It can be scary walking into a Pilates class for the first time. You might see all kinds of strange-looking machines. Or, you might just find out that youre dressed wrong.
Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on building core strength. Also, its suitable for all fitness levels. Pilates is a professional, client-centred practise thats great in a group or one-on-one.
Your instructor will undoubtedly be friendly and helpful. Yet, whos there to help you before you even get to class?
Weve come up with answers to some frequently asked questions from Pilates newcomers. Check out what to bring and what to wear so that you can start Pilates today!
What To Bring To Pilates
A Water Bottle
This one might seem like a no-brainer. However, youd be surprised by how many people turn up to a class without a water bottle.
Whilst you might not be sweating as much as other aerobic exercises, Pilates is still a workout. Plus, even in a one-hour class, youll undoubtedly have breaks. Its best to utilise these breaks to stay hydrated!
This one depends on if youre attending a Reformer or a mat class. Obviously, for the first option, youll be spending your time on a Reformer machine and wont need a mat.
However, even if youre attending a mat class, you may still want to bring your own. This could be for personal comfort or even hygiene reasons. However, most studios will provide you with one.
Most Pilates mats are over 6mm in thickness. If youre looking for a mat to use for both Pilates and Yoga, then a 6mm mat is the sweet spot. Pilates mats go up to 15mm in thickness, and we like a good Warrior Deluxe mat.
You can choose a full-thickness mat, or even just a thinner one to go over the class mat.
What To Wear
Here we are - the big question. Nobody wants to turn up to prom wearing the same dress as their friend. And nobody wants to turn up to a Pilates class either under- or overdressed. Plus, the wrong attire can cause discomfort and even safety issues!
Yes! You can wear shorts for Pilates. As long as they allow the instructor to see your form and alignment, go for it. Longer-style shorts tend to work better as they offer both comfort and support.
Top tip: go for form-fitting shorts that wont fall when you kick up into certain positions!
At some Reformer studios, socks are mandatory. However, you wont be allowed to wear any old socks for mat Pilates!
Youll need a pair that has some grip on them. This will mean that you dont slip around when youre forming poses. This grip can provide extra balance when youre transitioning from positions.
As for footwear, its a no-go. Its either barefoot or socks, so make sure to check with your studio first. Youll also only be in socks on a Reformer machine! We like brands like Pointe Studio or Stance if youre on the lookout.
Pilates isnt exactly a high-impact sport. Still, you should always wear a sports bra. A fashion bra can be uncomfortable and lack the necessary support.
When were exercising, were moving. Without supporting your breasts, you might be causing unnecessary tissue damage. Stretching the ligaments can result in irreversible scarring. Hardly worth it, is it?
Your two best options are either a low-impact sports bra or a specific yoga bra. Whichever way you end up going, make sure to find that you get the level of support you need the most.
You might prefer loose-fitting workout wear. Unfortunately for you, youll want to wear body-hugging gear for Pilates classes. That means no harem pants!
Clothing for Pilates and yoga is essentially the same. Although, Pilates attire is slightly more form-fitting than typical yoga clothing.
For your instructor to see your movements, they need to be able to see your form, and which muscles youre engaging. You dont want anything thats going to ride up either when youre on your back. Think capris or leggings and tank tops or fitted long-sleeves.
We prefer brands like Beyond Yoga, Alo Yoga, and of course, Nike. Youll also want to think about whether or not your leggings are see-through. Remember that youll have your legs up in the air at times!
What Not To Bring
So now youre all set on what to bring and what to wear. See, its not that hard, is it? However, you might still get caught up (even literally) if you dont pick the right types of those items. So when youre packing your gym bag, leave these at home.
Ok, we thought wed try and catch you there. Remember to wear shoes on the way to class. But both mat and Reformer pilates will operate a barefoot or socks-only policy.
Belts, Zips, And Buckles
While details like zippers and buckles may look cute, they are not ideal for a Pilates session. Especially not if youre doing a Reformer class!
These additions to your outfit can easily catch on things and disturb the class. Youll also want to avoid things like tie-backs and belts. Tie-back tops can be uncomfortable when doing mat-work.
Youll want to choose workout wear that's free of metal or plastic adornments. Zippers, buckles, clasps, buttons etc. can damage Pilates equipment. Think about being kind to your studio!
Makeup And Hair
So were not saying that you should leave your hair at home. Just try to tame the mane. Not only can it get caught if youre doing Reformer, but it will get in your way when it flops all over the place! If you have long hair, make sure to tie it back.
Also, remember to go fresh-faced. Pilates isnt about appearances but rather an internal reflection. Plus, makeup can stain the surfaces of Pilates equipment.
Equally, youll need to take off any jewellery you may be wearing. Get rid of any long necklaces, belts, and dangling bracelets. These can be not only dangerous if they get caught in equipment, but distracting to other members.
As for lotions and sprays - try to opt for unscented products, even just for the day of your class. Studios request that clients refrain from wearing strong scents. Other members may be sensitive to perfumes and strongly scented deodorants. Or even to lotions and sprays.
It might sound like a lot to remember. But getting ready for a Pilates session is just as much about what to leave behind as what to bring!
The list for men looking to get into Pilates is pretty much the same (no makeup or perfume!). Think form-fitting clothes so your teacher can see your alignment. And have mercy on your teacher by wearing baggy shorts over your compression shorts!
Always invest in some good year, like form-fitting leggings and a tank top. Pick up a mat, and then the rest will come naturally. Remember to try and minimise distractions both for you and others. Tie back your hair and remove all jewellery.
Of course, there are other things to prepare before your first class. Remember to show up on time and not to interrupt the class before you. Also, remember to check whether youll need a mask for the class. You certainly will for arriving and leaving.
You might even want to brush up on some general lingo so that you can follow your instructor. Try searching out terms like powerhouse (the central muscles of your body). Or even peeling through the spine (coming to upright vertebrae by vertebrae).
Once youve got all that done, youll be just about ready to attend your first Pilates class. Want to know where to find a good studio, with an instructor that offers one-to-one classes?
Why not get in touch with Daniela Colognesi, of La Dolce Studio
. Daniela runs a happy and inviting space for women of all ages. Go and get stronger, healthier, and back in control of your body today!
Written by Harry Patté-Dobbs, a content writing and PR newbie! He's written for blogs, news, and media outlets and loves films, food, and wellness. You can usually find him either reading or writing.