Before you walk into the class, things to know
So you are in the building, hopefully you have stored away your personal belongings with your phone on aeroplane mode so not
Pilates class room set up
Some classes the mats will be laid out on the floor for you with a specific pattern, other classes you might be told to get a mat and lay it on the floor. With Covid19 it is more than likely that you positioning of mats will become more important. The mat prior to covid are often laid out so you can best see the teacher and or not kick anyone else when you do the exercises. At Bodyfixit we lay the mats out and there are no set places so you can be wherever you want. It is always funny with mats as people often have their preferred places to be, but most places you go to there are no set places.
Some rooms have big mirrors on the walls. Quite often people are put off by these but they are not there for you to judge how you look, they are there for you to see how your moving and check you are doing it correctly so be kind to yourself.
Don’t always go to the back of the class
This isn’t so relevant if you are in a small class but in a big class don’t always go to the back as your instructor might not see you. In fact, if you have lots of previous injuries or issues you would be better going near the front.
What does a typical beginners pilates classes involve
In a beginners class the teacher should walk you through the basic positions you need to know for pilates. We use terms like basic position standing and lying and neutral pelvis. There should be a discussion about how much of an abdominal and pelvic floor contraction is required through out class. Breathing is important in pilates as breathing out helps to activate your core muscles (transverse abdominals) and pelvic floor. If you are in doubt just keep breathing, don’t hold your breath, but ideally you should breath out on the effort of the exercise.
The teacher should come and adjust you by talking and touching
Just so you know the teacher will probably come and touch you to move your body into position if necessary. I like to ask permission at the beginners first class but sometimes we get so involved we forget. If for some reason you don’t want to be touched please let the teacher know before the class.
A lot to think about
Particularly in the first couple of sessions there is a lot to think about and try and remember. I say to clients if in doubt just work on maintaining a neutral pelvis and moving without aches and pains. Take on board what instructions makes sense and let everything else go. Breathing tends to the last piece of the puzzle that kicks in. It is important that you focus on your body and how you are moving to make changes to how you move, not thinking about your to do list for the day and what you need to cook for super.
If you get confused, aren’t sure please just ask a question
There honestly is no silly question as if you are thinking it, we can almost guarantee someone else in the room is thinking it
Go at your own pace
This is quite important if you have previous injuries just go at a pace that feels right for you. You might do less repetitions but you aren’t over doing it or making an old injury worse.
If the teacher says you name or makes a comment about how you are doing the exercise remember they aren’t picking on you
They are just trying to help you do the movements better. There is also a strong chance if you are doing it a different way other people in the room are also doing it
Strengthening exercises, does this mean I will get chunky
This is a miss conception with most exercise and pilates focuses on strengthening the muscles but also lengthening so you will tone up muscles but not bulk up.
Not getting the help you need
Maybe a 121 session would be more appropriate for you till you learn the movements. This often happens if you have lots of previous injuries or a health condition. Sometimes you require a couple of 121 sessions so that you can work with the teacher more closely to make the exercises more specific to your needs.
Please don’t feel self conscious about doing an exercise,
I love this quote by my client Ann who said “the person next to you understands and is probably going through the same feelings as you. Also no one is going to tell if you miss a move or two.”
Remember to drink water through the class to keep hydrated and rehydrate after your class.
How does it feel doing the exercises
You will be focusing on keeping a neutral pelvis and stomach and pelvic floor muscles being active. You will feel the muscles working as you move, some people notice a muscle burning sensation that is normal. The focus of the movements is control making the movement flow.
It is quite normal for our clients to feel like they creak, crack or groan when they start moving especially as a beginner but over time this does improve. Pilates also helps to improve your balance so you can balance to put your socks or pants on.
The exercises will target specific areas for example your stomach, back muscles, legs, buttocks and arms helping to strengthen and length muscles.
Different levels of exercises
At Bodyfixit we work on giving you different levels of exercises, this means we can progress the exercises as you get stronger but you can choose the levels that feel right for you. I love this quote from my client Megan who said “You don’t have to be fit or flexible, if you have any problems like a grumpy back you can still do pilates, a modification will be given. People progress at different speeds. You may be doing the same exercise but there might be 3 versions of it being done it class at the same time. You are encourage to always work at your own level not to anyone else’s.”
Elephant in the room – farting
So this is quite common in a pilates class and something everyone is quite embarrassed about. If it is you please don’t panic as you probably won’t be the only one but know that if you do pass wind during a pilates movement it might indicate that you have a weakened pelvic floor, so this just means you need to keep coming to pilates to improve it.
What to expect next day or 2 days after pilates class
It is quite common for delayed muscle soreness (DOMS) to set in after doing pilates. This is that sensation that you have worked the muscles and then they feel tender and sore for a while afterwards. This quote by my client Julie made me laugh when describing how pilates feels “ it’s going to hurt (maybe a few days later) but remember you are waking up those muscles that have not been used for a while. You start to find your more flexible after just a few classes and it help you stretch those tired and achy muscles
How often should you do pilates
I get asked this question a lot and I tend to answer it depends on what your schedule allows. Ideally twice a week will help you reduce aches and pains and feel better quicker but if you can’t manage that once a week will be enough.
What can you expect from doing a beginners program
At Bodyfixit we offer a 6 week beginners pilates program. This works really well as everyone is starting from scratch and no one feels like the beginner or left out. With 6 weeks of pilates you should notice an improvement to your posture, you are probably standing a little taller and able to sit comfortably in a chair. You should feel a reduction in aches and pains and that you can move around easier. You may notice your clothes fit differently and that you feel healthier. As my client Elaine said “practicing pilates change happens slowly and not always visible results” but it is definitely worth it.
What happens when the beginners program finishes
At Bodyfixit we offer intermediate classes where we do the same exercises you have done in the beginners program we just do more repetitions or make them more challenging. We also often do more standing based pilates and work on improving your balance.
Click here for Part 1 – Before picking a pilates class things for you to consider and know
Click here for part 2 – you have booked the class now what please click here
We hope this encourages you to try a pilates class soon