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

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

Signs you are in an exercise rut:

1. You are lacking motivation

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

2. You are making excuses not to exercise

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

3. You get busy

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

4. The same muscles are always sore

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

5. You are not seeing improvement

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

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

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

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

September is the new January

September 19, 2018

Make September your new January

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

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

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

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

 

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

Sit like a baby

June 12, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking after your skin

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

 

Looking after your fitness

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

 

Looking after your locks

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

Tummy tastic

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

 

Don’t forget your feet!

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

 

Show off all the hard work

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

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

 

Summer swaps

May 22, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amy’s utterly nutterly cocoa energy balls

Ingredients:

125g Soft dates

100g Chopped almonds

75g Rolled oats

2tsp Nut butter (almond or peanut work well)

1tbsp Cocoa powder

To coat:

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

Method:

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Why Pilates is great

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Three breakfasts to boost your summer fitness programme

 We are regularly told how breakfast is THE most important meal of the day, the one we really shouldn’t skip. But sometimes I feel bored by breakfast. I don’t fancy another bowl of cereal or I am simply running a bit late and I don’t make time for it. Making sure my two kids are both fed and watered before we leave the house is always my priority and somehow along the way my own breakfast gets forgotten. A quick piece of toast or left overs from children’s plates, sound familiar?

But I know this is no way to start my day, and in working towards the summer body I want, I am determined to start making breakfast part of my everyday. Without it I’m more likely to snack unhealthily and if I head straight to a class, I don’t feel I have the energy to exercise to my potential and I know my body doesn’t have what it needs to recover afterwards. Breakfast provides us with the energy to start our day in a better way, it jumpstarts your metabolism and lets your body know that the calories will be coming regularly throughout the day so there is no need to start conserving stores.

In an effort to make breakfast more exciting and help us all get set up for the day, I am sharing with you three tasty and nutritious breakfast options. These are healthy breakfasts which I want to get up for, or ones I have no excuse not to eat as I can prepare them the night before. They’ll give you the energy to start the day well, whether you are heading straight to your Pilates class, or out to work or have an energetic day ahead with the kids. I hope these three recipes bring some variety and excitement to your breakfast times!

Overnight Oats

A super quick, nutritious breakfast which can be prepared five minutes before you go to bed. Just pop it in the fridge and it will be ready and waiting for you in the morning. It also travels really well just in case you need to eat on the go, at your desk or on your way to the studio!

1 mug of oats

100 mls of milk

I mashed up banana

½ tsp of ground cinnamon

2 tsp of maple syrup

1 tsp of chopped hazelnuts

Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl, add the mashed banana, maple syrup and milk and mix with a spoon. Place in an airtight container or cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge. In the morning you can add anything extra you like. Things I enjoy are raisins, goji berries, chai seeds or coconut shavings.

Breakfast Smoothie

A smoothie is one of my favourite ways to start the day and I love packing them full of fresh fruit and veg. The recipe below is just a guide, and one that I like, but you can experiment with your own flavours and mixes. However you mix them, smoothies are super healthy and take less than 5 minutes to make.

Two handfuls of fresh spinach leaves

2 handfuls of blueberries (frozen or fresh)

2 teaspoons of nut butter

Half fill with almond milk (or milk of your choice)

Top up with water

Handful of ice

2 teaspoons of chai seeds

Place all the ingredients, except the chia seeds in a blender and blend. Pour the smoothie into a glass and sprinkle the chia seeds on top just before you drink it.

Power Porridge

And if you don’t fancy any of these, how about some of my favourite porridge toppings? There’s always a way to make your porridge taste even better!

Sliced fresh or dried apple, a few raisins, and a teaspoon of cinnamon.

Bananas, dried dates and chopped hazelnuts.

Fresh or frozen mixed berries, coconut shavings, chia seeds and a drizzle of honey.

If you have any favourite breakfasts, we would love to hear them! Come inspire us with healthy new ideas, share them in the comments below or share them with us on social media, we are excited to see what gets you going in the morning!

Unlimited classes available starting for 4 weeks in May. To find out more go HERE

Are you joining us on our countdown to summer? At CONOUR we are already excited about the summer holidays. It may seem a little early to be talking about it already, the sun has only just come out after our horrendous winter. But in terms of fitness and exercise plans, now is exactly the right time to be thinking about the summer body you want.

Maybe you’ve already started your summer exercise programme, maybe you are just thinking about getting going, wherever you are with your plans we are here to help. The benefits of having an exercise plan and a goal are immense. A plan can make you accountable and having a schedule in place helps exercise to become a habit, and when it’s a habit your kit is ready, your class is booked and you are much more likely to complete it!

But what happens when life gets in the way and your plans seem to go awry? A few weeks into your summer plan you may get ill, you might have to go away or things could unexpectedly start to ramp up at work, all of which could push your exercise programme onto the back burner. Once you start to fall behind where you want to be, it’s very easy to start feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

We are here to help you through these weeks, when life takes over, when things don’t go to plan and you feel like giving up. The main thing is not to worry! Most studies show that after taking as many as seven days off, there is very little reduction in fitness. Even after two weeks the losses can be minimal. A few short, low intensity sessions when you feel up to it will get you back to where you were.

How to get through setbacks

Illness strikes

Whether you have come down with something, or your kids are sick and you have been up all night, your body will need a break. This may be a reduction in intensity of exercise or stopping completely for a few days. Look after your body and listen to what it is telling you. Trying to push on with exercise can make your recovery time longer, especially if you have a temperature. A good rule of thumb is to stop exercise completely if your symptoms are ‘below the neck’ for example muscle soreness, a chesty cough or a stomach upset, whereas if your symptoms are ‘above the neck’ such as a sore throat or blocked nose you may be ok to do some light exercise. But it’s always best to check with your GP if you are in any doubt.

Unexpected Travel

Travelling can throw any well thought out training plan up in the air. The main thing is not to panic. There may be options to work out where you are going, you may be able to sneak in a few unexpected exercise sessions if you are lucky. Have a look at our Pilates mat exercises HERE which can be undertaken wherever you are and can help maintain body strength and tone when you can’t make it to the studio. Don’t try to build on your training as you will put unnecessary pressure on yourself, just focus on maintaining fitness whilst you are away. If mat Pilates is not possible, remember a simple walk or a light jog can really help maintain fitness and it’s a great way to explore new places!

80:20 rule, be good most of the time…

The sun comes out and the weekend has brought unexpected ice-cream, treats and perhaps a boozy picnic or BBQ. You’ve had a great weekend, but it’s not been ideal for your training plan. But when a weekend like this comes along, just learn to embrace it. Soak up the sunshine, enjoy treats with friends and get back to work next week. I find the 80:20 rule works for me, I try to stick to my exercise plans

80% of the time and allow flexibility for the rest of the week. If that means relaxing with friends in the sunshine then that’s ok, as I know I’ll stick to my routine for the rest of the week. Having flexibility rather than a very rigid summer exercise plan, means you will be much more likely to achieve your goals.

For the weeks when you are flying through training, things will be great and your summer goals will be getting closer. But we wanted you to be prepared for the weeks where things may not go to plan. If you are struggling or losing motivation at any point, come down to the studio and have a chat! We have some great summer offers to get you back on track but most of all we are always here to offer friendly encouragement. Come say hi, have a chat to one of our instructors or try a new class. It’s easier together and at CONTOUR we really want to help you achieve your summer goals.

Try an UNLIMITED amount of classes for 4 weeks starting in May HERE

Alternative carbs for that summer body

Now is the perfect time to start thinking about how you want to feel when summer comes. It may seem like summer has started this week and thank goodness! But with around three months to go before the summer holidays officially start, it’s a realistic amount of time to make some real changes and get a strong and healthy summer body.

Toning up is not just about the exercise we do, it’s also about our diet. Food and exercise go hand in hand, and this week in our summer blog series, we have some simple ideas to help you with your holiday diet. If you are thinking of increasing your exercise regime in the run up to the holidays, it’s important to consider your eating habits and make sure you are fuelling right.

Carbs or no carbs?

A question that often comes up, is Carbs or no Carbs? Is cutting them out of your diet the way to get that perfect summer body? Or are they essential as part of an active lifestyle?

For me as an avid fan of exercise, I come down in favour of maintaining carbohydrate in my diet, without it I lack the energy for exercising.  Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet, your body uses carbohydrate to make glycogen which is stored in your muscles, and during exercise it provides your body with the energy it needs.

But not all carbohydrates are created equal! More traditional sources of carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta and white rice are highly refined and as such have low nutritional values. They often release energy quickly and cause a spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a slump.

To sustain exercise over longer periods and be generally healthier, it is much better to look for slower energy releasing carbs. Recently I have found some interesting alternatives to the highly processed ‘white’ carbohydrates and I wanted to share these more nutritious carb sources with you. You can still make all your favourite recipes, but here are some simple substitutions to make your dinner a healthier one!

Alternatives to traditional carbs

Lentil Spaghetti is one of my new favourites and has been an interesting alternative to white spaghetti. It is very flexible in how it can be used, it’s high in protein and can be used in dishes such as bolognaise or carbonara. If you try this, make sure you choose one without added cornflour as that simply provides empty calories. You can buy lentil pasta at Holland and Barrett.

Brown rice pasta is a delicious alternative to white pasta and is also a good source of protein.  It is available in most major supermarkets, I’ve found it in Tesco, Sainsburys and Waitrose, but I’m sure there are others too!

Another great alternative is quinoa pasta, it has a nice texture and it has more protein in than most of the other options so it’s great for muscle repair and recovery. Spelt pasta and whole wheat pasta are also worth trying and both are rich in fibre.

I love the choice of alternatives to white rice that are currently on offer at a lot of supermarkets, I have just recently discovered sweet potato rice which has been a big hit in my house, it tastes great with a vegetable tagine!

I have started making my own bread too, which far from being the difficult process I had envisioned, it’s actually pretty fun and takes less than 10 minutes in the evening to prepare. We chuck all the ingredients in our new breadmaking machine and have a lovely fresh loaf in the morning. No more processed supermarket bread. Our loaves tend to last around 3 days, so I only need to make it twice a week. I never thought I would have time to make bread, but it is so quick and is worth it if you are looking for a less processed bread that will sustain energy over a longer period.

The great news is there are so many nutritious products on offer at the shops and supermarkets, and it’s often exciting to try out new alternatives. For me, I’ll be keeping carbohydrate in my diet in the run up to my summer exercise goals, I’ll just be finding more nutritious options. Have you got a favourite alternative to more traditional sources of carbs? Do you have a favourite recipe to share with us? We would love to hear from you, just comment below or send us a link to one of your go to alternative carb recipes.

Try UNLIMITED classes for 4 weeks starting in May – HERE  

Or email amy@reformerpilatesbrentwood.co.uk if you have any questions

Finally, the sun came out this weekend! We were able to ditch our winter coats, stay out all day with the little ones and even have our first BBQ of the season. It was beautiful, and I finally started to believe that there may be some good weather on the way.

And with the temperature set to get even warmer this week, what better time to start thinking about the summer? With three months to go before the start of the summer holidays (how did that happen already?) are you ready to start working on getting stronger and healthier for the holidays?

At CONTOUR we are ready to help you with your summer fitness plans. Whether you want to get in shape for a holiday, tone and strengthen your body or simply feel better and move better and be more active, we can help you. Over the next few weeks we will be launching our incredible summer offers, with discounted classes and savings on monthly passes for new customers. This is the perfect opportunity to be the best ‘you’ you can this summer.

Pilates is one of the best forms of exercise to strengthen up and improve general health and wellbeing. As Joseph Pilates himself said, in 10 sessions you’ll feel better, in 20 sessions you’ll look better, and after 30 sessions you’ll have a completely new body.

Starting now means you’ll have plenty of time to be fit and feel incredible for the months ahead. Unlike many ‘beach body’ and ‘summer-ready’ promises we know these types of changes do not happen overnight. Three months is a healthy period of time in which to make effective changes and see real results, and a little forward planning can really help you set goals and achieve what you want to.

In line with our exciting new offers we will also be running a mini blog series to fire up your enthusiasm and give you all sorts of ideas and hacks to live an all-round healthier lifestyle in the build up to summer. We are here to help you develop healthier habits and support you to achieve your health and fitness goals.
Come join us at CONTOUR, celebrate the sun coming out and take the opportunity to decide what body you want to have this summer.

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