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Do you ever have those days where it feels like you’re just not on your A-game in the studio? Perhaps you’re feeling like something is off in your practice, especially when it comes to your core. Well, perhaps it’s time you started to shift your attention elsewhere for solutions.
We know that there’s a strong link between nutrition and physical performance in sport, and that’s no different when it comes to Pilates. So, read on for a few nutritional tweaks to consider for your practice.

Look at what you eat BEFORE Pilates – Eating the wrong foods before Pilates can leave you bloated, making it challenging and sometimes uncomfortable and difficult to engage your powerhouse. Although food intolerance is down to every individual, there are a few common food types that can cause irritation, bloating and even gas. Plant-based foods such as grains and beans are known to cause bloating, as well as dairy products, foods high in sugar and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. Take some time to find out what works for you (and what doesn’t) so you can be mindful of your meals next time.

Eat slowly – As a Pilates student you’re probably no stranger to mindfulness, and we’d encourage everybody to take this mind-set to the dinner table. Just like most Pilates exercises start by aligning yourself and engaging the right muscles, as digestion is best performed in sequence. Break down your food slowly – taking your time to chew before swallowing. If you don’t chew your food properly, your digestive system won’t be able to break it down. Undigested food takes more space in your stomach than digested food and creates bloating, thus slowing down the entire digestive process. So if you find yourself frantically scoffing sugary energy bars before class, it’s a sign you need to take a break, sit down, and properly refuel.

Recover and refuel – Once you’ve finished your workout, even if you’re not hungry, it’s important to replenish the energy you have just burned. If your goal is weight loss, then a nutrient rich meal within 1 hour of your workout is essential as the meal will be more efficiently digested. If your goal is to improve strength, then protein is key. Either way, your food choices post-pilates should aim to repair your tired muscles and replenish your energy stores. For a hit of protein and some low GI carbohydrates try a small bowl of Greek yoghurt with a couple of spoons of natural muesli containing nuts and fruit. Or if you’re after something savoury, a small can of tuna, mixed bean salad and some chopped veggies can do just the trick.

There is generally very little equipment involved with Pilates so the only real purchasing concern are the clothes worn during your workout. Naturally if you’re a Pilates newbie you’re probably not quite sure what to expect and you definitely aren’t sure about what to wear, so we thought we’d give you a helping hand to eliminate any uncertainty before you walk into the studio!

DO wear form-fitting clothing

Pilates involves stretching, bending, twisting and floor work that is hard to master without comfortable clothing, however we do advise that workout clothes are form-fitting and unrestrictive. Even if you typically prefer loose-fitting workout wear, you’re going to want to wear body-hugging options so your instructor can see your movements clearly and your clothes don’t get caught in springs, other equipment or end up flying over your head!

DO wear a good sports bra

A good sports bra is something that’s often overlooked for lower impact activities such as yoga or Pilates, but as with all other sports your bra should be carefully considered. All Pilates clothing it must be comfortable and non-restricting and the same goes for your bra. A soft and seamless fabric is important in order to avoid any uncomfortable rubbing on the skin and depending on how rigorous your practice, you might want to look for something with sweat-wicking and odour-resistant properties too – especially if you’re taking a more intense class.

DON’T wear shoes

The fabulous thing about Pilates is that it’s typically done barefoot, so no need to worry about purchasing expensive top-of-the-range trainers. Instead, either go bare foot or opt for a pair of non-slip Pilates socks to help with traction. A good pair of leggings will elevate your workout by helping you to stay in static positions for longer and support you as you transition from one move to the next without slipping and falling.

DON’T wear see-through bottoms!

The difference between a cheap pair and a more expensive pair of leggings is usually in the thickness and quality of the fabric. Even though cheaper outfits can often be comfortable, the fabric they are made out of is often too thin. While they can be great for lounging around the house they can sometimes be see-through during your Pilates session, something that is this is particularly true of the form-fitting styles.

We particulary love the Supersoft Yoga Leggings from independent activewear wear brand Ilu. They are seamlessly engineered, they have a high-rise waistband to hold you in and best of all, they look great too! So if you don’t want your underwear on show whilst you’re doing scissor kicks, we highly recommend that you invest in a good quality pair of leggings.

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