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How to choose the right Pilates for you

You’ve been told that you should do Pilates, right? ….and perhaps you have heard a little about what it is however you are still unsure about how to go about finding the right class for you.

There are many types of Pilates classes out there and just rocking up to the first one you find; may leave you feeling unenthusiastic about your Pilates journey and see you give up before you get started!

Let’s talk a little about some of the classes you may find when you start to look around.

  • Pilates mat class – this could be a small or a very large group class (think gym classes) – these are great if you are looking for a general Pilates fitness class and you don’t have injuries or conditions that require individual attention from the instructor to help you not only manage this throughout the class but to teach you exercises relevant to your specific needs. Whilst you may get a little of this in a mat class depending on the instructor and environment, its not the best place for an injured body.

  • Pilates large group reformer class – the reformer is a wonderful piece of equipment that uses spring loaded tension to assist or challenge the Pilates client depending on the exercise. Again, if you are looking for general fitness and don’t require that individual attention to manage your injuries or conditions, then this is a wonderful way to enjoy the benefits of Pilates in a larger group.

  • Pilates studio or small reformer group sessions – generally from 1 – 3 clients per session, using reformer and other pieces of spring loaded Pilates equipment. This type of Pilates class is for you if you: have rehabilitation needs or conditions that require individual attention from the instructor, exercise is totally new to you or perhaps you know you will take a while to learn and feel comfortable with a new type of movement practice, you don’t like larger group exercise environments or your preference is to be in a smaller group session.

Of course, there will be variations of all of the above types of classes as Pilates becomes more and more popular each year and studios set up the model that they think works best for their style and their local client needs.

How do you work out, which class is for you?

Ask yourself the following:

  • What do I want to achieve from Pilates? (general fitness, strength to support another sporting activity, rehabilitate an injury or long-term condition management, increase flexibility, reduce pain, strength to support the aging process, want to meet other people)

  • What is the best location for me? (close to home or close to work)

  • What is my availability to attend classes? (mornings, nights, anytime as I am retired 😊)

  • Is it important what my instructor is like? Are there qualities that I would like in my health professional?

  • Are the qualifications of the instructor important to me (you will find trained professionals ranging from personal trainers, fitness instructors, qualified Pilates instructors, exercise physiologist and physiotherapists all offering Pilates)

  • What is my budget for looking after my health and fitness? (many people put this last on their list of priorities – but what would your quality of life be like without your health and fitness?)

Perhaps you know the answers to some or all these questions. Now its time to ask around for referrals from friends and contacts, search on google ‘Pilates (suburb/area)’ or ask on local social media groups to find Pilates providers/studios. Give them a call and have a conversation about what you are looking for. Like anything, if you know what you want and have clear intentions, you are sure to find the perfect fit!

Narelle Jones

Pilates Instructor – Diploma of Contemporary Pilates & Teaching Methodology

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