I can honestly say that that first hour changed my life.

Growing up, I was the stereotypical Fat Kid; I dreaded gym class, ate donuts for lunch and watched the afternoon movie instead of riding bikes with my brothers. As an adult, I battled the results of a lifetime of physical inactivity and poor diet – back problems, flabby physique and a sluggish disposition. I had no energy, was depressed over how I looked and waged a daily battle with my fickle digestive system.

Finally, I realized that enough was enough. I made up my mind to get healthy and firm the flab. But I found the gym much too daunting for someone whose only workout was dragging the trash cans into the street on trash day.

Then, I heard about Pilates on the set of one of my movies. And it wasn’t from the actresses, but from many of the crew (gotta love Hollywood). And these guys and gals looked HOT. And what do you know? A work colleague happened to have her own Pilates studio.

It took me nearly a year (Yeah, I know; I’m a wuss.) before I gathered my courage to book my first appointment with Stephanie at In & Up Pilates. And in hindsight, I can honestly say that that first hour changed my life. Seriously. Changed. My. Life.

Stephanie was patient, instructive and calming. She explained what the ultimate purpose was for each exercise and the proper form for achieving it. After my initial private sessions (3, which seemed to be the perfect number for getting your feet wet and feeling confident enough to join a class), I was feeling like I could really do this.

After a few months, I knew I was strong enough to take Pilates’ 30-Day Challenge – 30 daily classes to achieve a whole new body. When I completed the challenge (and simultaneously instituted a major change in my diet and the way I ate), I became the strongest, tonest, sleekest I had ever been. In my life.

Now, nearly three since that first hour with Stephanie, I have come to realize that Pilates has set me free in a way that I would never have imagined. Feeling stronger and looking good (30 inch waist – down from 34!) has given me a social confidence that I have NEVER had. I can mingle at industry events and not feel like a schlub amongst so many of LA’s “beautiful people,” and hold my own in any situation with back straight, chest out, and tummy pulled in and up.

I’m also free of chronic fatigue, sore back and poor posture – ailments that have dogged me my entire adult life.

One of the unexpected benefits to a regular Pilates schedule and healthy diet is the ability to maintain my current weight when the holidays come around and I tend to “overindulge” just a little. ;) I know that the mat workouts will help keep me slim and toned until the last of the Christmas cookies are gone. But you do actually have to go – LFMF! LOL.

So, thank you, Stephanie and In & Up Pilates, for setting me free from insecurity and an unhealthy future. You rock!


Rodney Johnson