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.


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


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.

There is generally very little equipment involved with Pilates so the only real purchasing concern are the clothes worn during your workout. Naturally if you’re a Pilates newbie you’re probably not quite sure what to expect and you definitely aren’t sure about what to wear, so we thought we’d give you a helping hand to eliminate any uncertainty before you walk into the studio!

DO wear form-fitting clothing

Pilates involves stretching, bending, twisting and floor work that is hard to master without comfortable clothing, however we do advise that workout clothes are form-fitting and unrestrictive. Even if you typically prefer loose-fitting workout wear, you’re going to want to wear body-hugging options so your instructor can see your movements clearly and your clothes don’t get caught in springs, other equipment or end up flying over your head!

DO wear a good sports bra

A good sports bra is something that’s often overlooked for lower impact activities such as yoga or Pilates, but as with all other sports your bra should be carefully considered. All Pilates clothing it must be comfortable and non-restricting and the same goes for your bra. A soft and seamless fabric is important in order to avoid any uncomfortable rubbing on the skin and depending on how rigorous your practice, you might want to look for something with sweat-wicking and odour-resistant properties too – especially if you’re taking a more intense class.

DON’T wear shoes

The fabulous thing about Pilates is that it’s typically done barefoot, so no need to worry about purchasing expensive top-of-the-range trainers. Instead, either go bare foot or opt for a pair of non-slip Pilates socks to help with traction. A good pair of leggings will elevate your workout by helping you to stay in static positions for longer and support you as you transition from one move to the next without slipping and falling.

DON’T wear see-through bottoms!

The difference between a cheap pair and a more expensive pair of leggings is usually in the thickness and quality of the fabric. Even though cheaper outfits can often be comfortable, the fabric they are made out of is often too thin. While they can be great for lounging around the house they can sometimes be see-through during your Pilates session, something that is this is particularly true of the form-fitting styles.

We particulary love the Supersoft Yoga Leggings from independent activewear wear brand Ilu. They are seamlessly engineered, they have a high-rise waistband to hold you in and best of all, they look great too! So if you don’t want your underwear on show whilst you’re doing scissor kicks, we highly recommend that you invest in a good quality pair of leggings.

As Joseph Pilates once said, ‘physical fitness can not be achieved by wishful thinking, or outright purchase.’ It takes discipline. It takes time. If you take the time your mind and body will thank you for it.

The fitness industry is constantly changing. It is hard to stay disciplined, when there are so many things that you need to prioritise and do. You are filled with questions. What should I do to tone? How can I lose so many pounds? How many times do I need to do it to see results?

All these questions are hard to answer. They are a burden, and sometimes it takes time to find the answer. Time we do not believe we have. But discipline is what we need to help us find the answer to them.

We are motivated by certain periods of time. New Year, summer is coming, fit into that black dress for Christmas time. This time of year the days are getting longer, but the nights and mornings are still cold so the motivation is not quite there. We feel guilty, and that does not feel good, but the couch looks so cosy and warm.

If you take small steps, your motivation will build quickly. Do not necessarily look at the end goal, look at the change you want to make in a months time. But motivation does not endure. It does not lead to sustained success. Discipline will endure if you embrace it. Make discipline your friend. A friend you want to spend time with.You enjoy seeing them and want to see more of them. They will commend you when you have done well. They will be there in all weathers, dark nights and cold mornings.

It is important to embrace the uncomfortable feelings and pain that come with being disciplined. But it will get you to a better place were you are can move and live well. Feel the fear that comes when you look at the machine, or hill you have got to climb. And then go up, or get on, and focus on your disciplined self.

Enjoy watching those people that run in the pouring rain, or hike up the stairs instead of taking the lift. Start looking at yourself as that person and feel pride when you do so. Start embracing that friend that is discipline. Soon after, you will find that you are consistently getting up, even though it is raining, and going for a run, or going to the studio.

Work now for what you want to tomorrow.

To find out more about our classes please go to – www.contourpilatesstudio.co.uk

We are now waking up to the sun and the evenings are getting longer. Summer is just around the corner. And it is a time that many of us tend to spend lounging in swimwear, shorts and t-shirts. It also makes many of us aware of what we have been hiding in our jeans and tights. We all know how a gym workout can help you tone your body. But how can our classes help you stride out into the sun with confidence.

The barre is used as a prop to balance while doing exercises that focus on isometric strength training (holding your body still while you contract a specific set of muscles) combined with micro movements, which work your deep stabilising muscles. Also, don’t be surprised if your class incorporates weights, soft balls and circles so you can show off your arms, as well as your legs this summer. The instructors are constantly changing the workout to keep you focussed. You may will be surprised how hard you work.

The summer look is longer and leaner muscles.

Cardio jump reformer (just in Brentwood)
It is a high intensity, fun workout combined with strength training. Its main purpose is to get your heart beating harder and it’s a great choice if you want to tone up your legs, bum and stomach particularly for this summer. You will use the reformer in the same way as before, but with an added extra; at the base of the machine, where your feet go, we’ll add a ‘jumpboard’ converting your reformer into a horizontal spring board! It is on a low resistance spring, so that is how you bounce, but you control that movement using your core. It’s fun, it’s fast and burns more calories and for a moment you may well feel like a child again.

The summer look is a flatter stomach and strong glutes.

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

The difference between mat and reformer is the use of the machine itself. The reformer helps your body achieve the right position and by switching around the springs, we target large or small groups of muscles to strengthen or mobilise. The spring and pulley systems also mean that the reformer machines offer an increased variety of exercises in comparison to the mat. The straps also mean you get a whole body workout in just 55 minutes as you work multiple groups at the same time.

The summer look is a toned body and long term body insurance because it works deep stabilising muscles that join your joints together

Cardio power reformer
Our most challenging workout. It is fast paced. You are off as much as you are on the machine. And you are consistently using small equipment. You can up the amount of weight if you want to bulk up for summer.

The summer look is fat loss, all over toning, and it builds bulk.

To find out more about our pricing options for Brentwood go HERE and for Loughton go HERE

Reformer Pilates Class Image

Pilates has long been recognized as one of the best movement systems for improving core strength and stability, but it’s also one of the most effective methods for toning and sculpting the abs, hips, waist, and thighs. With summer just around the corner, there’s no better time to incorporate reformer Pilates into your routine because remember, summer bodies are made in winter!

The real beauty of reformer Pilates is that it’s not restricted to specific body parts, in fact it’s a phenomenal workout for your entire body. Yes, Pilates moves focus on your core and trunk, but that doesn’t just mean your abs. It’s important to know that the core includes your entire trunk, which is the abdominals, the hips, the inner and outer thighs, and the back – so expect an all over workout.

As some of you will already know our workout requires you to work against resistance that can be adjusted using the springs on the reformer. Training with resistance builds strength, and although it often doesn’t look like it’s burning a ton of calories or breaking a sweat, the long-term benefits of greater lean muscle mass are great, including an increased metabolism.

Perhaps more important than the physical benefits, the magic of Reformer Pilates runs so much deeper than a flat tummy. Beyond your toned physique your body will be transformed from the inside out. You’ll not only notice the difference in how your body looks and moves, the calming power of reformer Pilates is immense enough to help clear your mind, leaving you de-stressed, relaxed and fresh for summer.

This month at Contour we will be turning 3! To celebrate with all our loyal customers we are offering an exclusive promotion for March by offering 50% of extra classes booked. If you have been attending Contour between 6 and 17 months you can redeem 1 class at 50%, if you have been attending between 18 and 29 months you can redeem 2 classes at 50% and if you have been attending between 30 and 36 months you can redeem 3 classes at 50%. If you’d like to take advance of this offer and kick start your summer body please email amy@reformerpilatesbrentwood.co.uk.

Lost your Pilates mojo?

February 13, 2019

So the year is flying by and you’ve just realized you haven’t worked out in weeks. It happens, we get it – but thought it might be worthwhile reminding you just what you’re missing out on and why the benefits of reformer Pilates are just so fantastic!

The Ultimate Stress Buster!

Pilates of all styles can be incredibly powerful in providing a place for the mind and body to relax, rejuvenate and release tension. It provides a space for the mind to focus on the present moment and leave all of your worries at the door. The Pilates core principle of breathing oxygenates the blood which in turn triggers the brain to calm down. It creates a physiological response in the body that naturally decreases our stress and anxiety. So not only can you feel the exercises working, but you feel great afterwards too!

Perfect Posture

Reformer Pilates Class Image

Whether you’re an athlete or an office worker, Reformer Pilates works wonders to develop strength and correct posture in the key areas of the hips and lower back, and the upper back and neck, helping to counteract the effects of slouching. By activating muscles in isolation and then progressively working them in more compound and dynamic functional movements, we can significantly improve your dynamic stability – the ability of the body to hold itself in better alignment for longer, maintaining upright posture and stability.

Build Overall Strength

Reformer Pilates accommodates a full-range of motion, which is perfect for increasing flexibility while building strength too. It seems to invite the length you want to create in the body, and it trains the body to sustain that length. Pushing and pulling with legs or arms against the resistance of the springs, carriage, and body weight is strength building. All of our exercises provide enough resistance and movement variety to help build strong muscles and bones, in a low impact way.

So what are you waiting for? There’s a space in our studio with your name on it, and we hope to see you here full of motivation like it’s New Year’s Day. Go get ‘em!


Sign Up to Receive Studio Updates, Offers & New Timetables