Joseph Pilates was a physical trainer who invented the Pilates exercise system. We think the video below, produced with funding from Taube Pilates of Australia, tells his story well.
Pilates is a method of body conditioning that develops the body uniformly, corrects posture, restores vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit.
That depends on what kind of results you want. You can reduce back pain with one session. You can relieve stress at the end of a long week with one session. But if you want to get a six pack, run a marathon without injury, get back into pre-baby shape, or simply tone up… make the commitment to Pilates 2-3 times a week.
One of Joseph Pilates’ most famous quotes is …. “In 10 sessions you will feel the difference. In 20 sessions you will see the difference. And in 30 sessions you will have a whole new body.” He says in his book, Return to Life Through Contrology (which is a quick and entertaining read since it was originally published in 1945 and gives you a peek into the mind of this genius!):
“If you will faithfully perform your Contrology exercises regularly only four times a week for just three months, you will find your body development approaching the ideal, accompanied by renewed mental vigor and spiritual enhancement.” Ideal body… mental vigor …. spiritual enhancement! Who wouldn’t want all that with just 4x a week?!
Yes, Pilates can be expensive. Private sessions can run anywhere from $40 to $100 a hour. But studios drop their prices the more people you add. There are lots of options for fitting Pilates into your life 2-3x a week.
You can do matwork anywhere… your living room, the beach, even in bed! There are now thousands of videos available online. For $20 a month you can join Pilates Anytime, an online video website where you’ll find hundreds of hours of instruction from some of the best teachers in the business.
To really see results, find a great studio and take an equipment session 2-3x a week with a certified trainer. If you can afford private sessions, it will optimize your results. While privates can be cost prohibitive, you can still get results from duets, trios, and quartets.
Even once a week equipment sessions can still be effective. I often recommend supplementing 1 or 2 classes a week with one private session. You can learn new exercises, fine-tune your practice for your specific body issues, and then apply and practice what you’ve learned in mat or group equipment class.
Address your Goals
Consider what kind of results you want from Pilates. Even once a week Pilates can:
- rehab injuries
- retrain muscular imbalances
- improve sports performance
- improve posture
- increase muscle flexibility
- increase joint range of motion (ROM)
- increase body awareness
- reduce stress
- build muscle tone
Be wary, however, of claims that Pilates is great for burning fat. If you expect a 1x week Pilates session to get you thin… you may be disappointed. But adding Pilates to a fat-burning regimen of cardio and healthy eating can keep you injury free while helping to sculpt and tone. Or, look for a Pilates fusion class that combines Pilates-based moves with fat-burning cardio.
Ideally, Pilates is something you do 24/7. Joseph Pilates was all about the mind body connection. Ask google how long it takes to create a habit and you will get an answer around 21-28 days. (Though there seems to be little scientific proof!) Focusing on Pilates concepts everyday can help change old postural habits (e.g., slumping in our seats, rolling our shoulders forward, standing in one hip) The more you do it… the more natural positive postural habits become.
My favorite client feedback is when I hear, “I stood all day and had no pain.” “What normally would have been an unbearable plane ride was just fine.” “I found myself sitting taller.” “I noticed I was in neutral spine.“
Pilates builds a body awareness that translates into everything you do. So my response to the question “How often should I do Pilates?” is this:
Once a week is great … 2 times a week is better … and 3 times a week is amazing! And remember, Pilates doesn’t have to be your only exercise. Commit to movement everyday! Pilates just happens to be a very fun and effective way to do it!
To help you, Joy of Pilates has a variety of private, small group, and classes to make Pilates part of your life everyday! Check our schedule for a a class that fits your lifestyle!
Ask yourself … Are you a Sarah or a Martha?
To answer your question, please visit Buzzfeed’s article: “29 Pictures That Prove Pilates Isn’t For Men”
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