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If you’ve been active on TikTok recently, it’s likely that you’ve seen an increase in Pilates content, and reference to the term ‘Pilates girl’.
Montages of yoga mats, reformers and floor workouts have flooded the screens of women globally and Pilates videos have been viewed over 1.4 BILLION times on TikTok with its low impact, graceful movements suggested to give incredible health benefits for both your mind and your body.
Quite honestly, with all the hype I was intrigued! It made me want to be a Pilates Girl. The kind that wakes up at 5.30am to watch the sunrise, then go to her Pilates class. The kind to walk out of her class with a smile on her face, podcast playing and matcha latte in hand.
@izzyutterson & this is why I'm obsessed w @Bailey Brown Pilates ✨ #fyp #JDSummerDrip ♬ original sound - szasgrandchildren
It’s safe to say, I was completely influenced. And, before long, I had booked myself into my very first Pilates class.
But… Before we get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start at the beginning.
Pilates is a form of low-impact exercise that aims to strengthen muscles while improving postural alignment and flexibility. The moves may look simple but they take a lot of precision and control with an emphasis on technique.
Pilates can be practised on a mat or on a reformer Pilates machine and both methods promise stronger, more sculpted muscles and an increase in flexibility.
Now, Back to My FIRST Class!!
I walk into my first Reformer Pilates class, and I’m immediately intimidated - I see a line-up of flat, matte black machines that look like something out of 50 Shades of Grey?! (Reformer machines). Straight away I notice that everyone is either barefoot, or in socks. Call me naïve, but it hadn’t even crossed my mind that I wouldn’t need shoes?! I quickly remove them (to avoid embarrassment obvs) and keep my regular socks on. BIG MISTAKE! It wasn’t long before I was slipping and sliding against the smooth surface of the reformer.
Pilates (especially the reformer kind) requires GRIP on the underside of your socks, normal socks will not do the trick! Lesson learnt!
Despite this, I enjoyed the slow, controlled movements that this class offered. I was engaging muscles that I’d never felt before (trust me it’s 2 days later and I can STILL feel them!) And I walked out of the session feeling more toned, well stretched and despite my initial freak-out, so much calmer than usual.
TIP 1: Pilates socks are a MUST. They will add support and grip to your class.
I love the Space Dye Pilates Sock.
Our non-slip socks feature a grip sole with Lorna Jane logo to stop you slipping and sliding in both Pilates and yoga while keeping your feet warm as well.
Feeling a lot more professional with my Pilates socks, and my (newfound) knowledge of the reformer, my second session allowed me to really get to work. Today’s class involved a lot of a new lingo. “Carriage”, “feet in tabletop”, “imprinting”. This session also involved me looking around the room (a lot!) so I could mimic what some of the other ‘more seasoned’ Pilates students were doing. But with a bit of repetition and practise I soon got the swing of it.
As the class progressed, I felt my muscles engage, contract, and relax. I was starting to feel more confident and in-tune with my body and my muscles becoming stronger as the class progresses. I loved how the instructor encouraged us to take our time with each exercise and focus on the technique, so that we could get that mind to muscle connection. She told us that the mind – muscle connection is SO important because it allows you to focus on a specific muscle and when that muscle becomes more engaged it becomes stronger!
TIP 2: Listen, observe and take it slow! You got this.
I walk into day 3 feeling confident. We’re using the straps today, so with both my hands and feet strapped in my limbs are propelled in multiple directions which felt a little intimidating and weird at first! But it’s not long before it starts becoming fun! Pushing yourself off the platform, and stretching your body feels powerful. Wearing my most stretchy and flexible Activewear allowed me to do this with ease. We finish the class with a core circuit and meditative stretch. I walk out feeling the perfect mix of post-workout muscle fatigue and the equivalent of Post-yoga relaxed.
The Pilates Girl energy has well and truly come over me.
TIP 3: Have fun! Wear your most comfortable Activewear.