Pilates Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Encompassing the principles of Pilates, the breath work and asana practices of yoga, the grace and athleticism of dance, Garuda is the face of 21st century fitness.

Developed by James D’Silva, fitness coach to Madonna, Trudie Styler and others, Garuda features a unique piece of apparatus plus matwork and other exercises to deliver the ultimate in effective body conditioning.

The routines and exercises are limitless and work every area of your body with a focus on bringing your mind back into exercise while making you the leanest and most flexible you have ever been.

Developed by former professional dancer Moira Merrithew, with input from sports medicine professionals, STOTT PILATES is a contemporary, anatomically-based approach to Joseph Pilates’ original exercise method. Its exercises safely deliver optimal strength, flexibility and endurance, without adding bulk. This stress-relieving method can be performed on a mat or using dedicated STOTT PILATES equipment.
Unlike the original series of exercises, STOTT PILATES incorporates modern exercise principles, including contemporary thinking about spinal rehabilitation and performance enhancement. For example, unlike the original approach, which promotes a flat back, STOTT PILATES exercises are designed to restore the natural curves of the spine and rebalance the muscles around the joints. They also place more emphasis on scapular stabilization. As well, there are more preparatory exercises and modifications to make the method safer and more effective.
STOTT PILATES has the following benefits:
  • Longer, leaner muscles (less bulk, more freedom of movement)
  • Improves postural problems
  • Increases core strength/stability and peripheral mobility
  • Helps prevent injury
  • Enhances functional fitness, ease of movement
  • Balances strength and flexibility
  • Heightens body awareness
  • No-impact – easy on the joints
  • Can be customized to suit everyone from rehab patients to elite athletes
  • Complements other methods of exercise
  • Improves performance in sports (golf, skiing, skating, etc.)
  • Improves balance, coordination and circulation
STOTT PILATES improves core strength and balances the muscles around the joints, improving the way your body functions, looks and feels. It focuses specifically on:

  • Breathing
  • Pelvic placement
  • Rib-cage placement
  • Scapular movement
  • Head and cervical spine placement
In some respects Pilates conditioning is like yoga. Both are considered mind-body type methods of movement; both emphasize deep breathing and smooth, long movements that encourage your muscles to relax and lengthen. The difference is that while yoga requires moving from one static posture to the next without repetitions, Pilates flows through a series of movements that are more dynamic, systematic and anatomically based. The goal with STOTT PILATES exercises is to achieve optimal functional fitness.
Much of Pilates exercise is mind-body conditioning which requires you to look within, focus on your breathing, and feel the subtle differences within your body. Many people come to a very meditative state while doing Pilates, and therefore will grow mentally and spiritually over time through this type of exercise. There are also incidences where by strengthening the abdominal muscles people have learned to maintain their stretch and thereby are measurably taller.

Physically, many people have been known to actually get taller by working out consistently. By emphasizing posture, you learn to stretch your spine through Pilates, and by strengthening the deep abdominals to support the rest of the body you learn to maintain your height effortlessly. The most impressive results are those reported by people who have slouched most of their lives and after a few months of practicing Pilates they are able to stand up much straighter, and are therefore measurably taller. However, even people having studied dance consistently for years before beginning a Pilate’s program, have noticed an increase in their heights over time.

You can expect an increase in flexibility, mobility, balance, and body awareness, as well as a decrease in back pain/other general pains.
The average active person, doing 2-3 classes per week should see some results within 10-12 classes. This will vary depending on each individual and things such as the number of classes a person takes each week, whether they are private or group classes, whether they participate in other physical activities, and whether they have any existing injuries.
Although you should always consult your physician before starting any fitness routine, a Pilate’s workout is gentle and controlled with no sudden jarring actions. It is therefore more important that you work with a qualified instructor to ensure that you are doing the movements correctly. An experienced instructor will be able to modify the exercises to accommodate your limitations, continually challenge you within your range and monitor your improvements. If you commit yourself to a consistent workout schedule you will certainly feel results.
Mat-based workouts are very convenient and they can be done anywhere. However, a mat workout will provide no added resistance. A Reformer workout will add resistance to your routine and can correct muscular imbalances better than a mat routine would.
STOTT PILATES is a musculo-skeletal conditioning program. In combination with some kind of cardiovascular exercise (walking, running, aerobics, aqua fitness, etc.), it’s all you need. For people who reach advanced levels, they can actually elevate their heart rate with STOTT PILATES Power workouts.
  • Pilates is three-dimensional (i.e. exercises can be performed using all movement planes)
  • Spring resistance more closely resembles muscular contraction
  • Emphasis on concentric/eccentric contraction for injury prevention
  • STOTT PILATES is customizable for special needs
  • In Pilates exercise, emphasis is placed on rebalancing muscles around the joints
  • Pilates corrects over-training and muscle imbalance that leads to injury
  • Pilates emphasizes balancing strength with flexibility (for injury prevention and more efficient movement)
  • STOTT PILATES leads to an improvement in posture and body awareness
Note: The following information should NOT be substituted for medical advice from your doctor. Please consult your physician for information on what will be appropriate for you during your pregnancy.

The available information on pregnancy and exercise can be very confusing – even conflicting. STOTT PILATES follows the current standards practiced in the fitness industry regarding safety and pregnancy and the guidelines set out by professional organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. We cover this topic in depth in our Injuries & Special Populations course. What follows is some general information and should not be substituted for the advice of a physician and the guidance of a qualified fitness professional.

No two women’s bodies are the same, and this is especially true during pregnancy. There are workouts that are quite appropriate for some people during pregnancy and not for others. During a normal, healthy pregnancy, moderate exercise is safe for the foetus. Exercise is also said to prevent varicose veins, haemorrhoids and low back pain and helps to boost self esteem, maintain fitness levels and prepare the body for the physical demands of motherhood.

A woman’s body goes through many changes during pregnancy and exercise must be adapted and modified as the pregnancy progresses. The beauty of Pilates is that it can be individualized for anyone’s ability. Workouts and schedules during the first trimester may have to be adjusted around fatigue levels. Over the course of the pregnancy the demand on the abdominal muscles should be decreased. During the second trimester these muscles become stretched out, and some women experience diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles). With reduced abdominal support there is a greater risk of injuring the lower back. Further, due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, the ligaments surrounding the joints become lax, leaving them loose and vulnerable. For this reason, you should be careful not to overstretch. It is important to continue strengthening and rebalancing the muscles around the joints – supporting the body as it goes through postural changes related to pregnancy.

Today many guidelines for pregnancy indicate that after approximately the 16th week of gestation the supine position (lying on your back) should be avoided as the maternal blood supply and subsequently the fetal blood supply may be affected. In the second trimester, positioning must be adjusted and small equipment (particularly the Spine Supporter) combined with the Mat work exercises becomes very useful. As well, the possibilities offered by the Reformer, Cadillac and Stability Chair are helpful. Of course, drinking lots of water, avoiding overexertion and overheating are always important.

Pilates can be a positive addition to your overall weight loss program. Weight loss occurs when the number of calories consumed is less than the number of calories expended. The most successful and healthy way to achieve weight loss is an exercise plan that includes an aerobic component coupled with a strength training component, such as STOTT PILATES exercise, and following a balanced diet. Combining Pilates with aerobic exercise also offers additional benefits: greater mind-body connection, improved posture, flexibility and functionality.
Weight loss occurs when the number of calories consumed is less than the number of calories expended. Theoretically, this could be achieved by consuming fewer calories than expended, regardless of the type of activity. However, the most successful and healthy way to achieve weight loss is adopt an exercise plan that includes an aerobic and a strength training component and following a balanced diet.
The Secret to Weight Loss Vol. 1 and 2 combine a cardio segment and a STOTT PILATES segment. The Pilates component involves strength training. If you are a beginner, start out slowly and monitor your heart rate and perceived rate of exertion. You should work at 40-50% of your maximum heart rate to begin. You can progress to our Walk On series (coming in March 2006), which offers a cardio workout that you can complement with one of our resistance equipment DVDs (i.e., Flex-Band®, Fitness Circle® or Toning Ball) or another strength training program. Please note: When doing the cardiovascular component, employ the Talk Test Method to ensure you’re not working above your fitness capacity. This means that you should be able to talk during your workout without a great deal of strain. Breathe comfortably and rhythmically throughout your workout to ensure you’re working at a safe and comfortable level.

Sustained weight loss is best achieved by combining proper nutrition with regular exercise – and the best way to keep your body moving is to find an activity that’s effective, motivating and fun. And that’s what these workouts are all about.

The Reformer is the main piece of equipment used in Pilates exercise. The Reformer glides forward & backward on rollers and uses springs for resistance, along with other attachments, for a wide variety of exercises and positions (i.e. lying down, seated and standing.)
No. STOTT PILATES designs and produces top-of-the-line equipment primarily used in clubs, personal training and rehab facilities. The STOTT PILATES Client Reformer is designed for people who want quality equipment for home use or for use in personal training facilities. STOTT PILATES equipment is far more versatile and durable than that sold on TV.
This is mainly due to tradition. People used to have carpenters make equipment for them. Since wood can warp, we make our equipment using durable, quality materials such as anodized steel, extra thick and strong ropes, a quality pulley mechanism, long-life resistance springs, a patented rolling mechanism for smooth carriage travel and safety.
A broad variety of stretching and strengthening exercises are done on the Cadillac, Chair and Barrels. While the STOTT PILATES Reformer is the key piece of equipment, all of the other pieces are highly versatile and have their own distinct features and benefits.
STOTT PILATES core conditioning equipment is highly versatile. It facilitates hundreds of exercise variations, is no-impact (and therefore easy on the joints), allows for modifications for those with injuries/conditions, allows for three-dimensional movement/conditioning, and is suitable for a wide variety of clients (from rehab to pro athlete). It also facilitates balanced strength and flexibility, provides eccentric/concentric muscle contraction (resistance on the in and out moves), total musculo-skeletal conditioning (muscles & postural alignment), and facilitates core conditioning and peripheral mobility.
In using springs for resistance, STOTT PILATES equipment provides gradual resistance as your muscles contract, which ensures the muscles are being worked properly. There is greater resistance at the muscle’s strongest point of contraction & less resistance on the initiation/completion of the contraction so there is less stress on tendons and ligaments).
Initial tension is 5 lbs. for the first inch of tension (for full strength springs), and then increases by approximately 1 lb. per inch. Multiply the number of springs and distance travelled to get approximate tension in lbs. On a STOTT PILATES Reformer, four springs are full tension & one is half. (Most people simply make a note of the number of springs used per exercise).
Yes, STOTT PILATES equipment is excellent for improving flexibility. Flexibility is a key component of total fitness that has been largely ignored by other conditioning methods.