Pilates for Beginners

Tatiana’s Pilates in Carpinteria, CA.
Lotus Newsletter, March 2009, Issue # 1
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“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

If you are like me, when you start something new you seem to do all kinds of research on the topic and still have questions. So, this is for those who are interested in Pilates and have many questions left unanswered.
Why Pilates? What are my goals? How do I get motivated and more importantly- how do I stay motivated? Is Pilates a competitive sport? What if I’m slow? Will Pilates exercises hurt me? Are there any age-related limits? What if I am limited by my health conditions?
As in any exercise program, first you formulate your goals. For example, you want to start a Pilates program to feel fit, trim and balanced. You were amazed at your friend’s physical transformation since the last time you’ve seen her a few months before. She looked longer and leaner, and when you learned she was doing Pilates, you too decided to join and get similar results.
You can ask yourself what you want to do and why. I would recommend writing your answers down. This will serve as your Pilates diary and help keep you on the right path. You can list all kinds of accompanying tasks, targets and layers of mini-goals (e.g., learning at last how to find that Neutral Spine, how to stay on that pesky exercise ball or how to do this exercise they all talk about- a “Hundred”) and refer back to them as you track your progress.
In case you have health problems or other concerns or issues, before you actually join a Pilates studio and start a program, make sure to consult your doctor. This is important for all of us- young and younger, those who are more and maybe less athletic. A physical exam with your doctor makes sense, since one of the reasons that people exercise in general and start a Pilates program in particular, is to promote health and/or start a post-injury/ post rehabilitative program.
Your Pilates instructor can help you develop an individual training program and adjust it to your needs. It’s important to stick to the program and try not to do too much, too quickly. Starting a Pilates training program is exciting and challenging and you don’t want to overdo it. This can lead to burnout or even injury especially if you changed your way of life from not exercising to starting an everyday routine or you’ll quit the entire thing a week or two later. I would recommend Pilates sessions two or three times a week (every other day), so that you have at least a day of rest and recovery time in between.
Your instructor will make sure you start off and build on gradually. Make sure to keep record of your workouts in your training diary, so that you can notice your progress and all the benefits of starting a Pilates program. You’ll possibly have improved mood, better balance, leaner look, etc., but some of them might take weeks or longer to develop. Real results like these will sure keep you motivated.
Although Pilates is extremely powerful, it is not magic. It must be practiced consistently in order to unleash its fullest potential. Whether you prefer working out alone or with a partner(s) or a group, on the way to your goal, consistency is a must.  Also, if you prefer small group sessions, if possible, try to be around someone who is better than you. An extra challenge never hurts and only presents a learning opportunity. As you continue, your new Pilates-based approach to exercise will help you maintain and enhance benefits for you. The journey is as important as the destination. Have fun doing Pilates and enjoy the ride.

Tatiana’s Pilates
929 Linden Avenue, Suite E, Carpinteria, CA 93013 •
805.284.2840 • info@tatianaspilates.com

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