At Contour Pilates, we care about more than just your physical health. While our state of the art reformer beds might well be designed to give you a full-body workout, we also care about your mental well being too. Mind, Body and Soul, Pilates is all about YOU.

It’s safe to say that Christmas is upon us. For many people, that might mean missing a couple of their regular Reformer Pilates classes to celebrate with friends and family over a glass or two of festive cheer. Know what? That’s perfectly fine with us! 

You’ve worked hard, coming to class and putting in the effort all year. Now it’s your time to grab those dancing shoes, slip into that little black dress and enjoy sashaying the night away, showing off those killer Pilates curves you’ve sculpted. Ladies (and gents) all those times the Instructor said “just one more” (and you know she really meant ten) are about to pay off. 

Rock Your Pilates Body This Christmas

While Pilates might have helped you rock that Christmas party body this year, how do you survive the festive season itself? We’re running you through our top seasonal tips today.

Top Tips For Surviving Christmas the Contour Way!

It’s not all Prosecco, parties and pigs in blankets! Behind the glam and glitz of the flashing lights and tinsel can be a world of loneliness, stress and downright exhaustion. Not everyone is lucky enough to have friends and family around them, or spare cash to indulge in Christmas treats. 

The festive season might leave you feeling like you want to retreat into a hole and re-emerge in 2020 when the coast is clear of rowing relatives! Never fear. We’ve compiled Contour’s top tips to getting the most out of the festive season and surviving it “relatively” unscathed.

Prosecco and Pilates

Plan Ahead

Instead of worrying about getting the shopping done in one mammoth session, start stockpiling supplies as soon as possible. Plan in regular supermarket shops in the run-up to Christmas and buy extra items as you go along. It’s also a good idea to buy a couple of emergency presents. Lots of the larger retailers run 2 for 3 offers at this time of the year. You never know who might pop by unexpectedly with a gift so have a couple of options on standby!

Don’t Put Too Much Pressure On Yourself

There’s such a weight of expectation to deliver the perfect Christmas. It’s not about going all out, buying the most expensive of everything you can lay your hands on. That doesn’t show that you are the hostess with the mostest! Christmas is about simple family time and trying to relax and have fun. If things aren’t going quite to plan behind the scenes, the chances are your guests won’t ever realise. Unless a burnt turkey has set the fire alarm and water sprinklers off! So don’t be too hard on yourself. Try and enjoy the festivities without going overboard.

Festive Table Setting

Ask For Help

If you are the key organiser in the family and yet again it’s your turn to cook and host, don’t be afraid to delegate other duties to family members. It’s so important that you have some YOU time. Why should everyone else get to watch the Gavin and Stacy special while you’re slaving away in the kitchen? Maybe ask different family members to take care of certain elements the meal; snacks, entrees, desserts, making sure the wine is flowing. Don’t try and do it all yourself.

Everything In Moderation

Today more than ever, Christmas seems to be about excess and over-indulgence. If you’ve been coming to Pilates all year, you’ve built up a great core that will serve you well. Cut yourself a little bit of slack, but don’t undo all the good work by going all out, drinking and eating everything in sight! Try and moderate yourself. That way, the gains will come back so much quicker in 2020 when you jump back on that Reformer machine. 

Family Festive Fun Times

Keep Yourself Hydrated

Water, wine, water! In that order. It’s so important to keep yourself hydrated. Your liver is likely to be working much harder over the Christmas party season. So stay on top of your H2O so that you recover quicker and dissipate any morning-after hangover.

Stay Active

All that sitting around indoors and over indulging can leave you feeling sluggish. Grab your new hat and scarf (and the obligatory Christmas novelty jumper) and get outside in the fresh air for a brisk walk. Clear your head and work off that extra helping of roast potatoes that you just couldn’t resist! 

Get Plenty Of Sleep

Sleep is when our bodies recover. Late boozy nights are fun at the time but they can disrupt regular sleep patterns. If you’re used to being the life and soul of the party, make sure you adequately recharge those batteries. That way you will keep going like the proverbial Duracell bunny!

Take Time Off

If busy work schedules permit, plan to take some time off in the run-up to and over the Christmas period. Burning the candle at both ends can take its toll. A few strategic days off will prevent you from being overstressed and overtired even before the big day itself arrives. Don’t peak too early as the saying goes.

Spend Time With The People You Love

Try not to be alone or feel isolated at Christmas. If you do live alone, reach out to friends and family and firm up plans. Don’t leave it too late only to realise that you’re planning a turkey dinner for one. Christmas is best shared and experienced with loved ones. So make an effort to reconnect with the special people in your life at this festive time of year.

Merry Christmas To All Our Clients from Contour Pilates

On that note, Contour Pilates would like to wish all our regular, new and future clients a very Merry Christmas. Keep checking out the Blog and sign up to receive our members newsletters so that you can be kept up to date with the fantastic New Year offers coming your way.

Fancy yourself as a bit of a silver sneaker! Then you’ve come to the right place. Strictly speaking, you don’t need sneakers to enjoy Reformer Pilates. A pair of grippy socks will do! If you’re of a certain age and still keen to keep active. Or perhaps you have been told by a professional that you need to do more exercise? Then Pilates is an excellent starting point. 

Two sessions of Pilates a week is enough for you to notice significant improvements.

Here at our state of the art reformer studios in Essex, we love welcoming new clients through the doors. No matter what age or level of ability.  

Our qualified instructors are especially good at looking after our senior clients. Instilling confidence, as well as reclaiming the flexibility you thought was just a long lost memory! 

You’ll rediscover your toes, reconnect to your core and make some new friends along the way. 

One look at the founding father of this increasingly popular activity for the over 65’s should be all the coaxing you, or an elderly loved one need, to try out a Reformer class.

Joseph Pilates was practising well into his 80’s. His strong abs, muscular legs and superb definition speak volumes about why we positively invite all seniors to give Pilates a go. Just remember to listen to your body and allow Pilates to work with you, not against you. 

Our bodies show up differently every day. That’s no different whether we’re 25, 45, or 65.

Pilates For Seniors

Pilates for Seniors

As with our younger practitioners, you are going to derive so many benefits. Pilates helps with balance and stability, maintains flexibility and muscle tone and can help fight against issues like osteoporosis and back pain. 

The beauty of Pilates is that all the exercises can be modified. There is always regression and progression. You can start slow, on a lower spring in a seated position. Then, as your confidence and strength build, increase the repetitions, add on more weight and move up to a kneeling position. Within a few months of regularly practising Pilates, you will be staggered by just what your mind and your body have been able to achieve. The results are wonderful. It’s like having a new lease of life. 

While we don’t hold Senior specific Pilates classes currently at CONTOUR Pilates, we do have several Beginner’s lessons on the timetable. They provide an excellent introduction. Click HERE to view the schedule. We also offer one-to-one sessions with our instructors. These can be a fantastic way of trying out a class in privacy. Building up your confidence before you join a small group class. A private lesson will provide an excellent foundation to learn the basics.

Pilates For Seniors

Special Considerations for Seniors Starting Pilates

The same rules apply no matter what age you are. You must communicate any physical limitations or on-going injuries or conditions with your instructor before the class begins. That way exercises can be safely modified.  

For Seniors returning to exercise after an illness, injury, or just a significant gap in time, it’s also advisable to check with your healthcare advisor or professional first. 

Issues that you might find you are struggling with, such as balance, flexibility, endurance and strength, can all absolutely be tackled and improved with regular Reformer Pilates classes. Your instructor will keep a watchful eye on you to ensure that you’re not overexerting yourself.

As many of the exercises in Pilates are performed either seated or lying down, there’s less risk of falling over than there would be with other forms of exercise. 

Osteoporosis and Pilates

A weakening of the structure of the bones is a common occurrence with both men and women over the age of 65. The chances of osteoporosis increase, bone density is weakened and there’s a higher propensity towards broken bones. 

The gentle yet effective weight-bearing nature of Pilates is excellent when it comes to preventing osteoporosis. For those of you who might already be suffering from this bone disease, all is not lost. While you might not be able to do some of the forward flexion or spine twisting techniques, your qualified Pilates instructor will be able to suggest plenty of alternatives so that you can enjoy a full workout. 

Arthritis and Pilates

People suffering from joint issues and complaints such as arthritis will also hugely benefit from Reformer Pilates. With awareness and focus, you can work on increasing your mobility. Pay attention to your body and don’t do anything that feels too stressful. Only you know if something is not quite right. You’ve nobody to compete against, so respect your body and especially your spine. There’s absolutely no pushing through the pain at Pilates. Slow down, ask for modifications and work slower and in a smaller range.

Just a few repetitions done slowly and with precision in Pilates will bring significant gains.

If you’re intrigued about Pilates and want to try out this incredible workout in a safe and professional, friendly environment, then drop us a line today and we’ll help you get booked (and hooked) on Pilates. 

You’re never too old and it’s never too late. 

So if you’re a Senior who’s looking to stay flexible, reduce general aches and pains and still enjoy being sociable, we would love to greet you at CONTOUR Pilates. It could truly transform your overall well being and fitness.

For the uneducated men (and women) out there, a misconception exists that Pilates is some form of yoga-based contortion. That it’s practised only by women only. Perhaps very occasionally used as a rehabilitative and restorative recovery treatment for sportsmen but not a “real” sport. 

If you are a man reading this post, or you have one sitting at home currently watching the TV who you’re trying to encourage to give Pilates a go, we’re about to put all that nonsense to bed. In fact, we challenge you/him right now to come to one of our Reformer Pilates studios here in Essex. Why not try out our state of the art machines for yourself?

As they say, “come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough!”

Real Men Do Pilates!

More and more weight trainers are turning to this system. Simply put, it’s a proven way to increase not only flexibility but also muscle power. It’s the ideal way to stem that middle-aged spread and fight the flab.

The Only Question Is: Are You Man Enough To Give It A Go?

Muscular man performing exercises on the Pilates reformer at the gym.

Pilates Was Developed By A Man.

Developed by a man, Joseph Pilates, he originally named it Contrology. The method was all about gaining control of the muscles. It’s also long been the preferred training vehicle of elite professional athletes for over half a century and an adjunct to their specialised training. The Pilates method works equally as well for men as it does for women. For both sexes it helps by increasing strength and flexibility as well as working on that core control. 

Many a man’s nemeses is his midriff. We can promise you this, after a few sessions on the Reformer your flabby tummy will be replaced by tauter muscle and that trim waistline. That will be complemented by a strong back, stable core and more muscular arms. In Pilates, we work the entire body. We also use hand weights in many of your classes, as well as your own body weight. That means there is always plenty of progression and regression when the going gets a little too tough.

Man performing pilates teaser exercise on a reformer bed in a gym to strengthen the abdominal muscles and hip flexor in a health and fitness concept

Why Do We Recommend Pilates For Men?

For anyone who enjoys weightlifting, the integrative component of Pilates will certainly be beneficial . Pilates encourages not only efficient but also uniform development of all the body but in particular the core. Using the powerhouse to stabilise the trunk and protect the back. Whereas weight lifting demands a more “part by part” approach to developing muscle. The emphasis on full-body fitness and strength makes Pilates an excellent foundation for a range of other sports, including cross-training, golf, tennis, rowing, football, cricket and rugby. 

Pilates works towards flexibility in a functional and more accessible way than say, for example, yoga or gymnastics. You’ll increase your flexibility and range of motion naturally, almost without even realising it’s happening. 

  • Pilates complements other workouts
  • Pilates helps improve overall sports performance
  • Pilates develops and fosters increased confidence
  • Pilates can significantly improve focus and concentration. 
Man exercising on pilates reformer bed

Top Tips For Men Who Are New To Pilates

1. Take a class

The best way to learn is to come to a Pilates class taught by a professional Instructor. At Contour Pilates we offer a range of classes to suit all ages and abilities. Our friendly and competent instructors will be on hand to put you through your paces. OK, so you might currently be outnumbered by women but we promise, they don’t bite! For now, you might have to deal with being the minority gender but on the plus side, think about all that female attention you’ll enjoy!

2. Don’t be afraid to give it a go

Just remember that the Pilates method was initially developed on a man’s body and is generally founded around regular, healthy principles of movements. You’ve nothing to be afraid of. Sure, your hips and hamstrings might be slightly tighter than those of the 25 year old female lying on the Reformer bed next to you. However, she’ll be so busy focusing on her own leg circles that trust us, she’ll never notice your thighs quivering! Everything in Pilates can be modified and adjusted, allowing you to stretch into the postures gradually. There’s no “go big or go home” mentality in Pilates. It’s all about mindful practice. Which brings us nicely onto our next point.

3. Pilates is a mind/body activity

You could choose to hammer out that pent up stress and energy on a boxing bag, or you could jump on the Reformer and challenge yourself to a different spring setup. Sometimes less is more. So if you’re in the mood for raising the bar, then go light when you’re planking and feel the burn. You will soon forget about what’s happening at work as you focus on your breath, working deeper into your stabilising muscles. Igniting your powerhouse like never before. The mind-body connection is strong in Pilates as you develop core strength alongside coordination through concentration and breath control. 

Male Celebrities And Athletes Who Swear By Pilates.

Pilates plays a pivotal part in helping to improve the overall performance of some of the worlds top recognised athletes. We have it on good authority that the following male athletes and celebrities are firm fans of Joseph Pilates Contrology technique. 

  • Tiger Woods
  • Andy Murray
  • David Beckham
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Lebron James
  • Amir Khan
  • The England Cricket Team

David Beckham was initially introduced to Pilates while playing on loan at AC Milan and had this to say about it:

“I do an hour of Pilates a day. It is fantastic and fitness-wise I am the best I have been for a long time.”

So there you have it. Real men DO and SHOULD practise Pilates.

We look forward to welcoming you through the doors at Contour Pilates and taking one of our plank challenges! Click HERE to discover all the latest offers.

We’re very proud here at our Reformer Pilates studios in Essex to have an exceptional pool of talent when it comes to our Pilates teachers. It’s not easy recruiting such high calibre instructors. Those who combine experience, passion, personality and the ability to count! (that’s a studio joke by the way! Let’s just say that 3 out of 4 ain’t bad!)

Getting To Know Your Instructors

Over the coming months, you’ll have a chance to get to know them all better as we put them through a quickfire Q&A session. If you have any burning questions you want to ask your instructors, please drop us a line. We’re mostly going to be focussing on their extensive training and background. Asking why they got hooked on Pilates in the first place and why they think Reformer Pilates is such an amazing form of exercise. 

If there’s something that you always wanted to ask but were too shy, fire away. We’ll ask it for you!

Vilma
Just one of your lovely Pilates Instructors, Vilma, here at Contour Pilates

So What Does It Take to Be Reformer Pilates Instructor?

The first thing we’ll say is that all our instructors at CONTOUR Pilates are highly qualified and skilled, even those that have come up through the ranks, turning their passion for practising Pilates into a new found career. 

To be a Pilates teacher requires a multitude of skills. It goes without saying that a passion for Pilates is a pre-requisite, but you also need to be a great communicator and get a buzz from working with people and seeing their progression. 

You don’t need to be a fitness model to be a Pilates instructor, so forget about all those glamorous Instagram accounts you might be following. Pilates is taught by real people and practised by real people. However, it certainly helps if your Pilates teacher is a motivational role model who actively leads a healthy lifestyle. 

Besides all of that, a Reformer Pilates Instructor needs to be patient with beginners, persistent when clients start to lose focus, creative with putting together classes that offer diversity and retain interest and overall, effective motivators. 

The style in which they might achieve this will likely differ but the end results will be the same. Providing a safe, non-judgemental and supportive (even sociable) environment in which to create that long, lean and toned muscle and strong, powerful core that will support you through everyday life.

Clients being adjusted by their Pilates Instructor

Liking Pilates And Teaching It Are Two Very Different Things

You might have been coming to classes now for a while and think that a new career as a Pilates instructor is right for you. If so, excellent! We look forward to taking one of your classes in the future. 

Before you go ahead and book yourself onto a course we recommend you ask yourself a couple of vital questions:

  • Do you like standing on your feet all day? That’s pretty much what Pilates instructors have to do.
  • Do you genuinely get a kick out of helping people? You’ll spend all day listening to other people tell you about their aches and pains and spend little time taking care of your own!
  • Do you like to teach? Loving the practice of Pilates as a participant is very different from teaching and explaining each move.
  • Do you truly understand the concept and benefits of Pilates? By that, we mean “proper” Pilates. The kind that was developed by Joseph Pilates and not the latest fad that’s marketed as a quick fix to achieving a slim body!
  • Are you truly ready to learn? By learning, we really do mean understanding what every single muscle in the body does. How they’re all inter-connected. Each muscle action and opposing reaction. Every insertion point. You need to fully understand the anatomy before you even start to learn the exercises.
  • Last but by no means least, are you able to touch someone’s bare feet or sweaty back! We’re being serious! Pilates is touchy-feely and even micro-adjustments require a bit of hands-on action. 

If you answered yes to all of those questions, then you have the fundamentals to become a Pilates instructor. It’s now time to get those all important qualifications.

You need to be prepared to get “hands-on” as a Pilates Instructor

How To Prepare For Pilates Teacher Training

We touched on the importance of understanding anatomy and it’s no surprise that many instructors already come from a fitness or dance background. It’s a natural transition to make from these disciplines into the world of Pilates. That said, as you will find out when we reveal our CONTOUR instructor Q&A series, we have instructors from colourful and varied backgrounds.

Its hard to believe that it has been around for close to 100 years. The popularity of Pilates has been steadily increasing and for decades now it’s been one of the top fitness trends. The positive side of this is that professional qualifications and courses to ensure the safe and standardised practice have been introduced. Also, the demand for pilates teachers is at an all time high. However, don’t be fooled for one instance into believing this is a “cool and trendy” quick and easy career change to make. It isn’t! It requires considerable time, commitment and a financial expense. 

There are no gimmicks at CONTOUR Pilates and the one thing you can be assured of is that you are absolutely in a safe and qualified pair of hands, whether its the first or one-hundredth time you’ve used one of our state of the art reformer beds. 

Pilates Instructor Certification

There are two types of Pilates certification (although numerous courses and derivatives), namely Mat Pilates or Comprehensive Pilates which covers off all the Pilates equipment. We’re primarily a Reformer Pilates studio, so our instructors may well have a Mat Pilates certification but they will also have Comprehensive training too. 

Added to that, they are professional and have many advanced level certifications as well as more specialised training dealing with rehabilitation, pre and postnatal and also sport-specific Pilates training. You might be surprised to learn just how many qualifications some of your instructors actually have under their very tight and toned belt! 

Pilates matt class taught by a Pilates Instructor

Why Don’t You Let Our Instructors Put You Through Your Paces?

Whether you are keen to try out Pilates for yourself purely as a form of self-practice, or you are interested in checking out what our Instructors have to offer to see whether this is a career path you’d also like to follow, we’d love to see you at one of our CONTOUR Pilates studios here in Essex. You can check out our latest studio TIMETABLE as well as accessing this month’s special OFFERS. 



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

When it comes to Pilates, there’s one piece of equipment that is truly iconic.

WE CALL IT THE REFORMER

The L sit position. being performed on the Reformer. Pilates is used by athletes to improve flexibility and body fitness and by chiropractors for patient recovery.

On first impression, it can look quite imposing, daunting even. Those of you who are currently uninitiated to the world of Pilates may even think that it resembles something more likely to be found in a medieval torture chamber! Give it a go though and you will be hooked, not to mention stretched. You certainly won’t need to be tortured into coming back for more! 

This isn’t a Rack! It’s a Reformer and it Rocks!

Not only does the reformer look dramatic but the benefits and positive changes it will have on your body are equally as impressive. It’s a wonderful piece of fitness equipment. It’s fully adjustable for all ages, body shapes, sizes and levels of physical ability. 

If you’re yet to try out one of our state of the art reformer machines in either of our two Essex Pilates studios, you are in for a real treat! What’s not to love about longer, leaner, more sculpted muscles? 

Using the foot bar on the Reformer to perform pilates standing lunges to strengthen, tone and tighten those legs.

So Just What is Pilates Reformer?

The reformer was invented by the founding Father of Pilates, Joseph Pilates. We very much have him to thank for this remarkable invention. Depending upon which studio you practise Pilates at, you will see different branded machines. 

While they may have some distinguishing features, reformers have many similarities. They comprise of a bed like frame, upon which lies a flat platform (referred to as the carriage). A series of springs are attached to the carriage. The combination of coloured springs provides varying levels of resistance. This makes the exercises undertaken more or less challenging. Sometimes less really is more as you will discover. Planking on a yellow comes to mind!

There’s Always Progression and Regression Available in a Pilates Reformer Class.

The carriage itself has shoulder pads that align your shoulders and thus the top half of your body. They also prevent you from slipping off the platform as the carriage is pushed and pulled along the stationary frame. 

Reformers also feature an adjustable bar, which is called the foot bar. However, this is used to position both hands and feet. There are also two long straps attached to the top of the frame which have detachable arm and leg loops at the end. We’re yet to find anyone who doesn’t look forward to “legs in straps.”

It’s a favourite exercise with all our studio regulars. Everyone loves a good hip opener!

Woman on a reformer bed doing hip opening pilates yoga exercises using legs in straps a firm client favourite

How is the Reformer Used?

The reformer is incredibly versatile. It can be used to replace many of the traditional and much bulkier pieces of targeted equipment you’d find in a regular gym. With just the one machine, you can carry out a diverse range of exercises that increase strength, promote flexibility, and seriously improves your balance. 

Most of the exercises done in Pilates involve pushing, pulling, or holding the carriage steady, which in itself can be incredibly challenging. Just imagine how many fitness stations you’d need to incorporate to get such a comprehensive, full-body workout at the gym? Not to mention all the time taken up standing around, waiting for the next piece of equipment to become available?

Mermaid stretch performed on the Reformer in a Pilates class.

With the reformer, you can do exercises standing, seated, lying down, perched on top of the foot bar, with your legs or arms in straps, upside down and even facing sideways. Basically, you can dynamically train your entire body with just this one piece of sleek equipment. Pilates reformer workouts offer something for everyone at every stage of their fitness journey, regardless of their age or current level of ability. 

What are the Benefits of Reformer Pilates?

We’ve already mentioned strength, flexibility, balance and yes, coordination. 

You’ll also notice you have better posture, a more fluid range of movement, plus enjoy relief from pain that’s frequently attributed to physical imbalances, including back pain. That’s before we even get you started on the improvements you’ll notice to the powerhouse of your body, the core. 

There is nothing quite like Pilates when it comes to creating flat abs, toned thighs, firm derrières and strong, healthy backs. 

Add to that the instability created by a moving carriage, along with varying levels of resistance achieved through combining the coloured springs together and you have the ultimate, most versatile, universal piece of fitness equipment.  

If that’s not yet convinced you of the power of reformer Pilates, then nothing will! 

How Do I Learn Reformer Pilates?

We’re glad you asked!

Without a shadow of a doubt, the best way to learn Pilates reformer is to come to a class or book yourself in for a private session with a qualified Pilates instructor. At Contour Pilates studios in Essex, we offer a wide range of diverse classes, suitable for beginners through to advanced practitioners. With Dynamic, Cardio and unique Jump board classes just part of our schedule, there really is something for everyone. 

Go ahead and check out our schedule HERE and if you’ve never visited our studio before, why not take advantage of our INTRODUCTORY OFFER?

2 classes for just £20. 

Click HERE now to discover your best body ever. 

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