You and Your Pilates Class
What is The Common Goal?



What questions should you ask the pilates instructor?

Whether it's in a pilates class or one-to-one, be confident that the instructor is fully qualified.

Anyone with minimal or no training can use the word "pilates" to describe what they do.

It can be hard to know the true pilates instructor. One that has had hundreds of hours of training, exams and experience.

There may be a universal certification exam coming soon. Until then you will have to take the responsibility in making sure you are being taught by a fully qualified person.

There are proper training sources out there, producing certified pilates instructors. You need to remember that improper instruction or care could lead to injury.



Your Pilates Goal

What do you want to achieve from pilates? It's a question only you can answer. Is it part of an exercise plan or will it be your only form of exercise? Is it something you want to do or has it been recommended for your health - what is your motivation? How much time and money can you afford to spend on pilates?..

Asking yourself these questions will guide you to your goal(s). Once you know your goal, then it'll be easier to find an instructor that will help you achieve it, either in a pilates class or one-to-one. So which should you choose?



One-to-One Pilates Sessions?

I would recommend this if you are highly motivated in pilates, and want to advance at a fast pace. Also if pilates is your only form of exercise, if you are pregnant, or recovering from injury, you may want to consider one-to-one.

You will have the sole focus of the instructor. This is great for you if you've often been in a class and wondered "am I doing this right?!" whilst the instructor is seeing to others. Or you may have mastered an exercise whilst the rest of the class are behind, your progress will be held up.

The extensive training of the instructor, along with their full attention, will help them to identify flaws in your technique so much quicker. Therefore you will improve and advance quicker. This is a very personal, private and unique experience.

But it's not cheap. A quality instructor would have had to pay expensive fees to train and learn. They are very specialised people in the science of pilates, and you will be paying for their uninterrupted service.



Pilates class?

Group classes tend to range from beginner to advanced level. If you have never done any pilates or yoga before, then the beginner's classes are the best for starting up.

Learning with other people of the same level will give you great confidence. You can also learn from people's mistakes around you. Everyone is there to enjoy pilates and improve their body. You could even make new friendships or find an exercise partner of similar fitness to yourself.

There are loads of places that offer classes due to the popularity of pilates. From gyms to specialised pilates clubs, they will all offer a range of costs and memberships, depending on your needs. Remember your pilates goal when you're considering where to go.

Specific pilates classes aren't cheap on their own. But you can work around this, for example, most gyms include pilates and yoga classes within their membership. So you get a range of facilities for the same price. Whatever you pay for your class, always look for quality. An expensive class may not mean good quality.

How far are you willing to travel to your class? How will you get there and back? We've all told ourselves at the beginning, no matter what happens, I'm going to that class. But then winter comes, it gets dark early, your feeling kinda run down, and travelling that X-distance suddenly becomes too far.

Take in to account the whole "feel" of the class and its surroundings. You will want to feel comfortable and at ease the whole time. Consider the other facilities, such as changing rooms, cafes, the hygiene levels and staff.



Your Checklist

Whether you decide to go to a pilates class or have one-to-one sessions, you should always ask the instructor a series of questions.

Here is a list of questions and observations that you should make sure you ask when starting on your pilates journey:

Questions..

  • Where and when did they train for certification?

  • How many hours of apprenticeship did they do? Did they take written and practical exams?

  • Do they continue to study and learn about pilates?

  • What type of certification do they have? (e.g. only mat work, or full)

  • How long have they been teaching?

  • Do they have a speciality or philosophy? (Will it tie in with your goal?)

  • Can you observe a class or session before you sign up?

  • Do they have a guestbook or any appraisals you could see?

    Observations..

  • Look at the instructor's example, are they a good walking example of the benefits of pilates?

  • Are they professional in the way they talk to you? Do you feel comfortable talking to them?

  • Do they take an actual interest in you, or are they giving you a sales pitch to sign up?

  • Have they asked you about your health history? Or given you a form to fill out requesting your goal, fitness level, medical history and previous experience of pilates?

  • When you observe a class, see if you understand the instructions and follow the demonstration of each movement. Do they give individual advice as well as talking to the whole group? Are they motivating? Do they clean equipment after use?



    Final Word

    The more questions you ask the better. Don't feel like you're being rude. You will be paying for a service with your pilates class, so you should get the best out of it.


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