The balancing act

October 24, 2018

Pilates can be a great way to tone up and strengthen your body, but how do you stay in shape and at the same time maintain a balanced diet?

If you have been following our blog series over the last few weeks, hopefully you will have found your exercise mojo after the summer and rebooted your fitness regime! Maybe you have shed a few pounds, toned up and are already starting to see the results of all your hard work since September? But how do you keep those pounds off and keep up with your fitness goals at the same time?

This week we are looking at some simple tips and tricks that will help keep you in shape, while remaining healthy and providing the energy you need for your exercise class.

Start your day with an avocado

This is such an easy way to start the day! Simply spread half an avocado on a piece of wholemeal toast and you are good to go. It’s a much healthier option than a bowl of cereal and will provide your body with more monounsaturated fat which has loads of health benefits, as well as raising your metabolic rate, helping you to burn more fat.

Think about your Protein intake

Protein is so important for your muscle recovery and growth after an exercise session and should make up about a third of your daily calories. Chicken is a great source of protein, but it can be helpful to think about getting protein from vegetables as well as meat, since vegetables are a great source of antioxidants.

Swap your cheese

I have a soft spot for cheese, and if you are anything like me you will be very happy to know that goat’s cheese is 40% lower in calories than cheese made from cow’s milk.

Love your fruit bowl

Even if you just look at your fruit bowl in the morning it can set you up for a healthier day. Seeing healthy fruit and vegetables first thing encourages your brain to make healthier food decisions throughout the day. Even better if you help yourself to it over breakfast!

Get blending

A blender or food processor is a great way to get extra fruit and vegetables into your diet. You can easily and quickly whisk up smoothies and soups, increasing your daily intake of fruit and veg with very little effort. It’s also a great way to use up your leftovers before they go off.

Get smart with your snacks

Finding satisfying alternatives to a tempting chocolate biscuit can be a hard ask, but having a choice of go to healthy snacks will really pay off. Some things I have tried include peanut butter on oakcakes, popcorn and beef jerky- a great source of protein for post exercise.

Swap Pasta for Soba Noodles

Carbohydrates are essential if you are exercising on a regular basis but not all carbs are created equal. If you find you are eating a lot of pasta and fancy a change, I love soba noodles. Made from wholegrain buckwheat, soba noodles will provide just as many carbs as pasta but they are also thought to lower blood- fat levels.

Do you have any smart eating tips to share with us? I would love to hear how you balance your exercise demands with a healthy diet. As winter seems to be approaching all too rapidly, let’s support each other to maintain and sustain our healthy goals from September, so we can head into the party season in the best shape ever!

Pick me up food

October 16, 2018

This week I wanted to share some of my favourite pick me up recipes. Hopefully our September series has helped you find your exercise mojo and get back into your routine after the summer. Thinking about what you eat and what you put into your body will help you maintain your energy levels throughout the week, meaning you will be more likely to keep up your workouts and when you do, you will get more out of your workout and recovery than a poorly fuelled body.

We all hear so much about what we should be eating and what will help fuel our bodies for exercise. Protein, carbs and healthy fats, combined with a healthy mix of micronutrients are all essential, but sometimes life gets in the way! Even with the best of intentions, it is easy to let food and nutrition slip down our list of priorities. I am totally guilty of this, I love my exercise and unless something drastic happens I always make exercise one of my top priorities of the week. It’s my headspace, my feel good time, it’s the one part of the week that is completely my time and I love it! But when life gets busy I am not quite so good at always providing my body with the right food to support my exercise.

If you are like me and food slips down the priority list maybe these recipes can help you! These are my go to when I need a nutrition boost when I’m low on time. The soup is especially great to make up in large batches and freeze individual portions for later. Without these two recipes them there would be a lot more biscuits and unhealthy snacks consumed in our house!

Pick me up pre-workout smoothie
This smoothie has a shot of espresso in and so will give you that boost you need just before exercise. The caffeine will increase your stamina during exercise and give you a little energy boost. .

Ingredients (makes 2 portions)
250mls plain yoghurt
100mls milk of your choice
1/2 cup of rolled oats
2 shots of espresso or 1/2 cup of strong brewed coffee
2 soft bananas
Sprinkling of cinnamon
Dash of honey (optional)

Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend, then serve. If you prefer it chilled, add a couple of ice cubes after you have made it. This recipe can be kept for up to two days in the fridge.

Super Soups
Soup is a great post exercise choice, and is so flexible and nutritious. You can add in extra vegetables to the recipe below to make it just right for you. The vegetables provide your body the nutrition it needs and the liquid will help you hydrate.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
2 tbsp of oil
1 onion
1 crushed garlic clove
2 carrots, peeled
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, diced
1 vegetable stock cube
4 tbsp creme fraiche
Sprinkling of chilli flakes
Handful of pumpkin seeds

Method
1. Fry the onion in a deep based frying pan until soft.
2. Add the garlic and continue to fry for an extra minute.
3. Add all the remaining vegetables to the pan, add the chilli flakes and the stock and simmer until the vegetables are tender.
4. Blend the soup and season to taste.
5. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt, and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds and extra chilli flakes if desired.

Let me know some of your favourite pick me up recipes and how you get on with these! Next week will be looking at keeping a balance in your diet, how to keep in shape and shed a few pounds while maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.

The importance of resting

October 8, 2018

In our September series we have already looked at the importance of having a plan in order to make it easier to stick to your exercise plans and goals. But what if you are stuck in a rut and have lost your exercise mojo? We are ready to help you shake things up and get your workout routine working for you again. To do this we need to consider not just the exercise you will be doing, but also the rest your body needs.

One of the most common things I see in fitness enthusiasts and clients, is a failure to schedule in enough, or sometimes any, rest time. I am guilty of this too, when you are flying and your routine is intense you are buzzing from the exercise, it’s tempting to fit in another class or another run to keep you on that high. But this is a sure way to head for injury or burnout. Your body will cope for a while, but exercise without specific rest periods can be detrimental to building strength and seeing improvements.

How to make rest part of your exercise plan

1. Schedule specific rest days

You need to start being as strict about rest days as you are about making a class. It is just as important and should be scheduled in, in the same way.

2. Define your rest days

A rest day doesn’t necessarily mean no activity at all. It often means a change of activity, perhaps a less intense activity where your heart rate is not high and you are using different muscles from your regular work out. Perhaps a walk or a leisurely swim instead of a HIIT session? A rest day should always include some kind of movement as enables active circulation, taking fresh nutrients to your recovering muscles.

3. Sleep

Make sure you get between 7 and 8 hours sleep a night. Everyone has different needs, but most people cannot thrive on less than 7. You may hear people say they only need 4-5 hours, but their body is surviving not thriving.

4. Improve your sleep quality

If you are lacking in hours to sleep, try to make the sleep you do get, good quality sleep. Easy to say, I appreciate! But sticking to a few good habits, like having the same bed time and waking up time every day (even at the weekends), and keeping all screens and devices out of the bedroom, makes it much easier for your body to find a natural sleep rhythm in our busy lives.

5. Benefits of protein

It’s important that your body has the things it needs to recover and ultimately gain strength during your rest periods. Eating protein directly after a workout provides your body with the amino acids it needs to build and repair muscles. We will be looking more at nutrition in our next blog and how this can help your body recover and I’ll be sharing some of my favourite recovery recipes to help recovery too.

6. Re-assess your schedule at regular intervals

Faster recovery occurs in well trained athletes. As you get fitter your body becomes more efficient at recovering and thus

your training schedule (including rest days) should be re-assessed on a regular basis as your training continues.

7. Listen to your body.

If you feel like you need a rest day, you probably do. Even if your schedule says it’s a training day, have a rest, your body will thank you for itand you’ll see the benefit in your next session. For me, learning to listen to my body and override my training schedule is one of the hardest things to do, but if I ignore my body it’s worse! I crash and burn and end up with an extended period of unscheduled rest days, away from the exercise I love, unable to complete my training plan anyway.

How many rest days and how much rest your body needs in between your work out sessions is ultimately up to you. You know your body best and you know how hard you can push without threat of injury or burnout. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 2 rest days per week. My physio always used to say to me that you make the most progress during your rest days, the workout is the stimulus but the rest is when your body builds and improves. Planned rest is just as important as planned exercise.

Join us again next week on the blog where we will be looking at how nutrition and hydration can work alongside your rest days and how they can both help in your body’s recovery.

Variety is what I thrive off and it’s what we are focussing on here at CONTOUR this Autumn. We want to help you mix things up and bring a renewed energy to your works outs and your life. For me, variety makes things interesting, keeps you on track and helps promote new ideas and it’s especially important in your exercise routine.

When I dreamed of setting up a studio, I had no idea after only two years we would be able to offer such a variety of classes and this is something that makes me very happy. If you are looking to shake up your exercise routine, we can help you. I often get a few questions about what each workout session involves and what it will help with, so I thought I’d collect all my thoughts together so we can help you mix things up and choose the best variety of sessions for you!

 Barre

The barre is used as a prop to balance while doing exercises that focus on isometric strength training (holding your body still while you contract a specific set of muscles) combined with high reps of small range-of-motion movements. Also, don’t be surprised if your class incorporates light handheld weights to bring the burn during all those reps, as well as mats for targeted core work. Our instructors also offer different workouts. One will throw in a different couple of exercises each week. The other will take you through a routine for around 8-10 weeks and a tough endurance challenge as well. Its great fun, and tough at the same time.

Reformer Pilates

This is the core of what we do at CONTOUR and it’s all about your core too! But how do you choose between mat and reformer? The good news is you don’t have to, as we offer both and a bit of a mixture may be beneficial to your routine.

The difference between mat and reformer is the use of the machine itself. The reformer helps your body achieve the right position and by switching around the springs, we target large or small groups of muscles to strengthen or mobilise. The spring and pulley systems also mean that the reformer machines offer an increased variety of exercises in comparison to the mat.

Dynamic Reformer Pilates

This is our reformer Pilates class but faster and more intense. It’s a whole body work out that focusses on dynamic movements, bringing in movements that you may have tried in circuit classes or as part of gym routines. Emphasis is on effort, focus and results. In the same way as classic Pilates, this class will strengthen and condition but with the added benefits of increasing your fitness and improving your cardio vascular conditioning.

Cardio Jump Reformer

A spring on a Reformer Pilates machine

This was one of the classes I was most excited about when we started. It is a high intensity, fun workout combined with strength training. Its main purpose is to get your heart pumping and it’s a great choice if you are interested in gaining fitness and losing weight. You’ll use the reformer in the same way as before, but with an added extra; at the base of the machine, where your feet go, we’ll add a ‘jumpboard’ converting your reformer into a horizontal spring board! It’s fun, it’s fast and burns more calories.

With September being our ‘new New Year’, we are looking at ways to shake up your exercise routine. Perhaps you fell off the exercise bandwagon over the summer holidays? Or perhaps you decided to take some structured rest time. Giving your body a break is a great way to re-charge and re-set ready for new beginnings, but maybe you feel it’s time to get back into it? Or maybe you got stuck in a rut over the summer and need to find your exercise mojo again. An exercise routine can be really helpful, but the key to a great routine is variety. At CONTOUR we are here to help you shake up your routine this September!

A regular exercise routine will increase your fitness and energy levels, you’ll tone up, you may start to sleep better, and we can guarantee that you will feel better. But we all get to that stage where the huge and positive gains you saw at the beginning start to plateau. Without visible or measurable change, it is easy for your motivation to flatten off too. Mixing up your routine is the key to a good exercise plan, keeping you focussed and allowing you to see continued improvements. A varied routine also means that you give your body a bit of a break, muscles you recruited in the last work out can rest while you use and strengthen new areas. This will help you get stronger all round and means your body is less prone to injury.

Signs you are in an exercise rut:

1. You are lacking motivation

Finding you don’t have the same motivation to get to your class or complete your training is often related to boredom. If you are doing the same routine over and over, your body will no longer feel pushed. An exercise routine should be stimulating for your brain as well as your body, making it an all over challenge.

2. You are making excuses not to exercise

I get it, I’ve been there! At the moment for me, it is usually related to disturbed sleep as my littlest one seems to want to party in the early hours instead of sleeping. But if it’s not lack of sleep, I’ve been guilty of many more excuses; it’s raining and I’ll get wet on the way to the studio, I don’t have the right gym kit ready, I’ve got too much work on. The list of excuses are endless, this is a sure sign you need to mix things up and get yourself excited about exercising again.

3. You get busy

Sometimes we can find ourselves arranging other activities that make it difficult to exercise. If exercise is one of your top priorities try to think ahead, maybe that extra glass of wine the night before might make it more difficult to get up for your class? You don’t need to punish yourself, it’s just about staying motivated and deciding what will move you closer to achieving your exercise goals and what will stand in your way.

4. The same muscles are always sore

This is a sure sign you need to mix it up and recruit some of your other muscle groups by trying out different activities or routines.

5. You are not seeing improvement

In many sports, improvement can be quantitively measured, you might beat your PB in a 10k race for example, but can the same theory of measurable results apply to Pilates? Yes! You should definitely be seeing visible progress. Perhaps you are getting more toned, proof that

your muscles are developing. Perhaps you can do more reps than you previously could, or are you using more resistance now? Maybe your posture is improving, or you have the strength to hold moves for longer. If you are not seeing these kinds of improvements, you have most likely reached an exercise plateau.

Variety is the key to a good exercise routine. It makes it much more interesting for you and means you are much more likely to make exercise a habit. Most of the time any workout is better than none (unless you are injured or overtraining) but why not use this time in September to have a fresh start and really examine your workout routine. Is it taking you to where you want to be? Are you enjoying it and are you seeing improvements? If you have any doubts, have a look at where you can spice things up a little, are there any repetitive areas you could look at changing or developing?

Next week on the blog I’ll be looking in more detail at the variety of classes we offer from beginners reformer to mixed ability reformer, Cardio Jump Reformer classes, Dynamic Power Pilates and Barre classes. Maybe it’s time to try something new and really mix things up!

September is the new January

September 19, 2018

Make September your new January

There is something special about September. Summer is coming to an end, colours are changing and leaves are beginning to cover the pavements. Autumn is definitely creeping up on us. It’s the time of year I love the most and for me it feels like the perfect time for a quick check up on where I am in life and where I want to be heading in the year ahead.

Perhaps that new school year feeling never leaves us. I get excited now as our familiar routines are restored after the long summer holidays. For me, September lies in stark contrast to New Year’s Day, where I am often partied out and tired, guilty of setting grand resolutions for the year ahead which are destined to fail within the first few weeks of the year. In September however, I feel fresh and ready to go, I want to make positive changes and reflect on where I am in life. It’s a time of new beginnings, but without the pressure that comes with the start of a new year.

For the next few weeks on the blog, I am going to focus on small changes we can make in our daily routines to make us healthier and happier. Are you looking to get back into exercise after a break? Perhaps you want to build up your exercise into a more regular routine, or need help with a training plan? We can help you! Over the next few weeks the blog will be looking at exercise, nutrition and self-care. We want to help you use the September energy and the positive vibes that come with this time of year, to forge new healthy habits and renew your energy levels so you can achieve your goals.

September is all about possibilities! Get involved on the blog or come chat to any of us in the studio. We can help you make realistic plans and stick with them. And if you are ready to get your exercise routine kick started already, check out our fabulous September deal. We’ve brought back our January offer of 50% off all monthly memberships, as I truly believe September is a wonderful time to re-assess what’s important, change habits and set achievable targets for the year ahead. Come join me and make September the start of your new year!

 

For more information on the September offer please go to – HERE

Sit like a baby

June 12, 2018

Did you know that most babies of around 6 months in age, have perfect posture? This week we are looking at what we can learn from our little friends and what we forget with age, which can sometimes lead to postural issues.

One of the aims of Pilates is to improve posture through strengthening the body, so we can support our bodies in the way they were meant to be. As we get older our posture tends to become worse.

At 6 months most babies have great posture. They elongate their spine and let their pelvis ground them, allowing them to get into the right position. Their muscles are relaxed.

As a baby starts to become steady on his or her feet, they start to pick things up. They use their legs to go down and glutes to come back up. This is one of the best ways to move, they are using the biggest muscle group in their bodies, their bottom, whilst having very little impact on their back. As we grow up, we stop squatting and start bending. When we bend, our backs are not protected which can cause issues and pain later on.

Life’s bad habits cause further problems. We often spend large amounts of time in front of screens with our backs slumping in unsupportive chairs. In this position, we are not using our pelvis to support us, but our weak back muscles. Instead we should be elongating the neck and pulling ourselves up from the pelvis.

What we need to do is to learn from babies. Start by being more aware of your posture on a daily basis. Sit up straight by anchoring your pelvis, have a long neck, a stacked spine and relaxed muscles. Once you have become more aware of your posture, try to help older children as they are growing, to retain their strong posture of their early years.
Be your child’s role model and show them how to hold themselves. You will both feel the benefits of having a good posture, and it will lead to a more pain free life.

Next week we will look at Pilates exercises specifically for children. The earlier children are aware of their posture, the less likely they are to have any problems later in life.

COMING SOON: A kids Pilates workshop (5-11) Please let us know good days and times that might suit you and your child.

The last bank holiday in May is just behind us and it feels like the countdown to the summer is finally on. Before we know it, schools will be breaking up and you’ll be packing your suitcases and hopefully heading to the sun!

We know many of you have already taken up our amazing summer offer and are well on your way to feeling fabulous for summer. But if the thought of donning your bikini is still filling you with fear, now is the perfect time to start getting beach body ready. And there are only a few more days left in May to take up this fabulous offer!

As we begin counting down to the summer, you can still make the changes that will have you looking and feeling your best for the holidays. Along with Pilates, here are some of my favourite ways to get summer ready.

Looking after your skin

  • Hydration- It’s so important to keep yourself well hydrated and I am a huge fan of taking my water bottle everywhere with me. Drinking plenty of water helps flush out toxins and means skin looks younger and fresher.
  • Exfoliating- As well as hydrating properly, with the summer just around the corner, exfoliation can really help your skin look great. Body brushing is a very effective ways to get smooth skin and as we are approaching the holiday period, now is a great time to start exfoliating. Try using long, gentle circular motions starting at your ankles and working upwards. If your skin is in need of an extra hydration boost, use a body oil after exfoliation.

 

Looking after your fitness

  • If you are just starting, Pilates is the perfect exercise to get yourself summer ready as it gives you a total body work out. Regular studio sessions between now and your holidays, will help you tone and firm up, especially around abs, tums and bums, perfect for your beach body!
  • If you are already well into your summer fitness regime, use this time to really build and develop everything you have been doing. Push that little bit harder with just weeks to go. Go all out, you have your base level fitness in place and now is the time to go further.

 

Looking after your locks

  • Freshen up your look- Getting a new haircut really makes me feel good! And it’s something I’ll get booked in just before our summer hols, a little treat for myself after all the hard work in the studio!
  • Limit damage- Thinking ahead to all the inevitable damage of sun, sea and chlorine that comes with a summer holiday, it’s a really good idea to give your hair a deep condition about a week before you head off. Not only will you look great, but the conditioning will help protect your hair whilst you are away.

Tummy tastic

  • Pre- holiday tanning- Nobody wants to feel pasty white on the beach! A natural looking tan will help you feel more toned in your bikini and is best started gradually, around two weeks before you go.
  • Flat stomach- Avoid a bloated stomach by ditching carbonated drinks in the week before your holiday. Try ginger in hot water to soothe your digestive system or peppermint tea to help prevent bloating.

 

Don’t forget your feet!

  • Our feet often get overlooked. But having put in all the hard work in the studio to firm and tone your body, feet are a relatively easy fix! With a bit of regular buffing, moisturising and a good pedicure you can have your feet holiday ready in no time.

 

Show off all the hard work

  • Grab yourself a killer bikini. Don’t wait until a few weeks before your holiday, find your perfect bikini that suits your body shape now while there is more choice in the shops. Not only will you be more likely to discover one that you love, I find having my bikini ready and hanging in my wardrobe is a great motivator to keep up my summer exercise plan in the final summer countdown!

Nobody said it was easy, and as many of you know this slogan is painted on one of the walls of our studio. Achieving your summer goals won’t always be plain sailing, and achieving a healthy you is about both your mind and your body. We want you to be the best version of you, you can be this summer, and we want to make it easier for you. If you are a new customer, grab our introductory offer – 2 classes for £20 and kick start your summer HERE

 

Summer swaps

May 22, 2018

It’s not just about the exercise you do, shaping up for the summer must be a whole-body plan. One that involves your sleep, your mental health, and your diet. There’s no point putting all those hours in at the studio toning up, if you haven’t thought about other areas of your life too. As summer gets closer we want you to be in the best shape both mentally and physically, ready for the holidays! This week I’m sharing a few handy hacks, where often simple substitutions or just thinking about the choices you make can make all the difference.

Drink Swaps
The Coffee Swap- There are 190 calories in a Starbuck Grande Latte but only 15 calories in a Starbucks Americano. You can still get your caffeine fix, just be mindful of the extra milky ones that add significant calories.

The Tea Swap- Peppermint tea is a great swap just before you head off on hols to banish the bloat and make sure you show off all your hard work with those abs! If you still need caffeine, green tea is a great alternative to black tea. It will give you the caffeine fix but has additional benefits because it is high in antioxidants which can help with long term weight loss.

The Soft Drink Swap- Swap diet drinks for sparkling water and add a slice of lime for an extra boost of vitamin C. By choosing water over low calorie drinks, you will avoid the sugary cravings for sweet things that will come shortly after a diet drink.

Dinner Time Swaps
Lunch Swaps – try making a little extra dinner the night before. Often the main meal you prepared before will be much more nutritious than a shop bought sandwich. If you have to buy a sandwich, opt for a wrap instead of more traditional bread.
Swap Rice for Vegetables – my favourite alternative to rice is to make cauliflower rice. By swapping simple carbohydrates out and vegetables in, it means you get a more nutritious meal and it will also count towards your 5 a day.
Swap Multi-tasking for Mindful eating- It has been shown that if you are watching TV whilst you eat, you tend to eat more. Try concentrating solely on the meal you are having, this allows you to notice the appetite cues from your body, meaning you only eat what you need. Turn off the TV, put away your phone and simply relax and enjoy your food.

Snacks Swaps
Swap out Refined Sugar- Try to think ahead. The biggest reason we reach for sugary snacks is because we have left it too long before we eat. If you know your next meal is going to be over four hours away, aim to have something like a handful of nuts, a couple of oatcakes or some dried fruit, to fill the hunger gap and kerb those sugary cravings. If you leave it too late, your blood sugar levels will drop, and it will be much harder to turn down that big doughnut!

Swap Biscuits for Energy Balls- If you are craving a sweet fix, swap your biscuits or chocolate for an energy ball. Often packed with dates, energy balls will give you the sweet taste you desire but with none of the refined sugar. My favourite recipe for energy balls is here:

Amy’s utterly nutterly cocoa energy balls

Ingredients:

125g Soft dates

100g Chopped almonds

75g Rolled oats

2tsp Nut butter (almond or peanut work well)

1tbsp Cocoa powder

To coat:

Pick your favourites! I love finely chopped pistachios, dried fruit, desiccated coconut, cocoa powder or dark chocolate chips.

Method:

Put the dates, chopped almonds, oats, almond butter and cocoa powder into a food processor and blend until the nuts are crushed and the mixture is fully blended.

Take a small amount of the mixture and roll it between your hands to make bite sized balls. (This recipe makes between 12-15 energy balls).

Once rolled, choose your coating. Place the coating in a bowl and roll the ball around until covered.

 

They only take about ten minutes to make and even my toddler loves them!

Sleep habit swaps
Swap out Technology at Bedtime- Switch your phone or tablet for a real book and a small bedside light for a better night’s sleep. Leave your devices outside your bedroom so that you are not tempted to flick through your apps and wake up your mind. And maybe swap that extra hour of TV for a lovely hot, bubble bath or an early night.
These are some of my favourite habits and swaps for a healthier body and mind. Do you have any small daily changes that are making big changes in your life? What is working best for you on your summer plan? We would love to hear what is working for you!

 

We are nearly half way through May, which means you only have two more weeks to bag our amazing summer deal! We have a discounted package on offer right now which is designed to help you feel and look great for summer. Whether you have already started your summer workout or are just thinking about joining us for our beach body offer, I wanted to go back to basics this week and remember why Pilates is so good for you and how it can help you achieve your summer goals.

Why Pilates is great

1. Tone up- Pilates will build tone and definition without bulking you up. If one of your summer goals is a flatter tummy, the exercises can help by engaging and strengthening your deep ab muscles, helping you get a sleek, flat stomach. It can also help build definition in your upper arms, tone up your rear, as well as working on your legs. It is low impact on your joints, so it avoids stressing your body and tones rather than bulks out muscles.

2. Build strength- By regularly engaging the full range of muscles, your body will grow in strength with every workout meaning you will have the power you need in the right areas to help you move in the best possible way.

3. Improved flexibility- I truly believe that even after one class you will feel better. Stretching is a key component of Pilates and something that is hard to find time to do. The benefits are huge, and regular stretching will help maintain long term mobility throughout life.

4. Better posture- As your body gets stronger, you are more able to support a better posture which means you will walk taller and look slimmer. But even in the early days before you have fully gained that strength, Pilates gives you the knowledge and the tools to make changes in everyday life. You’ll find yourself sitting better at your desk and perhaps thinking about how you are lifting and bending, an awareness of which is so important for better habits and improved posture.

5. Mind and Body- The thing I love most about Pilates is that it is a true workout for every part of your body. It is not just the physical exercise which is important, but also the mental work you undertake as well. Pilates is one of the few exercises that works on your mind and your body at the same time.

I could go on! Pilates can help prevent injury, it can help you cross train for other summer sporting events, it can be taken up at any age and it’s a great stress reliever. I’m a passionate advocate of the benefits of Pilates.

If you are curious about what Pilates could do for you this summer, or are wondering about what a class would involve, drop us an email (amy@reformerpilatesbrentwood.co.uk) or pop into the studio and have a chat with me or any one of our friendly instructors. Until the end of May we have a special summer offer, with discounted rates and classes. What better way to come and try it out or get ready for summer? I guarantee Pilates will make you feel great!

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