Sarah Sapora recently tried her first class after letting go of the idea that the workout is only suited for thin women.

By Renee Cherry
banusevim/Getty Images

Here's a little exercise: Search "reformer Pilates" on Google images and see how long it takes you to find a photo of a woman who's not thin. Settle in, because you'll probably be scrolling for a long time. (TBH, though, that applies to basically all fitness stock photos.)

So it's easy to see why women with larger bodies might feel like they don't belong in most workout classes—especially a Pilates reformer class. When you only see a certain body type doing a specific workout, it's natural to feel intimidated or that your body is limited in it's capable of doing.

That's why self-love mentor and wellness advocate, Sarah Sapora has been sharing footage of her own Pilates workouts, along with her advice for beginners: To inform those who might be hesitant to try the workout, and prove that all bodies are capable of these movements. As she wrote in one of her recent posts, "It's important to see a larger body DOING things so that you know you are safe to do them too." (Related: An Open Letter to Women Who Feel Like They Don't Belong In the Gym)

Sapora's Pilates journey began a few weeks ago when she posted a short review after her first Pilates session. (She dove in headfirst, biasing mat Pilates, with a reformer class.) "It was a lot more body-friendly than I thought it would be!" she captioned her video from the class.

But, getting on and off the reformer was a little awkward, and she had to modify two exercises during the class, Sapora went on to explain. "I worked under the impression that Pilates was for slender women only... it is not. In ANY way shape or form," she wrote. "If you carry a lot of weight in your midsection you might need to modify more. Never be scared to do that."

After her third class, Sapora posted an update with more advice. "If you have a larger body like mine and your studio uses Cadillac reformers, use one!!" she suggested in her caption. (Reformers have a moving carriage that's attached to springs, and Cadillacs have a wider, stationary platform.)

She also advocated for modifying when necessary and speaking up during class to make sure you're still targeting the right muscles while making changes. (Related: How to Use a Pilates Reformer for Beginners)

Sapora's latest Pilates post was celebratory. She nailed an exercise that involved sliding in and out of a plank while holding the back bar.

"I am SO proud of myself!" she wrote in her caption. "Today during Pilates class I did this movement - I have no idea what it is called but I have skipped it the past few weeks," she shared. "Not only that, but I actually LIKED it and want to do it more. This is nearly 290 lbs of woman moving herself back and forth here, so to say I'm pleased to be able to engage my core like this is an understatement." (Related: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Pilates)

Sapora's tips will no doubt inspire some of her followers who've felt intimidated by the reformer to try it out. Whether you've felt scared to try a workout because of your weight, or even because it just looks hard AF, let Sapora's posts be a source of encouragement to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. (BTW, trying something new has health benefits in and of itself.)

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