30 Sessions to a New Body?

There is a well known and loved quote from Joseph Pilates himself that in 30 sessions you will have a new body. I sometimes think that this quote gets taken out of context and leads to people expecting a beach bikini ready body from 30 pilates sessions. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but doing Pilates once a week for 7 months is not going to do that.

So was Mr Pilates wrong? No, I don’t think so, but I think he had a different emphasis on this. I think he was meaning 1-2-1 sessions rather than group classes, he used a lot of equipment including the reformer and cadillac. I think he would have been expecting homework to be done between sessions and I think his style of teaching would have demanded you continually work on your posture and core daily.  Let’s face it, 7 months working in this way and you should be seeing great results.

This is not to say doing a weekly Pilates class isn’t beneficial. More of the point to highlight is that a weekly class is only 1% of your week and what you do the remaining 99% is key. So making Pilates a regular part of your day is the key. This doesn’t have to be a full hours workout, but more taking 10 minutes to focus on a few target exercises and keeping your posture high up the list of priorities in your day.

If you can manage a regular 1-2-1 session then this will also step things up a gear for you. I always notice that I work harder and see greater benefits for my own Pilates practise and body when I have regular 1-2-1’s. These don’t have to be weekly, I have clients who book in monthly for a reformer session to get that extra input and encouragement. Taking your Pilates from the mat to the equipment can show you where you need to focus your efforts. I’ve recently found that although I can do a roll up on the mat with ease, when I do it on the box on top of the reformer I struggle to get segmental work through one part of my spine. Cue a lightbulb moment and lots of focused stretching, segmental moves and practise.

So this post is all about encouraging you to take your Pilates out of the studio. Find some moves that you know you need to work on. The moves that you struggle with or the ones that you know help your body. Get your focus onto your posture and your everyday movements. Then you will really start to see the changes.

Top Tips on doing Pilates at Home.

Obviously I’m a huge fan of Pilates, because of my job I end up doing Pilates 5 days a week and I have to say if I don’t do enough Pilates I soon notice the difference. Similarly if I do too much I also notice it! The trick is to find the right balance.

One of the questions we get asked is if 1 Pilates class a week is enough. In all honesty I would have to say probably not. However that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to quickly try and find a second class to attend. Once you know the basics of Pilates I would recommend you find the exercises that help your body and practise these at home. For example if you have sciatica a few shoulder bridges, CAT’s and a glut massage may help release and relieve pain. If you have recently had a baby then practising some pelvic tilts, hamstring stretches and chest openers will strengthen your pelvic floor, help with abdominal muscle strengthening and release those tight muscles.


Top Tips on doing Pilates at Home:

1. Choose exercises that you are confident at doing and you know you can do correctly. Good technique is important in Pilates, so ask your instructor to check the exercises you plan to try.

2. Aim to do a couple of short sessions a week at home. Try not to fall into the trap of overdoing it or you could end up with tight muscles in places you don’t want them tight.

3. Try not to just choose the exercises that you like, these will probably be the ones you are good at and don’t really need to practise! For example I’m not a fan of the Saw, but I need to do it!

4. Look into buying a good DVD that will talk you through the exercises and give you a range of moves you can pick and choose from or an all over body workout. Try my DVD for example.