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woman on a reformer in pilates
Published Monday Jul 12, 2021 by Denise Prichard

Thinking About Trying Out a Reformer Pilates Class? Here’s What You Need to Know

Expert Advice

Welcome back to what can only be described as my world tour of different types of workout classes. What can I say? Once fitness studios started offering in-person experiences, I kind of went wild.

If you’re familiar with some of my previous posts, then you are well aware that I am an avid gym-goer. Before the pandemic hit, I was hitting a spin class seven days a week and sprinkling in some yoga sessions here and there. However, when my fitness studio went on lockdown, finding a stationary bike was next to impossible—I think I had a better chance at hitting the lottery in all honesty. So, while we were forced to work out from home, I decided to supplement my normal routine with fitness classes that needed little-to-no equipment like virtual barre and meditation.  

But as things started to open back up, I was eager to get back to those classes that you really can’t replicate at home—like spin and one of my new obsessions—reformer Pilates. I must admit, my first reformer Pilates class was a very humbling experience for me. As a yoga instructor and someone who has done a mat Pilates class a handful of times, I really thought I was going to crush this workout. Boy was I wrong.  

Pilates classes focus on utilizing the entire body to improve strength and flexibility—but reformer Pilates adds a new element to the practice by incorporating a machine that adds resistance and takes certain poses to a whole other level.  

If you’re new to reformer Pilates, my best piece of advice is to let go of the idea that it will be a slow, easy workout. That couldn't be further from the truth. You will sweat. You will shake. And you will quickly start to realize that this type of workout taps into muscles you didn’t even know existed.  

I realize I might be starting to terrify you. But I assure you that reformer Pilates is great for beginners and totally open to all levels of experience—but it might be helpful for you to know a few things before walking into your first class. 

First time at the studio? Check for intro offers  

Who doesn’t love a good deal? If it’s your first time at a reformer Pilates studio, check to see if they have an intro offer for new students. Lots of studios have deals to encourage customers to check out what their studio has to offer for a very reasonable drop-in price. So, before you sign up, make sure you check for local intro offers to save a little bit of moolah before committing to a studio.  

Leave your mat at home (or in the trunk of your car) 

While you may be familiar with mat Pilates since it is a class offered at most gyms, you will not be rolling out your mat for this type of class. You’ll be doing most of the moves on a Pilates reformer, which is a machine that has a carriage that moves back and forth along a track. This carriage is connected to springs that provide resistance as you move in and out of the different exercises. The amount of resistance you use is up to you, but any degree of resistance will make your workout much more intense than your typical mat Pilates class.  

What you wear matters 

In my opinion, the tighter your clothes fit, the better. A good rule of thumb for any reformer Pilates class is to wear what you would typically wear to a yoga class—pants that have a snug fit and a top/sports bra that is supportive as you move in and out of poses. I would also recommend avoiding wearing shorts—you’ll be twisting in and out of exercises and won’t really have much control over wardrobe malfunctions if you know what I mean. 

Socks and gloves will be your new besties 

For reformer Pilates, you'll want socks and gloves that absorb sweat and have good traction. Unlike in yoga or mat Pilates where you can purchase a mat that absorbs sweat to prevent you from slipping and sliding, you don’t have control over the material that covers the carriage. And trust me, your palms and feet will get very sweaty which can make you feel unstable in certain exercises, so please heed my advice. Many fitness stores and sites online are now selling socks with grips on the bottom, which are ideal for reformer Pilates. Your studio might sell them on their website as well. 

Each spring represents a different amount of resistance 

If the reformer machine has you worried, fear not. During the first few minutes of class, the instructor will go over how the machine works and will fill you in on the resistance strings. At the studio where I go, Reformed Pilates in uptown Phoenix, the reformers have yellow, blue, and red springs—yellow is light, blue is medium, and red is heavy. You are in complete control of how much resistance you use, and you can even mix and match colors if one feels too heavy or too light. Most of the time, the instructor will give you guidance on which color resistance springs you should use to help take some of the guesswork out of your selections.  

Your wrists may take a beating 

Like yoga, the exercises in both mat and reformer Pilates focus on a lot of the smaller, less commonly used muscles in your body, like your wrists. Most moves require you to balance on your hands, which isn’t a position many find themselves in very often unless you frequent a vinyasa yoga studio or plank it out in the gym every day. It’s a safe bet that your first couple of reformer classes will make your wrists sore. If this happens, take a break and shake those wrists out until you’re ready to get back into the exercises.

Fuel yourself before and after class  

Having a solid pre-workout and post-workout meal is a must when taking any workout class. I personally can’t eat too much before a workout—especially if it’s an early morning class—so I stick to something simple that gives my body the carbs it needs to get through the class like a banana. And after class I like to drink a protein shake to help my muscles recover—trust me, they are going to need it.   

Baby those muscles the second you get home 

A reformer Pilates class is a pretty difficult workout from start to finish. By the time the cooldown comes, you’ve stretched your muscles so much that you would be willing to bet anybody that you can do the splits—even after your first class. Do not let this airiness you feel deceive you—your muscles will be screaming the next day if you don’t practice self-care immediately.  To decrease your chances of getting super sore, you need to either stretch at home, take a bath infused with Epsom salt—or ideally do both. Releasing your muscles will not only ease your body for the next day, but it will also help you gain more flexibility. 

Don’t let the soreness prevent you from going back 

As somebody who works out A LOT, I can definitely appreciate a rest day. However, the day after your first reformer Pilates class is not the time to binge on your latest Netflix obsession. Like I said above, you’re going to be pretty sore after class, so it's easy to talk yourself out of working out. This is surprisingly the most important day to go back. If you work out on the second day, you will push through your soreness and feel so much better—I promise! 

Ready to try Pilates? Book a Pilates class on Mindbody.

denise prichard
Written by
Denise Prichard
Senior Marketing Content Specialist
About the author
Denise Prichard is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and an experienced content marketing professional with a penchant for writing compelling copy within the health, wellness and beauty industries. When she isn't writing or editing, you can find her teaching yoga classes, at a spin class or hanging out with her rescue pups.
black-owned beauty and wellness businesses
Published Sunday Jan 30, 2022 by Denise Prichard

Black-owned Beauty and Wellness Businesses to Know

February is Black History Month—a celebration of the achievements and contributions of African Americans in society.  As the beauty and wellness industry becomes a more welcoming and inclusive space for all, we are taking this opportunity to continue to shine a light on the gap of inclusivity and diversity in our industry, and take action to promote, empower, and honor the Black community that shapes and grows wellness.  

While the beauty industry is making improvements—it's important to showcase and support Black businesses and the creatives in this space every day. To honor them, we're shouting out some of our favorite Black-owned beauty and wellness businesses to support. 

1. Beauty Bin 

Beauty Bin is a full-service day spa and dry bar located in Asheville, NC. With a focus on inclusivity for people of all backgrounds, genders, and races, their MO is to match the outer beauty of every client to their inner beauty. From eyelash extensions and hydrafacials to waxing and massage, Beauty Bin is a one-stop-shop for all the spa services.  

2. KIKA Stretch Studio  

The KIKA Method® is a gentle assisted stretching process that loosens up tight muscles freeing your body from pain and stress. By practicing this method, clients can experience decreased muscle tension, increased energy, enhanced flexibility, a substantial reduction in stress, improved posture and relaxation, and increased mental clarity. While its headquarters is located in Las Vegas, NV, they have multiple locations sprinkled throughout the US, including Atlanta, New York City, and Dallas—just to name a few.

3. Kimberly Coleman Salon 

At Kimberly Coleman Salon, their philosophy begins with promoting healthy tresses, elegant sets, unique accouterments, perfect pampering of hands and feet, and precision cuts. Known for working with models and celebrities, they fully appreciate and celebrate the diversity of their clientele which also includes super moms and warrior dads. 

4. Pressed Roots 

Pressed Roots was developed with the simple concept in mind—that everyone deserves access to easy, and quality hair care. What started as a single pop-up shop in Boston, grew to a multi-city pop-up tour, and is now slated to be the largest national hair salon franchise specializing in the care and styling of highly textured hair, they launched their first flagship location in Dallas, TX.  

5. SW3AT  

Jersey City resident, Alyza Brevard-Rodriguez started SW3AT. The company began as a fitness apparel line in 2015 but evolved into a sanctuary catered to health and wellness now known as SW3AT Sauna Studio—the first infrared sauna studio in Jersey City. The healing power of infrared heat therapy is a phenomenal option for holistic health proven to strengthen the immune system and provide relief from joint stiffness and muscle pain. It is also supportive of any fitness program as it aids in weight loss (you can torch up to 900 calories in a 45-minute session) while also detoxifying your body from some of the most harmful toxins. 

6. The TEN Nail Bar 

Kelli Coleman and Anika Jackson opened The TEN Nail Bar in Detroit to address a void in their city. They saw a need for a quality, modern nail bar that could also serve as a fun social space for Detroit’s residents and professionals. They designed the TEN to provide their clients with a #Perfect10 experience—where you can relax, enjoy music, a drink, your friends, a clean and precise manicure, and a much-needed break from all your hectic days. 

7. Bettye O Day Spa 

Located in the beautiful downtown Hyde Park Chicago area, Bettye O Day Spa specializes in first-class treatments. They aim to nurture and relax each of their clients with individualized and innovative therapeutic techniques. From body wraps and massages to facials and hydrotherapy, this day spa promises to be a safe place for healing to occur.  

Looking for more businesses to support? ClassPass has also created a list of Black-owned business to check out all year-round. While both of these lists are a great start to get you familiar with many of the Black-owned businesses either in your neighborhood or around the globe, we have only scratched the surface. We'd love to keep these lists growing.If you have any businesses you'd like to see on this list, click here to submit a Black-owned business we should be highlighting as well! 

denise prichard
Written by
Denise Prichard
Senior Marketing Content Specialist
About the author
Denise Prichard is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and an experienced content marketing professional with a penchant for writing compelling copy within the health, wellness and beauty industries. When she isn't writing or editing, you can find her teaching yoga classes, at a spin class or hanging out with her rescue pups.