2904 Laguna Street • San Francisco, CA 94123
ph: (415) 567-9009
Pilates@mercuryfitness.com

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FAQs


 

What’s the difference between Mercury Fitness Pilates and traditional Pilates?

Mercury Fitness has a more energetic and athletic approach to Pilates, making our Pilates classes both fun and beneficial. While we love traditional Pilates, we incorporate innovative exercise routines to give you a challenging workout. For example, traditional mat Pilates classes have 43 mat exercises, Mercury Fitness has added fun twists and steps to these exercises and has over 300. We’re pretty confident you’ll find something in our variety to fit what you need. It’ll never be cookie cutter. You will feel the difference simply because we’re working extra hard to change it up at every turn. We offer an experience that provides the best of everything - strength, flexibility, balance and focus. Or focus, flexibility, strength and balance. See what we just did there?

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What can I expect with a typical Pilates workout? 

At Mercury Fitness, there is no such thing as a “typical” Pilates workout. Because our Pilates classes are small and we offer a variety of classes, every workout is new and different. You could take a group mat Pilates class one day and mix it in with a hybrid machine class of Reformer, Chair, and Tower the next. In fact, we encourage it - to give you a balanced workout with the full benefits of everything we have to offer.

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Will Mercury Fitness classes help me lose weight?

It’s simple. You are what you eat. If you workout a couple of days a week and eat junk food everyday, your chances of losing weight look pretty slim. However, incorporate Pilates with a healthy diet and you have a solution for success. Pilates definitely helps build lean muscle and burns a lot of calories every hour-long workout. And it’s seriously a lot of fun so it doesn’t feel like a strenuous work out. You will look and feel better regardless of what the scale says. The idea is consistency, being smart about what you eat and how often you exercise.

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I’m looking to tighten my abs. Can I get that with Pilates?

Yes. But you may not see it right away. Pilates first works with the underlying muscles to make the core stronger. A six-pack is just window dressing. It’s not an indication of core strength. The underlying muscles - the core muscles, are what really matter. We know what you’re thinking.  Explain that to the bikini you always wanted to wear to the beach. But here’s the good news, as soon as you have a strong core, working toward that six-pack is easier.

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I’ve heard Pilates can help with back pain. Is that true?

Pilates CAN help with back pain, however back pain can be the result of many things. Let your Pilates instructor know what’s going on with your body so he or she can tailor your workout without aggravating an injury. It’s more beneficial to do a private Pilates sessions as opposed to group Pilates class to work on injuries you may have. The great thing about Pilates is that it has an amazing variety of lessons to offer. And because it concentrates on strengthening the core and shoulder muscles, it can fix a lot of aches and pain. Rehab facilities routinely use Pilates to help patients.

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I’ve heard Pilates is mostly for women. Is this true?

Not even close. Pilates was created by a man who was a boxer! And here’s the odd thing - the early adopters of Pilates were dancers. Boxers and dancers - what a mix. Both men and women benefit from the long, lean musculature that Pilates develops. Male athletes such as Lebron James do Pilates to help strengthen underlying muscles. You are able to use your body more efficiently with other sports such as swimming, cycling, golf, etc. No discriminations here. We believe in equal workout for equal effort.

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Will I get a good cardio workout with Mercury Fitness Pilates?
How often should I be doing Pilates?

You get a pretty healthy cardio workout with Pilates. It’s not the same cardio you’ll get by running on a treadmill but here’s the deal, Pilates a couple of times a week will help you run on the treadmill better! Most clients at Mercury Fitness come at least a couple of times a week. And if you’re working toward an athletic event, probably more. But with anything else, consistency is the key. But come every day if you like. We’ll role out the red carpet and welcome you with a smile.

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What’s better - weights or springs? Pilates machines or weight machines?

We love our springs! It provides progressive resistance which means the further you stretch these lovely strings and pulleys, the more your muscles work to get them back. Pilates springs stretch and strengthen, and allow you to focus on moving your muscles with a good flow. All that and it has the added benefit of not adding the bulk to your body that weights do.

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Do you have any good workout tips?

Tip #1: Do it consistently. We think that of any exercise. But with Pilates, you will see maximum benefit if you do it consistently.

Tip #2: What you put into a Pilates workout is what you get in return. Follow the instructions of your teacher and the muscles  
            you’re working on will return the favor by looking fabulous and strong.

Tip #3: Wear comfortable clothing. Nothing too loose or too tight. Either one is a distraction in class if you know what we mean.

Tip#4: Eating a burger right before class is a bad idea. We don’t have to explain that one, do we?

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What are the biggest benefits of a Pilates workout?

The biggest advantage of doing Pilates is that it works on the muscles of your entire body without putting pressure on the joints, cartilage, muscles and bones, especially the core muscles - the abdomen, back and the ones closest to your spine. Once you have the core working for you, exercising the others gets a little easier. Pilates also helps with posture and flexibility because it strengthens muscles without adding bulk which makes you leaner and better able to move. So whether you want to run those insane 26.2 miles of a marathon (wow!) or play volleyball with the boys, you’ll feel your body moving stronger and faster. And because the mind is engaged at all times with respect to the spine and the core muscles, there is constant awareness of how you sit, stand, move and relate to injuries or sore muscles.

And oh the variety you have to choose from!With over 500 different ways to practice Pilates - on the mat, on the machine, and a mix of both, it’s open to different fitness levels and needs.

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Are Yoga and Pilates the same thing?

Nope. Not the same thing at all. Pilates and Yoga work on some of the same principles where they both stress engaging the mind and bringing awareness to the body. But yoga doesn’t necessarily emphasize fitness. Pilates is pure muscle conditioning. It helps build strong, lean muscle mass. Plus there is a whole line of machine workouts that are not available in Yoga.

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Does Pilates reshape the body?

Yes, and you’ll be surprised at how much. The main emphasis of Pilates is to pull the abdominal wall in as opposed to letting it stick out. You’re teaching it how to be strong. Every motion has a flow. The stretch effect on the muscles teaches them how to be lean and long. We’re constantly stressing posture and form to make sure your body responds the way you tell it to. So will Pilates help reshape your body? Yes it will. But you have to be consistent with it just like rules with your kids.

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Why do I need the fancy machines in Pilates to get a good workout? Are those really necessary?

Pilates machines are your friends. They will make you look and feel good. The reformer, the cadillac and the mat are the most commonly used.

The reformer is a rectangular frame with four legs and a cushioned mat, or carriage, that slides back and forth on wheels with the resistance of springs and pulleys. The progressive resistance system of a reformer can help you perform a much higher number of exercise modifications than on the mat especially if you’re injured or have a limited range of motion. The Reformer’s supports and its resistance in combination with its versatility can provide a safe and challenging workout. It allows for any level of exercise with nearly any purpose in mind: to develop strength, endurance, stability, flexibility, power, coordination, agility and speed. Plus, its elevated position offers trainers an ideal vantage point for observing and adjusting clients’ breathing techniques and physical alignment.

The Cadillac is a trapeze-like table that's 26 inches off the floor and has a canopy from which a trapeze, springs and pulleys hang. Because it's elevated, it's nice for older people if they have trouble getting down on the floor. The Cadillac helps strengthen the core muscles while developing spinal flexibility, as well as tones the shoulders and back.

And the mat — it’s all just you working with your muscles and your body weight.  So which one is better for you? Talk it over with your instructor during your initial private appointment and they will work out a plan that’s right for you.

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What are the six principles of Pilates?

We thought you’d never ask -

Control
Of course. Random flaying never did anyone any good. Control every movement.

Concentration
The important one. Working out without engaging your mind is half a work out we always say. Be aware of how you move and flex every muscle, and your body will return the favor by moving like you asked it to. And if you feel something hurt, tell your teacher and they will give you modifications so it won’t, unless for some reason you want it to hurt.

Centering 
So you workout all sides of your body evenly - front, back, left and right.

Fluidity 
Every movement should be able to flow into the next. This is why dancers love Pilates. Believe it or not, Pilates exercises have been called “elegant.” And they are.

Precision 
Make each movement as precise as possible to get good alignment of the spine with respect to the rest of your body.

Breath 
Even, controlled breathing lets the muscles you’re concentrating on get the oxygen-rich blood they need when they need it. Your folds will automatically be deeper and your muscles will stretch longer.

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How sore will my body be after a Pilates workout?

We can’t really answer this one. Being sore after a workout is an individual thing. If you do Pilates all the time, you probably won’t be sore. If you come back once a month, yep, you’ll feel it.

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How can beginners get the most benefit from Pilates?

Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. It works but you have to give it a fair shake. Come to your workout with the intention of being there completely. Forget about the deadline on your desk at work or the dinner party on Saturday. Be there to workout and you’ll feel your life change.

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Where did Pilates come from?

Pilates was invented by Josef Pilates - a boxer and gymnast in the early 20th century, right around the time the first automobile was invented as a matter of fact. He developed a series of exercises to strengthen the mind and body because he believed that mental and physical health were inter-related. After World War I, Josef Pilates and his wife brought it to America. He perfected it by working with the New York Ballet company. It was developed by a boxer and adopted early on by a bunch of dancers. Go figure!

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What’s better - mat or equipment Pilates?

One is not better than the other. It all depends on you. Pilates workout can be performed on a mat alone, and you can get great results as you work progressively through the different levels. Machine pieces such as the Reformer and Trapeze and Chair incorporate a spring resistance to safely stretch and tone the muscles. You can mix the two, doing mat and machine, so each workout offers a variety.

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What should I look for in a good Pilates instructor?

Your Pilates instructor should be certified through a comprehensive Pilates training program. This includes lectures, observation, practice, hands-on apprenticing plus a written and practical examination. And Mercury Fitness High Performance Pilates Certification Program is an excellent one. We put teacher training students through quite the wringer at Mercury Fitness. The Pilates equipment is a sophisticated piece of machinery that can do a lot in a lot of different ways. We make sure our teachers know all of them backwards and forwards, and in their sleep.  Some courses only cover mat exercises while others educate trainers in the full range of apparatuses. We have trainers who specifically handle clients with injuries.  

The bottom line is we don’t want your Pilates workout to be a chore. We want it to be fun. As such, our trainers weave a good workout like a good story. An intriguing beginning, a middle that flows, and the payoff - a satisfying end. They know how to structure an hour of the workout in the best possible and creative way. Every workout has an objective and outcome. Our trainers also keep students motivated. You’ll want to listen to them just because they said so. And you know they know whats what because they are knowledgeable, and will be responsive and empathetic to your specific needs and workout goals.

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How long does it take to obtain Pilates certification? And will I be able to teach right away?

At Mercury Fitness, you can get your Pilates Certification in about six months to a year. This includes mat, Reformer and other Pilates machines. We put our would-be trainers through a pretty rigorous routine of lecture-based coursework, hands-on training, observation and apprentice work before an extremely thorough written and practical exam.

Mercury Fitness Teacher Training looks for people who are leaders. We want them to be able to motivate and encourage while keeping clients on track toward their goals. We also require our trainers to continue learning to maintain their certification status. But, and this is us bragging again, most of our students are able to get jobs as trainers right after they graduate. We haven’t lost one yet.