If you’re new to Pilates, here are a few FAQs to help shed some light on what to expect:
In simple terms, Pilates is a series of exercises that aim to help improve strength, flexibility and posture. The focus is on strengthening your abdominal muscles (your ‘core’) but actually every part of your body will benefit from regular Pilates sessions. Not only can it help physically but it can also be a great stress-reliever.
Pilates can either be done using a mat (and potentially with some small props such as a ball or hand weights), or using bigger pieces of specialist equipment. Both have their benefits and will challenge the body in different ways, however the equipment allows for a greater variety of exercises.
On first impression, the specialist equipment used in the studio can look a bit intimidating but please don’t worry. They simply work on a series of springs, pulleys and straps which help to create greater resistance and therefore help you to strengthen, improve your alignment and tone even more.
Absolutely anyone can benefit. The beauty of Pilates is that it honestly doesn’t matter whether you’re young, old, male, female, flexible, sporty, living life a bit on the sedentary side, getting back into shape after having a baby or recovering from an injury.
If you opt for a private lesson, I will create a tailor-made programme of exercises that are specific to your needs. This will involve a combination of both mat and equipment exercises and, as you build your strength and confidence, you will have the opportunity to try more challenging exercises to keep you motivated. There are over 500 exercises to choose from so one thing is guaranteed: you will never get bored!
In my mat classes, I provide variations on exercises so that they are accessible to everyone and can be made more or less challenging depending on how you feel. I keep my classes small (no more than 12 people usually) so clients feel like I’m on hand to help if they need it. There’s a great sense of camaraderie and fun too…I like to inject a bit of humour and lightheartedness into the proceedings because, in my opinion, exercise should be there to be enjoyed not endured!
I completely understand that trying something new can feel a bit nerve-wracking. My aim is to make you feel as comfortable as possible and if you want to have a chat with me before you sign up, then let me know and I’ll be only too happy to talk through any of your questions. If you’ve never tried Pilates before and are nervous about coming along to a group class, I’d recommend you book in for a private lesson in my studio first so I can teach you some of the basics and so you can get to know me a bit.
Most people wear gym kit – leggings and a t-shirt for example. You want to make sure that the clothes you wear are comfortable and allow for ease of movement without any restriction but aren’t too loose so they get caught in the springs. Gents, I would recommend wearing cycling shorts either on their own or underneath looser shorts if you feel more comfortable.
You should also wear a clean pair of socks – it’s not essential to buy specialist Pilates socks with non-slip soles, although some people prefer these.
Pilates isn’t really a cardio workout but don’t let that fool you into thinking you won’t work hard! You may want to bring a water bottle and a little towel – filtered water is provided.