What is Mind-Body Exercise?

Pilates is a holistic system of exercise for total mind-body wellness. The goal of Pilates is to bring balance to both the body and the mind. It is the polar opposite of mindless, repetitive workouts. That is why I call Pilates “intelligent exercise”. Each Pilates lesson consists of precise movements that build strength and flexibility. Performing the exercises requires your full attention, resulting in improved concentration and reduced stress. In Pilates, we encourage deep, conscious breathing, so lung function improves as well. Pilates practitioners, including myself, care about how the body moves, functions and feels, rather than just how it looks.

How do I get started with Pilates?

Pilates is hard to describe in words, because it is so different from other forms of exercise.  You really need to try it, to decide if it is right for you. The best way to start is to schedule your first appointment. During your first visit, we will answer your questions, help you identify your goals and wishes and begin creating a program specifically tailored to meet your needs. Once you have experienced how great it feels to practice Pilates you are going to want to do it again and again.

Will Pilates help me lose weight?

This is one of the questions I am asked most frequently and there is no easy answer. Having struggled with weight myself, I know that losing weight is a complex medical and emotional issue. Pilates can be an important piece of the puzzle, but it’s not the whole picture. No matter how much Pilates I do (and I do a lot, it’s an occupational hazard), it does not negate all the chocolate I eat. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet (believe me, I tried). However, I have found that when I practice Pilates consistently, I am more in tune with my body and take better care of myself. I tend to make better food choices, hydrate more and am more likely to get proper rest.

If you practice Pilates consistently, it will help you increase lean muscle, which speeds up your metabolism and helps you burn fat. Pilates will also increase your endurance, which helps you perform better in other forms of exercise. It’s a real workout and you will sweat. That being said, if the only reason you are doing Pilates is to lose weight, I have to point out that cardio might give you faster results. I would recommend that you combine your Pilates workouts with cardio (I love Tanya Bange’s VO2 Max Bootcamp right here in White Plains) and a healthy eating plan for the best results. As always, check with your doctor before beginning a new diet or exercise plan.

I am a really inflexible guy, can I do Pilates?

Absolutely! I have clients who couldn’t tie their own shoes, when they started Pilates (not because they never learnt how, but because they couldn’t bend down that far). Guys usually begin Pilates to improve their flexibility and ease back and neck pain, but they find that their athletic performance and overall wellbeing improves along the way as well. Movement & Wellness is unusual, because 30-40% of our clients are men, which is a much higher percentage than the industry average. Many guys want to try Pilates, but they just don’t feel comfortable working out next to a bunch of women who can stretch like ballerinas. They like that our studio is private and un-intimidating and that our workouts are customized.

How often should I do Pilates?

In a perfect world, you should practice Pilates three to four times per week. In the real world, that rarely happens. I know that from experience. I have a fully equipped Pilates studio in my house, but sometimes I still struggle to get my three weekly workouts in. I understand life gets in the way at times. However, your three sessions do not necessarily have to be in the studio. You might want to supplement your lessons at Movement and Wellness with group classes elsewhere or by doing the matwork exercises at home with the help of a DVD or app. That being said, many of our clients come only once a week and still experience tremendous benefits. I even have clients who live overseas and only come when they are in New York. Some clients only come during or after pregnancy. Of course you will benefit more with consistent practice, but however and whenever you can fit it in, you will benefit.

I would like to try Pilates, but I am not sure if I want to commit.

I love Pilates and I love sharing the method’s many amazing benefits with as many people as possible. Come in and try it. If it works for you, great! If for any reason you are not ready for Pilates in your life right now, that’s fine too. You can just pay for a single lesson and call it a day. No pressure, no commitment. Some clients have been with me for years, some only for a short while. Others pop in every once in a while. It’s all good. Whatever your level of commitment might be, you are always welcome here.

When will I see results?

I suppose that depends on how you define “results”. The goal of Pilates is to bring balance to your body and mind, by improving strength, flexibility, coordination, concentration, breathing and range of motion. Results are achieved over time and as with any other form of exercise, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Most clients feel tangible benefits (such as less stress, a sense of length, a feeling of balance) the very first time they try Pilates and want to learn more. I believe it takes at least 10-30 lessons to understand how Pilates changes your body.

I have done Pilates matwork (at the gym or with a video). How is Pilates at your studio different?

Pilates is a complex exercise system that includes both mat exercises done on the floor and over 500 exercises done on various machines we refer to as “apparatus”. The apparatus, which include the reformer, trapeze table, chair and barrel among others, were designed by Joseph Pilates to take your workouts and your body to the next level. They both support and challenge your body in ways no other exercise equipment can. I compare learning Pilates to learning a new language. The mat exercises you might be familiar with from videos or gym classes, are your ABC’s, your foundation. Once you know the ABC’s you can progress to learning the full language, which is the apparatus work. You really need to learn Pilates from an experienced, well trained practitioner to fully benefit from the method and learn how to adapt it to your own body to avoid injury.

I am really out of shape. Can I do Pilates?

You should always check with your doctor first to make sure that you are healthy enough for exercise. If you are cleared for exercise, Pilates is the perfect way to get started. Pilates is so highly adaptable and beneficial that we can create a program that will meet you where you are right at this moment and take you to a higher level of fitness and wellbeing. For many people, Pilates was the catalyst for change, leading to a healthier, happier life. Once you start, you become, stronger and more confident and are more likely to try other workouts. All you have to do is take the first step.

Can I do Pilates during pregnancy?

You should check with your midwife or OB/GYN, but unless you have certain complications, Pilates is the perfect form of exercise during your pregnancy. You’ll go through pregnancy stronger, more relaxed and more comfortable and will bounce back faster after delivery. During both of my pregnancies, Pilates was the only form of exercise that felt comfortable to me. I felt supported and challenged at the same time. It really gave me a whole new appreciation for how amazing and versatile Pilates is.