You’ve booked your first Pilates class. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably feeling a little nervous, a little curious and wondering what on earth you’ve got yourself into.

In this post, I’ve answered all the questions I had before my first class. If you have any that aren’t covered, drop me a line at

Right. Let’s get started.

What should I wear to a Pilates class?

Pilates is all about posture, alignment, and form. Even if you prefer loose-fitting workout wear, you’re going to want to wear something a little more figure-hugging for Pilates. This will enable the instructor to see how your body is moving and check you’re in the right position for each exercise.

Also, some Pilates exercises require you to have your legs in the air or your torso inverted. Loose clothing can ride up or fall down. Nobody wants that!
I recommend wearing leggings with a tank top or fitted long-sleeved shirt.

If you want to invest in high quality sportswear that will last, I recommend buying from unisex brand, BAM Bamboo Clothing. All of their clothes are made of sustainable bamboo and the quality is fantastic. Check out their range here.

As for footwear, you can either be barefoot, or wear grip socks (check before you go as some studios won’t let you in without grip socks). If you opt for socks, get a pair with rubber detailing on the soles so you don’t slip on the mat or machine. I find that Toesox have the best grip. Grab a pair here.

What do I need to take to a Pilates class?

If you’re heading to a gym or Pilates studio for your Pilates class, you won’t need to take much, as mats and equipment are generally provided. However, it’s worth calling the studio to check, as rules have changed in the wake of COVID-19. A towel and grip socks may be compulsory for the class.

Also, take a bottle of water. Pilates may not be high impact, but it’s intense. Its thirsty work!

What do I need for Pilates at home?

If you’re doing Pilates online at home, at the very least you’ll need a Pilates mat. I use this one by Core Balance. I like it as it is thicker than the average mat. I have a bony coccyx, so a thicker mat makes exercises such as rolling like a ball much more comfortable.

As you progress in the studio or at home, you can invest in extra bits of kit, such as a Pilates Ring, a resistance band, or a foam roller to dial up the intensity of your workouts. See the ‘essential Pilates kit’ post for more information.

What will I do in my first Pilates class?

Every studio/teacher is different, but you’ll spend the first few classes focusing on Pilates technique. These are a few of the things you’ll learn during your first few sessions.

  • Neutral spine & Imprinted spine
  • How to engage your pelvic floor
  • How to engage your Transverse Abdominus
  • Thoracic breathing technique
  • Pelvic stability
  • Ribcage closure
  • Segmental control of spine

A good teacher will take you through these and ensure that all of the subsequent exercises are carried out incorporating them.

How long is a Pilates class?

Most Pilates classes are between 45 minutes to an hour. If it’s your first class, turn up 10 minutes early and introduce yourself to the teacher. Be sure to let the them know if you have any injuries, so they can modify the exercises for you.

Pick a spot where you can see the teacher clearly. Pilates is not a place to hide at that back.

Should I eat before Pilates?

It’s not a good idea to have a big meal more than two hours before any workout, especially one where you’ll be using your core.

If you’re super hungry, grab a banana or a protein shake (MyProtein offer a huge range) about an hour before your workout.

Do I need to be super fit to do Pilates?
Nope. Pilates is suitable for all ages and levels of ability, from experienced athletes to complete novices. At the studio I attend, one of the regulars is 83!

If you struggle with any of the exercises, there are modifications, as well as pieces of apparatus to provide additional support.

Can men do Pilates?
A lot of people think Pilates is just for women. But it’s equally as effective for men. Pilates was actually created by a man (Joseph Pilates) and a macho man at that! A ton of male celebrities also swear by Pilates. Think Christiano Ronaldo, Tom Daley and David Beckham. So yes, Pilates a fantastic form of exercise for men.

Book a class!

Now you know what to expect, why not book a class with one of our fantastic instructors? Whoever you choose, you’ll be in safe hands!

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