The first time you try anything new can be a bit daunting! But for some reason, people perceive pilates classes to come with an extra air of “avoid this if you don’t know what you’re doing.” Maybe it’s all the straps and springs on the reformer, maybe it’s the exercise names that you’ve never heard before, (What’s this “pilates hundreds” thing?) or maybe it’s the graceful and super flexible instructors who look like professional dancers (and often also are!)
If you’ve wanted to try pilates but something has been holding you back, now’s your time to try it out. Pilates offers a multitude of benefits to your body, and is suitable for everyone regardless of age or fitness ability. You’ll tone up, improve your posture, focus on bodily alignment, and definitely get a massive core workout!
Whether you’re on the mat or reformer machine, you can reap the same benefits.
Want to know what the hype is all about? Here’s our top 5 things a pilates newbie needs to know to enjoy their first class:
1. There are two types of pilates classes – mat and reformer classes
You’ll be tackling a class that’s based on either a mat, or a machine called a reformer, which is a sliding carriage complete with stationary foot bar, springs, straps and pulleys that provide resistance to help tone the body.
Both options focus on the concept of control rather than cranking out endless reps or muscle exhaustion. In pilates, your muscles are working to lift against gravity and (in the case of the reformer) the resistance of the springs or bands, with the ultimate goal of strengthening and isolating the right muscles. Many clients love the feeling of being on a reformer – the machine gives you added resistance and a sliding surface which challenges your workout.
Regardless of which class you try, your goal should be to take your time with the exercises, focus on the task at hand, and connect to your breath.
Reformer Pilates is highly addictive!
2. You’ll feel your muscles burn during class, and you may be sore the next day
Whilst you’re not smashing high-intensity exercises like lifting heavy dumbells or doing burpies, the mostly bodyweight routines that pilates classes offer can be pretty intense! Plus, by focussing on specific, smaller muscle groups in a controlled way means that you’ll work the muscles that each exercise intends. Many clients say they’ve felt sore the next day in muscles they never knew existed! Don’t worry, your body will get more used to the movements with time. Being sore the next day doesn’t mean you’re out of shape; it just means you’re challenging your muscles in new ways or working muscle groups that don’t usually get much attention.
Feel the burn in Mat Pilates
3. Wear form fitting clothes and don’t forget your grip socks!
Even if you typically prefer loose-fitting workout wear, you’re going to want to wear more body-hugging options for pilates classes. This way, the instructor can see your movements better and your clothes don’t get caught in springs or other equipment.
Sneakers are not required, so we ask that all clients wear socks in class for hygiene. Non-slip grip socks are the best choice for safety and we sell these at reception.
4. Expect to hear strange lingo and look to regulars for help
Every workout from Xtend Barre to yoga has its own set of terminology, pilates included. You’ll hear phrases like “lateral breathing”, “engage your pelvic floor” and “peel through your spine” which means a slow movement from vertebra to vertebra. You’ll get used to this with time.
In the meantime, look to regulars who catch on to the instructions quickly. The best way to do this? Put yourself in the middle and front of the room. Whether it’s on a reformer or a mat, planting yourself in the centre allows you an optimal view of all of the action.
5. Pilates should be part of your long term fitness plan
Pilates is an activity from which you’ll benefit for the rest of your life. It stretches, strengthens, and aligns your body all at the same time. It also complements every other type of physical activity and sport that you do because it prepares your body to move better in every way. Adding it into your routine will help you lift heavier weights, run faster, swim with better form, and be able to run around after your children and grandchildren with less pain and greater ease.
Keen to get started? The best way is with our Total Pilates Pack ($149) which includes 1 x private class and 4 x group classes. Call us for more info or to book in: (08) 6161 7591.