history!
The principles of understanding & the science of the art
The Journal starts at page 33
Beginner, intermediate and advanced Pilates workouts - a list
of the exercises, no instructions.
This is a book where you can write your thoughts about
activities that rejuvenate your mind and body. You can keep a
journal to make notations about which exercises you performed
and how many different parts of your body felt the effects.
Each page has five sections:
Mind & Spirit - Ideas, insight.
Challenges - Areas that need improvement.
Coordination & Balance - Positive thoughts and notions of
Endurance - Physically taxing or energizing?
Strength & Flexibility - How did your workout feel? Energy?
Did any part of you body feel weaker?
If you have purchased the Winsor Pilates video workouts, this
is an essential companion to the set. I can't believe they
didn't include this book. It explains Pilates in such detail and
gives all sorts of background information on Mari Winsor.
Fascinating. Worth buying just for the Pilates information!
I hope that with this journal I can keep on track with my
workouts and New Year's resolutions. Throughout the book there
are little inspirational passages to keep you motivated.