Pilates has been around for 80-plus years, and it's no wonder that it has staying power. The workout offers so many benefits—it can help strengthen your core, improve flexibility and joint mobility, and build strength. But how do you even start? Beginning any new workout routine can be intimidating.
So whether you're a beginner or a Pilates enthusiast, we asked Mary Miller, an instructor at The Studio (MDR), where a community workout was held to celebrate JoyLab's latest fall collection (now available in stores and at target.com) to share her pro tips for a good workout session. The studio uses the Lagree Method, which is similar to Pilates, but is done on a Megaformer. Here's what she had to say.
1. Listen to Your Instructor: This way you can learn everything properly. "The Lagree Method [which the Studio (MDR) uses] focuses on overall functional strength: targeting the core, lengthening and strengthening the entire body while maintaining low to no impact on the joints. It takes time to build your strength and core—in general, most people forget or don't know how to use their core, but at the studio, our instructors guide and adjust you through the workout, so over time you will notice the difference whether you are using your core or not. It will make a difference in your workout and everyday life," Miller says.
2. Go at Your Own Pace: Listen to your body and don't overdo; that might lead to injury. "You can stop and take a break when you need to—you are not holding up the class in any way. No one is staring at you," she says.
And if you have an existing injury, make sure to tell the instructor before class starts. Miller says there are always modifications you can make if you have challenges with your knees, shoulders, or other body parts.
4. Hydrate: Miller says this is important before and after class.
5. Show Up Early: Miller recommends getting to class 15 minutes early to meet the instructor. This is especially important if you're taking a class with a Megaformer machine since you're going to need to learn how it works.
6. Don't Give Up: "Your first few times may be hard and challenging and won't seem to get easier, but you will definitely feel yourself getting stronger, which will get you motivated to come back," Miller says. "You'll start to feel and see the results quickly!"
7. Consistency Is Key: This is across the board for any workout. "We always suggest three times a week," Miller says. "You can add a fourth if you've been coming for a few months and you are getting ready for a special event like a red carpet event or wedding. Your body does need to rest because your body is working up to 48 hours after you leave class, so you need a day to recover."