I had a lot of questions before I was ever willing to try Pilates, and I thought I’d share a few of those questions and answers here for other curious minds.
If you didn’t have a chance to read about my First Pilates class, check out my previous post here (LINK).
Q: What exactly is Pilates?
A: Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates in the early 1920s.
The great thing about Pilates is that it is a low-impact exercise. That means it is perfect for recovery or safely strength building in areas you haven’t visited in a long time, if ever.
Pilates emphasizes proper postural alignment which allows you to properly build your muscles and reach muscles you would not typically reach with traditional weight lifting practices. With core strengthening and proper muscle balance, Pilate’s allows you to straighten up and strengthen out from head to foot.
Q: Isn’t Pilates for dancers or something?
A: Pilates does seem to be the strength, stability, and flexibility exercise of choice for dancers. From what I’ve read, dancers love Pilates because it works.
Contrary to what I would think, dancers aren’t born with perfectly symmetrical abilities. Pilates allows them to even out their strength-training for that perfect balance – right-to-left, top-to-bottom. Dancers will focus on getting stronger and bringing more flexibility to a specific area.
Overall, what a dancer does with a Pilates reformer in a Power Pilates Mat class isn’t any different from what the rest of us might do in our Pilates classes. The main difference comes down to the individualized resistance and the amount of time spent focusing on strength training.
Now, I don’t know about you but I absolutely would not mind looking like a dancer! Dancers appear strong, lean, and poised! After attending a handful of initial Pilates classes, I can definitely understand where these powerful muscles come from!
Q: What is that table machine thing called?
A: Sometimes I think I’m the only person on the planet thinking this question when walking into a Pilates studio. The Pilates “machine thingy” is called a reformer! While from a distance this apparatus may appear complicated and strange, up close the reformer is actually quite friendly and fairly obvious on how to use.
Q: Will Pilates make me skinny?
A: It can! You can do more to guarantee your best results by diving into bounceFOODS. From what I’ve learned, Pilates will do a significant amount of core work to help you appear leaner, longer, and skinnier because of the way it helps you properly stack your posture and the muscles that support it.
However, if you’re like me, your body swells with any new introductions (such as a totally foreign exercise). You can solve those problems with the many supplements available from Bounce and the amazing turmeric products available straight out of the Bounce refrigerators! Turmeric, cinnamon, magnesium, potassium – all of these not-so-common nutritional supplements aid in helping your body relax, reduce swelling, and increase healthy sleep!
Fun facts I found about Pilates Perks:
- Pilates does absolutely change the shape of your body. Your clothes will fit differently as your body tones.
- Pilates tightens your waistline even if you don’t see a weight loss on the scale. That’s because muscle is more dense than fat. Weight is weight. A kilo of muscle weighs the same as a kilo of fat. However, a pound of fat takes up more space in your body. Muscle is your ideal resident.
- Pilates helps to build muscle without bulk and improves your posture. Improved posture helps you to have better mental clarity and better sleep!
- Pilates is a complete body workout helping you to tone all your muscles.
- When paired with the right program, pilates will help you not only shed inches but shed those unwanted kilos as well.
Q: How big is a typical Pilates class?
A: Universally, the size of Pilates classes differs. Typically, a Pilates studio has 6-8 reformers for use during a class. You should never see classes that are too large as Pilates requires the instructor to pay individual attention to each member. This ensures complete safety for you and care for your muscles during your strength-building practice.
Q: How hard is Pilates?
A: The level of difficulty will vary depending on your fitness level and any minor injuries you may be working through during a clinical Pilates course. That said, if you do have any muscle strain or pain be sure to have your physio’s permission to begin a Pilates practice.
Many newcomers describe Pilates as an individualized practice that allows you to truly go at your own pace. The level of resistance you experience is up to you as each reformer allows you to self-manage the resistance levels and pace that will work for you. Your instructor will be there to ensure you’re properly using the machine and not pushing yourself too hard.
You should feel relaxed about starting your first Pilates class. If you’re hesitant to find out, book in a one-on-one Pilates class. Your instructor will guide you through Pilates basics, monitoring your every move, allowing you to become familiar with using a reformer and knowing if a beginners class is right for you.
Q: Am I too old for Pilates? I don’t want to be surrounded by a class full of totally fit youngsters that know exactly what they are doing.
A: At any age, you won’t be alone! Pilates is fit for all ages and most classes will have a variety of people in all different age groups.
Q: Am I too short or tall for Pilates?
A: Reformers are fully adjustable and fit for all shapes and sizes! If you’re worried about being too short or too tall, the door rest at the bottom of your reformer adjusts up or down to add more or less space as you see fit.
Q: Do I have to be really flexible, like with yoga?
A: Not at all. You won’t need to be able to touch your toes or find the perfect peak for that downward facing dog in order to work through a beginner’s Pilates class. We begin with the basics: bend and straighten, straighten and bend.
Q: Is a Pilates class anything like the Pilates mat classes I’ve taken before? Because mat classes are tough!
A: Mat classes can be a killer workout! And that’s because it’s you against gravity with a typical mat class. In a reformer class, you’ll be fully supported. Your reformer will allow you to strengthen at your own pace as you feel supported as you glide.
Q: Is there a beginner class?
A: Absolutely! BounceActive offers a Clinical Pilates Basics course here. (LINK)
Q: Is there something I can do at home to prepare myself for my first class so I don’t look like a crazy person?
A: If you’re seeing a physio for recovery, speak to your physio specifically about any at-home strengthening tactics. Otherwise, there’s nothing you have to do in order to be ready for your first class.
If you’re worried about getting started, we have a few favorite moves. Use a resistance band around your waist to the bottoms of your feet and stretch your legs into the resistance band. Slightly bend and straighten your knees, slowly and with control. No extreme movements are required here. Do this a handful of times each day and you’ll be ready to begin.
Q: How does Pilates work? How does Pilates strengthen my muscles and what muscles does Pilates strengthen?
A: Typical Pilates routines generally include exercises that promote core strength and stability through articulate muscle control. Pilates helps to increase your overall strength and endurance. Pilates movements help promote proper posture, balanced flexibility, and strength.
Because of the way Pilates works around your core and along your spine for superior posture and strength, you will begin to introduce new muscles into your workout with every core muscle you strengthen. Pilates is a complete body workout. When you get on the mat or a reformer, you’ll be focusing from head to toe.
Q: How often do people do Pilates?
A: People love Pilates. They fall in love with Pilates fast. We offer packages that allow you to come just a few times a week up to once, twice, or even three times a day!!! Pilates is perfectly safe to do every day.
Q: How long does a typical Pilates class last?
A: At bounceREHAB, Pilates classes are 45 minutes each. You may find other Pilates classes may be as long as one hour.
Q: What if I fall off the Pilates machine?
A: You can try! But you most likely won’t fall off. Your reformer has antislip pads and stabilizations to support your every move. We always encourage you to step onto your reformer slowly and safely when working on any standing movements.
If you’re feeling unstable, we encourage you to begin standing exercises by simply standing. Just standing with one foot on the reformer and one at the base will allow you to activate your core as you work to evenly disperse your weight between varying stabilization. As you grow in confidence, you can add in micro-movements. Often, micro-movements are the best! That’s exactly what makes Pilates so effective.
Q: What do you wear to a Pilates class?
A: You can wear whatever is most comfortable to you. Many people wear activewear similar to what you would see in a yoga class. However, form fitting clothes certainly aren’t required. Rock up in sweatpants or shorts! You’ll find yourself in good, comfy company.
Q: What should I eat before a Pilates class?
A: Whatever you want! Although we don’t recommend being too full.
Q: What does it take to look like a Pilates instructor? Seriously.
A: That’s a great question (if I say so myself) and probably the thing that’s on everyone’s mind whether they’re willing to ask it or not.
To get the true answer on how to look more like your BounceREHAB Pilates instructors, my best advice is to follow their social media accounts. The owners – Matt and Paul – are amazing to follow in their own personal journeys.
Instructors will share videos, secrets, favorite eats, and eats to relax. In fact, in October I’ll be taking over a bit of their social feed myself to give the real people’s opinion on what it takes every day to feel like you’ve truly gone from zero to hero with your health routine. Stay tuned!