4 Trainers Share Their Tips For Getting Started With Pilates
4 Trainers Share Their Tips For Getting Started With Pilates

4 Trainers Share Their Tips For Getting Started With Pilates

If you’re looking for a workout that targets every part of your body, Pilates should be on your radar. By stretching and sculpting simultaneously, it creates a stronger, more resilient body, and improves coordination and balance. Here, four Pilates trainers share their tips on how to start.

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Learn The Benefits

“Pilates trains the entire body, and promotes strength, flexibility and a range of motion for joints, making it a particularly beneficial practice to do as we age. It reshapes and strengthens the body, whilst improving flexibility, all without stressing the joints. It includes plenty of weight-bearing exercises, which are important as we age, as they help to combat osteoporosis, which is more common later in life due to a decline in oestrogen. Pilates is also a fantastic way to relieve stress – namely due to the breath, focus and concentration required – which in turn can lower cortisol levels, unlike prolonged cardio such as running, which actually increases cortisol. At this stage in life, we’re more likely to feel stress and worry – work, children and family are common sources of worry – and high levels of cortisol have been linked to fat storage around the middle.” – Korin Nolan, founder of Power Pilates UK

Know What You’re Looking For

“With Pilates, it’s important to start as a beginner, no matter how fit or what other forms of exercise you do or have done in the past. This is because Pilates teaches you a whole new way of moving and breathing. It’s important to grasp the fundamentals so you can reap the benefits more quickly and decrease your risk of injury. Start by asking yourself what you want to achieve from Pilates. If you’re looking for something that will challenge you and bring quick visible results, try a dynamic reformer class. Classical reformer and equipment Pilates is also challenging, but it moves at a slower pace. If you’re looking to incorporate more stretching and relaxation into your routine, try a Cadillac, Tower or classical mat class. For the best results, aim for two to five classes per week, depending on what other exercise you do.” – Korin

Be Patient

“You’ll start to feel the benefits of Pilates within eight sessions. These initial benefits tend to be better posture and feeling stronger and more confident when you walk or run. Physical changes can take a little longer – usually after around 15 to 20 sessions. When I first started reformer Pilates, I saw very early on that my arms and shoulders were more toned, and pain disappeared from my lower back and hips. The biggest reward was that I was pain free and felt stronger mentally, which is something I’d never experienced with running, barre or PT. Regular reformer classes also helped me navigate through the crippling rollercoaster of grief when my husband died – the emotional benefits are unapparelled.” – Amanda Caldwell, founder of Anthro Contrology

Build Up Slowly

“Most women are aware of the benefits of adding weights or resistance to their workouts as they move through and beyond menopause, and Pilates is a fantastic way to add strength training into your routine. The reformer itself is a form of strength training but, once you have built up a certain level of strength, you can add in light hand weights and other props to increase intensity or challenge. Always perfect your form first. Master the precision and control of a movement before adding in extra weight.” – Clare Roberts, Pilates instructor at LIVE BRAVE

Book A Trial Class

“When it comes to finding a studio, do your research and speak to studios and teachers about what you feel you want and need from your practice. Some studios offer introductory sessions, which are worth doing. They’re designed to run through the fundamental movements and help you understand how to work with the reformer. These sessions will also give your instructor an idea of how you move and which areas need more focus. Plus, introductory sessions will allow you to gauge if the studio is the right choice for you.” – Amanda


Prepare For A Group Session

“Try not to compare yourself to the person on the bed or mat next to you. We’re all made differently. What could be somebody’s 12 reps could very well be your six or eight – and that’s okay. Close your eyes for some moves if this helps you to focus more on alignment and muscle movement. Also try not to wear baggy clothing – closer fitting tops and bottoms helps the teacher to notice your form and then correct you. Never be afraid to let the teacher know if you are in pain or don’t understand the movement – they’ll always be able to assist and modify.” – Amanda

Take A Holistic Approach

“If you’re after dramatic body composition results – whether you’re looking to lose a significant amount of weight or transform your body – you’ll need to consider what you eat, as you can’t rely on exercise alone. A high-protein diet is vital for women over 45, as is considering blood sugar and gut health. You’ll also benefit from incorporating some HIIT and weight training alongside Pilates. If you’re new to Pilates, HIIT or weights, consider getting advice from a reputable PT or trainer before starting, as these are challenging forms of exercise that need to be approached with caution if you’re a beginner.” – Korin

Seek Out A Specialist Studio

“Avoid ‘gym’ Pilates classes and find a specialised Pilates studio that’s ideally come through a recommendation. Gym classes are usually mixed ability and overcrowded. Always make sure a group class doesn’t have more than 12 people. Pilates is about working with good form and technique, and the trainer should be able to pay each client individual attention, giving you hands-on correction. If the group size is too big, they won’t be able to do this. Once you’ve found a class, let the teacher know what you want to gain from Pilates (avoid saying ‘I just want to tone up’) – the more information you give them, the more they’ll be able to help and correct you when needed. Ask yourself how you feel after a class and how you feel the following day. Only you will know if you’re getting enough out of it.” – Korin

Don’t Overthink It

“If you’re nervous about starting, don’t overthink it. You certainly don’t need to be flexible or have a dance background to start Pilates. I have had clients who are cancer survivors and left so weak and lacking muscle strength after treatment, and women who have had hysterectomies and have no abdominal strength. Gradually, session by session their strength, belief and mindset grew. Remember the reformer is a very adaptable piece of equipment that can easily be adjusted to fit any body size and shape.” – Amanda

Incorporate It Into Your Lifestyle

“The beauty of Pilates is that it builds functional strength, and building Pilates-inspired movement into your day is a great way to enhance results and build a stronger body. Any form of movement that involves rotating or bending from side to side is great for building strength. Do lunges or squats while brushing your teeth or rise onto your tip toes while doing the washing up. Also try lifting one leg off the floor and balance for five minutes.” – Amanda

Challenge Yourself

“Just because you are older, it does not mean you need to take a step back or a softer approach. Yes, granted there are times when we need to modify for injury, but don’t be afraid of a little hard work – that’s how you progress and see change. I’ve had messages from women over 50 to thank me for classes saying they feel 19 again. The sense of accomplishment you can get from starting a new practice later in life is so rewarding, particularly when you see the benefits it has on the body. Plus, the inclusivity of Pilates is a major advantage. You can start at any age, ability or agility.” – Nathalie Clough, founder of Lifebody

For more Pilates tips and inspiration from the experts, or to book a session, visit Anthro-Contrology.com, LIVEBRAVE.Life, PowerPilatesUK.com and Lifebody.io


DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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