The answers to several frequently asked questions about Pilates or Pilates Central are contained on different pages of this website. See, for example:
The following are the answers to some other frequently asked questions.
Q. How long is a class/session?
Up to 90 minutes each. Private classes last 60 minutes.
Q. How large are your classes?
Pilates Central offers equipment-based Pilates rather than mat or group classes. So, we assess you as an individual and then design a bespoke programme to meet your precise needs.
You then follow your own programme under the supervision of our teachers. Beginners get almost individual attention from teachers.
Up to four clients start their session/class at any one time but each follows his/her own bespoke programme. The studio typically contains between five and 10 clients exercising at any one time.
Q. How often should I come?
People do Pilates anywhere from once a week to once a day - but twice a week is common and what we suggest for most clients.
Even if you just take just one class a week, you should try to do at least a few minutes of Pilates - whether at home or work - on a daily basis.
Q. When can I expect to see results?
'In ten sessions', suggested Joseph Pilates himself, 'you will feel the difference; in 20 you will see the difference; and in 30 you will have a whole new body'.
Most people do start to feel a difference after 10 sessions, getting the sense, for example, that they are walking taller and moving in a looser, suppler way.
The longer they persist, the more they will tend to see and feel the shape of their body slowly change.
Q. Am I the right age to do Pilates?
Pilates is still popular with dancers, gymnasts, athletes and others in their physical prime but it is equally suitable for almost any age.
Indeed, one of the beauties of Pilates is that we tailor it to suit each person, whatever their age or physical condition.
Many of our clients are middle-aged or elderly. Indeed, more than a few start doing Pilates specifically because they have reached 'a certain age', realised that they no longer take any exercise and suddenly thought, 'My goodness, I have to start to do something, or else I'll fall apart'.
Older clients still might have to ask medical advice before taking up Pilates and to start more slowly. Many people, however, do Pilates into their eighties and nineties. A properly tailored Pilates programme is one of the best-known ways to ward off the infirmities of old age. Joan Bakewell, the writer and broadcaster, swears by Pilates for this reason, among others.
Your true age, in the end, of course, is as much a function of how feel as of the date on your birth certificate. As Joseph Pilates himself put it: 'If, at the age of 30, you are stiff and out of shape, you are old. If, at 60, you are supple and strong, then you are young.'
Q. Is Pilates mainly for women?
Far from it. Pilates, after all, was invented by a man, Joseph Pilates, originally for his own benefit - and was only later adapted for women.
Men, what's more, tend to be less flexible than women, and so to need Pilates even more.
In fact, almost a third of our clients are male, as are countless celebrity devotees of Pilates, from Hugh Grant to Martin Amis, John Cleese, Ian McKellen, Patrick Swayze, and an ever-growing number of famous footballers, rugby players, cricketers and other professional athletes.
Q. Is Pilates the only kind of exercise I need take?
No, you should also take some form of aerobic exercise, such as walking, running, cycling, tennis or swimming - but preferably done in a way that does not place damaging strain on your body.
In fact, we have an exercise bike in the studio, specifically for the benefit of clients who want to follow their Pilates class with some form of aerobic exercise.
Q. How do I tell whether my Pilates teacher really knows he/she is doing?
One way to get some idea is to observe whether your teacher places emphasis on such crucial factors as positioning, concentration and breathing.
An even better way is to ask what training they have done. Our instructors have done a long and rigorous training, which is more like an old-fashioned apprenticeship.
Wherever you learn Pilates, you should make sure that your teacher is properly qualified, since Pilates taught by someone without the right training can do you more harm than good. Yet, many exercise teachers in gyms and elsewhere now include Pilates exercises in their classes, despite themselves never having had any training at all.
Q. Is Pilates like Yoga?
The difference between Pilates and Yoga, reckons one Californian fitness instructor, is as follows: 'One is eyes closed and think of God; and one is eyes open, think of your butt'.
Yes, there are similarities between Pilates and Yoga, partly because Joseph Pilates consciously drew on both Eastern and Western traditions when first developing his method.
However, there are also key differences. Pilates, for example, is more dynamic than Yoga, which places more emphasis on the static holding of certain poses.
Pilates also focuses more on strengthening the deepest layers of abdominal muscles, which form a corset around your torso.
If you have the time, there is no reason why you should not do both and get different benefits from each.
Q. Is Pilates just another exercise fad?
This may seem a strange question to ask about an exercise method that was invented almost a century ago and has had a devoted following for many long decades.
But the answer is simple: no. And so is the reason: Because it works.
Joseph Pilates always said that his method was 50 years ahead of his time The current growth in popularity of Pilates is simply the fulfilment of his longstanding prediction.
Q. Can I do Pilates when I am pregnant?
You should check with your doctor before doing any kind of exercise during pregnancy. However, Pilates tends to be particularly suitable for pregnant women, since it is a low-impact form of exercise that strengthens the back, stomach and pelvic floor muscles.
In fact, many women first discover Pilates either when they are pregnant or have just given birth.
You may need to do Pilates in a modified or gentler way while pregnant, and to make sure you stop the moment that you feel any discomfort.
A properly tailored Pilates programme, however, can be the ideal way to lessen or avoid the back-pain commonly experienced during late pregnancy and to enable your body to regain its shape rapidly after birth.
Hugh Grant, the film star, bragged after taking up Pilates, 'Now I have muscles of steel and could easily deal with giving birth'.