Pilates has an incredibly strong following and there is so much interest and continuing enquiry into it, but there are still reasons why some people quit or don’t get started at all.
1. Pilates is a ‘soft’ exercise/it’s easy
Pilates may sometimes be perceived as unchallenging or not beneficial because of its association with rehabilitation. It can bypass consideration as a serious method for truly challenging the fittest, physically.
Joseph Pilates did work with bed-bound patients during his internment in the First World-War. With the evolution of modern medicine, it is also true that Pilates is recognized by medical practitioners including Physiotherapists, Orthopedic Surgeons and GPs, as useful in addressing back pain and joint issues.
However, the full exercises have been broken down to accommodate individual requirements. This means that the progression of them or practising them in their full form can provide the steepest challenge for any fitness level!
2. Too out of shape/tried it and couldn’t keep up
The opposite of point number one, some people think they have to be at a certain skill or fitness level before embarking on a Pilates programme and so don’t get started.
You are not expected to be perfect on your first, nor even your thirtieth session! Pilates is a method of exercise – not just a choreographed series of exercises. Every body has it’s own unique characteristics, for which there are exercises and challenges that can be broken down and modified for suitability.
Your teacher will spend a few private or much smaller sessions with you to go through the principles and your own individual requirements. They will assess you, collaborate with you and guide you to the right class for you, with a view to working from where you start and enabling you to get the optimum out of your class for you!
3. Pilates is for women
There appears to be a wide-held belief that Pilates is mainly for women.
Pilates was developed by a man, Joseph Pilates, who trained men at Scotland Yard and in the British Army, for combat.
Today, The New Zealand All Blacks, Welsh Rugby Union and English cricket team all practise Pilates to enhance performance, improve strength and increase stamina. Injuries of the back, knee, shoulder and hip can be common amongst both women and men who are highly physical in their work, exercise or sports. Having a strong core can help prevent these!
4. Too busy/lack of time
It can be daunting to find time for something new in an already jam-packed life.
Because Pilates is grounded in simple yet powerful principles, the awareness gained in class can follow you off the mat. Sitting at your desk/in your car you might notice you think to straighten up and hold yourself with strong posture. When things are beginning to get stressful, you’ll remember that breathing can be effective. By applying your awareness and you’ll be incorporating Pilates into your life! All that is applied is retained in the muscles!
Pilates can also travel with you! Once you have a grasp of just two or three exercises, incorporating ten minutes a day at home or on holiday can be beneficial.
In short, Pilates is a quality over quantity, full-body exercise method, which is extremely effective and extremely efficient!
5. Your goals not reached
Your goals with Pilates will be discussed in your orientation with your teacher and taken into consideration in class. If you feel it is taking time to reach a goal and are getting despondent, check in with your teacher. If your goal was unrealistic, it’s ok to redefine it!
Get a feel for a greater vision for you and all you can be. Once a goal has been set, resolve to stick to your class until the goal is achieved. Then chat with your teacher and set a new one!
Often with Pilates other benefits can also start to emerge. These can vary from person to person. I worked with a client who wanted to improve abdominal strength but first noticed a dramatic improvement in her sleep. A hip replacement client noticed a huge improvement in digestion. In my own experience, the joy of pain relief and neck discomfort inspired me to re-evaluate my whole career!
Other benefits also contribute to your wellness, so be open to them and embrace them!
6. Emotional reasons
Shyness, low self-esteem, poor body image and stress can contribute to a person deciding against joining a Pilates class. I have even had clients who refused to look at themselves in the studio mirrors.
Joseph Pilates stressed the balance of body and mind. “The conscious control of all muscular movements of the body.”
Not only can concentration during exercise relax you, but it can also provide medical benefits for the brain, including reducing anxiety and balancing stress. Actively encouraging a body/mind awareness can ignite a new-found respect for your body. The class is a place for all to come together in acceptance and support for each other in our own goals and uniqueness!
7. Negative self–talk
This is sometimes related to Emotional reasons and sometimes we simply aren’t aware that we do it.
Negative self-talk, focused on lack of ability, weight and physical capability can hinder your mindset and progression and possibly lead to quitting.
Pilates is a retraining of the body and also the mind. Negative self-talk can disrupt or delay the learning of new habits, and may perpetuate the idea that it’s difficult to relearn, or cause the process to be a struggle.
My clients are banned from negative self-talk in class, even in jest. With a free and focused mind, imbalances can be identified, areas of work established and progression achieved – and celebrated! Wherever you are, accept it. When you re-focus the attention of the mind to the mechanics and unique requirements of your body, a world of growth and goal achieving is possible.
This will also allow you more enjoyment from your Pilates class!
8. Lack of motivation
If you feel unmotivated about attending your class, identify why. If a plateau has been reached, speak to your teacher about changing things up a bit. The stresses of the day can also lead to a lacklustre feeling and skipping your class. The best way to overcome lack of motivation is to go to your class anyway! Chances are this is when your Pilates can most benefit you!
In society we expect instant results or can quit easily. In Pilates, this means that despite forming habits over a lifetime, we expect to be able to ‘fix’ back pain/become super-fit in a few sessions and get despondent when this doesn’t happen.
An hour a week is easy to do. But because we cannot measure the cumulative effects in advance of going or not going, it is also easy not to do.
What if the ‘Law of Compounding Interest’ (Jeff Olsen, The Slight Edge) were applied to Pilates? If you were able to improve yourself by just 1% per week, the difference would be so slight after one class, you most likely won’t notice it. After two weeks and 2%, it’s likely you still wouldn’t notice. Keep going for a year though and you would notice an improvement of a whopping 52%!
After a lifetime of bad habits and imbalances, for just one hour a week for a year, that’s an astonishing improvement!
The costs of continued muscle imbalance in the long term can be high, both physically and financially. Pilates is an investment in you and your wellness. Book a class and invest in yourself today!