Trying any new fitness or gym class for the first time can be scary but for some reason, Pilates feels especially intimating.
Maybe it’s because many people believe that if it isn’t Classical Pilates then it’s not Pilates… true or not true, this creates a special kind of snobbery feel.
Maybe it’s the connection with the elite ballet world.
Maybe because it’s a fairly expensive practice.
Or maybe it’s because you have a false belief that everyone who practises Pilates is ‘perfect’ (don’t worry if this is you, because this used to be us).
Anyway, whatever. Let’s leave your fears about Pilates at the door and get you to your first class! Because trust us… this practise really is life-changing and can be a lot of fun.
5 things you should know before you try Pilates
There are 2 main types of Pilates.
You’ll either be doing mat Pilates or Reformer Pilates. Mat is fairly self-explanatory, you do the movements on a mat. The Reformer is a machine or ‘apparatus’. It’s like a sliding platform that uses springs and pulleys that create resistance.
It will help to know which one you’re signing up to!
If you’re a beginner and they offer beginner classes, start there. If they don’t offer beginner classes simply tell your instructor that you’re new, they will help you (that’s their job!).
You might also come across other equipment.
If you’re doing mat Pilates some studios might add hand/ankle weights, the magic circle and balls. We sometimes use hand weights in MerryBody Pilates classes but mostly we just do complete body weight and body resistance movements (all you need is a mat or even just some space!).
If you’re doing Reformer you might come across other Pilates apparatus like the Wunda and the Caddilac (these are not as common as the Reformer and usually you’ll work 1-on-1 with an instructor with these).
Don’t be afraid of the overwhelm.
This goes for ANY new thing you start. Whether it’s starting Pilates or Yoga, or learning to play an instrument, or starting a blog!
You simply will not know the moves or the lingo and the best way to learn it is to just start and learn from experience.
So do the Pilates classes.
The first week will be bizarre, you’ll have no idea what the instructor means when they say “lift your pelvic floor” or “rib to hip connection”.
You’ll find it hard to co-ordinate the breath with the movement, you might forget to engage the core, you might get the core but stuff up the arms. You might feel like a jellyfish and have NO IDEA how to get the “body stable”.
But this is why you’re here at your Pilates class! To learn, to welcome change and transformation!
Try change your perspective a little, instead of seeing your beginner status as a bad thing get excited about it! It’s all-new! This means it will make a change to your life!
And also like anything… give yourself a few more weeks and soon you’ll know the lingo. Soon you won’t feel like a beginner. You practise, then you will learn and you will progress! It’s a fact!
What do you need to bring to class?
This depends on what class you’re doing. If you’re going to a reformer class you’ll need special grippy Pilates socks. For some mat classes, you might need these as well, check with your studio/instructor first. For some mat Pilates classes, you’ll need a mat, or you might be able to borrow theirs, check with the Studio!
We’d suggest to practise in leggings or tight bike shorts and a firmish fitting top. Not a must, but the loose-fitting clothes might annoy you or get in the way, especially if you’re doing reformer Pilates. But mostly ensure you practise in what you’re comfortable in.
This is why we love at home Pilates classes because you can wear whatever the hell you want! You can wear your favourite leggings with holes in them, you can wear your trackie daks, you can wear PJs, you can do it nude if you really want to!
Also, always bring a drink bottle. Trust us, you will create the inner fire!
Don’t let your ego stop you from taking the modifications.
As long time Pilates lovers and teachers we even take the modifications!
Every class and every day is different. If you’re feeling fatigued in your abs we’d much prefer you take the regression or ‘lower’ modification.
This does not mean you are not as good as the people taking the other option. It might actually mean you are more in tune with your body and you’re working out with more integrity and will experience more transformation!
In our classes, we try to show as many modifications as possible… this is the benefit of having 2 instructors!
Pilates is not a cushy workout, you will feel it!
When you do it right you will feel Pilates during and after the class! Pilates is not easy!
Pilates takes mental focus and body awareness. It will transform both your mind and body when you practise with presence and when you do it consistently.
Don’t get us wrong… you can make it easy! You can practise with no presence and lose integrity.
When your teacher says “point the toes, take the bend out of the knee, hold strong” while doing an all-4s tabletop series… really point your toes, make your leg strong not floppy, engage all the little muscles in your leg, make every move count.
The best part… when you find the right Studio and teachers for you, they will help you get the moves right. This is why inside MerryBody Online Studio we add regular tutorial moves, so you can really feel good and create better presence and awareness of your body and your Pilates practise. PLUS we are always available to answer any questions you might have through our 1 on 1 chat feature.
Here’s an example of a tutorial video from the MerryBody Online Studio right here…
We love Pilates and we hate that it creates intimidating feels for beginners. We want you to know that MerryBody Online Studio is perfect for beginners. It’s warm, it’s welcoming and we are there with you.
We are an Online Studio, but you aren’t just another membership number with MerryBody.
You’re on this journey with us… and every other member. The MerryBody community is your safe place to share your struggles, “AHA” moments and your wins with zero judgement. Genuine, real people – that’s who we are and who you’re surrounded by in the MerryBody community. If you’ve ever had the feeling you haven’t quite found your people. You have now.
And it’s not just about the movement for us, it’s not just a physical practise. It’s a way to show your amazing body kindness, respect and love.
When you join MerryBody you will feel more love toward your body. You’ll move in a way that keeps you entirely present in your body and feeling gratitude and acceptance for who you are. By focusing on movement and getting in touch with how your body feels, you’ll feel more love towards your body.
Ahhh, and the best part is that you can start MerryBody today at no-cost!
You can sign up over here and get a free 7-day experience of the full program. Get access to it ALL… all the Pilates workouts, plus there are Yoga classes and Meditations. You’ll also be able to join the Merrybody Facebook Community! You have 7 days to test drive everything.
Emma + Carla
Ps. let us know how your first Pilates class goes, we’d love top hear about it!