Ready to start Pilates – All your questions answered

I am very fond of the following quote of Joseph Pilates: “Physical fitness can neither be acquired by wishful thinking nor outright purchase”. Yes, you will have to do the work once you decide to make some changes in your lifestyle. You are responsible for your own self-care and happiness.

Self-care means being aware – being connected with your body, having control over your body and understanding what your body/brain is telling you. Happiness goes hand in hand with self-care, health and fitness. Feeling fit and healthy inside and out is the best requisite of happiness! The more you practise, you may become more in tune with your energy fluctuations, stress, tension, aches and pains, stiffness and other discomforts. However, working through that, will require discipline and you will, over time, begin feeling healthy and fit. Is that not a powerful feeling?

I also love this quote by Bruce Lee: “A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”

During the first session with my client, I spend some time discussing his or her goals, plans and intentions. I believe it is very important to start there. What you are trying to gain by practising Pilates? What results are you wanting to achieve?

Over the years I have been asked various questions about Pilates and how to get started with Pilates practice. This blog might help you find some answers.

How many times a week should I practise Pilates?

Joseph Pilates wrote in his book ‘Return to Life” to perform Contrology four times a week for 3 months. He recommends starting with a few exercises for 10 minutes without a fail, and then, if time permits, increasing to twenty or more minutes until you complete the entire Mat repertoire. Start simple. Completing the entire mat work out may be too much to begin with, so I recommend setting up a timer for 10 minutes during the first few days. Assign yourself a small amount of exercises you can finished in that short amount of time. Progress your practice day by day, gradually. Just like learning a language or the piano, you will see faster results with more frequent practices.

Rewards equal the effort you put into your practice.
When is the best time to practice?

This is totally up to you. You want to create a very maintainable habit of practising Pilates. I am a morning person and I like to make time for my work-outs early in the morning. If I have time, on the weekends and holidays, my favourite time for Pilates is around mid day, when my body is somewhat warmed up and mobile. If you work out first thing in the morning, allow yourself a little extra time for a warm up, since your body temperature might be still lower. If you work out late at night, allow a little extra time to lower your heart rate and body temperature between your workout and bedtime to avoid having a hard time falling asleep.

What is the most economical pricing option for me?

You can find Pilates classes at health and fitness clubs, Pilates studios, Recreation centers (such as YMCAs and JCCs), Wellness centers and rehabilitation clinics.

What appeals to you, will depend on how you like to work out, your schedule, and how much you want to spend. Whatever setting you choose for your experience as a Pilates beginner, it should provide an appropriate mind-body atmosphere, encouraging you to concentrate and staying focused.

If working out with others helps you stay motivated and focused, and if you enjoy the company of others and the discipline of scheduled classes to keep you on track, a group reformer or mat class may be the best fit for you. Most group classes typically carry a fee.

You may prefer the solitude and flexibility of working out alone. If you have a hard time with a regularly-scheduled class, Pilates at home may be the best for you. My favourite site to participate in classes from the comfort of my home is Pilates Anytime. You can watch videos on your computer, iPad, smart phone, or TV. If you travel a lot you can work out anytime, anywhere you go. PA adds about 5 new class videos every week. They offer classes at all levels, from beginner to advanced.

I recommend taking a class or two at your local studio as a smart and safe way to begin Pilates. The investment will be well worth it. Good Pilates technique, includes detailed movement and breathing techniques, that are best explained and demonstrated by a qualified instructor.

If you prefer personalized, one-on-one Pilates experience, customized to your individual goals or specific needs, private Pilates sessions are the best bet, if your budget permits.

In my studio, you get exactly what you pay for.

Is Pilates expensive? Pilates is not any more expensive then any other personal service. Look at it this way: You get your nails and hair done, you get your massage and similar body treatments all done in a private setting. A Pilates session is no different and the benefit can last a life time.

In addition, Pilates is offered at physical therapy clinics. If you have been injured or are seeking physical therapy for chronic neck and back pain, hip/knee replacements, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, scoliosis or other conditions, research is showing that Pilates can be an effective treatment.

How many private sessions do I need before doing classes?

Each Pilates studio has different requirements for how many private sessions you need before joining a class.

Some studios have classes for beginners. Typically, you get started in a group class of peers with no previous Pilates experience where you progressively learn the “building blocks” or “Pre-Pilates work” until you get more comfortable and ready for more traditional flow of a Pilates class.

Some studios try to find a duo or a trio partner for a beginner client. Those clients have very similar movement abilities and/or prefer to work out with a partner. This can make a private session a bit more affordable.

I recommend a minimum of two to five private sessions to prepare my client for a group class.

What should I wear to class?

Were comfortable and supportive clothes, that are form fitting but not restrictive. Avoid zippers and snaps. When lying on your back or stomach or rolling over, a protruding piece is extremely uncomfortable. Avoid clothing that is too loose – a loose shirt can slip right down over your head in the inverted positions, or a loose leg of a pant can get stack in the spring of the Reformer. Long hair should be tied up in an elastic might for the same reason. Barefoot is recommended. However, some studios require wearing socks with sticky soles, e.g. Toesox.

Should or will I be sore the next day?

You might be sore a little bit in the beginning, when starting Pilates, especially if you are not used to movement. And when you change your routine and learn more advance exercises, you may experience soreness again. Each time you perform an exercise the soreness, which is a small microtear of the cells of the muscle fibers, contributes to muscles strengthening. This gets better, as the body adapts to the movement. Depending on the intensity of your Pilates workout, you could do Pilates daily. However, taking a day or two break from Pilates, if you are very sore and need to recover, might be a good idea. I find that, if I need it, a nice rest from Pilates could be a swift walk in the fresh air.

Can I bring a friend to my session?

Working out with a friend or two might be very desirable and fun for some people. Many studios offer duo or trio sessions (semi-private session) for clients with similar Pilates and movement experience. Duo sessions still offer a great amount of private attention. Trios are a great way to enjoy the benefit of personalized training at a reasonable rate.

In my studio, I offer duo and trio sessions for Pilates mat, Reformer and Wunda chair workouts.
I am not strong enough; can I do Pilates?

Pilates is a system of exercises. Pilates is a progressive technique with many movements (building blocks) so you can always do some exercises easily and work on the harder ones at your own speed. Each Pilates series range from basic to advanced movements in terms of strength, flexibility and coordination. Pilates focuses on a lower number of repetitions and moving your body in variety of ways.

For example, instead of doing 50 crunches, you would do 3-5 reps of 10 different abdominal moves. This way, your muscles are challenges diversely, many more muscles are involved, and simultaneously your brain is being challenged to control and coordinate it all.

I often hear that “Pilates is easy…. until you learn how to do it correctly,” and that is true. Trust me, I have been there. But to me, Pilates is a lot of fun. It involves creativity and imagination. The more focus and energy you put into the work, the harder it becomes, but it becomes more pleasing at the same time. As I mentioned earlier, you can choose how much effort you put into your practice, and that will determine the level of challenge.

Pilates is a practice, the more you do it, the better you become.
Will Pilates make me taller?

Pilates helps you find space and length in your body. If you are a sedentary type and spend a lot of time at a computer, your spinal muscles become weaker and more accustomed to a rounded position. Pilates helps to stretch the fascia layers, strengthens the musculature, reinforces the muscles memory and prevents the body from returning to these patterns. So yes, you might look like you are standing an inch taller! Pilates will improve your physique and make you feel great! This is what I call a boost of a quality of life – being happy, confident and proud of your body!

Is Pilates cardio-vascular exercise?

Pilates has a rap of being incredibly slow workout, sometimes being compared to stretching or a physiotherapy. I love to get a good and sweaty workout a few times a week. And, it might surprise you, Pilates can do just that for you. Pilates is personalized to many levels of difficulties, so it is up to you, how much effort and drive you put into your own workout. Reading my previous blogs on Cardio Workout and Movement and Mitochondria might help you to determine, how much cardio you need. One thing I know for sure, Pilates can enhance other movement modalities, boost the efficiency of your other workouts, prevent injuries and improve your everyday life activities.

Can I experience a weight loss with Pilates?

Yes, you might. Pilates promotes circulation, shows benefits of better digestion and efficient working of the lymphatic system. Of course, your diet and your lifestyle will play a big role in the process of losing weight with Pilates.

Interesting fact: Performing an advanced mat workout, the way it was designed, without stopping, can burn up to 300 calories in 30 minutes.

Can I do Pilates if I am injured?

Firstly, check with your doctor or your physical therapist and get a permission from them. The answers will vary depending on the severity of your injury and the time elapsed since the injury. Pilates can be personalized to fit your needs. Although Pilates should challenge you – you should not feel any kinds of sharp pain, aches and discomforts. Pilates can be an effective treatment and help you “return to life” again, getting you stronger and bringing you back to the levels you were prior to the injury, or even better!

Can I do Pilates if I am not flexible?

Pilates balances the body uniformly, so that inflexible muscles, neglected muscles and locked joints can experience the benefits of movement again. Circulation and balanced movement are the key to get everything in your body moving again. So “Yes”, is the answer. And your mind will also benefit – tension in the body can cause feelings of stress and tiredness.

Do I need a mat or Pilates props?

I do provide my clients at my home studio with mats. I do not travel with a mat. While in a hotel, I use a towel on a carpeted floor. You can absolutely invest in a nice thick mat or simply stack a couple of yoga mats. We do a lot of rolling on our spine and hips in Pilates, so it is important to protect our bones from hard surfaces.

Pilates props can intensify or help with your practice. I provide props for my clients. By any means props are not required for Pilates practice.

To name a few, I like to add a Magic Circle to a workout for better lower abdominals connections. I like to use One pound hands weights to add a bit of resistance, Stability balls of various sizes to target different muscles, Resistance bends, Pads, Pillows to help keep the body parts in a correct alignment. I also use Weighted poles or dowels for tangible feedback. Props are fun to try and play with.

What happens if I get sick and need to cancel? 

I appreciate a 24-hour cancellation notice. Email, text, phone call – any of these are great ways of letting me know that you are unable to participate in a class or attend your private session. I absolutely understand a cancellation at a very last minute, life happens.

How do I sign up for classes?

The best way to sign up for a class is to contact me via email or my website. I offer Introduction to Pilates, Pilates Mat Classes, Piloxing® and Essentrics™  group classes several times a week in my Andrea Dean Pilates & Movement studio within Crossing Dance Studio in Midnapore, Calgary.

You can try any class for free. After that, drop-in fees and package rates are available. Another great option is to Sign-Up to subscribe to my newsletters and receive a free 30 Minute Assessment!

How do I schedule a private session?

The best way to schedule a private session is to contact me via email or my website. Another great option is to Sign-Up to subscribe to my newsletters and receive a free 30 Minute Assessment!

If you have any other questions or comments, please submit them below or send me a private message and I will be happy to expand on this blog.

Join Me!


No Comments

Post A Comment