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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Pilates right for me?
Pilates is for everyone, from young to old, sedentary to athletic. It is for people who are strong or weak, flexible or inflexible. It is for pregnant women, is great for rehabilitation from injury, and is often recommended by doctors, physical therapists and chiropractors. Pilates can be used as a complete fitness program as well as a supplement to other methods of fitness, or as a tool to educate the body to have better posture and move in a more effective way.

What is the difference between machine Pilates and mat Pilates?
JCB Pilates 9152In machine Pilates, you will work one-on-one with a certified instructor, who has been trained extensively to design a program and modify the exercises with your specific needs in mind. Your instructor will move you from one piece of specialized equipment to another, choosing from well over 500 exercises to design a program that will give you the best results based on your ability and potential. Most of the equipment used provides spring-loaded resistance that allows you to stretch and strengthen targeted muscles safely and efficiently, without stress to ligaments and joints. This type of resistance exercise is crucial for the prevention of Osteoporosis and other degenerative diseases.

Mat Pilates is a series of exercis done on the floor that target the core muscles that stabilize the pelvis and back. In mat Pilates, you will be one of a group of people, performing the same exercises, at the same pace. With a mat class, the instructor may only be able to occasionally give you specific instruction, based on your movement, and will direct the group as a whole. We recommend that you only do mat classes if you are without injuries and are relatively fit and pain-free.

Why are group classes so much less expensive than private sessions?
To become a fully certified Pilates instructor, one who is certified in both mat and equipment, takes a minimum of 400 hours of training and 6 months to a year or more of apprenticeship teaching. Mat certification is usually done in a two-weekend course. Be sure and ask your instructor if they are both Mat and equipment certified if you plan to do private sessions.

How do I begin a Pilates program?
At Fit First Pilates Marin, everyone starts with an initial evaluation and full assessment. This will introduce you to the Pilates principles and equipment, give you and the instructor an idea of where you body’s strengths and weaknesses lie and provide the information needed to formulate your goals. After your private session you will be more comfortable with the principles and philosophy of Pilates, and you and your instructor will decide how you will proceed from there.

How often should I do Pilates?
This number cannot be absolutely determined until after your initial assessment as everyone has different needs and goals. Two to three times a week produces the best results. With any form of exercise, consistency is the key. During the course of a week, it is also great to combine private lessons with mat classes and home exercises. You will be happy at how you look and feel after just a few weeks.

What should I wear?
Dress comfortably so that your movement is free, but try not to wear clothing that is too loose fitting. It is important that the instructor be able to observe you body as you move. You will do your workouts without shoes and you may choose to wear socks or not.

Can I learn Pilates from a video?
While you can learn choreography of the exercises from a video, it can be quite frustrating to learn something entirely new from a video. A certified instructor is there to carefully guide you through the parts of each exercise, focusing on form and correct breathing. If you have been studying Pilates with an instructor and have a solid understanding of the principles and exercises, videos are an excellent way to incorporate new exercises and ideas into your current workout.

What is the difference between Pilates and other forms of abdominal training techniques?
Pilates focuses on strengthening the deepest layers of the abdominals that form a corset around your torso essential to back strength and spinal stabilization. Other forms of abdominal training may focus only on the superficial layer of abs.

How does Pilates differ from yoga?
Joseph Pilates was inspired both by eastern and western forms of exercise and wellness principles while developing his method, so there are many similarities. The breathing is different, as you are asked to scoop your stomach in rather than allowing it to expand with breath. Pilates is also movement based, rather than focusing on the holding of postures as with yoga.