How to Make the Best Out of Your Pilates DVDs

Pilates is an exercise that increases strength, flexibility and helps the alignment of the body. It makes the perfect at-home workout because it can be done anywhere with a flat surface, with the help help of a mat. No wonder Pilates DVDs have become one of the most in demand fitness DVDs over the past decade.

If you are thinking of starting a DIY fitness regime at home, here are a few tips.

Take a Pilates class first

Ok, I know I'm contradicting myself here, but the point is, you have to get the basics right first before you start to DIY. What you have learned from your Pilates class with an instructor will supplement your Pilates workouts at home. Some would rather go for beginner Pilates DVDs, and it's up to your preference, but my recommendation from my own experience, is to learn the basic principles with an instructor first.

Pick a DVD that is suitable to your skill level and goals

What is your current skill level in Pilates? Are you a beginner, intermediate or more advanced? How many minutes can you commit each day for your fitness routine? The key is to assess these first, then check out Pilates DVD reviews online. Best-sellers do not necessarily mean that they are suitable to your needs. From the reviews, find out the length of the workout, the focus of the workout (total body workout is the best), the pace, and whether the instructor gives proper breath cueing and demonstration through the workout. If your daily commitment is only 20-minutes, for example, you may want to choose a DVD that allows you to mix and match workouts of 10 to 20 minutes in length. Another important factor is that you have to find an instructor that you would love listening to. The personality of the instructor is very cruel because you will end up chucking aside those DVDs if you find the instructor uninteresting.

Set a specific time of the day to workout

When you have made a commitment to exercise, make sure to stick with it. Find your preferred or most available time of the day to workout. If you schedule your exercise by giving priority to your day-to-day events, you'll end up going with the flow and never be able to stick to your routine. Personally, I find early mornings or late in the evenings the ideal time that allows me to keep my routine intact.

Keep your workouts varied

Pilates focuses more on body conditioning. To have a more balanced fitness period, it's best to alternate it with a form of cardio exercise, like jogging or swimming, about 3 times a week. And also, switch between 2 to 3 Pilates DVDs to keep your workouts interesting. It's boring to be doing the same routine everyday, and your body will become used to it, slowing down the results.

Keep challenging yourself

You've probably heard people say about strength training exercise that you have to “increase the repetitions” and “increase the weights” as you progress. In Pilates, advancement is not about increasing the repetitions, but more about how you perform more effectively using your powerhouse (the core muscles that consist of abdominals, obliques and the back) and how you perform with ease each move as you progress. If you have been working out to the beginner DVD for 6 months and it has become too easy, it's time to move on to a DVD with an intermediate skill level. Do not be afraid to up your challenge, your body will thank you for that.

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