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Pilates and yoga benefit men, too

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“I probably look like a meathead, but I’m really not,” said Jim Hirt of Woodstock. At 6 feet 8 and about 270 pounds, Hirt spends four to five days a week lifting weights at his local Life Time Fitness. Four months ago, to the surprise of his weight-lifting buddies, he added Pilates to his exercise routine. “Usually guys think that Pilates is for girls,” Hirt said. “I had that same stigma. [I thought] it was really easy. It’s anything but easy.” A jet engine mechanic for Delta Air Lines, Hirt injured his back at work and had to undergo two surgeries in two years. Holly Loeb, a personal trainer for Life Time, suggested that he try Pilates to help reduce his back pain. He now does Pilates with Loeb once a week, often on the reformer -- a large wooden apparatus with pulleys and springs. Sometimes they do moves on the mat as well. “I started feeling the effects about five or six weeks afterward,” Hirt said. “My midsection almost feels reborn. Unless I have to really bend over, I don’t even feel like I’ve ever been operated on.” Jessica Loncar, a physical therapist, Pilates instructor and co-owner of Stability Pilates and Physical Therapy in Sandy Springs

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Pilates and yoga benefit men, too