5 Things To Know Before Beginning Mat Pilates

Allison Walker, registered dietitian / Pilates instructor
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5 Things To Know Before Beginning A Mat Pilates Class

HEY THERE! If you are looking to try Pilates or elevate your current beginner Pilates routine, then look no further! In this post, I will give you 5 things you should bring to your mat Pilates class.

It's the new year and you have a new sense of energy to do things for your health and well-being. You have decided to try a Pilates class. Yay You!!!! This is where if you were in front of me I would do "Snaps For _____". Pilates is an amazing workout regimen and as the creator of Pilates, Joseph Pilates said, "Pilates is for everyone." Anyone can take Pilates with the right instructor guiding you.


5 Things You Should Bring To Class:

  1. Bring an open mind to class. Your mental state is huge! Pilates is all about the breath, but if your mental state isn't positive then you will have a harder time connecting all the pieces. A common phrase you will hear goes a lil something like this.... After 10 classes, you will get the breath and feel the difference. After 20 classes, you will begin putting the breath to the movements in a more concise manner and see the difference. After 30 classes, you will definitely see the change and have a new body. The exact quote from Mr. Joseph Pilates himself is, "In 10 sessions, you'll feel the difference, In 20, you'll see the difference and in 30, you'll have a new body." If you have never taken a class, it will be an adjustment to do the "Pilates Breath". Come with an open mind and understanding that you may not be able to put it all together on the first try.
  2. Review and practice the common term used - "navel to spine". What exactly does navel to spine even mean? I know... I know... inquiring minds want to know. I would practice in a bathroom mirror, pulling your navel, also known as the belly-button, in by a contraction. This doesn't mean you suck in. This means you learn to pull your navel in toward your spine with the mind controlling the breath through the process. This is a huge foundation piece so you can go into the class knowing the Pilates breath and you can do the movements they are asking WHILE doing this breath exercise. I promise you will thank me later!
  3. Do not eat a heavy meal or drink a ton of liquid within 45 minutes of class. This is a huge tip, in my professional opinion. MANY, do not talk about it. You will be extremely uncomfortable rolling up or back and doing all the breathing exercises with a full belly. Can you imagine downing a large coffee say within 20-30 minutes of having to a lot of heavy breathing WHILE moving other body parts. No... me either! You will want to bring a water bottle to sip on the beverage, but you will not be gulping it down during class. Wait until class is over and then replenish your hydration and food needs. 
  4. You will probably prefer high-waisted or drawstring pants for class! Yup! You read that right. It is a weird blessing in disguise to share. A common Pilates move is called the "Roll Up". You will do exactly what this says... roll up. Well, let's think about this. You are laying down on the floor. You will be cued to roll up one vertebrae at a time as you move to a sitting position and then do a forward fold as you reach towards your toes. Depending on your exercise level, you may have your legs straight out in from of you or you will have your feet flat on the floor with a bend in your knees. If you decide to wear some low-waisted stretchy pants, you might flash everyone. It happens to all of us at some point when taking a Pilates class. When you engage a full-body of muscles, (tighten the legs and roll up and stretch) your pants find a way to wiggle themselves down. If you wear a higher waisted  athletic leggings, you will be less likely to reveal your bum aka bottom to the class. 
  5. Glorious Number 5! DO NOT! I REPEAT DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED!  Pilates is a learned movement of art. Most do not get it on the first try. I would give yourself some grace. Some can nail the breath with the movements the 1st go around. For most, it will take a couple of months to be proficient. Be patient with yourself. You will absolutely LOVE Pilates once you get the hang of it. After coaching and performing Olympic lifts a good portion of my adult life, I have found my rhythm and absolutely LOVE what Pilates has done for my entire body and overall health.

I absolutely LOVE Pilates and LOVE teaching Pilates even more! I have taught, what I call, Christian Pilates or Workout and Worship since 2004. I have taught all ages and most abilities can do the whole class. When I teach, I give beginner to advanced cues for doing each exercise. It is important that every ability level get an amazing workout. Now, in my classes to worship music, I allow the class to really engage in the music as part of their worship to Jesus. He gave each of us one body to take care of in this life. It is a time of reflection on what you are doing in a physical way to glorify Him. I create the classes I teach to a theme of music that points everything back to Jesus. If you are interested in taking virtual Pilates classes with me, you can click the button below. It will take you to the year long set of classes for only $10/month. Y'all know those t-shirts that say " Y'all Need Jesus". Well, I need one that says that and Pilates. Ha! I may just need to create my own. Stay tuned!! If you are ever in Roswell, GA, email me and come take an in-person mat Pilates class with me. 


At this link, there are some free online Pilates classes that you may like to try first. As we were remodeling our basement during shutdown, I carved out this little area in my basement. 

xoxo, Allison

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