Preparing for Pilates

When preparing for your Pilates session, there are some details to keep in mind before and after your workout. The most important step, of course, is showing up! These next helpful tips will enable you to gain even more benefits from your workout.

Step One: Nutrition.
The energy you’ll be relying on throughout your day comes from what you feed your body. Although everyone has individual health needs, it is very important to eat something light and make sure you’re hydrated prior to any fitness routine. Plan on eating any full meal (with some protein, fat, and veggies) at least 1-2 hours prior to your Pilates class. Working your core is not the greatest when your body is focused on digesting. If you find yourself hungry right before your workout, small healthy snacks are a good option. Make sure to refuel after your Pilates session as well! You did a lot of good, amazing work on your muscles and they deserve to feel energized for the rest of the day.

Step Two: Warm-Up & Stretching.
Although Pilates supplies aspects of lengthening, adding in some short stretch variations prior to your session will optimize your range of motion and performance. Make sure you warm up first! Vanessa Huffman, Director of Teacher Training for Club Pilates, tells us: “Research has shown that when people are forcing their cool muscles to relax by overextending, it creates a surge of Glucocorticoids (stress hormones) that flood the body, which is the opposite reaction expected from people trying to relax a stiffened area.” Your Pilates instructor is a great resource! Ask them what stretches would be best to try at home for your individual needs. Roll downs, pec stretches, and dynamic hip flexor movements will help warm up your muscles and jump start your session.

Step Three: Self-Myofascial Release.
Praise that foam roller! Pick a few target spots that are experiencing tightness and roll them out before and after your awesome workout. Giving your connective tissue that little bit of love and attention generates blood flow and repairs muscles and joints for increased performance. For more guidance on how to properly approach this concept, try a CP Restore class! Your instructor will guide you through some TriggerPoint™ therapy that makes your body feel relaxed and refreshed.

Step Four: Rest!
Proper rest is necessary in order to correctly function throughout the day. Asking your body to perform in your Pilates session without sleep will force yourself out of balance and prevent successful results. Allowing your body ample time to rest will help you execute exercises and daily tasks with clear, mindful awareness and body control.  While maintaining a continuous Pilates practice promotes healthy living, your body needs time to recoup from the efforts of your day.

Good health is a lifestyle. Practice balance in all aspects of life. Instead of limiting healthy habits to the time within your Pilates session, implement these concepts for a more complete you!