When you attend your Pilates class or join in from home, there are things you can do to really make it count. You are on the mat, you’ve committed to the time so you might as well make the workout as effective as you can.

Many people I’ve seen, figure this means going hard and fast. But that’s not always the way to get the most from a workout.

Here are my best ideas for getting the most out of a workout session.

Firstly, set your intention. Arrive on the mat, just take a moment to arrive in body and also mindfully. Feel your body or feet on the ground, and become aware of how you feel. Any tight areas in your body? You don’t actually have to do anything about these noticings right now, but just take stock. Also, you are here to move and focus on yourself. It’s okay to bring that focus to yourself. It’s not selfish. Try not to think about your shopping list for this time. It’s okay if you do, but be mindful about your thoughts and then bring your thoughts back to the mat and to your movement and breath. A few moments here at the start of your practise are so vital and worth while in setting your mindset and focus for the session.

The next thing I would say is to remember your form. When you move well, you activate the correct muscles, making your workout targeted and effective. Be smart in how you move. Don’t try to do 100 chest lifts, when actually it’s your neck that is suffering and your abs and spine are not engaged. It’s better to do 10 chest lifts with great form, than 100 sloppy moves that really waste your time and leave your neck feeling sore. If you have an instructor, they will be able to guide you to help you move so effectively, that you will feel the effort and work you’ve done the next day – in a good way! 

Another emphasis for you should be your breath. Pilates time is a great opportunity to take those full, life giving breaths that will calm your nervous system and help you move well. Try exhaling on the effort and inhaling to feel tall and lengthened.

Finally, every now and then, mix it up. We all have the exercises that we prefer. They are usually the ones we’re good at! If I go up to the studio to move, then I seem to do the things I enjoy. This is okay! – But every now and then, give some other things a go. It wakes the body up and you’ll find new muscles to work! I love Pilates, but taking a yoga class here and there, refreshes my body and in a way surprises it, and I always feel differently when a new instructor leads me.

So well done on committing to your Pilates time! Use these ideas to get the most out of your Pilates time, and let me know if you have any questions.

See you on the mat,