I went to my first reformer Pilates class and here’s what you need to know
I recently did my first ever Pilates class and learned some life lessons so you don't have to.
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First things first, I am not a fitness fanatic. I'm not the type of person who is biting at the heel to hit a spin class or make kale smoothies. On the other hand, I do dabble in a HIIT class or a coastal stroll here and there. In other words, I'm the Average Joe when it comes to fitness.
So that's why I'm the perfect guinea pig to give reformer Pilates a go.
What is it?
High chances are, if you're reading this, you may have booked yourself in for a class or are thinking about it but have no idea what you're in for. I was the same.
According to Body Mind Life, "it's the exercise of choice for those looking to strengthen, balance, lengthen and tone" and it's conducted on those nifty machines, also known as a reformer. I've also heard that when you're consistent, the results and benefits of Pilates are no joke.
I hit up KX Pilates as I'd seen a bunch of social posts about them and heard the beginners class here was pretty damn good. Overall, it was challenging but I felt like a fitness goddess after walking out of the studio. However, I learned a few life lessons while at the class, so here's what you need to know.
1. Don't bother with the grip socks
Slightly controversial opinion here, but those grip socks that help you stick to the reformer, in my opinion, are not needed.
When I asked the instructor whether or not I needed a pair for the class, she said they spray down the machines and I'll probably be fine without them. Safe to say she was right. I genuinely didn't have a single moment where I felt my foot was slipping, so save yourself the $15 and go barefoot.
Some studios do have policies where the grip socks are compulsory but if you don't HAVE to wear them then you're fine to go without.
Remember, everyone is different so try it out for yourself barefoot and if you feel like you enjoyed the class but needed more grip then invest in the socks.
2. Trust me, you won't fall off the machine
Walking into a Pilates class, you're met with an array of terrifying contraptions known as the reformer. It looks like something out of a torture chamber and is pretty intimidating for a first-timer.
In all honesty, it looks way scarier than it is and you're not going to fall off. You'll think you will, but you won't. The reformers are built in a way that they work with your body and the resistance to stabilise you.
Remember, you don't have to go too hard to start off with. I would adjust my pose for the exercise in certain ways that suited a newbie like me (e.g. putting your hands on the bar at the front) when I was feeling a little off balance
3. Let them know you've got no idea what you're doing
You may feel a little shy but honestly, I'm so glad I let the instructor know it was my first time and that I was nervous as HELL. She was able to help me with the straps and springs on moves where I had no clue what on God's earth was going on and was able to recommend what size weights I should use.
Side note: I went to a second class and didn't tell her it was my second time and there was a definite difference in the types of exercises. The first lesson gave a lot of alternatives for beginners whereas the second didn't.
Remember, the instructor is there to not only teach but to help you so don't be afraid to let them know it's your first time.
4. Take a buddy who also has no idea what they're doing
My roommate and I ended up going together as beginners and it was the best thing I could've done. It made it a lot less daunting to have someone who was also asking questions, and a lot more fun.
Remember, you'll have more fun laughing at yourself when you've got someone to laugh with.
5. Hydrate yo'self
During the Pilates class, there weren't many opportunities to grab a drink of water so make sure you're nice and hydrated before the class. I think over the entire 50 minutes there were two drink breaks. When that class finished, water had never tasted so good.
Remember, keep up your fluids!
6. Stretch those muscles (or pay for it the next day)
You're going to be sore. If you're a beginner and have never tried reformer Pilates before then get ready to feel pain in muscles you didn't even know you had.
BUT this was a positive for me because it showed that even though Pilates isn't some intense HIIT class that involves an instructor yelling at me the whole time, I still worked out hard.
Remember, don't book yourself in for back-to-back classes because you will most need a rest day. Make time to stretch when you get home as well as the next day.
If you're still a bit too nervous to go into a studio, there are plenty of Pilates classes available online and you can also check out our at-home Pilates equipment guide for what you need to do it in the comfort of your own home.
7. Everyone in the class is just doing their own thing
One of the most daunting things about trying something new (especially at the gym or in a class) is that you're going to look like an absolute fool. This was definitely something running through my mind and making me nervous but honestly, no one cared.
Everyone in the class is just doing their own thing and focusing on their own workout to notice you on your reformer.
If you want to challenge yourself with a fitness program you can do at home, check out Finder's comparison of 50 popular online workouts. You can also try before you buy with our guide to online fitness programs with free trials.
Items you can use for at-home Pilates:
PTP MediBand+ 3 pack
Fila Resistance Bands Heritage Set
19 Piece Resistance Exercise Bands Set
Celsius 3kg Adjustable Ankle Wrist Weights
Adjustable Ankle/Wrist Weight Straps - 2 x 5kg
Wrist and Ankle Weights Set (pair of 1 kg) - Pink
BAHE Alignment 4mm Yoga Mat
PTP Essential Mat - Jade
Yoga Cork Mat - 6mm
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