You’ve finally taken the leap and booked your first Pilates session…nervous is an understatement. What if everybody else is an expert? What if everybody laughs at your inexperience? Firstly, don’t be silly. Everybody starts somewhere, and the Pilates community is generally very welcoming and helpful.

Clothing Requirements

After booking your session, one of your first concerns is likely to revolve around clothing. What type of yoga apparel and gear should you wear on your first day? For the first session, keep it simple. Stay away from belts, tiebacks, drawstrings, clasps, buttons, zippers, and any other embellishments. Furthermore, the instructor will probably ask all participants to remove their shoes, accessories, and any jewellery.


If you have long hair, bring a scrunchy or something to tie it back. Also, remove makeup to prevent staining equipment and stick to unscented deodorants (since some people are sensitive to certain scents).

Overall, think about what you would wear to the gym. Rather than baggy, form-fitting is best because it will allow freedom of movement. Your instructor wants to see the engagement of muscles and how your body aligns – this is much easier with form-fitting clothing. You also don’t want loose-fitting clothing to show off more than you hoped when performing some of the movements; you’re much safer with form-fitting clothes.

Do I Need to Bring Anything?

Generally speaking, all you need for a Pilates session is yourself and a drink. Often, people compare Pilates to an intense cardio workout and think that water is unnecessary. However, it’s always good to consume water through Pilates. Bring a bottle to the first session and make your own opinions from there.

While classes provide all the equipment you need, you might want to check this since the pandemic has changed the rules somewhat. For example, some instructors may request that you bring your own mat. Fortunately, Pilates and yoga mats are now widely available and good value for money. With your mat, you can even take part in home sessions following YouTube videos and other resources.

If you have any questions about what to bring, don’t be afraid to contact the instructor (or gym).

Pilates Etiquette

As far as the session itself goes, it all depends on whether you’ve booked an equipment-based session or a mat session. After a brief introduction, the session will begin, and the instructor will guide you through the movements. You’ll follow as closely as possible, picking up and dropping off whenever you need. The more sessions you attend, the more confidence you’ll gain.

When you arrive, wait patiently outside the studio if another class is finishing up. Don’t worry, you’ll have an opportunity to warm up and stretch before your session. Also, please don’t take calls or become a nuisance in any other way.

Otherwise, make sure you arrive on time and contact the instructor if you cannot make the session. You’ll earn lots of brownie points by phoning ahead rather than simply not showing up.

If you have an injury, tell the instructor at the beginning, and they’ll know not to push you too hard during the session. Also, be respectful and listen to the instructor as they’re talking. If you want to gossip and chat with others, meet up for a coffee with them after the session. During, pay attention and don’t distract others.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions, learn how to leave the equipment, and don’t push the body too hard if it resists. Instead, enjoy the journey and the gradual improvements!

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