Six Pilates classes down in my thirty Pilates class challenge.
I skipped Tuesday for no other reason than I really really felt like it. It felt awesome. Other than that I’ve been consistent with the Tuesday/ Thursday classes and I’m still really enjoying them!
I am feeling stronger and noticing my posture is better throughout the day. I am finding it easier to isolate the correct muscles during class and my form is getting better.
They say after five classes you start to look different. I’m not sure if I’m seeing that yet, but I did have a couple people this week ask me if I’d lost weight so maybe that’s what that was about?
The good news is that I’m finding that I really continue to enjoy the class. Historically, I get pretty sick of Pilates classes, but the emphasis that this class places on small movement, modification and proper isolation of muscles is really working for me! (Read my thoughts on meeting yourself where you’re at here.)
I want to share a couple of my tips for beginning Pilates. Beginning any new ‘sport’ can be intimidating and a little embarrassing at first and it can be inhibiting.
Disclaimer: I have no idea what I am talking about! These are only tips gathered from my experience! Talk to the instructor and your doctor if you have concerns!
- Introduce yourself to the instructor and tell her/ him it’s your first time. They will tell you what equipment you need to collect from the side of the room for this particular class (gliders, ball, straps, loops, mat, block, ring, etc.) This takes the guess work out of looking around and trying to make sure you have what everyone else has. Explaining that you’re a beginner will also make sure they tell you what to modify and really explain the proper technique so that you don’t learn the exercises incorrectly. Share with them any injuries you have and they will usually make a point to share modifications for exercises that will stress those injuries. An instructor in a class can be a great resource. It’s like having a few moments with a personal trainer. Use them! Ask them questions, share concerns. They know so much about their subject that they are usually really enthusiastic about talking to you.
- Wear comfortable tight-ish clothing. Long pants or capris and a long tight-ish top. You get into some odd positions, planking, rolling, lifting your legs in various ways. When my clothes are long and fitted it helps me to focus on the class and the movements instead of worrying that my shirt is riding up, my tummy is showing and that people can see down my leg holes.
- Clean socks, clean feet! People also typically don’t wear shoes and most (myself included) don’t wear socks, so this isn’t the time to have stinky feet or socks with holes or anything else that might make you self conscious about swinging your bare feet around near someone else’s head.
- Think of it as an exercise in focus and concentration. Since you are just lying on the floor in a quiet room (as opposed to a run with loud music or high impact class) it can be easy to let your mind wander. And then-BAM!- you’ve wasted a chunk of class. Two people can do the exact same Pilates class and one can get a great workout and one can do almost nothing. You wouldn’t know watching which was which. Form is so important in Pilates because the movements are so small. To get a workout you really need to be focusing, breathing correctly and using the correct muscles. Sometimes the hardest moves don’t look like you’re moving at all!
- MODIFY! Sometimes more than you think you need to. Do the moves with the modifications first so you can really identify which muscles you are supposed to be using. Often I find I get a better ab workout if I modify more because I am able to actually do the moves correctly. I also modify differently on different days. Some days I feel able to do the hardest option easily. Some days I do the very easiest option and focus more on muscle isolation, Most days I hover in the middle. Do not be shy about modifying. One of the nice things about a class where everyone is laying on their back is that no one is looking at you. Ask the instructor questions if you can’t figure it out!
- Be prepared for people to fart. Oh yes, perhaps the worst part of Pilates is that people fart in class way more than we would like them to. Seeing as I am a girl and girls don’t fart, I have never struggled with this. I share this with you not to be disgusting but so that you are not caught off guard if it happens, looking around like ‘am I the only one who just heard that??’. Most people in classes just move on and totally ignore it. Some people (like me and Anna) snicker and giggle like ten year olds and have never been able to break this habit. Either is fine.
Have you ever taken a Pilates class? What did you think? What are your tips? What new exercise have you started recently?
(P.S. You can read my tips for beginning Zumba here.)
Happy Friday everyone!