I’m one of those people completely caught up in the Instagram ‘fitspiration’ revolution. I follow posters of pics of coconut protein balls and juices, stare in awe at flexible yoginis doing crow poses on the beach in their Lululemons and find myself hypnotised by the effect the simple squat can have on your arse.
Pity all I’m doing is following, staring and finding myself hypnotised – I’ve yet to, ahem, actually DO anything.
So when the opportunity came up to give Proformer Pilates a go at Pilates Plus Dublin (with ambassador Rosanna Davison – eep!) I jumped at the chance. Who better to take my cues from than model and all-round health and fitness guru Rosanna?
My history with exercise is spasmodic at best, but with a definite pattern. I try different things all the time (pole dancing/aerobics in community halls with ladies of a certain vintage/boxercise) going hell for leather for a few months to lose a bit of weight. Then, when my jeans get a bit looser, I get complacent and quit.
But I’m getting older now, and trying to get back into it each time is getting harder and harder. I’ve been unfit for so long now that I need to find a consistent form of fitness I’m going to keep up. Could Proformer Pilates be what I was looking for?
So I pulled on my brand new ‘tights’ (prior to that I exercised in scuzzy trackie bottoms because I couldn’t fathom wasting money on sportswear – how times have changed) and a sports bra and vest from Penneys (because I’m easing myself in gently obvs) and bounced out the door, a little apprehensive but excited. I even slicked on some lippy, mascara and blusher, because, well, Rosanna.
As a complete newbie to Proformer Pilates, I got a bit of a fright when I arrived in the Dun Laoghaire studio – the machines had an air of the medieval torture chamber about them, something I joked about nervously. And when Rosanna was asked how hard the class was, she responded by laughing: “The first time I did it I sat in the car afterwards with my legs shaking”.
A groan of terror moved like a Mexican wave throughout the group.
Proformer Pilates is a full body workout using resistance and stretching on the Proformer machine, all while keeping the core engaged. Developed in LA (where else?) the workout is a favourite of the Victoria’s Secrets Angels, Michelle Obama and Kimmy Kay, and can burn up to 700 calories in one session.
Not the worst credentials.
It was time. Pilates Plus owner Emma Forsyth was bubbly and encouraging, and told us to get ready to use muscles we had never used before – gulp. Lying down on the machine, I was resigned to the fact I would probably make a holy show of myself, but hey, I was making a holy show of myself for work, so what harm, right?
Saying that, I had a moment of panic when I noticed there was a photographer snapping away at the class. I’m a notoriously minging exerciser, red-faced and sweaty with an unappealing expression that generally says, “Help me” or “Make it stop”. And now it was going to be captured in HD? Christ on a mountain bike.
We started with arm exercises using the straps, and just when it got to the point I couldn’t do any more, we suddenly stopped and moved to the next exercise. Bit by bit we worked out all muscle groups slowly, smoothly and with control – but don’t get me wrong, it was intense.
The 40 minute class actually passed in no time – and I put that down to the fact we moved so quickly from exercise to exercise, so I never got too sore or too bored: two things that usually characterise how I feel when working out. Props to Emma too for being so helpful and chatty throughout.
Would I do it again? Deffo. I loved the way I didn’t have to run around like a lunatic with my boobs bouncing all over the place. I actually could LIE DOWN for most of this workout – while still busting my arse.
Yep, this could definitely be new favourite exercise.
You can find out more about Emma's Pilates Plus studio and Proformer Pilates here.