Isn’t Pilates hard and intense?


The other day I was having a conversation with someone new and they asked what I do. I said I teach Pilates, strength building exercises for your whole body. And he said, ‘wow, Pilates, isn’t that really hard and intense?’ Honestly, it’s not but I can understand how you get that impression.

Pilates uses equipment that can look medieval. One is even called the electric chair and another the guillotine. The cadillac itself is a trapeze style set up and nothing like the fancy car. These things alone can send you running out the door. When I first did Pilates I saw the equipment and said no thanks, I’ll try mat.

There’s a chance you tried Pilates once and found it hard.

The first time you try something new it’s awkward and uncomfortable. You want to be good at it. It’s human nature! But if you went to a class and found it difficult, there are a number of reasons why you felt that way.

For me personally, I try too hard and want it to be perfect. There’s no such thing as perfection. It’s a ideal and I repeat it over and over. The more you try to be perfect, the harder it is. 

Often it’s a matter of connecting with your instructor.

Just like making friends, we gravitate to people we share things in common with. So if you tried Pilates with one instructor and didn’t like it, try a new one! There are plenty of instructors out there and having so many is overwhelming.

Also, consider a private session or a class.

Each one has a different goal in mind. The private session focuses on your individual needs. The class is for the entire group and to stay at a steady pace. If you find yourself needing more help, switch to a private session. If you want something fast paced and are comfortable on your own, take a class!

In a class setting I ask each individual if they’ve had any previous injuries or surgeries. I’m familiar with many and this small insight to your body helps me get to know you. That way when I see you struggling with an exercise, I’ll give you a modification. The modification helps you do the exercise in the best way possible. It makes Pilates less intense and hard. Pilates isn’t easy but it doesn’t need to be so hard you can’t even try!

Pilates DVDs and videos are a great place to start.

It’s a way to dip your feet in. See what it’s like and if you feel comfortable. In fact most of us have tried them once in our lives! I’ve done the Mari Windsor videos the first time I ever did Pilates. When I wanted better results I began taking classes. 

Then after several classes I took private lessons. These lessons were eye opening! I understand it can feel vulnerable to have a one on one session. The instructor is watching you and only you. But if you love being in competition with yourself (Monica from FRIENDS reference), private lessons are for you. You’ll see progress sooner. Then you can go back to classes and begin to notice how strong you are. 

Pilates uses small muscles you don’t even know exist!

It’s not a high intensity workout like a strength training session at the gym. One time I did a kettlebell workout for 30 minutes and the next day I was so sore! I didn’t feel comfortable sitting and felt like I had been on a horse the day before. Kettlebell squats were the reason. It wasn’t a pleasant experience while driving in a car for 7 hours.

When you do Pilates you will feel it the next day and it’s when you least expect it. It can be while laughing and noticing your sides (oblique muscles). Or when you squat to pick something up off the floor and feel the back of your thighs (hello hamstrings!).

Lastly, our minds play tricks on us and not on purpose.

There are times I build something up in my mind to be harder than it is. After I do it I realize how easy it is! Our minds don’t know the difference between a real and imagined image. It’s true! Think back to a time when you worried about something. How the mind went through all these different paths that were actually illusions.

You can do Pilates. It’s time to get out of your head and into Pilates! Start small with a ten-minute video on my YouTube channel and see how you feel. Choose one that sounds easiest to you. Small wins lead to big wins! When you need more, schedule a private session or class. Pilates is about you and your needs, no time to compare yourself to others.

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