5 Things Pilates Beginners Should Know

Since I began doing Pilates in my early twenties, I have noticed a DRASTIC change in my body, and equally dramatic change in my mindset toward maintaining a healthy, fit lifestyle. This type of workout is different from most anything else I have experienced…in the best kind of way.

This is me doing a Pilates backbend

In this article, I’ll discuss the 5 things Pilates beginners should know- a few ways to prepare yourself for the fun you are about to experience! I walked into my first class knowing little to nothing about Pilates, and it can be a smidgen intimidating when you are new to the workout, and know nothing about what to expect. So here we go!

1. Expect to Be Challenged

In fact, expect that you will likely reach your breaking point. Pilates is a difficult workout…and there are exercises that challenge each person to the max. A lot of the work is meant to engage the core, so if it’s been a while since you have really fired up your abs…get ready to feel the burn! If you are unsure about your physical ability, always consult a physician before beginning a workout.

 

There are many exercises that will isolate and work one particular muscle group. This has proven to be extremely effective for me, though sometimes I wasn’t very sure of myself. The exercises are intense, and if you are engaging your core the entire time as you are supposed to be, there is really no easy way to cheat. Which is actually good news, people. There will probably be moments when you feel as though you cannot hold a move one second longer, but you find out that you can, and you are able to activate a different set of muscles to stabilize yourself. Not only is this a very rewarding feeling, but it is also where the “change” happens.

Pilates handstand

If you are beginning at home, please be advised that you should be extra careful. When in a class, the instructor is there to guide your every step, and is at times the person that catches you if/when you fall out of a move. There is much balancing and whole body stability put into practice in a Pilates session, so take it slow the first couple of times. This is a workout that rarely involves speed, and sometimes the hard work is in the slow, steady motions.

2. Eyes on Your Own Paper

So, I don’t know how many of ya’ll are like me…but I would rather have been chubby and happy at home than attend a workout class. This was my mentality for a long time. I absolutely did not want anyone to see me struggle, or be half a beat behind everyone else that had been there for years, perfecting their practice.

 

I can’t believe I wasted so much time!! Ridiculous! I’m here to tell you that I walked into my first Pilates class and had no idea what I was in for..and I couldn’t have had more fun. Repeat after me: “No one is watching me. This is not a competition.”. Oh my heavens, no one could possibly be watching you with the exercises and movements that you’ve all got to do. Trust me, it’s a very supportive environment.

 

I quickly lost my inhibitions during that first class, and I was able to just throw myself into it. I have been a dedicated member of the class ever since. You just pay attention to you and your progress, and don’t worry about how far along anyone else is. If you stay focused, you will start to notice such drastic changes in your body and mindset, that you will soon be one of those people that the beginner admire.

3. Body/Mind Connection

Once you have gotten into your groove with Pilates, you will begin to notice that you are far more aware of your whole being. Standing in line at the grocery store, you’ll silently scold yourself, telling yourself to get that pelvic tilt and stand up straighter. Driving down the road you will remind yourself to zip up your core and use the core muscles to turn the steering wheel. While tossing the laundry from the washer into the dryer, you will automatically pull your belly button in, keep a flat back, and engage your middle to do the work.

 

It is amazing the difference it makes. Engaging the core to take on the bulk of some everyday activities gives your back and limbs a much deserved break, and all the while you are gaining ab strength and lengthening the muscles. It’s a win-win situation, really. The practice and motions that you repeatedly run through in Pilates begins to become ingrained in your mind, and before you know it you are subconsciously walking more upright, pulling everything in, and looking and feeling better every day!

4. Wear Modest Clothing

Um, to put it mildly, sometimes one can find them self in a “compromising” situation in Pilates. There are exercises in which you are lying flat on your back and your legs are in the air. Now, if everyone is minding their own business there shouldn’t be a problem. But just to be on the safe side, I would highly recommend sticking with very stretchy workout pants…not shorts. And a tight-fitting top.

 

Loose fitting clothes are not the safest, as there are tools that are used that clothes can get caught up in. And shorts can be a little revealing for some of the movements being performed. Contrary to popular belief, child bearing does not strip you of all of your modesty. There are mirrors in my Pilates studio..and I’ll just leave it at that.

5. Above All, Persevere.

At the risk of sounding cliche, Rome wasn’t built in a day, dahling. This is by far one of the most rewarding workout programs that I have ever engaged in, but it takes showing up and consistent hard work to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

Also Me! Inverted Splits on The Cadillac

Always challenge yourself. If you think you can’t do something..prove yourself wrong. Especially if you have an instructor there to guide you through it. I have done exercises I never thought I could do; all it takes is a little practice and perseverance. You’ve taken a big step already just by seriously considering participating in Pilates, so now all you’ve got to do is get started. Once you start to notice the small changes, you won’t be able to quit!! So I wish you the best as you begin this incredible journey toward your best you!

 

Thanks for stopping by!!

Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below!

Have a beautiful blessed day!

With love,

Darci

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10 thoughts on “5 Things Pilates Beginners Should Know

  1. I’ve heard of pilates before but I guess I didn’t really know anything about them. Your article is very informative and intriguing. It makes me want to learn a little more about pilates and maybe try it out. The fact that it is very focused on engaging your core is appealing because I know that core strength is super important! I hurt my back a year or so ago and one of the reasons was because my core wasn’t strong enough. So now I am working to strengthen it. This could be something worth trying!

    1. Mariah, yes, Pilates is definitely one of the best things to do for long-term core strength! If you can find a great instructor in your area, he/she should be able to help you do exercises that don’t further the injury to your back (you wanna be really careful of that), and that will enable your core to take a little pressure off of your spine!

  2. Wow, what an interesting site!

    Hello there, thanks for allowing me to comment on your site.

    To start with I would like to appreciate the effort you have placed on your site it’s a well detailed site with images that gives more information on your site, also I find it interesting I always wanted to make some Pilates to also I wanted to be more flexible.

    Is everyone capable of being flexible as you are in the images?

    How long does it take for someone to get along with the training?

    My opinion on your site is that maybe you could select a product that rhyme with the Pilate work outs then market it using your site as I am very sure your site have great traffic then offer the affiliate purchase link to the products and a result you can make some earnings out of your site.

    Thank you

    Matthew.

    1. Matthew, thank you! I’m glad the site caught your interest! I believe that through regular Pilates, everyone can reach their optimal level of flexibility. It does take time and training, and the amount of training is different for everyone. I started out going twice a week, but some people go five times a week. And the training really can last how ever long you choose! There are so many moves and exercises that each class can be different. 

  3. Hi Darci.  Thanks for the tips that pilates beginners should know – especially with regards to the clothing.     Your honesty made me laugh.    I know that I need to start getting back into shape soon before I have let my body go so far that I start getting depressed about the way I look and feel.    So, is pilates sort of like yoga but with machines and weights?    I’m trying to figure out exactly what I am getting into.    Thanks in advance. 

    1. Hi, Sondra! Haha, yes…the clothes should definitely be tight fitting, especially if you are in a class with others! I think that Pilates is an excellent way to jump back into fitness. In fact, it’s the first type of workout i started with after having my second child! And once you begin to be able to perform the moves, you’ll feel great! Pilates is a little like yoga in that it stretches and lengthens, and some of the moves are the same, but i find it to be quite a bit more challenging because of the resistance you are working against and the spring weight. Also, you can begin at home on a mat if you feel more comfortable that way, to try it out!

  4. You mentioned that your core is going to be challenged a lot doing Pilates. Would doing core exercises like planks, sit-ups , leg lifts, crunches help with being able to hold moves longer? Or do I only get that by actually doing Pilates. Also, would this be a great supplement to someone like me who likes to lift weights?

    1. Jessie, yes, Pilates does challenge the core quite a bit, so the exercises that you mentioned would be very helpful in helping you to perform some of the moves done in a Pilates session. In fact, planks, crunches, and leg lifts can all be done on a Pilates reformer, the only difference is that you would also be working against the resistance of spring weight. And yes! I believe that it is so important to stretch and restore in addition to weight training, so Pilates would be a great way to stretch out the muscles in between lifting!

  5. Great stuff ! I think this could be a very good thing for stress relief  wow this is pretty amazing and awesome I just might try this all I need is great wear to do it in. Looks like yoga or some type of form  of it. Seems like something I would love to do very detailed and informative I love the content also  AWSOME job

    1. Thank you, Niesha! It has been a great form of stress management for me, and it does lengthen and stretch the muscles, similar to yoga! 

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