Nationwide Pilates craze hits Craig

Across America, new health crazes have emerged and disappeared as quickly as Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken. In the search for health and fitness, many people in Craig and across that nation are casting their votes for Pilates.

"I started with Tae Bo, then went to yoga, and then found Pilates," said Paula Phillips. "It's the best," she said.

This is Phillips' third semester taking Pilates through Colorado Northwestern Community College, the only Pilates classes offered in Craig.

"I've seen muscles on me that I've never seen before," she said.

Phillips swears by her instructor, Cammi Montieth, who also is a nutritionist and massage therapist. Montieth has been teaching Pilates since 2000 and is the only certified instructor in Craig.

According to The Pilates Studio at www.pilates-studio.com, Pilates is an "exercise system focused on improving flexibility and strength for the total body without building bulk. (It) is not just exercise, however. It is a series of controlled movements engaging your body and mind, performed on specifically designed exercise apparatus and supervised by extensively trained teachers."

Montieth said that since she started Pilates, she probably weighs more because of added muscle but that she looks much thinner and more streamlined.

"Pilates changes the body so fast," she said.

Montieth teaches four classes each week and says people get involved in Pilates for a wide range of reasons, including weight loss, stress relief and back strengthening.

Tammy Workman is an aerobics instructor at Trapper Health Club and is one of three instructors getting certified in Pilates this August. Workman will begin teaching classes this fall.

"I think people like it because it's getting away from the pounding of other exercise," she said. "Some people have the concept that if you don't sweat, you're not getting exercise, but Pilates will change your body as much as weight-lifting."

CNCC offers two levels of Pilates and a yoga/Pilates combination class, all held at the Trapper Health Club. These classes are the most popular physical education classes at CNCC, with 25 people enrolled in the basic Pilates class. Many were turned away because they had to limit the class size.

Mary Shearer, Director of Public Information and Community Education for CNCC in Craig, said two more classes may be added in the fall. To encourage community members to take advantage of opportunities through the college, CNCC offers a Moffat County resident scholarship, through which Moffat County residents do not have to pay tuition for any credit class, only the student fees.

"It's all about the opportunities," Shearer said.

Montieth said that Pilates was invented in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates, a physical trainer, so this exercise is nothing new. She said supplementing Pilates with cardiovascular exercise is ideal but thinks Pilates gives a complete, full body workout.

To register for classes at CNCC, visit www.cncc.edu or call 824-1100.

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