Hi Contourers!
September is nearly over, the nights are drawing in and most of us have probably set our sights on the next half term holiday! (it only seem like two minutes since the kids went back!) 

Ideas for Half Term – Kids Pilates Workshop.

If you’re stuck for ideas, how about signing your child onto our next Pilates workshop with Lindsey? Pilates is excellent for kids, improving their cardiovascular and overall fitness while helping to prevent injuries.

Pilates enhances flexibility, strength, posture and concentration. If they’re struggling to cope in the classroom this Term or just feeling the stress of a super busy schedule, Pilates won’t only strengthen their bodies; it will also help sharpen their minds. 

For more details about the workshop, please e-mail amy@reformerpilatesbrentwood.co.uk

Menopause Workshop – Sleep, Nutrition and Exercise Hacks

Don’t forget that if you’re starting to feel a bit itchy, scratchy, sweaty, sleepy, bloated, forgetful and dare we say it, a little bit “psycho” then we have the ideal workshop for you!

In this special session, you’ll learn easy to implement tips and tricks to help you alleviate many of the major symptoms of the menopause. Spaces are booking up fast so grab yourself a spot by clicking on the link and say goodbye to a bulging belly and sweaty sleepless nights! BOOK HERE

What’s not to love about October! 

Enjoying Autumnal Walks in Weald Park

We don’t know about you, but we love the crisp Autumnal mornings, Sunday walks over Weald Park and stopping off on the way back for a Roast dinner cooked by someone else! Or grabbing our favourite cosy sweater and curling up on the sofa on a Saturday night with a glass of red wine to watch Strictly!

Have you got a favourite couple yet? We couldn’t help but be impressed by Kelvin’s Samba! Have to say that the boys are looking strong this year.

Strictly Boy Celebs Getting Their Samba On!

Next time you’re admiring the professional dancers’ physiques, remember, lots of them practise Pilates, so you are in excellent company. Remember we’ve got lots of classes on offer at the weekend’s both at our Brentwood and Loughton studios, so there’s no excuse for hibernating this winter! Some of them even taught by ex-professional dancers so if you ask them nicely; they might also throw in a few moves from the Cha-Cha-Cha! 

Summer bodies are always a work in progress! Remember, regular practice all year round is the key.

Schedule Changes, New Time Slots and Offers

Just a quick round-up of some of the changes to the schedule we’ve made this Autumn. If you’re at all confused about what’s on when, please do check out the full schedule online for both studios. Here are a few quick highlights:

  • Loughton new time slot 7 pm Thursday
  • Loughton new mat class 1130am Sunday
  • Brentwood new time slot 0930am Cardio Jump replaces Dynamic Pilates
  • Brentwood change of instructor Martyna taking over Monday nights
  • Brentwood new time slot 0930am Cardio Power with Linsey replaces Barre

CLICK HERE TO VIEW FULL TIMETABLE

We also have a couple of exclusive members offers running too. Go to our SPECIAL OFFERS page to redeem.

September Offer Soon to EXPIRE
Act fast while you still have a chance to add on extra classes at our special discount offer of 4 for £44 or 8 for £88. Use one class in September and the rest in October if you prefer. Just book before the end of the month. Offer extends to all pass holders and current pack holders.

Monthly Pass Holders EXTRA CLASS
Once the September offer has expired, monthly pass holder can add on extra classes for £16.

Unlimited Members OFFER
Especially for our Unlimited Members this October, if you’ve always fancied being put through your paces on a one to one with your favourite instructor, then we’re offering you 50% DISCOUNT on a private class. Save £30 and really challenge that core to something more! Or, take things back to basics and work with your instructor to perfect your technique.

For all the details or to make a booking, please e-mail amy@reformerpilatesbrentwood.co.uk

We look forward to seeing your happy smiling faces at the studio this Autumn and helping you stay on track with your fitness goals, maybe smashing a few new Pilates challenges and picking up a few “Strictlified” moves! Keep Dancing!

Live.Love.Pilates
XOXO


How what you Eat and the Exercise you Do can effect your Symptoms.

Ah yes, the menopause! Buckle down and prepare for a bumpy ride! It’s like puberty’s older evil sister just drove into town!

Still something of a taboo subject (which is quite remarkable given that 3 billion women will inevitably go through it) we often get a one-sided story about the horrors of the menopause. According to the NHS, symptoms start a few months or even years before your periods actually stop (known as peri-menopause) and will last on average for up to 4 years afterward.

Common symptoms of the Menopause.

8 in every 10 women will experience at least one of these common symptoms.

Blogger, Alison Hurford, hilariously describes her experience of the menopause like being visited by the Seven Dwarves. Grimm ones at that!

  • ITCHY
  • BITCHY
  • SWEATY
  • SLEEPY
  • BLOATED
  • FORGETFUL
  • PSYCHO

However, if you know how to tackle the menopause effectively, it can be a time of fabulous liberation and positivity. Many women in the spotlight extoll the wonderful world post-menopause.

Take Oprah Winfrey for example. Always one to look on the bright side of life, here’s what she has to say on the matter.

Oprah Winfrey, TV personality

“So many women I’ve talked to see menopause as an ending. But I’ve discovered this is your moment to reinvent yourself after years of focusing on the needs of everyone else. It’s your opportunity to get clear about what matters to you and then to pursue that with all of your energy, time and talent.”

That’s music to our ears at Contour Pilates. 

It’s the reason why we’ve teamed up with a leading nutritionist, Adele, and fitness specialist, Lindsey, to pull together an evening of education. In this informative and friendly workshop, you’ll discover actionable coping mechanisms. Simple and effective nutrition and exercise hacks that you can put into place to better help you combat your menopausal symptoms. If you’re interested in booking onto the workshop, hurry as places are filling up fast. 

Natural food and herbs that can help you tackle symptoms of the Menopause.

Click HERE to reserve your place today. 

A sneak peek of what’s in store.

You’ll learn about the link between nutrition and managing some of your symptoms.

Did you know that during the menopause, women experience a decline in estrogen which can lead to an increased risk of fractures? Dairy products are hugely effective as they contain calcium, magnesium and potassium (plus other beneficial vitamins and minerals), essential for bone health along with amino acids which can also improve sleep quality. Great news for cheese lovers! 

How how what you eat can help tackle symptoms of the menopause.
Selection of healthy food. Superfoods, various fruits and assorted berries, nuts and seeds.

Healthy fats, in particular, Omega-3 fatty acids, along with whole grains and lots of leafy green vegetables, are also highly recommended. Stock up on essentials like mackerel, salmon, flax and chia seeds, brown rice, quinoa and broccoli. Also, make sure that you’re getting plenty of protein into your diet. Unfortunately, ladies, it’s time to ditch the sugar, alcohol and caffeine! They’re known sleep disruptors at the best of times but they can also exacerbate the symptoms of hot flashes. 

The bottom line.

Simple and effective nutritional choices can go a long way towards alleviating your symptoms, making it easier to transition through this stage of your life. At our workshop, you’ll learn more about what could work for you and come away with an essential new weekly shopping list of meno-busting ingredients! 

Fitness is also crucial, in terms of preventing weight gain and the dreaded meno-pouch (which suddenly appears from nowhere), as well as strengthening bones, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and of course, boosting your mood. It’s time to add more strength training into the mix, so when your Pilates instructor tells you to pick up the hand weights. Don’t curse her! Thank her! Regular strength and resistance training will help you reduce body fat, burn calories more efficiently and also strengthen your muscles. Sounds like a winning combination. 

Don’t forget that you can book onto your workshop HERE.

The menopause fairy.

LIVE.LOVE.PILATES
XOXO

What Exactly Is Pilates?

Those of you already coming to one of our Contour Pilates Reformer studios here in Essex will know the answer to this but for any parents out there currently researching whether Pilates is appropriate for their kids or teens, here’s a quick introduction to Pilates and why it’s so beneficial. 

The brainchild of a German Doctor, Joseph H Pilates, it was initially created to help mobilise injured soldiers during World War 1. He introduced a series of body conditioning exercises that were designed to build back their strength and flexibility, endurance and coordination in a low impact way.

So Why Do We Advocate Pilates for Kids?

You don’t need to have an already athletic kid on your hands to encourage them to take up Pilates. It’s appropriate for all backgrounds and levels of fitness and can even help improve mental concentration, leading to an overall improvement in their school grades. Sounds good right?

Whether you’re concerned about your kids’ general health and fitness or are looking for fun and exciting new ways to introduce them to extra physical activity, Pilates can be a safe and low impact way to get their developing bodies and minds moving in healthier ways.

Todays more sedentary lifestyles, combined with poor nutrition have led to more cases of childhood obesity than ever before. A staggering 30.2% of children aged 6-11 are overweight (according to research conducted by the National Academy Of Sciences). Don’t allow your child to become part of that frightening statistic. 

Pilates is great for Sporty Kids & Teens who love competitive group activities.

Sporty Kids & Teens

Lots of kids these days are already sporty and if you have a kid who’s active and enjoys playing varied group or individual sports, then Pilates will help prevent them from becoming injured, strengthening their bodies and particularly their flexibility so that they can recover quicker from any extreme physical endurance they’re put through. 

It’s especially complimentary to dynamic sports that require lots of mobility and movement such as hockey, tennis, swimming, football, rugby and basketball. Yes, male rugby players, no matter what age, can absolutely benefit from a session on one of our state of the art Reformer machines.

Pilates really compliments a dance background

Dance Mad Kids & Teens

There’s long been a synergy between the worlds of dance and practising Pilates. Many of the most renowned Ballet dancers globally incorporate regular Pilates sessions into their exercise regimes, adding strength and balance to their repertoires. If you have a budding Prima Ballerina, a Hip Hop or Street Dancer or a teen who just loves to dance, then a Pilates for kids session will be the perfect companion activity. 

Even your little street dancer will benefit from Pilates!

Inactive Kids & Teens

Many kids, especially those who aren’t actively inclined, might be lacking body confidence, fitness levels and stamina and therefore be reluctant or shy about taking up a new competitive sport or group activity. With Pilates, kids can enjoy a full-body workout uniquely built around their current strengths and weaknesses, adapted according to their needs. Pilates really is suitable for all body shapes and sizes, levels of fitness and abilities and allows them to work systematically and progressively on their strength, endurance and flexibility in a completely positive and non-judgemental environment.

Pilates is excellent for improving flexibility and confidence.

Challenged Kids & Teens

We’re not just talking about kids suffering perhaps with motor control issues who might already be in some other form of rehabilitative occupational therapy. Although Pilates is an excellent adjunct if they are. It’s also excellent for remedying challenging behaviour and helping to alleviate the symptoms of stress, reclaiming a more quiet and controlled mind. Pilates requires a strong mind-body connection which improves levels of concentration and can boost academic and not just athletic performance. 

Pilates can help with concentration and improve those school grades.

We also happen to think it’s a whole lot of fun too. Why not send your kids along and see what they think?

What Do We Offer Kids & Teens Here At Contour Pilates?

At our friendly and welcoming Reformer studios here in Essex we’ve put together a workshop specifically to introduce kids to the concept of Pilates and to get them excited and interested about moving their body in this controlled way. Led by one of our friendly and highly experienced instructors, Lindsey, who passionately advocates the benefits of Pilates for kids, out next workshop will be taking place during the October half-term school holiday and is ideal for 7-11-year-olds. 

If you’d like more information about this workshop or to book your child a spot today, e-mail amy@reformerpilatesbrentwood.co.uk.

LIVE, LOVE, PILATES

XOXO

Hi Contourers!

Well, that’s another month almost over. Didn’t we finish on a high with glorious Bank Holiday sunshine? Hope that you managed to enjoy some relaxing family time ahead of the kids going back to school. New routines and manic Mondays are back on the agenda!

Even if you don’t have kids, September always feels like such a transformative month, a chance for a fresh start. Who else still remembers the excitement of getting a new pencil case! It’s a great month to commit to setting new goals. Are you up for a new Pilates challenge? Maybe experiment more with that yellow spring when you’re planking! It’s tough but remember you’re getting stronger every time you come to a class. Just trust that your core has got your back!

Challenge your side plank by changing your spring tension

What’s coming up? New workshops, classes, instructors and time slots!

If your nutrition, exercise or self-care has slipped over the Summer months  now is the ideal time to get yourself back on track. We’re here to help you press the reset button! 

Our regular timetable is back in full swing with a selection of times throughout the day from 0630-2100, so there are no excuses! We’re always happy to consider adding on additional time slots if there’s enough demand, so please let us know what times suit you best.

Check out the latest timetable for our Brentwood Reformer Pilates studio HERE.

Coming soon to our Loughton studio.

We’re delighted to introduce a new instructor and new time slot to our Loughton studio from 19th September. Kim will be running a class at 1900 and with a background in both Physio and Pilates, she knows exactly what your body needs to be safely challenged.

Check out the latest timetable for our Loughton Reformer Pilates studio HERE.

Tools to tackle the Menopause.

If you’re struggling with peri or post menopausal symptoms, we’re holding a special workshop over the October half term. We’ll cover off important issues like what happens to your metabolism and bone density and why it’s so important to eat lots of high-quality protein and exercise regularly. 

Lindsey will take you through your paces, demonstrating the importance of adding resistance and weights while a qualified nutritionist will talk you through smart food choices you can make to balance those out of whack hormones and minimise the development of the dreaded meno-pouch.

Beating the Menopause the Natural Way.

Kids Pilates workshop.

Pilates is also excellent for kids, improving their cardiovascular and overall fitness while helping to prevent injuries. It enhances flexibility, strength, posture and concentration, all vital for both physical and mental development. School life can be challenging, stressful and demanding and practising Pilates will sharpen their focus and could result in improved academic performance. 

Lindsey will be offering a half-terms kids Pilates session for 7-11-year-olds.

More info and keeping in touch.

For more details about these workshops, please e-mail amy@reformerpilatesbrentwood.co.uk

Don’t forget that you can also join the WhatsApp group for both studios, so you never miss out on the latest offers and news. Just e-mail Amy with your number if you’d like to be added.

Talking of Amy!

Amy is going to be relocating to Scotland. Don’t worry though, she’s promised to visit us once a week and will be finding a friendly face to front the studios in her absence, making sure the studios are tidy, inviting and welcoming for all her lovely regulars and new clients. Amy will also be available via FaceTime to answer any queries and client issues you have so there’s no danger of forgetting what she looks like! 

Let’s wish Amy lots of love and luck as she embarks on this exciting journey with her family.

Remember, there’s always a smile and a challenge waiting for you at the studio.

KEEP PLANKING!

LIVE, LOVE, PILATES

XOXO

You might be reading this Blog because you are already one of our Contourers, or perhaps you’ve done a quick Google search of Reformer Pilates in Essex and we’ve popped up.

However you got here you’re very WELCOME! 

We’re here to dispel the myths and break down the various benefits and styles of Pilates we have on offer. We’re taking you back to school! Summer is in full swing and as thoughts turn to the new school year, we thought it was about time we gave you a bit of education of what’s on offer.

Which Pilates Class is Right For Me?

Pilates is growing in popularity and if you’re already practising it, you’ll appreciate why. Just some of the many benefits include strengthening and toning of the entire body, improvement in flexibility and mobility as well as overall fitness.

Pilates though is not a singular term.

The various types differ in their approach and effectiveness, which is why we offer such a variety at Contour Pilates and why our fantastic instructors have such diverse teaching styles (and personalities too!) 

Naming no names (guess if you can) we have Bootcamp style trainers pushing you to your limit, instructors with a keen eye for detail correcting and perfecting your posture, some who make you laugh, sweat, ache and maybe even cry a little and yes, some who manage all those things in one 55-minute session! 

You could say we’ve got the lot. 

Just in case you’re wondering whether a class is going to be right for you and are confused about the options, let’s break it down. 

(note not all class are available at all studios so please check your timetable for further details)

Mat Pilates

Mat Pilates class

As the name suggests, this class is performed on the floor and was the way Joseph Pilates originally began teaching.

It involves minimal additional equipment and is very heavily focused on strengthening the core. You’ll focus on isolating muscle groups and activating them correctly as opposed to breaking out into an aerobic sweat.

Essential (Beginners) Reformer Pilates

Designed to deliver a full-body workout using the Reformer machine, Essential Reformer Pilates is all about the flow of sequential movements, using the resistance springs to increase and decrease the level of difficulty meaning that there is always room for progression and regression. This is the class we always recommend our new members trial first.

Classes are always fun and great for improving all-round fitness. With never more than 10 people per class, you still get individual attention and are guided by your instructor how to use the Reformer machine correctly, building confidence at the same time as strengthening your whole body.

Mixed Ability Reformer Pilates

Reformer Pilates Class

As the name suggests, all levels are welcome and you can expect a more challenging and dynamic workout that will build on your beginner classes as you begin to explore more intense and varied full-body exercises. 

You might even be using some of our lovely props, including the bands, weighted balls and magic circles. Don’t worry about keeping up with the person next to you. Go at your own pace and if you need to adjust the strength of your resistance, be our guest! We have four coloured springs for a reason so that you can challenge yourself but also workout to your safe limit.

Mixed Ability Cardio Jump Reformer Pilates

Cardio Jump Reformer Class

Prepare to get your heart pounding and your pulse racing as you add the jump board to the end of our state of the art Reformer machine for an adrenalin-fuelled and fat-busting workout. 

While our other classes are more about strength and tone, delivering lovely long, lean muscles, this class is going to challenge your core, fire up your powerhouse and induce your fat to cry – AKA sweat! 

It’s high energy, incredibly dynamic and so much fun as you spring back and forth. It’s a liberating feeling. Throw in the challenge of catching a ball and it’s like being back in the playground at school. If you’ve had a long and stressful day, you’ll soon forget about it as you glide through the air with grace! (or land like a baby elephant maybe! Don’t worry though. You’ll quickly get the hang of it)

Dynamic Reformer Pilates

It’s time to switch it up a gear and while the emphasis is still on technique and correct alignment, these more challenging and fast-paced classes will build on your fitness levels, delivering fat burning results as well as toning, strengthening and increasing your endurance.

This is Pilates taught the Vin Diesel way! Fast and Furious. 

With hundreds of challenging moves in their little black book of tricks, the instructors have carte blanche to get creative in these classes. Good fun for them, perhaps a little bit like torture for you! We joke, of course. Nobody actually gets tortured at Contour, but you may hear an increased amount of panting, huffing, puffing and perhaps a bit of swearing during one of our Dynamic classes, especially when performing a plank to push up to pike! Let’s just say that the results are worth it.

Dynamic Cardio Power Pilates

Dynamic Cardio Class

In these classes, you’ll experience a much more intense workout with a higher emphasis on cardio and endurance training. A decent level of fitness is recommended before you try one of these classes, which are certainly challenging but will take your strength and power to a whole new level. 

You’ll definitely notice an increase in your stamina and you’ll do combinations of full-body exercises both on and off the Reformer machines. For anyone familiar with the concepts of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) as well as weight training, you’ll experience both these disciplines combined with Pilates. 

Barre Fitness

Barre Class

No tutus required but if you do fancy wearing leg warmers, that’s entirely your decision! There are no kids from Fame in this class although saying that, we do have a few regulars break out into song! 

In this class, you will utilise the Barre as a prop to aid balance while you perform a series of choreographed isometric moves to music. This is what we’d call a slow burner! It’s a deceptively challenging class that delivers a no impact full-body workout, focusing on the creation of lean muscle, sculpted arms and legs, a perkier derriere and elongated tights. There’s definitely a Barre Body and you’ll look Bootiful after a few of these classes. Ideal for all fitness levels including beginners and suitable for pregnant ladies you’ll benefit from increased flexibility, better posture and we’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth pointing out again, a peach of a seat!

Hello Yellow! 

Reformer Spring Tensions

The regulars among you will have noticed that we just added yellow springs to our Reformer machines; providing an extra level of challenge when you’re planking but making those tricep extensions more bearable. 

The instructors are certainly putting all the colour combo’s of springs to good use and really out-doing themselves with their creativity! 

We hope that you’re taking full advantage of the new springs this summer and also trying out a new class or two.

Back to School Offers For YOU! 

Why should the kids have all the new term fun? 

We want you to be excited about what September has in store too! That’s why we’re challenging you to take up some new classes with our Special September Offers and see what the rest of our Instructors have to offer. 

September back to school offer

Click here to find out all the details.

Reduced Cancellation Notice

Please also note that throughout the busy summer period, the usual class cancellation policy has been reduced from 24 hours to 12 hours for your convenience. 

Enjoy the rest of your summer break and hope to see some new faces in our studios this September.

Live, Love, Pilates

XOXO

Our SEPTEMBER OFFER

August 8, 2019

All the CONTOUR challenges you can handle – Dynamic CARDIO POWER, Dynamic CARDIO JUMP, Dynamic, mixed ability and reformer pilates, barre, and mat pilates. Available at both studios – Loughton and Brentwood

4 classes for £44

You can attend ANY of our classes in 4 WEEKS, at anytime. The 4 weeks starts on the date of your first class

8 classes for £88

You can attend any of our classes in 6 weeks, at anytime. The 6 weeks starts on the date of your first class.

If you have an existing pack?

You can purchase one of these packs and your current pack can be extended.

By purchasing this block, you agree to our terms and conditions of this promotion.

#BodyByContour

Hi Contourers!

Welcome to your monthly newsletter. Packed with all the latest studio info and hopefully a little bit of Pilates inspo to keep you motivated this summer.

Hope that you are all feeling fit and well and keeping yourself hydrated in this heat. Wasn’t that a scorcher last week? Remember to take on extra fluids when it’s hot, especially if you’re exercising. Sadly a glass of chilled Rose doesn’t count before you ask!

Holiday Time

August is here and for many of you the summer holidays are in full swing. Schedules get busier, the kids have finished school and need entertaining and some of you might be lucky enough to have a holiday planned. If you do, we’d love it if you could tag us in one of your holiday posts.

Use our new exclusive members hashtag #BodyByContour and let’s get tagging, sharing and liking all of those beautiful Pilates bodies we’ve spent so much time working hard to achieve!

Experience Something Different

Due to the holidays, we’re going to be operating a slightly different timetable throughout August to allow your lovely instructors to take a break too! They definitely need to tag us planking in their swimsuits don’t you think! Hopefully, your favourite time slots aren’t disrupted too much.

Why Not Try Barre?

Now might be a great time to experiment, challenge yourself to try out a new class or experience for yourself what another instructors style is like. You never know, you might even discover a new favourite. Regular business will be resumed in September and perhaps you will have developed a new found passion for Barre or Cardio Pilates by then!

What’s In Store; Kids and More!

Talking of occupying the kids, we have an excellent workshop planned which will be covering off Kids Yoga and Mindfulness. Kids can benefit immensely from both these practises every bit as much as we adults can. This workshop will help them discover how to manage and counter stress in what is a fast-paced hurry-up world. Physically yoga can help them develop strength, flexibility, conditioning, body confidence and awareness. Mentally both yoga and mindfulness will help them to relax, promoting a sense of calmness, relaxation and enhancing their self-esteem. It can also be a great tool to help them manage back to school anxiety.

Brentwood Studio – 2-4pm 27th August

Loughton Studio – 2-4pm 29th August

To book your child onto the workshop e-mail amy@reformerpilatesbrentwood.co.uk. They’ll learn some incredible techniques, make some new friends and get a special goodie bag to take away with them.

Special Offers For You!

For August we’re offering discounted extra classes. Normally £16 for monthly pass holders these are now reduced to £14 so if you have a late summer holiday planned and are still working on that Pilates beach body, why not treat yourself to an extra class or two? You’ll be surprised by just how much extra tone and definition you can achieve just by adding in a few additional sessions on the Reformer machine.

Friends With Benefits!

We’re still offering a free class for a friend throughout August. What are friends for if it’s not to share the joy (and pain) of a Pilates Reformer class? You can pop for a glass of Prosecco on the high street afterward. You’re welcome!

As an extra bonus, if your friend gets bitten by the Pilates bug and goes on to purchase a package, we’ll add an extra class to your account or deduct a one-off £14 from your monthly payment if you’re own of our unlimited members.

Have a fabulous August everyone and remember, every day is a good day to do Pilates!

Live, Love, Pilates

XOXO

Summer is quickly in-coming and perhaps you’re not quite as beach ready as you’d hoped! That honed and toned physique that you made a start on in January and quickly forgot about in February needs a bit of emergency TLC before you step into that one-piece and hit the beach!

You might be sat reading this blog post after doing a bit of online research. Trying to decide which exercise is best for you to achieve those beach body goals. Two options that come up time and time again are Yoga and Pilates. They’re often considered (by those who’ve never practised either!) to be interchangeable.

You’re curious as to know how they differ? Don’t they both use a mat? Can they really deliver a whole body workout?

Quite often both are disregarded (by the quite frankly uninitiated!) for being too slow, too easy, not challenging enough. Well, let’s stop you right there! Pilates and Yoga are starkly different but also massively similar, especially in one significant respect! They are both far more challenging and rewarding than you might have ever imagined.

So let’s take a look at the key differences between Yoga and Pilates.

1. The varying histories

Yoga spawns a sacred history of some 5000+ years so you can’t argue with its longevity. It’s not a one-hit wonder, fad form of exercise. Although we suspect that goat yoga might fall into that category! It involves the practice of a series of asanas (postures) combined with breath control to deliver multiple benefits, including building strength and flexibility of the body, combined with calming and quietening the mind. It’s the ultimate mind, body, spirit connection.

Pilates, on the other hand, is distinctly more new age! That said, you may be surprised to find out that it was developed almost a century ago by Joseph Pilates who first introduced the early principles of Pilates back in 1925. Initially, it was used for physical rehabilitation purposes. Pilates has developed dramatically since those early days but the key benefits associated with Pilates of strengthening the core, improving posture and stability and developing overall strength, remain intact.

2. It’s about more than just a mat

Both forms of exercise work the body in productive ways and while you can use blocks, straps and wheels in Yoga, typically you need nothing more than a mat.

Pilates, on the other hand, can be mat based, yes, but you will also find classes using the Reformer, Cadillac and Tower. For the most part, they utilise what is best described as a pulley system with various springs added to provide more or less resistance. It’s not unusual for a reformer based Pilates class to additionally incorporate equipment such as hand weights, magic circles and wooden dowels to encourage a more challenging workout. At our friendly , local studio here in Brentwood, we have access to state of the art equipment, including Reformer machines.The mind, body, spirit connection

3. The mind, body, spirit connection

At its essence, Yoga was and still is intended to be a meditative practise. There’s no denying that an hour on the matt will do as much to reduce your stress levels as it will define those triceps.

Pilates is more of a traditional exercise workout. While the breath is incredibly important, the origins of Pilates is based around rehabilitation, rather than taking you on the road to spiritual enlightenment. That said, we have plenty of men and women who we like to think have become more enlightened since stepping through our doors! We definitely have plenty who’ve made fiends and learned how to move better.

4. The method and the moves

Your own body is the primary tool used in Yoga. It forgoes machines of any kind and typically ends with a savasana, a deep form of recuperative relaxation. Poses are usually held for a longer duration, enabling the body to fall deeper into each asana and quite often, connected sequences are repeated.

In Reformer based Pilates classes, the body is switched on throughout your practise by being placed into challenging and unstable positions using the Reformer machine. This, in turn, requires muscle control and stability to maintain those challenging positions. In Pilates, you tend to get through a lot of different movements, working one body part before moving on to challenging the next, resulting in long, lean and toned muscles.Alignment and intention

5. The method and the moves

In Yoga, the focus is very much inwards. Aligning your mind with your body and setting your intention. It’s about finding calmness within, internalising your practise.

With Pilates, the attention is more on the physical alignment, correcting posture, bringing precision and control to your movement and systematically working the body.The final result

6. Alignment and intention

Here’s the part you’ve all been waiting for right? Depending upon what you are hoping to achieve, Yoga, Pilates or perhaps a combination of the two might be what your body craves.

Yoga works your entire body and can give you that mental edge. With Pilates you can be more targeted, strategically firing up those powerhouse core muscles and delivering that deep down stability your body needs.

Both disciplines will help give you the confidence to own your body this summer. If you just so happen to be taking that body to the beach, then lucky you! Just don’t forget to send us a postcard.

Pilates is known for delivering a powerful core workout, the benefits of which are undeniable. If you’re already practising Pilates, we’ve no need to remind you about the importance of the core. The absolute powerhouse of the body and source of abdominal strength. Pilates is a whole body workout and can be hugely beneficial to a myriad of other sports too. From hiking and tennis to golf and skiing. Through the power of Pilates, you can learn to move better.

Today, we’re going to delve deeper and examine the 6 Benefits Of Pilates Runners Can Enjoy.

1. Increased core strength

By core, we don’t just mean those tummy muscles. We’re referring to the entire torso which extends to include the hips, back, shoulders, neck and yes, those much sought after abdominals.

A strong, balanced and centred core acts as a massive stabilising force through which all exercise, especially the motion of running, can be channeled. Simply put, by practising Pilates you will be able to produce more active force to propel, control and maximise the efficiency of your running stride. You will also benefit from long, lean and toned muscles as well as being able to move better.

2. Pilates helps to correct postural imbalances, reducing the risk of injury

There’s a common saying among the running fraternity, “stability first, movement second.”

Nothing comes close to Pilates for creating the kind of core stability that can protect the spine and all its surrounding musculature, especially during the high impact, dynamic activity of running.

Through the regular practice of Pilates, seasoned runners who have become increasingly susceptible to repetitive injuries caused by a weakened gait can actively reverse that damage. Firing up and strengthening the muscles you require to retain a better and more effective running posture.

3. Noticeable improvements to your speed and endurance

The stronger and more balanced your body is, the less likely it is to fatigue. By incorporating regular weekly sessions on our state of art reformer equipment, the runners among you can expect to benefit from looser, more flexible hips, legs and back which will result in a longer, more fluid and productive stride pattern. The more flexible you become, the more powerful you are too. You will soon see gains in both your speed and endurance.

4. Quicker recovery times

With regular Pilates sessions, the muscles you use as a runner are maintained in peak condition. Joint mobility increases, risk of injury decreases and you gain a new sense of body awareness and confidence. You’ll soon notice that your usual 5k run feels lighter, faster and less of challenge. Your recovery time will vastly improve and your motivation will sky-rocket.

5. Control of the breath

Central to both running as well as Pilates is mindful breath control. During a Pilates session, you will frequently be reminded to focus on the breath. Filling up the lower lungs, opening up and engaging the diaphragm and consciously moving the breath throughout your body to assist your movement.

Take this conscious understanding of breath control with you and apply it to your running tehchnique and you will quickly enjoy life in the fast lane.

6. Balance and coordination

Sadly, with age, both our balance and coordination deteriorate. That can make it easier for us to trip and stumble. Being able to fire up that core in such a situation where you might find your foot on the wrong end of a slippy rock is crucial to keeping you upright and preventing any embarrassing as well as potentially painful face-planting!

By regularly practising Pilates you will see dramatic improvements to your balance. We’re not promising a late-blossoming career as a tight-rope walker, but we can certainly save you a few blushes and the occasional grazed knee!

To discover more about the incredible benefits of Pilates and how it can improve your performance as a runner, check out one of our Reformer based classes today. We use only state of the art equipment at our local studios based in Essex.

Try 2 classes for £20 go to our homepage – www.contourpilatesstudio.co.uk

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.

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