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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.
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.
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, so here's what you need to know.
Slightly controversial opinion here, but those grip socks that help you stick to the reformer are not a must-have.
The class instructor 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 that make grip socks compulsory but if you don't HAVE to wear them then you're probably fine to go without.
The Lesson: 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.
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.
These look way scarier than they are 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 of the machine to stabilise you.
The Lesson: 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
You may feel a little shy but I'm so glad I let the instructor know it was my first time. She was able to help me with the straps and springs on moves where I had no clue what on Mother Nature'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.
The Lesson: 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.
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.
The Lesson: You'll have more fun laughing at yourself when you've got someone to laugh with.
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 50 minute class there were two drink breaks.
The Lesson: Keep up your fluids!
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.
The Lesson: 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.
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 absolutely no one cared.
Everyone in the class is doing their own thing and focusing on their own workout to notice you on your reformer.
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.
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