Masterwork Pilates Studio
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FAQ
  1. Why do you require a New Student Assessment before I can join group classes?
  2. What exactly is Pilates?
  3. What are the benefits of Pilates?
  4. What age group is Pilates for?
  5. What's better, mat or equipment Pilates exercises?
  6. How often should I do Pilates?
  7. Why are private training sessions with a Pilates instructor so expensive?
  8. What should I look for in a Pilates instructor?
  9. Can I get an effective workout with Pilates videos and books?
  10. Will I lose weight through Pilates exercises?
  11. Can I do Pilates if I'm pregnant?
Why do you require a New Student Assessment before I can join group classes?
There are several reasons why Masterwork Pilates Studio requires new students to first take an assessment session before joining group formats.
However, the first and foremost reason is to ensure your safety. Each person is unique and some have physical limitations that make group formats unsafe. A New Student Assessment (NSA) allows me to get to know you, your goals and any physical limitations you may or may not have. With this information, I can guide you to formats that will give you the safest and best results.
Another reason for an assessment is that there are many different brands of Pilates out in the world today; each with it's own focus and methodologies. An assessment allows me to establish a baseline with students who already have Pilates experience. Again, so that I can guide them to the formats that will best suit them.

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What exactly is Pilates?
Pilates is a system of over 500 controlled exercises that engage the mind and condition the total body. It is a balanced blend of strength and flexibility training that improves posture, reduces stress and creates long, lean muscles without bulking up. Pilates works several muscle groups simultaneously through smooth, continuous motion, with a particular concentration on strengthening and stabilizing the core (the abdomen, back and pelvic girdle region, sometimes referred to as the "core" or "powerhouse"). The focus is on quality of movement rather than quantity, which makes one feel invigorated rather than exhausted after a session. Pilates takes a balanced and functional approach to exercise so that no muscle group is overworked and the body works as an efficient, holistic system in sports and daily activities. Pilates exercises can be performed on a mat or on specialized equipment such as a Pilates Reformer, Pilates Cadillac and Ladder Barrel.

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What are the benefits of Pilates?
With regular, committed Pilates workouts you can expect to:
  • Improve strength, flexibility and balance
  • Tone and build long, lean muscles without bulk
  • Challenge deep abdominal muscles to support the core
  • Engage the mind and enhance body awareness
  • Condition efficient patterns of movement; making the body less prone to injury
  • Reduce stress, relieve tension, boost energy through deep stretching
  • Restore postural alignment
  • Create a stronger, more flexible spine
  • Promote recovery from strain or injury
  • Increase joint range of motion
  • Improve circulation
  • Heighten neuromuscular coordination
  • Offer relief from back pain and joint stress
  • Correct over-training of muscle groups which can lead to stress and injury
  • Enhance mobility, agility and stamina
  • Compliment sports training and develop functional fitness for daily life activity
  • Improve the way your body looks and feels

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What age group is Pilates for?
Pilates can be beneficial for virtually all ages, fitness levels and body conditions. The method is like a bridge between physical fitness and physical therapy, and can be adapted, modified and customized for individual needs. Some advanced moves and sequences seem to demand youthful energy yet others are manageable for even the frailest physique. It's more about fitness condition than age. One's chronological number doesn't necessarily limit one's movement capabilities - sometimes a 75 year old can perform contortions on the Cadillac while a 20 year old struggles with a simple roll up.

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What's better, mat or equipment Pilates exercises?
It's not a matter of one being better than another. The fundamental Pilates workout can be performed on a Pilates mat alone, and great results can be achieved through beginner, intermediate and advanced moves. However, the various equipment pieces such as the Reformer, Cadillac and Chair incorporate light spring resistance that works like concentric and eccentric muscle contractions to safely sculpt, tone and stretch the muscles. The Arc Barrels and Ladder provide support that allows you to safely manipulate your body to stretch and engage muscles otherwise challenging to isolate. Smaller Pilates equipment pieces such resistance bands, Pilates circles and exercise balls also provide an element of variety and focus to a Pilates regimen.
A complete and satisfying workout can involve exercises on the mat alone or can be combined with various pieces of specially designed Pilates equipment. Each session can offer variety so that no two workouts are alike.

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How often should I do Pilates?
Try to work out 2-4 times a week, taking a day off in between sessions to rest or enjoy some kind of cardiovascular activity (walking, bicycling, swimming). This kind of regular and consistent practice will help you make the mind-body connection and integrate the various Pilates principles. You should start seeing and feeling results in about 10 to 15 sessions.

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Why are private training sessions with a Pilates instructor so expensive?
Pilates instructors are highly trained professionals who have invested hundreds of hours studying the technique. They learn over 500 exercises for both the mat and Pilates equipment. They learn the philosophy and theory behind each movement, spend considerable time observing and mastering proper form and sequences, and apprentice to fine tune their teaching skills prior to taking a rigorous written and practical exam. They learn more than just a series of moves, they learn how to assess their students' posture, how to adapt exercises for various body conditions, and how to customize the optimum Pilates program for each individual. This kind of specialized training, combined with the expenses of furnishing a fully equipped studio, commands a $40 to $80 per hour price range.

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What should I look for in a Pilates instructor?
Ideally your Pilates instructor should be certified through a comprehensive Pilates training program, one comprised of lectures, observation, practice, hands-on apprenticing plus a written and practical examination. This level of training is especially important if you are going to be working out on any of the specialized Pilates equipment - some courses only cover mat exercises while others educate trainers in the full range of apparatus. Find out if your trainer is educated in handling clients with specific injuries or body conditions that might warrant a modified approach. A professional Pilates instructor should keep up with the latest developments in exercise science, choreography, small prop usage and more through continuing education workshops. Any background or teaching experience in other movement disciplines such as dance, aerobics or yoga is also a plus. A professional instructor should make good use of visual, verbal and tactile cuing to ensure students are exercising with proper form and technique. Whether you are working out in a group setting or one-on-one private training, make sure your Pilates instructor is confident, knowledgeable, responsive and personable so you can have a safe and effective experience

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Can I get an effective workout with Pilates videos and books?
Beginners should seek out private instruction with a qualified Pilates professional. This is the only way to ensure you are learning correct form and technique. Many exercises engage deep muscles difficult to isolate and subtle body adjustments can make the difference between safe & effective vs. unsafe & ineffective movement. Beginner books and videos at home can give you an idea of what Pilates is all about, but joining a group class or ideally get some one-on-one instruction is the only way to ensure you are performing the moves correctly and safely. Once you've had some private attention and are confident you are on the right path, Pilates videos, DVDs and books can then be use safely to supplement your practice.

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Will I lose weight through Pilates exercises?
In essence, Pilates is not a cardiovascular workout; quality of movement and the cultivation of a healthy lifestyle is the main focus. However, muscle requires more calories to maintain than fat and in the cardio vs. strength training debate, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests strenght training is as effective at burning calories as cardio. So, it is safe to say that in conjunction with a sensible diet and aerobic activities such as brisk walking, bicycling, dancing or swimming, that Pilates will certainly contribute to any weight loss program. Pilates exercises help strengthen, sculpt and tone the body while building long, lean muscles. Whether the number on the scale goes down or not, you will tend to look and feel better through continued Pilates practice.
These days almost every teaching method now offers a variety of pilates programs that are designed to move through the exercises at a quicker pace and thereby produce an increased metabolic rate. These classes are idea for anyone who has joint injuries or pain and must avoid conventional cardio workouts.

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Can I do Pilates if I'm pregnant?
Generally speaking, moderate exercise is safe throughout a normal, healthy pregnancy and many Pilates exercises are appropriate. Women who have been doing Pilates regularly prior to pregnancy are often able to continue right up to their due date. However, keep the following cautions in mind.
  • It is not advised to begin any new exercise regimen, in the first trimester.
  • Always talk with your physician and obtain their authorization before beginning or continuing Pilates during your pregnancy.
  • Do not over-exert the abdominal muscles to avoid diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles).
  • Take care of you lower back, which can be strained with the weight of the fetus.
  • After the first trimester of pregnancy, avoid all Pilates exercises that require you to lie on your back. The American Council of Obstetrics and Gynecology cautions women in the second trimester of pregnancy against doing exercises that require a supine position as it is believed that it can compromise the vascular system of both the mother and fetus.
  • Do not over-stretch, as relaxin and progesterone levels increase during pregnancy causing the ligaments around the joints to become lax, loose and vulnerable.
  • Be aware that your center of gravity and therefore your sense of balance has changed.

With due diligence, many gentle stretching and strengthening Pilates exercises can be good for a woman's body and mind during pregnancy. Most mat exercises can be adapted from a supine (back lying) to a sitting position and use of a Spine Supporter / C-shaper can help. Other exercises for the mat, Reformer and Cadillac / Trapeze Table can be performed in a kneeling or standing position. The Wunda Chair / Stability Chair can be a useful piece of Pilates apparatus during pregnancy as well, as many moves are performed while sitting upright.
To be safe during pregnancy, only practice Pilates under the guidance of a professional Pilates instructor who has been trained to teach women throughout their pregnancy.

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