I am assuming that if you are reading this, you are looking for results. That is by no means a bad thing! In fact, it’s a great thing. As human beings, we like to set goals and strive for an outcome. It brings us clarity and keeps us accountable and motivated. My concern is with the original intent of that goal, which can lead to an unhealthy journey towards the result.
I have worked in the fitness industry for 10 years and have witnessed patterns of behavior around exercise from clients and trainers. I can say without a doubt that some work and some don’t, and in my opinion, it has a lot to do with the person’s initial mindset. I have witnessed a lot of people fall into a habitual loop of feeling bad about their body, starting an exercise program and hoping for results ASAP! They fall off the bandwagon after a few weeks and at the end of it. They feel like a failure for stopping. This feeling of failure has much deeper consequences for that person. Months or years later, they go through the same vicious cycle. But how often should you do pilates to see results?
Picture this: You begin an exercise program and your main goal is to lose 5 kg. You have been told that it is ideal to lose 1kg/week. So it will take you 5 weeks to reach your goal! Doesn’t sound so bad right? You go into a calorie deficit and you drastically change your diet and cut out coffee and alcohol. Two weeks later, you find yourself at a birthday party with food and alcohol around you and you have an internal battle about whether you should go for it and get back on track on Monday OR you sit there miserable and watch everyone else have a good time.
You end up eating and drinking at the party. Then you wake up Monday hating yourself and feeling unmotivated to get back into your shakes, tea and exercise regime. Suddenly, it’s week 3 and the end of week 5 seems like a lifetime away.
It becomes mentally and physically exhausting to keep up this routine and you consider giving up. Your mind is conflicted and filled with negative self-talk and you look for any excuse to convince yourself that this diet is not for you, and it might be best to find another diet that will work better. Whether you stop now or make it to week 5 and then stop, the damage is done. You now consider eating healthy and exercise to be too exhausting and not worth pursuing long term.
Now imagine if you change your initial mind-set. You decide that you want to find a physical activity that makes you feel joy and happiness. An activity that makes you feel energized when you leave and which makes you want to come back for more the next day. Then you realize that you much prefer to exercise in the evening as a way to destress. Rather than forcing yourself to get up at an ungodly hour.
You also find healthy foods that you enjoy eating and preparing and focus more on ingesting foods that provide you with a tonne of nutrients because it makes you feel good rather than the foods that an app says has the lowest calories. Like you go out for dinner with friends or family and don’t stop to think about the calories. Or how many minutes you need to run on the treadmill the next day to burn it off. Instead, you are present and engaged with the people closest to you.
You don’t worry about scales. Instead, focus on how much happier and fulfilled you are by making long term, healthy, sustainable changes to your lifestyle. Changes that you chose for yourself.
All of a sudden it’s week 5 and you have no plans to stop what you are doing. Who do you think is most likely to lose the 5kg? The point to my story? If dieting and extreme exercise regimes aren’t working for you, I challenge you to consider an initial mindset shift. So back to the question! How often should you do Pilates to see results? Here is my answer:
I am a Pilates instructor so Pilates is my thing! The question above can, however, be applied to any form of exercise. Just replace the word ‘Pilates’ with whatever you prefer. I want you to make a commitment to try ‘Pilates’ for 1 month. At the end of it, answer these 3 questions:
If you answered yes to all of these questions. I encourage you to keep going! I can almost guarantee that the aesthetic results that you originally hoped to see will happen as a by-product of finding an exercise that you love! After all, life is too short to focus on scales and measurements. Not to mention, it is a way too exhausting to stay self-motivated for the wrong reasons. Focus on self-care rather than self-control and you will be amazed at how far you can go!
Alex Richardson is a Registered Nurse and qualified Pilates Instructor who has combined her love of Pilates and experiences as a Nurse, to form a passion for educating and inspiring people to use Pilates and movement as a preventative to many health problems. In 2016, Alex opened up her first Pilates studio, Duo Pilates in Morningside, Brisbane.
While you’re here, check out Lee Holme’s 4 steps to your healthiest gut ever.