Pilates for Beginners – tips to get you started

So, you’ve decided to try Pilates but you’re not sure of where to go and what type of class to do. There are many different businesses and instructors who offer Pilates classes, and they will all vary in the style of class, the duration of sessions they offer, the degree of difficulty and the level of individual help and support they offer you

Once you decide to try Pilates, the first question is where. You will find Pilates classes at:

  • Health and fitness clubs
  • Pilates studios (facilities geared specifically toward Pilates or Pilates and mind-body activities like yoga)
  • Recreation centres
  • Wellness centres and rehabilitation clinics

Whatever setting you choose for your experience as a Pilates beginner, it should provide an appropriate mind-body atmosphere conducive to concentration and focus.

If you are lucky enough to have choice of facilities that offer Pilates, the next question to ask yourself is:

What results do I want to get?

Pilates exercise will help you to develop core and general strength, cardiovascular fitness and flexibility.

Quite often the class you choose will depend on the reason why you are doing Pilates. For example, if you just want to improve your flexibility and strength for general health and fitness, and you don’t have any specific physical injuries, aches or pains, then Pilates in a gym or fitness centre, where you take part in a group exercise class with other people, will work for you.

However, if you have any injuries or are seeking a very specific goal, such as to help you to reduce back pain, then you would be advised to seek out the specialised services of a private Pilates practitioner. A private or semi-private session will mean that your needs will be met while you get the best of individualised instruction and attention.

From here you need to decide on your budget for classes.

 How much can I afford to spend on classes?

Prices for classes and private session will vary enormously with gyms and fitness centres offering relatively low cost group classes, but bear in mind, the lower the price point, the more generalised the class and the less individualised help you will receive. Mostly Pilates classes are included as part of your membership option, but before you sign up, ask if they offer these classes and when they are held.  Gym memberships currently range from as little as $7 up to $20 per week.

You should expect to pay between $60 and $120 an hour for a fully private Pilates service, with the price range influenced by the Instructors qualifications and years of experience. Generally speaking, the more injuries and concerns you have for your body, the more highly skilled you need your instructor. There’s nothing worse than starting on an exercise programme with an inexperienced trainer only to get hurt and then suffer a set back.

Most quality Pilates instructors will offer a free consultation service to meet you and discuss your individual situation and goals. They should advise you on options available that will suit your needs and make recommendations.

Now you know your budget you can choose the style of class you want.

 A group experience

If working out with others helps you stay motivated and focused and you need the camaraderie (and discipline) of scheduled classes to keep you on track, then group reformer or mat classes may be the best fit. Some fitness clubs offer free mat classes to introduce their members to Pilates, however Pilates Reformer classes typically carry a fee. You can make such sessions more affordable however, by working out with a friend or your partner.

 Customized and one-on-one training

If you want an intensive, one-on-one Pilates experience customised to your individual goals or special needs then a private booking will work best for you. You will have the undivided attention of your instructor for the full session time. Nothing beats personal Pilates training sessions for results, if your budget allows.

Pilates at home

If you prefer the solitude and flexibility of working out alone, and have a hard time sticking with a regularly-scheduled class, then Pilates at home may be best for you. There are plenty of You Tube session you can follow along with.

If Pilates at home appeals to you, experts agree that taking a class or two first is a smart and safe way to begin Pilates. The investment will be well worth it. Good Pilates technique includes intricacies of both movement and breathing that are best explained and demonstrated by a qualified instructor.


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