Words by Felicity Bonello
Will Pilates help you lose weight? What’s the difference between Pilates and Yoga? How many sessions do we really have to do before we see results? P.E Nation sat down with Pilates instructor extraordinaire and Director/Founder of Fluidform, Kirsten King, to find out exactly what we’re in for at our next Pilates session.
PE: Many of us have tried Pilates but there are a lot of people who haven’t. For those who haven’t, could you explain exactly, what is Pilates?
KK: Pilates is a form of exercise that targets the stabilizing muscles in your body. These muscles are responsible for maintaining length and balance in your body and ultimately achieving your best possible posture - Best Version of you! Pilates is performed on a series of equipment but it can also be done on a Mat using your own body weight as resistance. At Fluidform we design programs that are constantly challenging your mind and body. We incorporate functional moves based on Pilate’s principles that even further enhance their results achieved by Pilates.
PE: Pilates is known to elongate, chisel and sculpt muscles. Through the work that you do with individuals, what are the health benefits of Pilates?
KK: The health benefits are endless. When people start I always tell them that Pilates will become part of their lifestyle and it is not until they have begun and are starting to see and feel the benefits that they believe me. Pilates realigns the body and if your body is balanced it not only looks strong and beautiful you also feel that way. The time spent moving and working your body, challenging your mind strengthens every inch of you physically and mentally. The confidence you feel as a result of feeling strong is something that cannot be purchased. As Joseph Pilates said, "The mind when held in a healthful body possesses a glorious sense of Power." Never truer words have been spoken.
PE: Why do you think Pilates should be part of every woman's workout routine? Does it have particular benefits to women rather than men or can we expect similar results for both?
KK: I love Pilates because it doesn't discriminate. It doesn't matter what your age, your physically ability or mental state. Pilates has a way to provide everyone with strength and confidence. Pilates as part of everyone's workout routine is only going to enhance your overall results faster. Pilates focuses on the smaller muscles in the human body. Muscles that are harder to isolate and tone. Pilates has a way to make you feel muscles you never knew existed and as a result the physical appearance of your body changes significantly. A Pilate’s body is a very long, strong body with overall tone. Pilates is just as beneficial for men and women. Over 40% of our clients are men and we see many Elite Male Sporting Teams.
PE: For some reason Yoga and Pilates are often placed in the same “category”. What are the differences between Yoga and Pilates?
KK: Pilates is a more prescribed form of movement than Yoga. It has been created to help realign the spine and provide stability and strength in all the surrounding joints of the body. It is also used extensively to treat people with injury and Women Pre and Post Baby.
PE: What’s better for your health, Yoga or Pilates?
KK: I Love Pilates and in my experience I have seen many people recover from severe injury and illness and overall have a more rested and happy life from doing Pilates. However my belief is that there is an exercise out there for everybody and if you can find that exercise and make it a part of your lifestyle you are going to be a happier and healthier version of you!
PE: Can you talk us through the difference in reformer and mat Pilates?
KK: A reformer is one piece of equipment used in a Pilates Studio. It resembles a bed and it has a spring system on the bottom of it that can make exercises harder or easier depending on what you are trying to achieve. Mat Pilates is traditionally a series of movements performed on a Mat using your body weight for resistance. At Fluidform we also use ankle weights, small balls, discs and bands in our Mat Classes. It should ne noted that neither is harder than the other. Both Reformer and Mat Pilates have a benefit and should be done in conjunction with each other to achieve the best possible results.
PE: It’s the New Year, we’d all like to place fitness and wellbeing at the top of our list of priorities. Tell us then, is Pilates good for losing weight?
KK: Any form of movement is good for losing weight, particularly if you have not been moving previously. As a beginner a Pilates workout is more about stability, strength and tone. People see massive changes in their posture and shape in their body after about 20 sessions. As you become a more advanced client the cardio of your workout is increased and if it is weight loss you are after, it can definitely be achieved.
PE: What’s a realistic weekly workout routine where we can expect to see results? And how long would it take, if we implemented this, do start seeing those results?
KK: We say two sessions to feel a difference and three sessions a week to see a difference. After approx. 20-30 sessions you will feel and look totally different. Both the physical and mental benefits of Pilates are so so amazing.
PE:What’s your favourite Pilates move and why? Does this differ from the most effective Pilates move?
KK: I Love a workout o the Wundah chair. It is challenging and effective. It has great postural benefits but also tones and strengthens all the right places. You also can’t beat a slow ab series or a glute workout.
PE:What should we wear to a Pilate’s class?
KK: Your favourite PE Nation tights and crop. Try not to wear tights with zips along your back as you lie down a lot. Where something that you feel good, because if you feel good you will always have a better workout. We also wear socks on your feet at Fluidform.