Pilates proves to be a fantastic companion for enhancing posture and sculpting all the muscle groups in the body. Preparing as best as possible for your first Pilates class is important to maximise the benefits of the training and ensure a good experience. In this article you will find all the information you need to get your first Pilates lesson off to a good start.
What to Bring to a Pilates Class
Before you step into the Pilates studio, it's important to know what items you should bring to your class. Usually, you won't need to carry a lot of things with you to your Pilates class, as studios usually provide all the necessary equipment. However, if you want to use your own Pilates mat instead of the one shared by the class, this may be one of the exceptions in terms of items to bring.
Another item that you absolutely must not forget is a bottle of water. While you won't drink a lot of water during your Pilates class, it's important to drink both before and after class.
A small towel can also come in handy for wiping away sweat or providing extra cushioning during certain exercises, though this isn't essential.
What to Wear to Pilates
The way Pilates is taught can differ significantly depending on the instructor and the studio. Nevertheless, there are some basic clothing recommendations that can be beneficial, particularly for individuals who are new to this practice. Below there are some guidelines regarding Pilates clothes:
Choose tight-fitting pants or leggings that allow for a full range of motion without being too tight or restrictive.
Opt for a tight-fitting t-shirt or top that won't ride up while you perform the exercises. This allows the instructor to see your posture and helps maintain good form.
Certain Pilates studios recommend the use of grip socks to avoid foot slippage while performing exercises on the Pilates apparatus. Check to see if your practice requires these types of socks. Most Pilates classes take place barefoot or with non-slip socks. This allows you to have better foot sensitivity and greater stability during exercises.
Because Pilates can be a demanding physical activity, it's a good idea to wear breathable clothing to ensure you don't get too warm too quickly.
If you have long hair, you may want to bring a hair tie to keep it out of your face during movements.
Type of Pilates Class
The choice of which type of Pilates class to take depends on your personal preferences, fitness goals, and experience level. Here's a brief description of the main types of Pilates Classes so you know what to expect based on what you booked in for:
Mat Pilates: Mat Pilates is a classic variation of Pilates performed on a floor mat, emphasising exercises that utilise your body weight as resistance and necessitating no specialised equipment. Mat classes can vary in intensity and complexity, making them suitable for beginners to advanced practitioners.
Standing Pilates: Standing Pilates incorporates exercises that are done while standing, as opposed to lying down on a mat. These exercises often focus on balance, stability, and functional movements.
Barre Pilates: Barre Pilates combines Pilates principles with ballet-inspired movements. It often includes the use of a ballet barre for support. Barre Pilates classes can help improve strength, flexibility, and overall body tone. This style can be a fun way to challenge different muscle groups.
Equipment-Based Pilates: This category includes Pilates classes that incorporate various props or specialised equipment such as a small ball, a Pilates ring or blocks. These props can add resistance and variety to your Pilates workouts, allowing for more targeted muscle engagement and different exercises.
Some Mat Pilates classes will include both standing & barre based exercises during your session. It's a good idea to try different types to see which one aligns best with your fitness goals and interests.
Tips to Prepare for Your First Pilates Class
Pilates is a practice that can adapt to your needs and fitness level. Start slowly, learn the basics, and over time, you can progress and take on more advanced challenges. Additionally, here are some recommendations to ensure a positive beginning for your inaugural Pilates session:
Adopt a Positive Mindset
When you approach Pilates with an open mind, you are more inclined to accept new challenges and learning opportunities. This is crucial, especially when starting something new like Pilates.
Furthermore, a positive mindset can increase your motivation. When you focus on what you can achieve and the progress you've made, you'll be more inclined to continue working hard and reaching your fitness goals.
Focus on Maintaining Good Posture
The basis of every Pilates lesson is correct posture. Focus on it, making sure to engage your core and keep your shoulders down during each exercise. This will not only maximise the benefits of your workout but will also help you maintain excellent posture in everyday life too. Correct posture is essential to prevent injury, improve strength and stability, and get the maximum benefit from Pilates. Consistent practice and awareness are keys to maintaining correct posture during your Pilates practice.
Focus on Your Breathing with Slow, Controlled Movements
Breathing is fundamental in Pilates. Pay attention to the instructor's instructions on breathing and try to coordinate it with the movements.
Staying hydrated is key in any form of physical activity, including Pilates. Maintaining an adequate level of hydration can improve your physical performance during your Pilates
session. Being well hydrated will help you maintain good energy, stamina and concentration during exercises. Staying properly hydrated also aids in mitigating muscle soreness.
Don't Give Up
Not giving up in Pilates, as in any other physical activity or challenge in life, is essential to achieving your goals and obtaining lasting benefits. Pilates is a discipline that takes time to master. You may not see significant changes in the first few sessions, but with consistent practice, progress will come. Remember that every small step forward is progress, so keep working consistently, focus on your goals and enjoy the journey of physical and mental improvement that Pilates can offer you.
Arriving Slightly Ahead of Time for Your Pilates Class
Ensure that you arrive in the studio on time & if you're new to class then make sure you find a position where you can easily hear and see the instructor.
Pilates can be challenging, especially for beginners. But don't be discouraged - by following these tips and sticking with it, you'll notice improvements in strength, flexibility, and overall wellbeing in no time.