Pilates on the Beach

I love Zumba classes, so how on earth did I end up ‘doing’ Pilates I ask myself. All those impossible body-contorting exercises don’t feel in harmony with my body shape – my legs and arms just aren’t long enough! Neither can I seem to master the special breathing or find my “inner-core”. Do we all have a core? Mine appears to be missing, perhaps I should consult Mr Google! what do you think?

Pilates on the beach
Pilates on the beach

As a complete beginner the principles of Pilates are still very much a mystery to me as I struggle to coördinate my breathing and body.

And another thing, why are most of the other women in these classes so flexible and slim? Forget the cute little piglet image you may have of me in your mind’s eye because in reality I resemble a prize hog ready for the spit-roast. My friends are very good sales people, and while they tell me Pilates will “tighten my mid-drift” and all my other “dangly-bits” I feel they just drag me along to make up the numbers. If I go “AWOL” for even one class I usually receive at least one email and or telephone call enquiring why I did not go. There’s no escape!

Yes, I know this type of exercise is good for me and we are lucky a Portuguese teacher is willing to take the group. So, stop making excuses Piglet and grasp this opportunity with both hands. However, I still can’t believe I pay good money to torture my body in this way.

I’m reflecting on all the above while driving to the beach for this week’s lesson. Pilates on the beach sounds quite hip and I like the idea. Maybe I will even discover my inner-core. Unfortunately, I soon discover Pilates on the beach in the midday sun is far from “hip”. With a skin tone of Piglet pink I play safe, and exercise in my sunglasses AND a baseball cap which is definitely not hip. My body is well oiled with sun-protection lotion which makes me look and feel a bit of a wimp. I wonder is this really a good idea in practice.

As we all trudge along the beach in the hot mid day sun to find a suitable place for the class and lay out our mats I pause to look out to sea. The effect of the sunlight dancing on the water releases the tension within, my doubts recede and I begin to relax. Perhaps Pilates on the beach is hip. But the sun is hot. I’m hot.

Sigh… I don’t want to whine, so I smile.

Finally, a spot is chosen on the hard sand and we lay out our mats and towels in a big circle. It feels almost hypnotic as I again study the sunlight dancing on the water and listen to the rhythmic sound of the waves gently lapping on the shore. A feeling of inner peace washes over me…

However, as we are about to start the lesson my friend suddenly leaps from her mat and darts across to something she has spotted in the centre of the circle. “What’s the matter?” I ask.

“We’ve formed the circle of peace round a pile of dog’s pooh” she joked, as she covered the offending matter with some large stones. “I couldn’t face staring at that all through the lesson and if you’d have spotted it you would have had a blue fit!” She replied laughing.

She is right. I look out to sea for inspiration while trying to avoid eye-contact with the mound of stones. The lesson begins and we start to contort our bodies. I roll around in the sand my legs and arms held out at angles beyond the mat. The sand sticks to the exposed body parts covered in sun protection lotion – I feel like a pork chop coated in “Paõ Rolado” (bread crumbs) Joy!

“What AM I doing here?” I ask myself as I search desperately for inspiration.

The lesson continues until the teacher decides we will split into groups of three to “give massage”. The two Portuguese women I’m partnered with are like stick-insects. I massaged their backs and legs, but it feels like I’m massaging their bones.

“You are so nice and slim” I say as I admire their beautiful toned bodies . “I wish I was slim” and sigh wistfully as I make a mental note to cut out all the buns.

It’s now my turn for a massage and as I lay face down in the sand like a grounded whale, I mutter “There is just so much of me”.

“Si, but even big fat people has muskcales” one of the Portuguese women replied. I laugh, but feel mortified.

As the lesson draws to a close a little boy wanders over to the pile of stones in the sand. My friend opens her mouth to speak, but too late. We watch in horror as he discovers why they are there…

Do you fancy joining me for Pilates on the beach?


39 thoughts on “Pilates on the Beach

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  1. You are so funny. But no, I don’t think I’ll join the class with you. However, I’d love to sit and reflect on the waves or walk down the beach. Both of those activities suit me better.


  2. My goodness you made me laugh, you should be up there with billy conolly. What a joy to read your story. I go to Pilates too, I have a bad back and apparently it is good for me but I always feel like an old woman afterward!


  3. Hi:
    I just found you thanks to The Blog Farm and I really like your post. I live in Portland, Oregon, and I’m Portuguese on my mother’s side. Mom is really proud of her heritage and I’m hoping your blog will give me fun things to share with her. I hope you’ll visit me at Chubby Chatterbox. If you press the join button I’ll return the favor. Have a great weekend.


    1. Hi Chubby, love your name! and welcome to my blog 🙂 I will zip over to the blogfarm and see if I can find you. If not please can you share your link here as it is not attached to your gravatar


  4. No, PiP. I don’t want to join you for Pilates on the beach. But I’d love to join you for mojitos on the beach! I’m not in to exercises that make you hurt. I don’t like having to struggle to be able to keep up with the class. Yoga is more my style, as the yoga instructor usually gives an alternate of the position for those that can’t do it completely. It’s relaxing but also strengthens the muscles. Have you ever tried it?


    1. Hi Shell,
      mojitos on the beach sounds a great alternative. I’ve only tried Yoga a couple of times when I was in my twenties. We learned to detach our minds from our bodies. It felt really strange. I remember the only part of my body I could feel was my eyeballs!


  5. Too funny Pip! I can commiserate because despite serious amounts of strenuous excercise and watching what I eat, I’m still well padded. Some of us just aren’t built to be stick thin, sigh. I just keep telling myself that I’m doing it all for my health, and don’t look in the mirror too often! Oh, and that sand is a great exfoliant, so your skin will look younger after rolling around in it…


    1. Hi H and fellow …hmmm well-padded person. 🙂 I would Soooooooo love to be slim. At least while we keep trying we are not getting any fatter 🙂
      I don’t know about sand being a great exfoliant, but it worked it’s way into crevices I did not know I had!


  6. I use to travel mile for my Pilates. It was in the middle of nowhere and the traffic to get there was horrendous. I would struggle through the exercises and have her tell me how much better I was getting (could have fooled me) and how much good it was doing me. Three months later and still with neck pain, I gave up and saved myself pounds… I must try Zumba, keep saying it but never do.


  7. You are hilarious. You have such a fun and delight way of telling about your adventures.
    Yes, I would love to have the opportunity to try pilates on the beach. It seems almost surreal to think of being out there among the sights and sounds of the ocean while enhancing your health. Ahhhh awesome. 🙂


  8. I wouldn’t be welcome to join you as I’m another of those slim, boney people! Nothing to do with t’ai chi, nordic walking and zumba… Did fancy Pilates but you may have put me off. Love doing t’ai chi on my sunroof in Tavira though. And anyway, I’m jealous that you should need suntan lotion at this time of year.


    1. Nothing wrong with slim boney people, I’m just JEALOUS!! LOL I’d probably enjoy T’ai chi…
      Yep, needs loads of sun lotion the weather here has been hot (well for me it is). Tavira becomes very hot, no?


      1. I try not to check the temperatures when I’m not there. Our next door neighbour’s just been out and he usually finds rain! Unseasonally warm this week here (for 2 whole days!)


  9. I’ve received an email from one of my followers advising me they are unable to leave a comment on my blog as they are “Not Logged In” is anyone else having problems? Please can you email me and let me know. (my email adress on sidebar)



  10. I had to laugh, imagining you coated in “Pao ralado”. That´s what bugs me most about the beach sand when you are oiled, and it all sticks to you! Yeww! When I last visited Adelaide, I saw Pilates lessons in a park, which I thought was an interesting concept, in the late afternoon though, so I think it might have been cooler then.


    1. Hi Sami, I never thought about the oil until I was down on the mat! I love the beach but not quite like this. Excersing late afternoon sounds better and I thought this is what I’d signed up to.


  11. Extrememely disappointed not to see a pic of a pilating piglet! Must admit you are very brave – the most exercise I get now is walking the dogs when the sun has gone down – slowly.


  12. Very funny! Like you say, the idea sounds appealing but the reality you’ve described is far from lovely and relaxing. I’m as sceptical as you about doing any form of exercise in the heat of the day without shade – sounds crazy to me.


  13. You had me crying with laughter with this. You’ve got to stick with it, if only for the blog material. Personally, I have a ‘Pilates for Dummies’ dvd – unambitious and distinctly unglamorous (and a tad underused) but it works for me!


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