When starting a new fitness or wellness routine, students are often extremely focused on the results—why would they do it if there was no measurable benefit? Fast results are the driving force behind many cardio exercise trends—you go fast, burn calories quickly, and see results in a few weeks. Conversely, some fitness practitioners may focus instead on how the exercise makes them feel—gliding down a mountain at 60mph probably feels a lot better than deep breathing in an empty dance studio. How does Pilates fit into this result- and feeling-oriented spectrum?
Think about it this way: One heathy meal will not result in five pounds of weight loss, but it’s a step in the direction of more sustainable and healthy eating habits. Pilates is just like that one healthy meal; one class won’t fix your bad back and immediately tone your core, but practice and time will reap phenomenal rewards. You might lose weight, you’ll almost definitely improve your flexibility and strength, and you will inevitably feel better.
But what if you want the results to be measurable in a classical sense? What if you want actual numbers to represent your progress? A scale might work if that is your goal, but individuals should never embark on fitness journeys with a “goal weight” in mind. Number-related goals neglect to consider how the individual feels through the experience, and chasing a figure could result in extreme habits, such as restrictive eating and exercise addiction.
Instead, create your own scale. From 1-10, how much pain do you have? On a scale of 1-10, how good do you feel? Were you able to climb the three flights of stairs to your apartment faster than last week? How long can you balance on one leg without falling over? Practicing personal, relative comparisons is one of the best ways to track your personal progress while feeling good throughout the process. Does this mean your body won’t change as a result of Pilates? Absolutely not. We are simply advocating for a healthier perspective.
Joseph Pilates once pontificated on the importance of results in exercise. On Pilates, he said, “In 10 sessions, you’ll feel the difference. In 20 sessions, you’ll see the difference. And in 30 sessions, you’ll have a completely new body.” The change is gradual, but it is life-changing. Don’t lose faith, and don’t let yourself give up. Results are relative—just have patience.