If you tried Pilates and didn't fall in love with it immediately, this episode is for you! Today we explore why you may have not continued Pilates after your first class, and some encouragement to give Pilates a second chance. I share some personal stories about my first class, and why I chose to continue my Pilates practice. Tune in!
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[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to Pilates Students' Manual, a podcast helping you get the most out of your Pilates classes. I'm Olivia and I'll be your host. Join the conversation and share your thoughts on Instagram at @pilatesstudentsmanual. You can support the podcast by visiting BuyMeACoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts. Let's learn something new.
[00:00:46] Hello. Hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. Today we're gonna be talking about why you should give Pilates a second chance. I am gonna give you the big reasons why you may have [00:01:00] tried Pilates and thought that it wasn't for you, and then you didn't try it again. And I'll share my perspective as a Pilates teacher as well as a Pilates student who did learn Pilates and did have a bit of a rough start, I think, getting into it. And then I'll share a few personal anecdotes about that rough start that I had and what really encouraged me to come back and keep trying.
[00:01:27] So the reason for this episode is that Pilates is really gaining in popularity, especially in the past few years. Uh, not to mention it's exponential growth from the early two thousands. And it's very likely that you may have tried Pilates or maybe you had a friend who took a class with you and it just like didn't feel like their kind of thing, uh, for whatever reason. And then, you know, now Pilates is having this sort of resurgence into mainstream media. You know, in TV [00:02:00] shows they'll be characters who say, oh, my mom's at Pilates, or something like that. And so it's kind of in the general thought sphere. You know, we've got actors doing it, we've got athletes doing it, we've got musicians doing it. So Pilates is very hip right now.
[00:02:15] So there are definitely common reasons why you thought that Pilates wasn't your thing. Maybe there was an expectation mismatch. What I mean by that is that is Pilates is a type of exercise that is not like a lot of other types of exercise. And if your expectation that exercise means you're gonna sweat a lot or there's gonna be pounding music, or you are gonna do really heavy things or really like strenuous movements. And you'll do so many of them that you can't move the next day.
[00:02:58] Some people, maybe even [00:03:00] you, have that expectation that's like, well, that's exercise. You work really hard, you sweat a lot, and you can't move the next day. And it's very possible that a Pilates class, if you tried it, didn't meet that expectation. Maybe you didn't sweat at all. Maybe the music was quieter, or maybe there was no music and maybe you felt fine the next day. Maybe you felt a little sore, but it just didn't match what you thought was gonna happen. And sometimes that's a turnoff for people.
[00:03:28] A lot of times, especially when we don't know a lot about something, when we're trying it for the first time, when we have that experience, you may think that it's harder than you thought it was gonna be, or it's easier than you thought it was gonna be. Maybe the movements were slower than you anticipated. Maybe they were faster than you anticipated. But sometimes we come in, sometimes even unknowingly, with this expectation that this is what Pilates is, or this is what it's going to feel like, or this is what it's going to look like. And then when we [00:04:00] have an experience that's different from that, we say, well, nevermind then. Right? So there could be an expectation mismatch that's totally valid. That could have happened to you.
[00:04:11] Another uh, reason, and my personal reason, which I'll go into a little bit more after the break, is you may have tried Pilates and been surprised by how hard it was. That can be really humbling, especially as an adult where we have this kind of picture in our head of the type of person we are, and we think of ourselves maybe as strong or capable, and then were confronted with these exercises that are, again, not like anything else. And it's very, uh, hard on your pride to be like, well, I guess I can't do that, or I thought I could do that now I can't do that. And you know, for me there was like some grumbling and it's like, well, then I'll not do it at all. You know, or even this idea that like, well, if that's what everyone else is doing and I can't do it, then I guess this [00:05:00] isn't for me. Like that experience could happen.
[00:05:03] The movements themselves are not super intuitive, and a lot of Pilates exercises have this really intricate choreography that I know for a long time, both learning as a student and then also taking teacher training and then learning the exercises as a teacher, there's just a lot of steps. There's a lot of choreography. I felt like I wasn't getting it. I felt like I was falling behind. And that made me feel like I didn't want to do it.
[00:05:34] Another reason that you may have tried Pilates and thought it wasn't for you is kind of general, kind of vague. It's just the vibe. Like maybe the studio's vibe was not matching your vibe. Maybe the teacher's way of teaching or their attitude. The language that they used wasn't a vibe and you're just like, eh, well I don't like that. Like I think of a vibe [00:06:00] mismatch. Uh, whenever teachers talk about things like getting their summer body or getting your six pack or, you know, we've gotta, you know, lose that holiday weight. Like all of that language: not a vibe. If I were to take a class and that's how the teacher is presenting it, it might be a vibe for someone else, but it's not a vibe for me. So it could be a teacher vibe.
[00:06:21] It could be, you know, the music. Some people are very particular about music and sometimes if the music doesn't match, you know, you come in, your teacher's playing country music and you're not a country music fan, you're just like, this isn't for me. And that's totally valid. Like that could potentially be true. That could not be for you.
[00:06:39] So any of those reasons, and that's just the surface, but any of those reasons could have been what happened to you in class. It wasn't what you expected. It was really hard and really humbling, or it just wasn't a vibe match with your energy and you know, what you were looking for.
[00:06:58] So those are all [00:07:00] reasons that you might have tried Pilates and then not come back for a second class, right? So let's get into the reasons why you should try it again. If you had an expectation mismatch and what you thought Pilates was, it wasn't, or that class wasn't it, there are so many different styles of Pilates. There are so many different Pilates teachers who have their own style and their own way of interpreting the exercises and sharing the exercises, that if you were looking for a really intense workout and what you got was a really gentle Pilates class, and you thought, well then, I guess I don't wanna do Pilates.
[00:07:44] Great news. There are Pilates studios and Pilates teachers who will meet that expectation for you. It is definitely possible to find a studio, find a teacher, who vibes with you in a musical way, in an atmosphere [00:08:00] way, in an intensity way, and using messaging that really speaks to you. So there's definitely, there's so many awesome Pilates teachers who bring their own personality and flair to Pilates. So don't give up, but let's find a group of people who really meet and mesh with you and your expectations.
[00:08:22] Also, now that you've had this experience of Pilates, it's possible to adjust your expectations and think, well, I thought that Pilates was gonna be this really sweaty, make you super sore workout, and it wasn't. But that's also not a bad thing. So maybe you can adjust your expectations and say, oh, well I know that this is beneficial for other reasons. You know, super hard, super sweaty isn't the only way, or super gentle, super slow isn't the only way, and slow does not mean easy. I'm not making that comparison at all. But you can find the benefits in whatever style of [00:09:00] Pilates you had tried that maybe you thought wasn't for you before.
[00:09:04] This was a really big one for me because I thought Pilates was so incredibly challenging, and I still do, but when I got started, I really did. You get better at what you practice. So if you tried a class and you felt like, oh man, I'm not good at anything, well yeah, it was the first time you did it. If you commit to practicing it, you will get better at it. And that exercise that seemed absolutely unattainable way back when you first started is gonna become part of your warmup or something you're super comfortable executing if you stick with it and if you practice it. You will never get better at it if you don't practice it. But if you make the commitment to continue working on it, to come to that one class or two class or three classes or everyday class, you will improve. It's guaranteed.
[00:09:53] And as to the vibes, our vague vibes, that you just didn't feel like it was your studio. Continue [00:10:00] keeping an eye out for studios who speak your language, who are interested in the same types of movement that you are interested in. They are out there. Um, there are vibes that match your vibes like a hundred percent.
[00:10:15] Coming up after the break, I'm gonna share my experience in my first Pilates class and the struggles that I faced, and then how I overcame them and am now a Pilates teacher and podcaster and things like that. That's coming up next.
[00:10:35] Hi there. Enjoying the podcast? Me too. Make sure you subscribe wherever you're listening so you get notified about new episodes and visit BuyMeACoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. There you can make a one-time donation or become a member with a donation of as little as $5 a month. Members get some awesome perks, including a shout out [00:11:00] in the next episode.
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[00:11:35] Come with me on a trip back in time to when I first moved to Chicago, and this was 2016. I was working as a yoga teacher and while I was teaching, you know, lots of different styles of yoga, what my training was in was in this like really hardcore power yoga called Ashtanga, which has some really interesting parallels to the classical [00:12:00] Pilates mat series. So there's that, but it- I thought of myself, I should say, I thought of myself as being really strong, really capable, that I could really do anything.
[00:12:12] I was teaching yoga at a studio that also offered Pilates classes. They offered mat classes, they offered equipment classes with reformer and tower and chair, and they offered, you know, everything from regular mat classes of Pilates to something called mat therapy. So I was working at the studio and I was filming some of the anatomy portion of the Pilates teacher training program that they were running. And I was so captivated by the language that they were using and the way they were thinking about the body and movement, and I just loved it and I said, Well, let me sign up for this teacher training. This is, you know, a po- a potential for me to upskill and expand the sort of movement teaching that I can do. I see that people are doing private Pilate sessions, [00:13:00] like I wanna get in on that. So let me do this teacher training.
[00:13:05] I hadn't taken any Pilates classes when I signed up with a teacher training, which might have been a me, a red flag, but I thought it seemed pretty similar to yoga. Like I was definitely that person. I was like, eh, this is kind of like yoga. I'm pretty good at yoga. I think this will be fine.
[00:13:23] The first class I took was one of those therapy mat classes that was definitely geared towards older adults. We've got people in their sixties, their seventies, their eighties, taking this class. You spend a lot of time lying on the foam roller. It's a lot of what seemed to me to be very basic movements. And this is a hundred percent my ego talking, but I was like, it doesn't look that hard. So let me start there. Let me, you know, give that a try.
[00:13:50] I couldn't do it. There were so many things in that first class that I couldn't do. Um, I remember doing some side lying and we were doing some clam [00:14:00] exercises where you're lying on your side and your knees are bent and you're opening and closing your top knee like a clam, or sometimes they're called books. Opening the book or whatever, and I could not lift my leg, like, I could not figure out how all of these people were lifting their leg and I was just riding the struggle bus.
[00:14:19] As I said on the first part, like that was really confronting to me to be this young able-bodied person who couldn't do this. I mean, I was like a power yoga teacher and I couldn't lift my knee in a clam like what's going on? And I even asked other teachers, I was like, did you have this experience? And they were like, well, not really. And I just thought that, what the heck is this Pilates thing? And why did it lie to me about how hard it was? You know, I was embarrassed, I was confused.
[00:14:50] I think that happens when we put ourselves out there and we learn something new as an adult, like it's really difficult to be a beginner and to [00:15:00] accept that, you know, you're not good at this thing. Maybe that's like a young person pride that I was having, but you know, to be not good at something is not fun and I wasn't really happy with it.
[00:15:16] But the way I got over that, and obviously I've stuck with Pilates and now it's one of my great loves and one of my great passions and just a source of joy in my life overall, is that, you know, you're at this fork in the road and maybe you tried Pilates and it wasn't your thing and you're not interested in doing it again. Of course, I can't convince you to try it if you really hated it. But at this fork, you can not do it again. That's the path that you might be on. Or you can lean into that discomfort and accept, you know, maybe I'm not gonna be great at this for a while. Maybe I'm never gonna be perfect poster, whatever that means to be good at Pilates. You know, maybe my [00:16:00] Pilates isn't gonna look like that, but I'm gonna try.
[00:16:04] Letting yourself be a beginner is really empowering because it takes a lot of pressure off because you don't have to be good at it. And by the way, doing Pilates isn't about being good at Pilates. It's about doing it. Uh, I have a great teacher in Australia who says, the effort is the outcome. And I agree with him because the fact that you're doing it is the important thing. And if you let yourself do it, you may surprise yourself. You see that if you do it a little bit, if you practice it, especially consistently, that you really do improve. It's like a side effect of doing it is you just get better at it.
[00:16:45] There are so many rewards to sticking with Pilates. There are so many health benefits, both physical health, mental health. Um, there's so many reasons to exercise in general, and Pilates even more specifically. [00:17:00] And your persistence will pay off. Maybe it's about finding the right space for you that really feels like a studio that you love, that you connect with. You love the teachers, you love the style of classes. Like maybe it's just finding your spot. But I can, I don't know if I can guarantee cuz the world is a big place, but I'm pretty darn sure that there is a studio and a Pilates teacher who's waiting for you and ready to help you unlock the mysteries of, uh, the Pilates universe.
[00:17:36] So in short, don't be afraid to be bad at Pilates when you're getting started. Don't be afraid to be bad at Pilates when you've been doing it for a long time. Whenever we try something new, whether it's an exercise that we've done before, but a more challenging version of it or when it's something brand new you've never attempted before, uh, don't [00:18:00] worry about doing it perfectly and just worry about showing up and doing it. That's really where the magic is.
[00:18:10] Really big thank you to all of the supporters on Buy Me a Coffee. We've got some coffee chats coming up next week. I'm so excited to meet and connect with new friends and old friends who've supported the podcast project. I'm really looking forward to that. I hope you have a great couple of weeks. Give Pilates a second chance if you haven't already done so, and I'll talk to you again soon.
[00:18:43] Thanks for tuning in to this week's episode of Pilates Students' Manual, a podcast helping you get the most out of your Pilates classes. Be sure to check out the podcast Instagram at @pilatesstudentsmanual and subscribe wherever you're listening. Interested in teaching [00:19:00] Pilates too? Check out Pilates Teachers' Manual, available everywhere you listen to podcasts.
[00:19:06] I hope to see you next episode. Until next time.