Shape Shifters works participants to the core 07/28/2010 Edward Health & Fitness instructor – and mom of teenagers – Deanna Murray found inspiration for her latest class while reading the “Twilight” series.
The author had a name for people who turn into werewolves and back again: shape-shifters.
“And I thought, ‘Ooh, that’s a cool name for a class,’” she said.
Participants in Shape Shifters won’t have as dramatic of a body change as human to wolf. But Murray said they should notice a difference in the way they hold their bodies, thanks to a class that strengthens core muscles, increases flexibility and revs up the cardiovascular system.
Murray explained that Shape Shifters is an interval class, in which participants will do a cardio warm-up, use weights or bands, and then use the Pilates Reformer in different ways at different stations. The Reformer resembles a rowing machine but allows users to lie on their backs or sides and complete Pilates exercises with varying resistance.
“You may refer to it as an archaic medieval torture machine,” Murray said. “It’s got strings and pulleys, so it looks a little weird.”
She developed the class in an interval style based on science that shows those workouts are more effective than just lifting weights or just doing cardio.
“You burn more calories, and you get a whole-body workout in one hour,” Murray said.
She recommends the class for anyone who is injury-free because it includes jumping exercises that make Shape Shifters medium to high impact. It also might include a small dose of Murray’s next new class: hula hooping.
“The guys might not be happy with that, but they’re the ones who really need it,” she said. “They can’t move their hips for anything.”
She reminds participants that the Pilates approach is all about controlling the spine. Even when her students do leg work, she asks, “Where’s your spine? Is it in a safe position?” While working on spine control, she also works to dispel misconceptions about “core” workouts.
“The word ‘core,’ people think it’s just abs,” Murray said. “But the core is everything attached to your spine – your hips, your legs, your abs, up to your shoulders and shoulder blades, so almost everything in your body. … It’s an amazing amount of muscles. It’s amazing how everything is connected.”