If you're thinking about trying a Pilates workout for the first time, you may be wondering what to expect. We provided a broad overview of Pilates in our post titled Pilates 101: Pilates for Beginners. In the post below, we'll cover 11 specific tips on how to prepare for your first Pilates class. We'll also give a brief refresher on some Pilates-for-beginners basics.
So if you're ready to give Pilates exercise a try, read on.
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a low-impact workout that can be done by people of all ages and fitness levels. A Pilates workout focuses on the body’s core, with the aim to improve strength, flexibility, mobility, alignment, and posture.
Pilates exercise is not about lifting huge weights and logging lots of reps, but rather it involves a steady flow of movement, concentration, and breath work. Pilates uses functional movements that help build muscle tone and improve the body’s overall alignment and balance and is often used in injury treatment and prevention.
What is Pilates Good For?
Pilates is good for strengthening your core muscles, improving flexibility and posture, and reducing stress. It can also help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. If you're looking for a low-impact workout that will improve your overall fitness level, then Pilates might be right for you.
How Can I Find a Good Pilates Instructor?
You can find a good Pilates instructor by asking around at your local gym or fitness center, or by searching online and reading reviews for "Pilates classes near me." You may also want to ask friends who have taken Pilates classes if they can recommend a specific instructor or Pilates studio. Finally, you can try a fitness app or streaming service that offers Pilates content (again, read the reviews).
What Equipment do I Need to Get Started with Pilates?
You will need a mat (or a thick towel), comfortable clothing that doesn't restrict movement, and a water bottle. If you plan to attend a group class rather than practice on your own at home, avoid wearing perfume or cologne because some people may have allergies.
What if I feel Intimidated to Try Pilates?
If you feel intimidated by the idea of taking your first Pilates class, there are a few things you can do to ease your nerves. First, read up on Pilates exercise and its many benefits. This will help you to feel more confident and motivated to give it a try. You can also talk to the instructor before class begins and let them know that you're new to Pilates. They will be happy to answer any questions you have and help you feel at ease.
11 Steps to Prepare for Your First Pilates Class
Now that the basics are out of the way and you've found a class you want to try, it's time to prep for your first Pilates workout. Here's what you can do to set yourself up for the best possible experience.
Step One: Wear comfortable clothes that allow you to move freely. You may want to steer clear of clothing with zippers or buttons that could get in your way. Also avoid clothes that are too loose or baggy, since the instructor will want to be able to see how you move your body.
Step Two: Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early so that you can get settled in and fill out any necessary paperwork before class begins. If this is your first time taking Pilates, be sure to tell the instructor when you arrive so they can help you make adjustments as needed during class. It's also important for safety reasons that you let the instructor know if you have any injuries or health concerns.
Step Three: Pilates is a low-impact exercise, but it's still a great idea to warm up your body before class begins. Try doing some light cardio for five to ten minutes before class starts. You can also walk to the studio or gym as a way to warm up.
Step Four: During class, be sure to listen to the instructor and follow along with their movements as best you can. If something is too difficult for you, let them know so they can give you an easier alternative or help adjust your form.
Step Five: Don't push yourself beyond what feels comfortable during class time; if something hurts, then stop doing it immediately. You might want to consider taking a class that's specifically geared toward beginners until your body gets used to Pilates.
Step Six: It's perfectly normal that beginners may not understand all of the Pilates methods and terminology right away. Don't worry about being confused—just try your best, ask questions when you need to, and remember to have fun.
Step Seven: The instructor will tell you when it's time to take a break, at which point you should relax and take a few small sips from your water bottle. Take the breaks that you need but try not to rest for too long in order to get the most out of your Pilates class.
Step Eight: Drink plenty of water before and after class to stay hydrated. Also be sure to keep a water bottle with you during class (the 24-oz. Ashbury bottle makes a perfect Pilates companion). Pilates is a great workout and it's important that you drink enough fluids to stay hydrated.
Step Nine: Take a few minutes to reflect when class is over. What part did you like best? What felt awkward or uncomfortable? Talk to the instructor while these things are fresh in your mind, or jot down any questions that you want to address before your next class.
Step Ten: Remember that your body will probably be sore after taking Pilates for the first time (or even the first few times). That's to be expected. Make sure to ice any sore muscles and give them a chance to recover.
Step Eleven: Keep up with your Pilates exercise by coming to class regularly. The more classes you take, the easier everything will become and the better results you'll see.
If you follow the 11 steps above, you'll not only be well-prepared for your first Pilates class, you'll also be more likely to enjoy the experience and repeat it over and over again. Enjoy your journey to better flexibility and fitness through Pilates—it's a fun and fulfilling workout, for sure.