Having been out of the exercise circuit for a while and feeling stiff and in need of toning, I have heard that reformer pilates will help both problems. Signing up for classes at Tempo Pilates in East London, I arrived not sure quite what to expect. First impressions of the class were that the machines resemble modern methods of torture but after just a week of training I can see why there is so much hype.
A form of aerobic pilates that combines weight training, lunges and squats with stretching and posture exercises on the machines, the classes promise to strengthen, lengthen limbs, help with back issues and at the same time rapidly help you lose inches. So, with enthusiasm I hand myself over to Daniel Le Roux at Tempo Pilates, the man people rave about as the best in the industry.
Lying on the reformer for the first time is pretty intimidating but as soon as the music starts and the class gets into its stride it all seems a lot easier. With Rihanna and David Guetta mixed with Madonna, it is easy to get the heart racing and move into the resistance work while having fun. I am not going to lie, it hurts and the trainers come around to adjust positions and ensure you aren’t cheating which, although for the best, makes it even more painful. But that is why it works. After a great stretch using a variety of leg and arm ropes, I walked away feeling like I had done something towards reaching a more toned version of myself – and looking forward to the next class.
After a few days of muscle pain and a strategic massage I was feeling ready to hit my second class. This time the trainer was called Gina who, despite her looking fairly soft worked me especially hard. She had us on the reformer doing leg exercises mixed with arm weights followed by sit ups and tricep dips. When it was time for the plank I nearly collapsed but she was great at motivating me to get back up!! It was a sweatier, more painful class than the first but I liked the fact that it was varied and I hurt less the next day which is a great indication that my body is getting prepared for whatever hits it next!