At Sheppard Method Pilates in Westwood, we get a lot of questions from people curious about Pilates and if it’s right for them. Like any new fitness endeavor, trying Pilates can seem intimidating! The good news is, Pilates is a totally approachable and accessible practice for beginners and experts alike and bodies of all kinds. What makes the Sheppard Method Pilates special is our ability to answer these questions and more, as we provide a customized approach to the tried-and-true traditional Pilates practice.

New to Pilates? Contact the Westwood Pilates instructors at Sheppard Method Pilates to discuss how we can help you get started!

1.   What is Pilates?

In short, Pilates is a low-impact fitness practice that focuses on strength and conditioning of the body to enhance balance and harmony in the body and mind. Pilates improves postural alignment through repetitive strength-building movements and conscious breath. And while Pilates is known for targeting the core, core strength is more than just abs—Pilates engages the entire trunk. Strength and stability in the deep core, hips, glutes, and back means better posture, improved flexibility, increased mobility, and therefore, more longevity overall.

2.    Why should I try Pilates?

There are countless physical and mental benefits to Pilates that are all research-backed. Pilates will improve your:

  • Posture
  • Flexibility
  • Encourage weight loss
  • Build overall strength
  • Teach healing breath
  • Enhance your entire wellbeing and life

Think of Pilates as a stabilizing and balancing practice: you are stabilizing your body’s foundation and bringing balance and harmony to the relationship between your mind and body. All while getting stronger, fitter, and feeling confident in your own skin!

3.     Do I need previous fitness experience to get into Pilates?

Not at all! Even if you haven’t stepped foot in a gym since high school, Pilates is for you. The accessibility of Pilates exercises means the practice is safe for anyone and requires no previous knowledge or experience. At Sheppard Method Pilates, we offer individualized sessions, private classes, and several other options to ensure you are confident and comfortable from day one. You do not even need to be “athletic” – although you may consider yourself so after visiting our studio regularly!

4.     Is Pilates just for women?

Because Pilates is not a high-impact regimen and does not include the use of heavy weights to “bulk,” it is often categorized as a more feminine exercise. However, that is far from the case! Joseph Pilates developed Pilates as a conditioning program for physical training. Ever since, athletes of all types (and genders) have incorporated Pilates into their high-impact training. Pilates continues to become more and more popular and diverse because core strength, conscious breath, balance and stability, and low-impact movement on active rest days are all important for any athlete. You will always find a mix of genders in the Westwood Sheppard Method Pilates studio!

5.     Is my body right for Pilates? What if I’m not flexible or fit already?

The easy answer is YES – all bodies are right for Pilates! Pilates benefits people of all ages (even children!), pregnant people, those in injury rehabilitation, and bodies of all shapes and sizes. There is absolutely no prerequisite of flexibility or fitness required, as Pilates always meets you exactly where you are that day. While there are modifications for every movement that make Pilates exercises accessible to anyone, they never get easier, providing the necessary challenge to keep you building strength and balance throughout your entire fitness journey.

6.     Will Pilates make me sweat?

While Pilates is not a cardio workout, it can work up a sweat through challenging movements. Each Pilates routine you do will be different, and some days may demand more calories burned than others. Don’t expect to leave a Pilates practice dripping in sweat and panting like you would a hardcore gym session—but you may feel a similar burn afterwards!

7.     How many days a week do I need to take a Pilates class for it to work?

Studies have shown that people benefit the most from Pilates when practicing at least three times a week for full thirty-minute sessions. However, any time practicing Pilates will help you work toward your goals. You certainly do not need to spend hours a day most of the week to see results. Like any practice, Pilates is about consistency. Our Pilates instructors can help guide your introduction to classes so you don’t feel overwhelmed with an intense time commitment but can still get the most from a consistent weekly Pilates routine.

8.     What makes Sheppard Method Pilates different?

Sheppard Method Pilates makes the traditional Pilates practice all your own. The creator of Sheppard Method Pilates, Risa Sheppard, is one of the most sought after Pilates instructors. With a focus on optimal health through connection of the mind, body, and spirit, the Sheppard method is much more than an exercise program. Each person that arrives at our Westwood Pilates studio will get a customized method that works for their body, ability, and personal goals to express your best, most authentic self.

In short, whether you are a seasoned athlete, need to rehab an injury, or are just now exploring ways to incorporate more movement into your life, Pilates is for you!

Call the Westwood Pilates instructors at Sheppard Method Pilates to discuss how we can help you get into Pilates, no matter where you’re starting out in your fitness journey. Why wait? Schedule your first class at Sheppard Method Pilates today!