What is Pilates?

Pilates F.A.Q.


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  1. Why has Pilates become so popular in recent years?

  2. Over the years as the fitness industry has grown and diversified the need for an exercise system that addresses the individual's needs has surfaced. Unlike mindless repetitive exercise programs, the Pilates method focuses on the inherent weakness existing in every person. By stressing core strength and flexibility, and posture, clients see continuing results; they look better, feel better and are challenged on multiple levels.

  3. What should I look for in a Pilates Instructor?

  4. The quality and duration of training are the most important factors to consider when selecting an instructor or studio for Pilates training. The fact that an instructor is certified doesn't mean that they have received much in the way of training. Certifications have been available for years with as little as a single weekend's training, and some of Joseph Pilates' original protégé's sometimes certified instructors with as little as a week of supervised training. The key questions are "how many hours of training did you receive?", and "who gave you most of your training?"

    Bryan Peters received approximately 500 hours of training, principally from Michael King, the founder of the Pilates Institute of London. Bryan received additional training from Alan Herdman, who introduced Pilates to England and established the first Pilates studio in Houston. In addition, Bryan is certified by Physical Mind Institute, one of the first national organizations to certify instructors. Sarah Marquez received approximately 480 hours of training, principally from Bryan Peters. She also has a Mat work certification from the Physical Mind Institute. All instructors have had numerous hours of continuing education for local and national Pilates and fitness experts.

    Another key factor to consider is the instructor's ability to tailor the Pilates Method to the individual needs of the client. Whether one is seeking general fitness, improvement of a golf game, or remedial rehabilitation, a good Pilates instructor should be able to combine knowledge of anatomy and physiology with the Pilates Method to develop a tailored program that is right for each individual client. Many certified Pilates instructors may be able to show their clients how to perform Pilates exercises, but may lack sufficient training and experience to know how to modify the exercises so that the client receives the most benefit.

  5. Can Pilates help my aching back?

  6. If you have the type of back ache common to people in their forties or fifties, Pilates exercises and core training are usually quite effective in reducing pain levels. Many of our clients report that their back pain diminishes after just five or six sessions in the Pilates Studio. Without appropriate exercise, as the body ages, muscles begin to weaken. Other muscles may actually get stronger to help take up the slack. By creating a balance in the musculature of the spine and pelvis through  appropriate stretching and strengthening, back pain caused by poor body alignment and mechanics is greatly reduced.

  7. Should I do mat classes, or studio work with equipment?

  8. The primary goals of the Pilates Method are the development of better posture, increased flexibility, greater physical strength (especially in the core muscle group), and sculpting and defining of the body. Studio sessions emphasize work on equipment with personalized instruction. This provides the most intensive and individualized study of Pilates. It is important to be aware, that like instructors, there are various grades of equipment. The reformer and Cadillac intended for professional studio use are far superior to those marketed to the private sector. Mat classes are based on the original exercises developed by Joseph Pilates (the equipment came later). The format of a mat class, with one instructor and up to 15 clients, does not allow much individual attention.

    While a mat class is an excellent forum for performing classic Pilates exercises, many clients will progress faster by being introduced to the Pilates Method through studio sessions. Depending on their overall fitness level, most clients can benefit from mat classes after 5 to 10 sessions in the studio.

  9. Why do I need an initial consultation, and what can I expect from it?

  10. At Bryan J. Peters & Associates, the initial consultation is the client's introduction to the Pilates Method, during which one of our instructors ascertains the client's fitness level and performs a posture evaluation, allowing us to begin to develop a personalized exercise program. The posture evaluation serves as the guideline for each individual's workout; we are one of the few studios that use posture as the basic reference point for applying the Pilates Method.

  11. How do I know if I am a good candidate for this type of exercise?

  12. A qualified Pilates instructor is able to tailor the Pilates Method to a client of any age or fitness level. We have trained clients as young as 9 years old, and our oldest client is 96. Philosophically, the Pilates Method is not about extroverted energy, nor is it like an aerobics or spinning class. We train our clients from the core outward, a process that requires focus, patience and time.

    We believe that the Pilates Method is most effective for those who realize that changing the physical self requires commitment, as well as a willingness to learn a new way of thinking about fitness and how it relates to everyday life. While you will see results in the short term, you reap the most benefit from Pilates by learning to engage the mind as well as the body. A purely physical outlook towards exercise may not allow the benefits that come from connecting the mind and spirit to the body.

  13. Are your studio sessions private lessons?

  14. Only the initial consultation is a one-on-one session. After the first session, the instructor (or instructors) will be supervising your workout as well as other individual's workouts. The ratio of clients to instructors will vary some depending on the time of day, but in a typical week, we average about 2.2 clients per instructor. While an instructor may not be standing at your side for the entire hour, you will receive full supervision throughout your entire workout. We control the number of clients by requiring appointments for studio sessions. You may work with more than one instructor during your workout. Our goal at Bryan J. Peters and Associates is to teach the Pilates method in a way that allows clients to use what they learn in the studio throughout their daily lives. One on one training, besides being much more expensive, can often foster a client's dependency on the instructor to supply the basic knowledge of the Pilates Method, even after months or years.

  15. How often should I do Pilates for maximum benefit?

  16. Beginners should strive to do a minimum of two studio sessions a week for at least the first month. This allows the novice to better retain what is taught. We offer mat classes in addition to studio sessions to enable clients to study Pilates more than once or twice a week once they have gained some basic knowledge.

  17. I have injuries or special needs- can Bryan J. Peters & Associates help me?

  18. We are very experienced with the post-rehabilitation phase of physical fitness. We have the experience, knowledge, and comfort-level to work with your physician, chiropractor, or physical therapist concerning your fitness and rehabilitation needs. Bryan Peters managed the Houston Ballet Academy's Pilates studio from 1984 to 1987; that studio's primary focus was helping injured dancers maintain their fitness levels.

  19. I have more questions to ask? How do I reach you?

  20. Please call us at 713-621-2360, extension 205. If no one is available to take your call, leave your name, number, and best time to reach you, and we will gladly contact you as soon as possible.

       © 2005 Bryan J. Peters & Associates, Inc.
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