Frequently Asked Questions By First-Time Pilates Students

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So you have heard everyone from professional athletes to soccer moms tout the life-changing benefits of Pilates, and you're wondering what all the fuss is about.

No doubt your first questions is, "What is the deal with those machines?! They look like they belong in a medieval torture chamber!"

Have no fear. There is no torture involved, and you will leave your first class feeling great.

However, the questions don't stop there.

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions people have before their first Pilates session.

And, if you have anything to add or ask, comment below.


1. "Pilates is just stretching, right?" Wrong. Pilates is a full-body workout. (See "5 Pilates Myths, Debunked.")


2. "What do I wear?" Comfortable clothes you can move in; something you would wear to a yoga class; clothes that don't slip, fall, lift, or flash.

Men can wear yoga pants or athletic/basketball shorts with bicycle or compression shorts underneath if you feel the shorts are a little too loose.

You will want to be comfortable in a variety of positions, and loose-fitting clothing can get in the way.

Teachers also need to see your body and alignment in order to make corrections.

Avoid zippers, studs or other embellishments that can scratch or damage vinyl, and long hair should be pulled back to avoid getting caught in springs.


3. "Do I wear shoes?" Nope. We work barefoot or in socks, depending on the studio's policy. (Some studios require “sticky socks,” which have non-slip on the soles. Studios that require socks with non-slip generally sell them. Otherwise, you can get them online or at some sporting goods stores.)


4. "What is the difference between Pilates and yoga?" Pilates focuses on functional movement and alignment to create a balanced body in terms of strength and flexibility, stability and mobility. It helps you achieve your maximum physical potential. Whatever you like to do, Pilates will help you do better, including yoga.


5. "How many times a week should I do Pilates?" It depends on your schedule and goals. I recommend 2-3 times per week to see results. However, I have clients who do it every day as there is no need for rest days. However, once a week is better than nothing!


6. "Should I warm up first?" Nope. The system will warm you up.


7 "Can I combine it with other activities?" Sure! Pilates is a great compliment to all other exercise programs, from spinning to weight-training, and everything in between. Pilates will even help you maximize your performance in other activities by improving body awareness and form. (See: "Just Say Yes to Life Through Pilates")


8. "Do I have to be flexible to do Pilates?" No. Flexibility is a result, not a prerequisite. (See "5 Reasons (Besides 'Abs' To Try Pilates Now)


9. "How long until I see results?" Joseph Pilates said, "In 10 sessions you will feel a difference, in 20 sessions you will see a difference, and in 30 sessions you will have a whole new body."


10. "Will I sweat?" It really depends on you. If you listen to the cues the instructor gives you, do exactly as they say, work deep, and maintain a swift tempo, then yes. There will be sweat.


11. "Will I be sore?" It depends on your current level of fitness. However, Pilates does not fatigue a specific muscle group like some forms of exercise. Instead, Pilates works the entire body as a single unit. Soreness from Pilates tends to feel more like an awarenes or awakening of muscles. So, you may experience a little soreness all over, and may even feel muscles you never knew you had.


12. "Who came up with all this?!" Joseph Pilates. He's the man. (See "What is Pilates: An animated history of Pilates" video.)


13. "Will I be able to do this?" Yes. From athletes to senior citizens, and everyone in between, Pilates is for everyone!


Any further questions? Comment below!