First things, first, this is not a Love is Blind review. But, if it was, I would say the couples left a lot to be desired this season, while the drama was top tier.
The show may not be the best at creating love matches, except for Amber and Barnett and my absolute favorites Lauren and Cam! While I was personally not here for the couples, (individually some of them do seem like genuinely great people) I was here for Pilates Raven. Sure, doing jumping jacks while someone is being vulnerable does not say, “please tell me more,” or “I am here for you,” but it does say “I am passionate about fitness.”
For Bartise, the jumping jacks meant there was essentially little to no emotional connection with Raven, though, an episode or two after, (I am not really sure and, again this isn’t a LIB review) it was the “passion for fitness similarity” that led to him regretting his decision to pull the plug on their relationship too soon, that and the fact that she is a “smokeshow.” If you’re wondering, Raven’s response to Bartise’s newfound but also, reignited interest while being whole engaged to Nancy was perfection.
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Drama aside, my love for Pilates and Raven’s need to work out in the pods made me think she would be great to learn from. While I have taken a few mat classes, I really am a reformer Pilates princesa, as Raven affectionately calls her students. The reformer is an exercise machine that has a frame, and a moving carriage attached to springs. Like mat Pilates, it offers the benefits of increased strength, balance and flexibility through low impact workouts. For me, it also provides extra support that makes me feel a bit more comfortable.
However, I’ve always wanted to challenge myself and get back to mat classes, so I thought Raven’s online workouts to be a great start. I tried her Pilates Barre Cardio Workout to Lose Weight, Improve Stamina and Balance, a part of her November five-day challenge and added on her 15 Min Pilates Reformer on the Mat Workout for Arms and Upper Body for a little razzle dazzle.
Here are my thoughts:
- The workouts were challenging but open level, so if you are a beginner, you should definitely give it a try!
- She does a great job of explaining why she is doing a particular exercise and what it is doing for your body, which is again helpful if you are new to Pilates or out of practice.
- I felt really in tune with my body, which I think is the goal of the challenge. My body has been through so many changes in the last two years that sometimes it does not feel like my own. These workouts made me slow down and really take notice of my body and how it moves.
- Her workouts gave me the best of both worlds. I was able to get back to mat workouts but get a little reformer action. As I’ve mentioned I love reformer classes; I take them more often because of the support they provide and it also makes more sense to use my Classpass credits to do something I’m unable to do at home.
- I know spot reduction isn’t a thing, but I know in my heart that arm and upper body workout did something.
All in all, I plan to finish the challenge and continue doing the Pilates Body by Raven workouts. The Pilates Raven you see on Love is Blind, is the Pilates Raven you get on YouTube which is what I need and enjoy in a Pilates instructor. She is encouraging and expects you to do your best whether you can do the exercise as is or you need to modify it. I especially liked that she did not take herself too seriously, allowing us to see her wobble when trying to balance, and sing as she does on LIB.
I am not a beginner, but Pilates classes can still be very intimidating for me. I am well aware of the Black girl Pilates community— thanks to the Black Girl Pilates IG, but the classes I frequent are predominantly white. I haven’t had a Black instructor in two years, and while it may not be a huge deal to some, it is to me. Whenever I walk into a class, I look around for someone else who looks like me, almost like a reflex. More often than not I am in my head when I get into class, wondering if I stick out too much. On the off chance that I do see another Black woman, there is always an instant connection, an affirming look that gives I see you, you got this, we are allowed to be here as our full selves.
I’ve only done two of the Pilates Body by Raven workouts but I am already sold. While the workouts are virtual, seeing her take up space in this space gives me the extra push I need to go into these in person classes with my big hair and long nails. Now that the Love is Blind finale is out, I am confident when I say that Pilates Body by Raven was the best thing to come out of this season, for me at least. Have you tried her workouts? Let us know in the comments below!
Ashley Fern is a Brooklyn based writer. She is a health copywriter by day and holds an M.S in Publishing. Her interests include exploring health, wellness and beauty through the lens of Black women.