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Top 7 Ways to Maximize Your Pilates Classes

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Updated August 03, 2007

Has your Pilates class become a habit instead of an exciting, productive way to increase your fitness level? People choose classes that aren't quite right for them for a lot of seemingly good reasons, but it is wise to take make sure that your class is meeting your goals.

Here are a few ways to evaluate your class, along with ideas for making your class time as worthwhile as possible.

1. Is Your Teacher a Qualified Pilates Instructor?

The quality of the teacher can make or break a class. One way to assure a certain level of instruction is to make sure that your instructor is a certified Pilates instructor. Receiving a full Pilates certification, especially those that include equipment, take quite a bit of education, so make sure that your instructor did more than just a weekend workshop for their certificate.
Note: Some Pilates mat certifications are weekend intensives, but the instructor should have put in a lot of time as a Pilates student before teaching.
Read more about this important issue:
Pilates Certification Basics
Issues in Pilates Certification

2. Are You Getting Enough Personal Attention?

Individual attention if very important in Pilates. Your body and movement habits are not the same as anyone else, and it is almost impossible to monitor oneself objectively. A good instructor will help you progress quickly by giving you cues and images that address your specific needs.
If the class size at your gym or studio is very large, it's a good idea to set up an occasional private lesson.
8 Tips for Choosing Your Pilates Teacher
Top Ways to Learn Pilates

3. Inform Your Instructor of Needs or Injuries

If you have an injury or any special needs, make sure your instructor knows about it before class.

Pilates exercises are easy to modify and your instructor should be able to help you find a way to keep the basic intent and effectiveness of an exercise without stressing a weak area. Pilates is known for helping people heal from injuries, but don't expect great results if your instructor doesn't know what you are working on.
Exercise Modification and Safety Tips

4. Take a Class that Is Right for Your Level

Taking a class at the right level sounds like a no-brainer, but two of the biggest reasons that people don't progress is that they stay in a class that has become too easy and routine for them, or they take a class that is too difficult and compensate with the same mistakes over and over.

Don't be afraid to have a frank talk with your teacher or studio owner about which classes are right for your level.
Preparing for Your First Pilates Class

5. Promote Yourself When You Are Ready

A lot of people will hang out in a class that no longer challenges them, waiting for the instructor to suggest that they move up. Don't assume that your instructor will do this. She or he might think you are coming to that class because of the time or location.
It even happens that unless you make some noise about it, studios will keep people in certain classes just to keep the classes full.
Ways to Vary Your Pilates Workout
Daily Pilates?
Level 2 Strength and Stretch Series

6. Start with a Pilates Mat or Reformer Classes

There are many hybrid Pilates classes springing up, from Pilates on the fitness ball to Pilates with yoga or in the pool, but it is best to get a foundation in straight Pilates first.
Top Ways to Learn Pilates
Pilates and Fitness Balls
The Pilates - Yoga Connection

7. Do Pilates Regularly

It doesn't always have to be a class, but if you want to see changes in your body, you have to do your Pilates at least two times a week, preferably three or more. I see many people dabble for years -- going to one class per week, and I don't think they workout in between. This can be enjoyable but it will not increase your fitness level.
Daily Pilates?
How to Vary Your Pilates Workouts
Top Ways to Learn Pilates
Pilates Exercise Instructions here at pilates.about.com
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