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What is Pilates?

Hi all.
I have lost 5.5 stone aftr a gastric bypass & have come to a halt with my weight loss. I do some walking, but have seen a bit of a Pilates TV show & it looks as if I could manage it, as I'm still quite overweight.
Does anyone have any experience of using this excercise? Have you lost weight and or inches doing this? Is it a suitable way to excercise if you're large?
Thanks in advance for your input!
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Hey hun I do Pilates 1-2 times per week. The classes where I go are for anyone, of any size. There are a few skinny, toned bods there but most are doing it to aid weightloss so there is no need to feel self conscious.

The class is actually very relaxing and chilled in its nature- no shouting, pumping etc! There is calming music on in the background and you begin very gently doing easy stretches such as neck and shoulders, that is very slow and gentle.

Once warmed up in this way, you move on to the pilates core work. There are only a certain number of pilates stretches, so these will be used in various combinations wherever you go as that is what is at the heart of pilates.

Each stretch/position has 3 levels, ranging from 1 which is easy for beginners, up to 3 for advanced. You will be given a choice by the instructor who will demonstrate each so you can decide what you think you are capable off and as you get more confident you can try the harder versions. If you do a beginner class only, you will probably be taught the level 1s and thats it, then you can progress through the classes (if thats how the fitness club do it- mine is all combined into 1 class for general members use and then there are courses that can be paid for separately, set at the various levels).

I won't lie and say that it is easy. Even the easy positions will stretch you and there will be some stretches which you will really feel a struggle to hold for the full length of time, but THAT is where you are building up and doing the most good. The instructor will motivate you to hold it until their say-so, and will help you out if you aren't doing it quite right. And, as my instructor says, if you are shaking it means you are doing it right!

Pilates is not just about the actual stretches themselves, its about getting your posture right at the beginning (a feeling of being pulled up through the head, tummy held in to "notch 3 of 10 on your belt", pelvic floor held etc) and also about the breathing as you do the exercises. It is a very slow and focussed class, with emphasis being on quality rather than quantity.

On my first session I thought it all rather namby-pamby, but MY GOD did I ache 2 days later!! I still ache every time I do it but that is because I push myself a bit harder every time. Pilates is very much about the effort you put into it- if you don't do it properly or push yourself to you literally feel you can go no further than you won't gain fully from it. On the other hand if you really go for it, then it works wonders! I have noticed increased flexibility, inch loss, and my weakness in my groin which causes cramping has now gone. Very impressive!!

I think it is definitely worth going to. You come away from a class feeling invigorated and relaxed and calm, but your muscles are tired and you feel hot as your pulse is raised without your realising! PS the class will go so quickly you won't believe. I can never get my head round it when it comes to an end as it flies by cos you are concentrating so hard!!

Give it a go! Mention to the instructor its your first time and they will be very helpful and supportive, giving you extra guidance to help you- which you will need.

Good luck xx
What is Pilates

Explanations above are gr8, but in addition would add that several of larger ladies, as I was, go to the pilates classes I attend twice each week and with a good teacher, they'll help you learn at various levels/fitness until you are able to do everything. It builds you from the inside, your inner core and I've benefited from better posture and fitness significantly - good luck - look forward to hearing how you get on.. Lucy

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