Every slim, lean and toned celebrity in this town seems to say their secret is Pilates.  Stars like Madonna, Cameron Diaz, Sandra Bullock and Gwyneth Paltrow have all praised the power of Pilates.  It’s not just women it’s men too. Brandon Routh, Hugh Grant, and LeBron James all tout the benefits of the resistance, core-based workout.  And seeing as how I also want to be lean and toned it sounded like a great choice for my #MIH15by15 weight loss challenge.

img-falling-in-love-blogI was thrilled to get to learn more about Pilates from Sheena Jongeneel the co-founder and president of Uprise Classical Pilates and Wellness Center in Santa Monica. She is not only a Pilates instructor, but a licensed Acupuncturist, and a mom. Yay!  She said her studio believes in combining Acupuncture and Pilates for a more holistic approach to wellness. Sheena welcomed me into her studio with open arms and I walked in not having any idea the challenge that lie ahead.

Clearly I'm trying to not pass out on The Tower!

Clearly I’m trying to not pass out on The Tower!

Pilates is hard ya’ll!  I started on a machine called the Reformer and within minutes knew I was gonna hurt. The Reformer is designed to elongate the spine to its natural posture by using resistance movements. I pushed a lot with my legs until they were wobbly. UpRise also has The Tower, which consists of springs, mat work, and resistance bars. You guys, it’s basically just using your core and muscle strength to workout and I quickly found out I have no core and muscle strength.  Sheena was so encouraging while I was struggling to pull myself up like a turtle on it’s back. I’m sure it was quite the sight. And it helped me realize I definitely need to spend more time working on my core. Sheena also showed me some mat exercises that were really helpful and could easily be done at home, like the hundred.


UpRise Co-Founder Sheena Jongeneel

UpRise Co-Founder Sheena Jongeneel









I walked a way with a new-found respect for Pilates fans. I definitely understand now how they get those bodies.  And while my dream of being slim, lean and toned may still be far away, I can absolutely see how it works for those who are dedicated to its practice.  If you’re in Santa Monica, definitely go see Sheena and be prepared to work muscles that haven’t moved in a while.

Find out more about pricing and the schedule for UpRise Pilates classes and Acupuncture at UpRiseWellness.com. You can also check out their app in the iTunes store which gives info on class times, workshops and services. Search UpRise Wellness to download.