1. What exactly is Pilates?

Pilates is a balanced blend of strength and flexibility training that improves posture, reduces stress and creates long, lean muscles without bulking up. Creating a sleek, toned body with slender thighs and a flat abdomen. The focus is on quality of movement rather than quantity, which makes one feel invigorated rather than exhausted after a session. Exercises can be performed on a mat or on specialized equipment such as a Pilates Reformer, Trapeze Table and Spine Corrector. Professional dancers have known the benefits of Pilates for decades. Athletes use it for strength, flexibility, and injury prevention. Hollywood celebrities and supermodels use it to maintain beautiful physiques. Developed by Joseph Pilates, Pilates is a safe, sensible exercise system that will help you look and feel your very best. No matter what your age or condition, it will work for you.

2. What are the benefits of Pilates?

•Improve strength, flexibility and balance •Improve the way your body looks and feels •Flattens your tummy •Increased lung capacity • Increased bone density • Enhance mobility, agility and stamina • Tone and build long, lean muscles without bulk • Make the body less prone to injury • Reduce stress, relieve tension, boost energy • Restore postural alignment • Promote recovery from strain or injury • Effectively rescues back, neck. hip. joint, and muscular pain (caused by overuse, arthritis, fibromyalgia, scoliosis and more) • Enhances athletic performance and coordination • Increase joint range of motion • Improve circulation • Offers relief from back pain and joint stress • Improve the way your body looks and feels • Heightens mental and neuromuscular coordination

3. Can I do Pilates if I’m pregnant?

Moderate exercise is safe throughout a normal, healthy pregnancy and many gentle Pilates exercises are appropriate. We have helped clients continue their pilates practice throughout their entire pregnancy and then pick up where they left off after the baby is born for post partum recovery. Pilates is one of the most advantageous forms of exercise pre-natal and post-pregnancy, because of its focus on core control, the muscles of the abdomen, back and glutes. You do, however, need to keep the following cautions in mind. Do not over-exert the abdominal muscles to avoid diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles). Take care of you lower back, which can be strained with the weight of the fetus. Do not over-stretch, as relaxin and progesterone levels increase during pregnancy causing the ligaments around the joints to become lax, loose and vulnerable. Be aware that your center of gravity and therefore your sense of balance has changed. Do not start a brand new exercise regimen in the first trimester. To be safe during pregnancy, only practice Pilates under the guidance of a professional Pilates instructor who has been trained to teach pregnant women. As a precaution, discussions with your doctor and continuing Pilates through pregnancy is strongly advised.

4. What is the key difference between yoga and Pilates?

There’s definitely a mind-body connection and a very similar fluidity in both. But one difference is that there’s a whole line of equipment in Pilates that doesn’t exist in yoga, so it provides a different angle: you’re doing exercises with the assistance and resistance of springs and pulleys. The springs may assist you or they may make an exercise more difficult, depending on the exercise. Realistically, Pilates is the type of activity that you could do everyday. Joe himself stated that after 10 classes, you will feel a difference; after 20 classes you will notice a difference and after 30 classes you will have a whole new body (within some reason!). But at this point you will definitely see results if you combine your Pilates practice with good nutrition.

5. How many times a week should I be practicing Pilates?

It is recommended that Pilates be practiced at least twice a week to see results. It is this kind of regular, consistent practice that will help you make the Pilates mind-body connection.

6. What is the difference between matwork and equipment?

It is not a matter of one being better than the other. They are two ways to achieve your desired results. The matwork is a repertoire of exercises designed to be performed on the floor sitting, standing, kneeling, or lying on your back, front or side. Mat classes at Lead Pilates also incorporate Pilates Circles, thera-bands, balls, and rollers. The equipment gives you full body resistance training, much like lifting weights, but you do not bulk up. The equipment adds a whole other dimension to your Pilates work, and is SO much fun! The equipment supports you to get into positions that you may not be able to on your own.

7. Will Pilates help me lose weight?

Yes, it can help you to lose weight. Pilates increases strength by producing lean muscle mass. Muscle consumes more calories at rest so when you combine your Pilates practice with good nutrition and cardio, you are setting yourself up to be successful at managing (or losing) weight. For many, Pilates has been helpful with weight loss. Pilates may help you lose weight simply by increasing your body awareness. With this new found awareness and the control that accompanies a Pilates practice, you may become more mindful about what and when you consume. Lead Pilates and Wellness offers an excellent complement of cardio classes as well that help to burn calories and work well when combined with your mat classes.