For most newbies, Pilates can be very challenging. This is mainly because this fitness method requires a lot of stretching and movement, and it usually takes time for beginners to adjust to the program’s routines.
But there are ways to prepare for a Pilates session without getting exhausted right away. There are also Pilates for beginners classes which offer routines that are specially-designed for new learners, so that they would be able to perform more advanced movements after a span of time.
The best ways to prepare for a Pilates class are:
Get your own Pilates mat
Having your own Pilates mat helps a lot in getting you ready for a Pilates class. Some gyms and studios offer mats, but owning one allows you to do a lot of Pilates-related activities. First, you can start practicing simple techniques at home, and second you don’t have to work out using a mat that has been worn and torn by other users.
Pilates mats are like yoga mats, only thicker. The thickness of the mat gives better cushioning especially when you start doing more advanced positions.
Understand the breathing
Pilates exercises include a specific breathing technique wherein breaths are counted in a slow 4 (1000, 2000, 3000, 4000) manner. Depending on the class, breathing may be done through the nose, or a combination of the nose and mouth.
Unlike in other breathing exercises, Pilates breathing is not slow, and breaths are intended to fill the lungs with air but not lift the abdomen. It may be best to study the breathing techniques prior to taking a Pilates class, so your breathing patterns can easily adjust when the sessions take place.
Prep the comfortable outfit
Clothing also plays a significant role in Pilates. It is important to wear comfortable clothing, but not the type that’s too loose. The reason for this is that the instructor needs to keep tabs on the posture of your body so that he or she can correct the positions that you are doing wrong.
Pilates, unlike yoga, is practiced in socks, so you may want to invest on socks that have grips on the bottom area so that you won’t slide during standing exercise positions. You may also practice the routines in tights and leotards.
Since Pilates requires a lot of movement, it is not recommended to consume a heavy meal before a class. There are no specific diet restrictions, but instructors suggest eating a small light meal with some protein at least an hour before the session.
Protein helps in providing you the energy to work out in the Pilates class without feeling too full. At the same time, it is best to have a bottle of water ready in class, since most of the exercises can be exhausting and may cause you to feel dehydrated.
Should you invest on equipment?
Pilates courses, including Pilates for beginners, use equipment in the routines, in addition to the mat. These include inflatable balls and bars, but you need not purchase them right away. It would be best to ask the instructor first prior to shopping for Pilates equipment so that you know if you will be able to utilize these items when not in class.
While they look engaging, it is not recommended to do a self-study on Pilates using instructional videos, unless you already have previous training on yoga or dance. This is because it is difficult to determine whether your body can keep up with the routines in the videos without an expert opinion, i.e. your instructor and a licensed health care provider. Doing a Pilates session on your own may only lead to injury and hamper your fitness goals.