Pilates: What to Expect in Your First Session
By Carla Vercoe
Don’t be intimidated when you finally take Pilates. We understand that you may have questions—What are those people doing? What are those contraptions they are on? What do I wear? Will I need a shower after my session? Don’t fret! Pilates is for everybody, and each session will be planned for your comfort and with your specific needs in mind.
Prior to starting, do a little research. Do you prefer a small boutique Pilates studio where you will get individualized attention from highly trained staff that will work with you to meet your goals and needs? Or is a gym atmosphere more your style? Some people like to be in classes where they can socialize more and blend in without having individualized attention. If you are lucky, you will have both options available to you.
My focus today will be on the small boutique studio, which is the experience Studio BE Pilates offers to clients. Your Pilates teacher should have completed a full comprehensive program that took them at least a year to complete and over 500 hours of training. Know that your teacher will first assess you, address your medical history and your goals, and then develop a program specific to you. At Studio BE we start each client with a package of five private sessions to ensure that you learn fundamentals, basic choreography (more on this to follow), and how to use the different equipment.
Why the term ‘choreography’? Well, Joseph Pilates created his system—originally called “Contrology”—with a specific order of exercises that flow from one to the next and address the body in each plane of movement. For you, that means every time you come in you will get a full body workout that will stretch and strengthen your body. It is not cardio; you may or may not sweat, but most people don’t need to shower afterwards (although we do appreciate it if you shower before).
What should I expect my first session? The first time you are in, you will be getting an introduction to Pilates movement and the equipment. Your instructor will watch you carefully as you are taken through the basic Introductory order of exercises. We will take note of what we see and address how to proceed with the session that day, as well as the next couple weeks. Pilates is different from any other form of exercise and it will take you awhile to adjust to the equipment and the routine. Your first few sessions may seem “easy”…know that soon you will be very much challenged.
What should I wear to Pilates? Form fitting clothes are requested since we need to see your body and what it is doing. Yoga attire for women is best (no baggy clothes or sweatpants/shirts). Men should wear form fitting clothing as well; if shorts are desired, wear compression shorts underneath. Loose fitting clothing can cause a hazard by getting caught on the equipment. No loose jewelry, no zippers on pants or tops as they can tear the equipment upholstery. For hygienic reasons, we require socks at Studio BE.
Is there music? Is it loud? No, Pilates is a mind body system that requires concentration and control. In order for you to concentrate and listen to the Instructor, the studio needs to be quiet. While your group classes might be fun, or you want to catch up on some news with your Instructor, please remember that there are other people in the studio trying to concentrate on their own session.
Most of all, expect to have a pleasant experience in a warm and inviting atmosphere where we care about you and your goals. We want you to have fun, feel safe, and most of all feel successful after each session. BE beautiful, BE strong, BE amazing, and BE you!