All you need to do is sign up to a convenient Intro to Pilates class to get started. You'll be taken through to registration and payment and will be required to fill in the client enrolment form that is essential in giving me all the information I need to ensure your safety.
Most clients start at Intro to Pilates level and have never done it before. The movements, breathing and terminology used are learned at each individual's pace, and there is no pressure to pick it up any faster than you are able to understand and feel the exercises. Each exercise is demonstrated and cued, then observed and corrected – a reassuring process that leads to the development and understanding of some solid groundwork that will give you the confidence to move up to Improver level, and the process continues.
Although progress and benefit go hand in hand with regular attendance (I suggest an average attendance of at least once a week), many people work in shifts, during long hours and/or have children, so a regular time slot is not always realistic. You can attend any class at the right level for you, giving you the option to do two classes in one week, and you also have a minimum of two extra weeks in which to take those sessions, depending on the number of classes in the block you have booked. For example, a six-session block can be taken over eight weeks whereas a 12-session block can be taken over 16 weeks.
All clients will need to fill in a client enrolment form before starting classes. There are two forms available – one for regular clients wanting to start classes at Intro to Advanced levels, and one for Antenatal and Postnatal clients. The forms are a valuable insight into your relevant medical background, your aims and goals in Pilates, personal contact details and a liability waiver. In some cases I may require a little more information or advise that a client assessment is necessary for a more in-depth understanding of your issues. Please fill in the form with as much detail as you can and if you run out of space, continue on a blank page. You can download the form and complete/edit it on your computer in Adobe, save as 'yourname.pdf' and email it back to me.
There is a maximum of 12 participants in each of the Intro to Advanced Matwork classes, a maximum of ten participants for Postnatal classes and a maximum of eight participants for Antenatal classes, but sometimes there may be fewer than this. These maximum numbers are strict as they allow me to effectively deliver an appropriate exercise programme while observing, analysing and, most importantly, correcting each participant and their quality of movement throughout every exercise. The schedule page will give you an indication of how many participants are booked in for any class, but this may of course change at any point before the class starts. If the class is full, you will be put on a waiting list and in the case that a participant is unable to attend, you will be notified of the available place.
To avoid disappointment and a potentially wasted journey, it is essential that you book all classes. The booking system stores all your information in terms of classes booked, attended and missed and sends you emails when you are nearing the end of your time period or number of visits remaining. PilatesMan uses the system to see which clients are coming to a class and plan or adapt the lesson accordingly. Only the first 12 participants (eight antenatal and ten postnatal) who have booked can take part in the class – anyone else unfortunately will be turned away.
You need to be 18 years or over and there is no maximum age. Each client will be assessed initially by the client enrolment form and throughout the classes.
Pilates works on many levels and helps many people with a wide range of physical difficulties. However, everyone is assessed individually (initially via the client enrolment form but also in your ability during classes), and exercises are often adapted to suit your specific needs. Pilates is widely acknowledged and recommended by physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and doctors as being an important component in the development and maintenance of a fully functional and healthy body, particularly as we age. Clients commonly wish to start classes due to back, neck, hip, knee and shoulder discomfort or an unfortunate combination of some or all of these. In most cases, often with the support of other medical practitioners, they develop the skills and awareness to live pain free, usually with a weekly reminder of what they can still be doing to improve and maintain a good range of movement in all their joints.
Within six sessions, you should notice a real improvement in your body, and how you move and feel before, during and after a class. There is no set time in which you need to progress from Intro to Improver levels, but usually 6 to 12 sessions will allow you to grasp the basic principles and give you the confidence to seek additional challenges in the Improver classes. Starting each class initially with relaxing the body in order to switch off the big programmed muscles and start engaging the small and less-used muscles, we then focus on alignment (posture), breathing (diaphragmatic) and centring (appropriate use of core muscles for the given task). We will develop the understanding and awareness of your body to progress through more challenging exercises with control, flowing movement, increased concentration and stamina. By applying these principles to every movement, your body will respond at an incredible rate, giving you back a great deal more than you probably set out to achieve in the first instance.
Despite being devised by a man, Pilates is, at present, mostly practised and taught by women, but the number of men taking up the discipline is increasing all the time. Pilates is great for both sexes, but usually for different reasons. In general, men are often strong and inflexible with tight muscles, leading to a poor range of movement around the joints, while women are often flexible but lack strength, resulting in poor control of their range of movement around the joints. Both have their associated difficulties and Pilates helps to develop a combination of strength and flexibility throughout the body, allowing a healthy and correct range of movement in all the joints.
Yes and no. There is no substitute for a healthy and balanced diet, and one class of Pilates a week, no matter how advanced the workout is, will not burn enough calories to counterbalance a poor diet. However, an increased awareness of your abdominal muscles, greater strength and flexibility throughout your body, more toned muscle and an improved feeling of well-being are powerful motivators in helping you achieve and maintain your goals.
You should wear comfortable clothing that allows you to move easily without restriction. You will warm up as you move so removing a top layer is a good option. Please note, however, that baggy clothing makes it harder for the instructor to observe and correct your alignment, particularly when dealing with small imbalances in posture, but generally it is possible to work around whatever you feel most comfortable in.
No, I supply all equipment, from mats and head cushions to small pieces of equipment that will add extra challenge, give you valuable feedback or support you in an exercise. If you would prefer to use your own mat, please feel free.