Katya: Let’s start with a popular catchphrase of the Russian ballet legend Maya Plisetskaya (1925-2015):“One should eat a bit less.” This was her standard reply to endless questions about retaining her beautiful shape well into her golden years.
Pilates can definitely help you burn calories but its benefits far outweigh just being lighter on the scale. In fact, weight loss comes as a welcome side effect. Like any mechanical structure, the human body needs good alignment and a proper relationship with gravity to function normally. Pilates just like ballet teaches you how to utilize deep postural muscles and to deal with any deviation from your optimal posture. This helps to achieve muscular balance and to prevent repetitive strain injuries during any physical activity, including sitting and standing.
Hope you will agree that just being thin is not enough to look and feel your best. When you slouch, your movements are rigid, your muscles are weak or you have a head-forward posture, even with the best plastic surgery you will not be able to hide your age. Joseph Pilates said: “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30 – you are old, if it is completely flexible at 60 – you are young.”
Make Pilates a part of your self-care routine and you will get addicted to its numerous benefits.
Did you notice that proper posture, a flatter stomach, a longer neck, and an effortless and confident walk have an instant slimming and anti-aging effect? When we start weight loss programs with a vigorous gym or out-of-control stretches we often find that we have to stop, because of injuries and pain that we accumulate along the way. This can make us more despondent. Pilates is one of the safest ways of getting in shape and losing weight while learning about correct body mechanics. Improving your core strength, flexibility, and range of motion can also be the foundation for success in all athletic activities.
With its intense concentration on deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, Pilates has emerged as the most effective way to flatten your stomach. It has no impact on your joints. Small postural muscles once activated and toned, work 24/7, and burn calories even when you sleep.
Pilates gives you a mental workout too by making you concentrate on many things at the same time. Also, the connection between motion and emotion cannot be denied. Some traumatic experiences from the past can result in movement patterns that cause continuous tightness in our hips, chest, and shoulders and it can hold us back from achieving our fitness or life goals. Repetitive strain injuries can discourage us from exercising altogether. I believe in helping my clients unfold those uncomfortable knots, sometimes with help from other bodyworkers or medical practitioners.
First of all, weight loss through Pilates depends on your commitment to attendance and doing homework. If you attend a class only once a week doing easy stretches, then you cannot expect the weight loss results that you desire. Doing a Pilates class 2 to 4 times per week is optimal for feeling and seeing great results fast.
Secondly, it depends on what goals you set with your Pilates teacher. Irrespective of whether you do Matwork or Reformer workouts, the level and type of class must be appropriate to your abilities. You must enjoy the challenge but feel safe to explore your possibilities. For example, a class at a physiotherapy practice is quite likely to be designed for those recovering from injuries and will be focused on slow precision movement for healing and targeted strengthening. On the other hand, Pilates at a gym often tends to be too generic to be life-changing.
To get the fitness and weight loss benefits I recommend learning Pilates technique with a reputable Pilates teacher who will look at you as a person holistically and will take into consideration your weight loss goal, posture, injuries, general fitness, level of coordination, and learning style. At my studio, all clients first attend private lessons where we set realistic challenges for every session before moving to a hard-core group where the benefits of toning are felt immediately. In some cases, obesity may initially prevent you from joining a group class as many modifications are necessary to achieve progress. Patience, humility, and trust in the process are important qualities when you learn anything new. Still, there is much hope and a reason why Pilates is only getting more popular every year among celebrities and people like you and me.