Today, it seems like everyone is looking for a way to implement fitness into their daily lives. There is a huge fitness movement that is helping the average person become more aware of their needs to add a little activity to their daily routine. It is also well-known that in order to lessen your risk for numerous health and medical conditions you have a health conscious diet, which you then balance with physical activity. One way to ease you into a more active and fitness conscious lifestyle is to incorporate an exercise program that includes Pilates.
Pilates is a fitness routine that encourages the use of the mind to control the muscles of the body, which is why Joseph Pilates, the man who developed this method, called it Contrology. Joseph Pilates began working and implementing this method during World War I as a means to improve the rehabilitation of veteran soldiers who were returning from the war. He believed that a person’s mental health and outlook went hand-in-hand with a person’s physical health and wellness. Pilates places a focus on central core postural muscles that are responsible for maintaining the body’s balance and support (the spine). Through teaching proper breathing techniques and proper body alignment of the spine, it will strengthen muscles of the torso and alleviate back pain. The basic principles taught in a Pilates program are: the fusion of mind and body (mind over body), proper breathing, centering and body alignment, concentration, control and precision, and how to keep movements fluid.
Now that you have decided Pilates is something you might be interested in doing, you need to think about what your goals are. This will help you choose a Pilates class and instructor that will be well aligned with your specific needs and expectations. Maybe you have limitations, maybe you are new to fitness, or maybe you want a more challenging program. Once you have determined your goals, it is time to search for a Pilates instructor who can meet your desired needs.
Pilates can be taught one on one, or in a group class setting. Knowing this will also help you choose an instructor that fits your need. If you are okay with a group program, you can check with your local gym and see if they offer Pilates classes. No matter the choice, you will still want to ask questions about the actual instructor teaching the class.
You will want to know what your potential instructors experience is. Ask them where they trained, how long have they been teaching, and what type of certification do they have. Certification is not something they can receive after one weekend workshop, but rather after extensive training over a period of six months or longer. You want to know what aspects of Pilates are they actually certified in such as: mat instructor certified, comprehensive Pilates certified, or Hybrid Pilates certified. Ask if they have taken the Pilates national exam.
While you are communicating with them, you should note their mannerisms and how comfortable they are speaking with you. Is the potential instructor displaying an evident interest in you or do they seem overly rehearsed? Your potential instructor should also be professional enough to direct questions toward you. In other words, they should be interested to know what your desired goals are, what your overall fitness level is or has been, if you have taken classes before, do you have any medical conditions they may need to work around or work with. If they have good communication skills, it will build a level of trust and comfort between you and the instructor. Plus, the instructor will learn your limitations and be able to devise a program that works well for you.
Ask to observe a class or session the instructor is teaching. This will allow you to observe them in action and to see if they are professional. You will want to note their ability to give clear directions. Does the instructor do a good job of going through the exercise movements, are the cues clear, and do they demonstrate the exercises?
Another factor to watch for is whether or not the instructor is paying attention to the students, and is there a willingness to give individual attention when a student may be in need of it. You want an instructor that will be attentive and aware of what is going on in their class, not just someone willing to stand there and bark commands.
Always look for professionalism. If you are going to pay money for someone to instruct you in Pilates, you want to make sure your money buys you professional and considerate services. Make sure the place is tidy and clean, as well as the equipment.
If possible, ask the instructor to provide references. After all, you are interviewing them to work for you, and not the other way around. You want to know if they have satisfied customers.
See if you can take a complimentary class or discounted class so you can see if the instructor’s style is exactly what you are looking for. Note how you felt during the class, and after the class. Were you able to keep up, and did you receive the attention you required?
The main objective with choosing a Pilates instructor is finding one that is properly certified and trained, who will give you the most professional and attentive instructions. You want to feel comfortable doing Pilates, because if you are not comfortable and at ease with the style of instruction, then you will lose interest and wind up quitting before you have the chance to see the healthful benefits of incorporating Pilates into your fitness regimen.