Reformers look more like some sort of torture device than a piece of exercise equipment, and they’re are as evil as they are effective. When signing up for your first class on a reformer “apparatus” (yep, that’s what ol’ Joe Pilates wanted us to call them—because “reformer” wasn’t intimidating enough on it’s own), you might be under the delusion that you’ll spend most of the class on your back with your legs in the air.
You’re in for a rude awakening, sweetie. This is how it really feels to get on a Pilates reformer for the first time:
1. You’re greeted by gorgeous desk attendants and free gum.
2. As you head over to pick your reformer, you wonder what could be so bad about something that looks a whole lot like a bed…
3. Until you notice the straps and handles and pulleys and dumbbells and springs.
Wait, WTF do all of these things do?
4. The instructor asks if anyone is new, so you raise your hand reluctantly.
Oh, just me? Cool. It’s cool.
5. Your instructor—definitely named Courtney—glides over to your spot and starts explaining the parts of the reformer.
6. Class begins. You can’t leave. You’re in it now, and you’re going to figure this thing out like the smart, capable human you are.
7. Courtney starts you off with “cannonballs,” which sound super fun!
8. They are NOT fun.
DOES THIS THING VIBRATE OR DO I VIBRATE OR WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME????
9. You have officially discovered 80 new muscles you previously didn’t know existed because they’re suddenly all shaking.
10. And you instantly regret grabbing five-pound weights.
11. You get through the lunge series but realize you have to do all of the same moves on the other leg too:
Honestly, I’m fine with being a little uneven. Just make it stop.
12. Courtney sees you struggling and says that you can go down to a lighter spring if you want to make moving the carriage “easier.”
SCREW YOU, COURTNEY!!!
13. Then, mid-mermaid, you hear it: “30 seconds left, and then we’re on to our finisher!” OK… You. Can. Do. This.
14. With a renewed sense of strength, you pop your feet on the carriage and pike like your life depends on it.
15. It’s over. You’re incredible. You wonder if everyone at work will notice how toned you just got and schedule your next class on your way out the door.
Jamey Powell is Greatist’s associate fitness editor, as well as a cycling instructor, yoga teacher, and triathlete. When she isn’t sweating, she’s usually eating or trying to pet someone’s dog. You can follow her antics on Instagram.