It takes some effort and a bit of planning to make it to a pilates class. So when you get there, why slack? A few pro tips, and some focus, are all you need to be a smashing success.
1. Be on time:
Ok, this seems obvious, but honestly, who can focus when they’re in a rush? You need a few minutes to breathe and to tap into how your body feels today. Pilates is a mind-body exercise—you have to focus on the muscles worked to get the benefits. And while you’re at it, turn off that cell phone and leave outside distractions behind.
2. Communicate your needs to your teacher.
A great pilates class is highly customized. A certified teacher is perfectly capable of giving you a modification for that bum knee or achy neck. These simple changes will keep you comfortable and cared for. You’re worth it!
3. Listen to cues to breathe
Breathing greatly enhances the exercise by getting your deep abdominal muscles to work for you, especially on the exhale. Find breathing a bit confusing? Don’t give up! It takes time to coordinate breath with movement, even with the most experienced exercisers, but it is worth the effort.
4. Less can be more:
Pilates is all about technique, not how many springs you can load onto the machine at once. "Beginners can be spotted a mile away", says senior instructor Amy Hinkel, because they tend to muscle through the exercise rather than slowing down to perfect their form. “When I was a beginner, I was totally guilty of this” she says. But don’t worry: As you begin to feel the right way to do the exercises, the exercises actually get harder. That’s when people fall in love with Pilates.
5. Share your newfound love of Pilates with a friend.
Friends (and spouses) who plan their classes together are twice as likely to stick to a routine long term and report much greater satisfaction, both in terms of fitness levels and fun. You’ll stick to something you enjoy, and for many people, pilates is that ultimate thing. Ask how you can bring a friend into the mix—both duet sessions and introductory specials are available to get them started.
Written by Stephanie Evans, studio owner and lover of all things Pilates.