Beginners may decide to try Pilates because they have heard it can lead to a longer, leaner physique, sculpted abs, core strength and perfect posture. Although Pilates is a fantastic solution for lots of bodies, it is not an easy one. In fact, the very opposite tends to be true. Beginning and Basic Pilates can be so beneficial for students of all abilities, yet very challenging physically and mentally. So, what are some of the most useful pieces of advice that those who are just starting their journey could use?
Know What to Bring
Going to one’s first Pilates class can be nerve-wracking. Beginners may not know what to expect, how to behave in the class or arrive with a lot of unanswered questions. Do your research-call or email the studio to see what most folks are doing, bringing and wearing! Fortunately, according to a Pilates instructor Julie Gagnon-Erickson, it is a pretty safe bet to start your workout wearing closely fitted clothes, carry a water bottle and mat, and be sure to bring a change of clothes in case you work up a sweat.
Know the Unspoken Etiquette
Pilates has some unwritten rules that class members are expected to recognize. These exist to ensure that the class runs smoothly and does not fall victim to interruption. Some of the most common examples would be:
- Avoid excessive chatting during class time;
- Avoid being late as it is dangerous to begin a Pilates workout without a proper warm-up;
- Be sure that you are signed up for the proper level class;
- Don’t be a no-show, most studios have long waitlists for their classes.
Having Questions is Normal!
It takes a good instructor seven years to learn Pilates-it is absolutely normal for beginners to have questions, confusion or feel overwhelmed after his or her first Pilates class. In fact, Julie Gagnon-Erickson would say that those who have nothing to ask may not truly be a beginner. Have the courage to ask questions about the class and Pilates! Ask about your teacher’s background, the equipment and what inspired other students to give the workout a try. Don’t be afraid to inquire of others-Pilates teachers and students love to share their experiences with others!
Be Transparent with the Instructor
Be sure to let the instructor know of any injuries or illnesses that you may have had in the near or distant past. Nothing is too small to mention and can make the difference between a pleasant experience in your Pilates class and one that doesn’t feel as good. An experienced instructor will be able to offer modifications for exercises that will benefit your mind and body!
Be Aware of the Spiritual and Emotional Benefits
Pilates is Stretch, with Strength and Control. Joseph Pilates called his regimen Contrology and wanted his students to discover how to control the actions of the body via the mind. Although Pilates prioritizes muscle strengthening, it is equally important to understand the importance of the mind and body connection in every movement sequence. Similar to Yoga, Pilates requires a student to focus on the work that he or she is doing. This encourages participants to turn off their phones, ignore their to-do list and spend an hour focusing on creating a better physical self.
Drink Enough Water and Nourish Properly
Lastly, hydration is an integral part of taking a Pilates class. Drinking enough fluids is a requirement of life. Pilates is a regimen that requires muscles to work beyond their normal scope, thus requiring an extra expenditure of energy. Ensuring a proper level of hydration for optimal cell performance is a key component for any exercise program. Be sure to plan your meals wisely- a snack like a banana or granola bar is perfect a couple hours before your Pilates class. Keep the big meals for later!