Five Things I Would Never Do After Working As A Pilates Instructor

September 1, 2022by Norah Myers

There’s a current trend on TikTok with professionals sharing how they’ve made changes to their lives as a result of their work. I hopped on the trend, and I thought I would further elaborate here, especially since I still see clients doing all of the things that I used to do and don’t do anymore.

Use weight that’s too heavy for me

You know how you see people at the gym using really heavy weights? They’re pushing themselves as hard as they can. They might not be using the right muscles to lift the weights, and this can lead to injury because other muscles have to kick in to compensate. Find and use weight that’s appropriate for your body, and increase it incrementally as you grow stronger. So many people come into Pilates because they’ve injured themselves at the gym by using equipment that
their body can’t handle. Forget about bragging to your friends that you can bench weight that’s much too hard for you. It’s better to start with manageable weights and make progress than rehabbing an injury you could have prevented.

Bash other forms of exercise

At the beginning of my Pilates teaching, I used to bash yoga and other forms of exercise. After working with a client who regularly biked and was getting good results from it, I realized that snarking about other exercises was rude and alienating, and that I’d been parroting another teacher who was known to put down all kinds of exercise. If my clients are happy doing yoga, walking, cycling, swimming, or running, I use Pilates to complement the work that they’re doing. I recently designed a class for a client who loves to paddle board; I’ve taught professional football players, and many of my regular clients love to golf. Pilates actually helps to make your sports game better, so there’s no point in bashing anything that isn’t Pilates.

Only focus on calories and weight loss

I spent years in the pool and at the gym putting myself through punishing workout routines in my late teens and early twenties. I exhausted myself by only focusing on the numbers on the scale rather than things like my mental health, my energy levels, my sleep, and my happiness. I learned from personal trainer Joe Wicks to work out for my mental health first, and to do things that make me feel good and happy. When you work out because it makes you feel healthy and it makes your life easier, it’s so much easier to be consistent. If a client comes to me with weight loss goals, I will say to them right away, ‘You’re beautiful. Let’s just establish that now.’ Pilates isn’t for weight loss anyway. It’s for injury rehab. If you only focus on weight loss, you’re ignoring your actual health.

Push myself to the point of pain

‘No pain no gain’ is a load of crap. We remember it because it rhymes, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. I see clients every day of the week who use Pilates to manage their pain. The last thing I want to do is cause them more of it. Clients are always surprised that Pilates doesn’t hurt, and that they finish class with more energy than when they started. They expect to be hurting and wiped out, but they feel better. I always tell people to stop if an exercise hurts, and to tell me if they’re in pain. Then, we adjust what we’re doing to make the exercise more comfortable, or we move on to a different series. Pain doesn’t mean that a workout is ‘working’ – it’s your body telling you to stop.

Forget to have fun

I started Pilates in the first place because I don’t like the gym. I spent too much time at the gym comparing myself to other women, especially women who were thinner or more attractive than me. I made Pilates a part of my lifestyle because it was comfortable and fun, and I looked forward to my classes. I became an instructor because I love helping clients feel better. ‘I had so much fun,’ is feedback that I hear often, and the best compliment. If you can’t have fun while you’re exercising, then what’s the point? I was never able to stick with exercise when it just felt like work, and now I look forward to my Pilates classes.