How Pilates Can Boost Self-Esteem

How we think of ourselves can have a huge impact on our lives and whether we like or value ourselves, it affects our decision making and whether we can try new or difficult things.  This puts us in a bit of a catch-22 because we want to improve how we feel about ourselves but lose faith in our ability to do so. 

In our latest blog we look at how attending a Pilates class can improve how we perceive ourselves, and ultimately boost self-esteem.

What is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves, in short, its everything we think and feel about ourselves. 

We often think that self-esteem comes from relationships with others, we like to know what others think of us, but the reality is that our experiences, both positive and negative play the biggest role. 

When we have low self-esteem, we can have feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, we can blame ourselves unfairly, we can dislike ourselves and we can worry about being unable to do things.  All of these factors mean that we are reluctant to try new things, and that can include exercise or other strategies to improve our health.  But, when we do try these new things (like a Pilates class), and succeed, it can really boost how we feel about ourselves. 

Self-Efficacy and Self-Esteem

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Albert Bandura was a Canadian American Psychologist and is known for his role in developing social learning theory.  In short, he explored how and why people learn. 

Bandura devised this concept of self-efficacy which is people’s beliefs in their own capabilities to achieve a task. 

But what is particularly interesting is the relationship between self-efficacy and self-esteem.  What we often find is that those with high self-efficacy tend to have high self-esteem, and those with low self-efficacy, have low self-esteem. 

So, before we start looking at ways to boost self-esteem, let’s see how we build self-efficacy.

Bandura believed that our beliefs in our capabilities come from four main sources.


1) Mastery experiences – when you try something and succeed at it.


2) Vicarious experiences – observing others succeed at the task.


3) Social persuasion – receiving positive feedback whilst attempting said task.


4) Emotional and physiological states – state of mind can significantly influence how we feel about our abilities.

What Does This All Mean?

If we look at the mastery experience, we first must try something if we are to succeed at it.  This is why, here at Instructor Live you will find a variety of classes to choose from, and all at different levels.  We want you to succeed. 

You can start with the introduction to Pilates; start with the basics and work your way up!

Introduction To Pilates (£4.99 p/m)

If we consider vicarious experience, this is where being around others is key! 

In our Instructor Live Pilates classes you will see an instructor demonstrate all activities.  If you join our communities, you will experience the success of other clients.  Sometimes we just like to know that others, just like us, can do it!

Finally, our emotional and physiological state can significantly influence whether we think we can achieve something.  Some days we just don’t have the energy to try!  To this end, a great place to start is to acknowledge the impact that sleep, nutrition, and hydration all has on our emotional health.


Study after study have shown us that if we are sleep deprived, we believe in ourselves less.  Even just a short sleep duration of consistently less than 6 hours per night has been associated with low self-belief (and optimism). 

Getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge for some but getting natural light as close to sunrise and sunset helps to reorganise and structure the body’s natural sleep and wake cycle.  Melatonin is the main hormone we are interested here; it regulates night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles.  Melatonin signals the body for sleep, and it is produced when it’s dark.  Light decreases melatonin production which signals the body for wakefulness. 

If we’re exposed to false light at night, melatonin production is reduced, meaning we stay awake for longer.  So, try to keep your light exposure as close to the normal sleep-wake cycle as possible. 

On the subject of light, blue light from computers, tablets or televisions is the number one enemy when it comes to sleep.  As we mentioned, artificial light suppresses melatonin production.  Not only that but engaging in that heated discussion on social media just before bed results in your body amping up, not calming down.

Consider looking at blue blockers for screen time and try to disconnect from technology completely for a couple of hours before bed. 


There is a nifty highway between the gut and brain, meaning what we eat can affect how we feel and behave. 

Top tips to support the gut-brain axis:

– eat fibrous foods,

– include prebiotic foods like garlic and onions in your dishes.

– try ferments like kombucha, sauerkraut and kefir,

– ensure adequate omega-3 fatty acid intake (oily fish or supplement)

– eat polyphenols (fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices),

– get sufficient sleep,

– modulate stress.


There are clear links between cognitive function and dehydration.  Dehydration has been linked to a reduced blood flow to the brain, and we appear more tired and less alert.  In states of 2% water loss, there is a decrease in both speed and efficiency in psychomotor tasks.

What’s super interesting is that some researchers simply wanted to score levels of anxiety in properly hydrated individuals.  They found that correct hydration is associated with lower prevalence of both anxious and depressive symptoms.

Top Tips for Staying Hydrated:

    Glow up your water – add a slice of cucumber, lemon, lime or sprig of mint!

Grab your gin glass, pop in some frozen berries and pour sparkling water over the top!

Keep a bottle of water at your desk!

Always order some table water if you are out for a meal!

    Get into a routine – if there is something you do every day, add drinking a glass of water to the start or end of the task.  Habit stacking is a great way to make changes!

It is clear that our experiences inform how we feel about ourselves, both positively and negatively but trying new things, and succeeding at them can be a great way to boost our self-esteem.  This goes for any new thing, whether it’s Pilates, yoga, HIIT or dance! 

Luckily, we’ve got you covered, feel free to check out our library of programmes.