Pilates for beginners- what you should know before booking.
So your thinking of starting Pilates- how exciting! It's a great way to look after your body and mind, it's fun, low-impact and satisfying no matter where you are in your fitness journey. Below we offer you our best tips for getting started, so you can feel comfortable arriving to your first session- be it a mat class, reformer class or studio appointment.
Research your studio. You'll want a reputable studio that makes you feel comfortable- look for client feedback, photos of the studio, the location and convenience. Also look to see/ask if they have registered/qualified Pilates Practitioners (also called Coaches and Instructors)- They typically gain their qualification from Stott, Polestar or BASI (these are considered the 'gold standard' in training and this ultimately translates to safer practice). A lot of studios will also offer an introductory pack or session- a great value way to try a studio or two before committing to a regular membership. Here at HEILEN- we have a complimentary beginner classes, and a Courtyard studio Pilates 1:1 session whilst we are in COVID-related restrictions.
Meet your Coach prior. Arrive 5-10 minutes prior to your class/appointment start time and introduce yourself, and point out that this is your first time. Your Coach will likely ask you questions about injuries (more if you are in a studio session- we do a full on assessment), and will show you to your space. If if a Studio or Reformer session, your Coach will take time to familiarize you with the equipment so you have a basic idea of what to do and where to position yourself.
Invest in Pilates socks. Especially if you intend to make this a ritual, Pilates socks have 'grippy' soles that help you balance, stabilize and control the movement with your feet. They are also a hygiene tool and you will likely find most good studios mandate them for all sessions. We certainly do at HEILEN- and we sell them in-studio so you do not need to panic if you do not yet have them.
Relax!!! As any experienced Practitioner or Pilates Addict will tell you- it's forever humbling, and fun! Pilates is challenging your concentration, balance, strength, coordination, flexibility and more (like a fitness all-in-one) You'll probably find yourself 'lost and unsure' your first go and as your Practitioner, I'd expect nothing less. Just breathe and remind yourself it's your first time and your here to learn something new. We have all been there!
Slow and Steady wins the race. Try listen to your Practitioner; good ones will offer regressions to make the exercise easier, and progressions to make the exercise harder. For your first time, slow down your movement and focus on moving mindfully and with control- don't worry about the expert next to you. Try the regressions first then progress the movements once you feel in control (if you are in a Studio session- you will have hand-picked moves and tactical support so trust your Practitioner).
If you are doing a class- please only sign up for the beginner or slower classes for a little while. Like any sport, Pilates can be dangerous if done incorrectly. It doesn't matter if you are a professional athlete or brand new to exercise, Pilates hits different. Advanced or athletic classes are really there for those who have been regularly practicing for a while and have knowledge/appropriate fitness of basic Pilates technique, the pace is generally faster and movement is usually integrative and fluid. Beginner classes will get you there, that's why we have them!
Please don't be late for class! This is actually a safety thing more than anything. The first few exercise will always be to warm you up and indicate to your Coach how the class/client is moving on the day. After that is all about challenge and the 'grunt work'- and we would hate for an injury to occur! (We honestly feel terrible if this happens and live with that guilt for failing you for a long time after the incident). If you are going to be late- contact the studio so see if it will be a problem, or if you can reschedule the class/appointment.
Clean up after your class- it is customary (especially in classes) to stay back for a minute and clean your space- especially with COVID-19 around. It's respectful to the studio to tidy your props away and to wipe the equipment down with the provided spray and wipes. The Coach/Trainer/Practitioner will likely remind you to do this but at least you now have the heads up.
Feeling unwell? OBVIOUSLY, please reschedule. We get your determined and excited, so are we! But out of respect for your body, a challenging exercise like Pilates can wait until we have your 100% ability.
HAVE FUN- Pilates is SO fun and with repeated use you will feel the difference- stronger, more coordinated, more fit and confident. You'll meet new friends and discover a whole new world of movement and energy! Push through your fears and hesitations- remember why you started. We all laugh at our mistakes and the giggle through the discomfort- it's a special kind of magic that happens in Pilates Studios and we cant wait to see you having fun with us.
While in lockdown, HEILEN offers beginner virtual classes twice weekly COMPLIMENTARY, and outdoor privates in our exclusive courtyard. No time like the present to get started!