Talk to anyone who does Pilates, and you can almost guarantee they will swear by the practice. And, it's not surprising, with a holistic approach that not only promises a longer, stronger and leaner body but also a calmer mind, Pilates really does market itself as the near perfect workout.
However, armed with a few questions — in particular, how long it actually takes to see results — we spoke with classical Pilates instructor and Director at Authentic Pilates Studio, Olga Tamara, to get a full run down on the type of results you can expect, the difference between reformer and mat and if there really is such thing a "magic" number of classes we should be doing a week for optimal results.
How often should we be doing Pilates a week to see consistent results. Is there such thing as a "magic" number?
Is there ever a magic number for success? No, but there is magic results with effort and hard work. What really matters is willingness to commit to being dedicated to your health and practice. If you are, no matter how many times a week you do Pilates you will find an endless supply of benefits on an ongoing basis. You and only you can make that commitment.
How long does it take on average to start seeing results from Pilates?
Founder and inventor of the Pilates method, Joseph Pilates, wrote "In 10 sessions you'll feel a difference, in 20 sessions you'll see a difference, and in 30 sessions you'll have a whole new body". This is a quote you see often as a marketing tool for Pilates studios as it resonates with the imagination! Often, feeling better is what gets us hooked on Pilates. In just 10 sessions your muscles are stronger, your body is more aligned, and your mind if clear and stress-free. After 20 sessions, you may notice muscles definition and see a change in body shape. After 30 sessions with your personal instructor, you'll be moving with more vigour and not only feel and look better but be well on your way to living a better life because Pilates translates to other aspects of our lives, keeping us healthy and strong, physically and mentally.
Why do you specifically mention 30 sessions with a personal instructor?
This is key! To get the most out of Pilates you need to understand what it is you're actually doing and why. You won't get this in a gym group class or a big mat or reformer class as it takes focused, personal attention. Make sure you do your homework and source a good teacher who has done full comprehensive training that can help you understand the Pilates method and how to adapt Josephs philosophies to your mind and body.
Is there a difference in the type and speed of results you will see from reformer and mat Pilates?
I can't testify to the speed of results between mat and the reformer as everyone is different. What I can categorically state is that the speed of which you will see results in Pilates is far greater when you attend studio Pilates sessions in a private or small group setting, rather than large group classes. If you are going to large group Pilates mat or reformer classes then you may want to ask yourself, "Am I being taught Pilates?" It's possible you are doing fitness exercises and not Pilates at all. Now, I'm certainly not saying that's bad, exercises in all forms is great for the body, it's just that it's not "Pilates".
What are the types of changes you can expect to see from Pilates?
There are many changes you'll see, but more importantly feel. Your shape will change for the better. You'll look taller and be taller. You'll feel lighter, stronger, more energetic and happier. You'll also improve your quality of sleep; and your mind will be more focused. If you have commitment to your daily routine and discipline in your movement, your whole body will develop uniformly giving you the quality of life you deserve. Remember, "Pilates is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit", it's not just about a rock-hard core. It is more than just a physical exercise and can radically enhance mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Is Pilates really for everyone?
A lot of people only take up Pilates when they feel they need rehab, or they have an ailment of some kind due to postural issues and their working environment. Pilates will help of course but keep in mind it is very much a preventative form of exercise. It's never too late to start. Whether you are a mature person with a sedentary lifestyle, an active athlete, or a young teen, Pilates is for you. With multiple modifications, this workout can be applied to every individual no matter the age or activity level.