I Did Pilates Every Day for a Month & Here's What Happened

With appearances on Dr. Oz and Steve Harvey, a cover spread in Health, and over five million YouTube subscribers, Cassey Ho is nothing less than a fitness superstar. She’s also the creator of Pop Pilates, an “equipment-free workout” that integrates upbeat music and an extended network of “Popsters” into the mix. Along with Cassey’s YouTube channel, where her videos help you to sweat, burn, and sculpt, she has also started a network of trained instructors, who have been taking the virtual gym to reality at 24 Hour Fitness locations around the world since early 2015.

Cassey creates a monthly workout schedule, offering six days a week and a rest day, to anyone who subscribes to her newsletter. She also offers a Beginner's Program: 28 days (including the four rest days) meant to get you ready to do her monthly calendars. Although I’d been subscribed to Cassey’s channel, Blogilates, for a while, I’d mostly done her workouts as an add-on after a run or bike. However, recently, I set out with four weeks, a yoga mat and some willpower. One month later, here was my experience.

Pilates is all about core strength and flexibility. Most of the moves only require a yoga mat and your own bodyweight! Along with repetition and interval training associated with the moves — there are poses to target every part of your body! —  there is also a good deal of stretching that comes with pilates, and it really makes a big difference! Light cardio is also essential for warming up your muscles before you begin your workout. Most of what sets Pop Pilates from regular pilates is the fun, upbeat atmosphere that Cassey has created, which utilized popular music to motivate your workout!

Having only done one video at the time, I was initially surprised by how short the workouts were. They ranged from around 30 to 50 minutes throughout the four weeks.

The first day, around the 19-minute mark, I was having a hard time pushing through, but I made it to the end. It was very motivating! The best part is that there is no equipment needed and I don’t need to go to the gym. The website also makes it extremely easy to find the videos to do each day. The first week, my body was sore daily, which made motivating me to do the workouts more difficult. However, Cassey made it clear that everyone was at different levels, and even though not being able to do all the moves, or taking breaks was disheartening, it turned out that it wasn’t that difficult to make it through the first week.

I’ve heard that getting through the second week of anything is the hardest part. This is the make or break stage. Week 2 was the first time when I physically was unable to do a move (windshield wiper abs), but what really helped me was seeing all of the comments below the videos, of people sharing encouragement and similar stories as mine. It was so great to see an area of the Internet so full of positivity, which is so rare these days. I felt that I was less sore during week 2, but I also came to realize the limits of my flexibility and set the long-term goals of arm strength and leg/back flexibility to my routine. Cassey also has a lot of videos solely dedicated to becoming more flexible, including a whole 28 days of stretching the inner legs to achieve the splits!

By week 3, I was actually supplementing some of my workouts with additional videos or cardio. However, I also had a very busy week and had to take an extra break day. It was tough to break the schedule, but I needed to listen to my body, as I was having a really bad headache, and needed rest.

Week 4 was when I re-did the video from the first day (pilates for beginners) with no breaks. It felt like a huge improvement to me. At this point, most nights I did not go to bed feeling sore anymore. All it took was four weeks to reach that point. On one of the last days, Cassey discussed accepting your body at every stage of your fitness journey, and that mental well being was just as important as physical, which was so refreshing to hear from a personal trainer. So, after 28 days of pilates, I crossed off the last day on the calendar, and I was done.

The best part of all of this was knowing I could stick to an exercise schedule. What really helped was having the calendar with every day planned, and keeping it somewhere I would see often. For me, this was my desktop background. The Popster community was motivation, and I felt that I had someone to hold me accountable for this experience and completing the calendar. I also kept a journal of every day: how the workout went, how I felt about it, and what I wanted to work on. Pilates might not be for everyone, but this was a great challenge for me. I felt such a sense of accomplishment from completing the calendar, and can’t wait to start Cassey’s monthly plans when next month starts. Without weights, without a gym, I could feel my muscles changing with only my own body weight and a yoga mat. How cool is that? Whatever motivates you, whatever you want to accomplish, don’t let fear hold you back. Try it! Go for it! Only you can decide what path you choose. Once you see that you can, nothing will be able to hold you back.

Header image: Gigi Hadid / Instagram / Kylie Jenner / Instagram