1. What equipment do I need and what should I wear?
You really only require space and a comfortable floor. Give yourself enough space to move around in without having to stop and move things. If you have carpet you may only need a towel to lie on. If you have floor boards, it would be best to invest in a Pilates Mat, as the floor itself could be hard without support. Mats can be purchased at most sport stores and can be rolled up easily for storage.
We recommend that you have a spare rolled up towel next to you. This is great for propping up heads, and sitting on in particular moves if you get neck pain or are tight around the hips.
As for your outfit, choose something that you can bend in! Choose soft breathable fabrics that allow you to move comfortably and not feel restricted.
Do exercise with bare feet. Shoes mould the feet into a position, Pilates likes to challenge the muscles of the feet and create a connection to the ground. Socks may cause slipping.
2. Is there an age limit and should I have a base level of fitness?
There is no age limit! Anyone at any age can participate in Pilates, which is why it is so popular. Pilates is great for young people as it creates a connection with their bodies, and can be beneficial to sports performance and general exercise. As we get older our bodies need more movement and muscle! Pilates turns on dormant muscles and makes the body move more efficiently. It also can improve bone strength and stability and balance. This is so important as we mature into our retirement years as most people want to maintain independence and control of their own bodies. Pilates is a specific training genre. The Pilates principles are specific to the methodology, so having cardio fitness or extreme strength doesn?t mean you automatically will be able to master Pilates exercises. Everyone regardless of fitness needs to learn Pilates essentials. Hence again why anyone and everyone can join in!
3. How do I get started?
If you are healthy and able, you are ready to start straight away. If you have any health issues or injury that restricts you daily in any way, please seek medical advice from a Doctor or Physio before starting your Pilates program. Specific spinal injuries usually require one on one instruction before starting a group Pilates format.
4. Can I participate in Pilates if I am pregnant?
Pilates can be great for pregnant women, however if you have never exercised before it is strongly recommended that you get clearance before you start any exercise. The most important thing to remember is that you should exercise for wellbeing and maintenance not fitness and fat loss during your pregnancy. Temperature of the mother is extremely important, particularly during the first trimester, so keep hydrated and cool. Watch stability and control in exercises as the distribution of weight changes. If something feels uncomfortable please stop and always check alignment. As a woman progresses through her pregnancy she may require special needs and precautions, so seek the advice of a one on one Pilates instructor for specific details.
5. What happens if I cannot feel any of the exercises?
Pilates is an intrinsic exercise that works muscles we cannot see, as well as the ones we can!
It requires concentration and patience to feel and connect with your body. Once a connection has been made and your body awareness is heightened you will start to feel what Pilates is about. The more awareness you have, the harder the exercises become! Some people get the feeling straight away. Other people may take a week or months. Even fitness junkies who workout everyday sometimes take a long time to connect internally as they are used to training their big moving muscles and feeling the adrenalin and burn. You wont feel adrenalin, however you will experience a high in Pilates. A slightly calmer high due to stimulating hormones that relax you.
6. Why is core stability so important?
The core is the area around your waist and lower back. The term ?core stability? can also be termed as trunk stability. If you think about the trunk of a tree being like the trunk of the body, if our arms and legs are to be supported effectively we need to have strong foundations. Also if you think of the spine as the structure that holds the nerves responsible for many body functions, core stability assists in the health and support of the spine. The statistics show that 88% of people will some time in their life have back pain, so keeping our torso?s strong and healthy will not reduce our chances of being part of this statistic but ensure we look good in process!
7. Is Pilates good for fat loss? Will I lose weight?
Many people claim that they have trimmed down and lost weight on the scales from Pilates. Pilates is a conditioning exercise that stimulates all muscles in the body. Mat Pilates focuses on muscle control. As you progress in strength, stability and mobility you will probably find that your muscles fire more effectively. This is turn means that you will burn more energy. For some people this energy burn can equate to fat loss, however some people may need to combine more vigorous exercise to burn more energy. All in all Pilates wakes up dormant muscles and improves posture and body awareness. Just like any exercise regime, there needs to be a combination of cardiovascular work to strengthen the heart and burn energy (e.g. walking, running, cycling etc), muscle conditioning to keep the muscles awake, and mobility work to keep us from getting tight and stiff. Keep your program varied and never allow your body to be complacent?keep shocking it! And remember to eat for health and longevity.
8. In combination to my Pilates training, should I go on a diet?
Diet and dieting is a very dated term. Dieting is very short term and usually results in yo-yo weight loss, but not necessarily fat loss. Weight is a number on the scales. If you were to drink a litre of water, you would gain a kilo of body weight on the scales. It is a very unsatisfying way of measuring your progression. Fat loss is best measured through girth measurements, e.g. waist, hip, thigh.
Instead of dieting, think of a long term eating plan that you can stick to for life. Generally balance your proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Reduce all excess sugar in your diet, such as fizzy drinks, high sugared cereals, bottled fruit juices, lollies etc. Reduce processed food that are high fat and sugared, such as fast food, chips, biscuits etc. Eat food in its most natural form and go easy on the alcohol!
Eating well will assist you in not only looking good, but you will feel more positive and energetic!
9. How long will it take before I start to see changes in my body?
If you are committed to PTV and you participate everyday you will start to feel changes within a week. Seeing changes in your body depends on your goals. If you want to change body shape, you will need to include some cardiovascular training such as walking, dancing, cycling etc to get the heart rate up. Movement of any sort everyday, such as walking the dog for an hour in combination with PTV and a healthy food plan will hopefully get you seeing some changes within six weeks.
Every person is different and at different levels. If it took you 6 months to gain fat it will take six months to properly burn fat!
However, there is hope!!! Remember that time is nothing if you know that making an effort everyday will result in you feeling better about yourself and having a better outlook on life! Go for it, live the life you were meant to!
10. How many times a week should I do Pilates?
The eighth principle of Pilates is routine. Joseph Pilates said that the more you follow the routine the more your body will respond and the more you will improve!
So what are you waiting for?
We are here for you everyday!