When it comes to yoga, I’m lucky enough to have a local teacher who is brilliant and teaches a class very close to me – but if you don’t live near a teacher or you want to take multiple classes in a week and the cost is starting to mount up, how can you practice at home? I’ve got a few resources I want to share with you!
Pilates has definitely been a buzz-word since the Royal wedding, when Pippa Middleton’s famous bum was said to be a result of following this exercise plan. It’s one of those regimes that I’ve been aware of for ages, but never really investigated. I know that it’s something like yoga, was invented by a guy called Pilates, and there’s also some vague notions of it being to do with the war, or soldiers, or something like that. It was always filed in my brain under the heading ‘something to look into at some point’. When I got a press release about the launch of Inch Loss Pilates with Lynne Robinson last month, it became apparent that ‘at some point’ had arrived.
This isn’t going to be a proper review of the DVD yet, as after a viewing today I realised that there was a whole post to be written just about my initial observations of the programme, before I’d even tried it out. For the record, I intend to give this a proper trial during January, so keep posted on that!
First of all, Lynne Robinson is something of a Pilates guru – I guess that’s stealing a word from yoga, but hey… It’s nearly Christmas, so I’ll say it was a present. The Times has dubbed her ‘The Queen of Pilates’, and her prolific output on the subject certainly goes some way to proving that. She’s worked with numerous celebs like Sophie Dahl, Holly Willoughby, Liz Hurley – and even the Chelsea football team and England Cricket. Those latter two should help convince you that Pilates isn’t just airy fairy stuff – this is proper, physical work.
However, in the introduction video, Lynne points out that this isn’t a hugely calorie burning endeavour. I guess that’s what had steered me away from exercises like this and yoga over the years. I love high impact cardio workouts – basically pretty much anything that Jillian Michaels has released on DVD. This is the polar opposite to that, really. Whilst Jillian’s 30 Day Shred will have you screaming and pushing your body to its physical limit, Pilates is about really centring yourself, connecting your mind and body together, and sculpting your form through deliberate and mindful movements.
My ears really pricked up when Lynne mentioned that Pilates is really what helped her with her pear-shape – I never realised until I lost a lot of weight for my wedding which shape I was, because when I looked in the mirror, frankly, all I saw was a blob. Since then my self-esteem and exercise regime has allowed me to see my body properly, and the difficulties I’ve had losing weight from my bum and thighs has made it obvious – like many British women, I am in fact a pear-shape. So, I guess I’m the perfect candidate to test Lynne’s theory that Pilates can help with that. She recommends that you do about three hours of Pilates a week – on average, I guess, 30 minutes a day with one day off (that was MENTAL MATHS!). She also suggests you get in some cardio for your overall health, and add in incidental exercise like walking. Of course, you need to watch your diet, as well.
The DVD has four sections, an introduction, a section entitled Fundamentals 1, then two workouts. Workout one is for a top-to-toe exercising, and workout two is shorter, and more targeted to problem areas. This is not an exercise DVD you can pop in and get started on right away – you need to watch the Fundamentals section first (which is around 27 minutes long), so you can understand more about Pilates, what it tries to achieve, and how to do the poses. You also need some equipment – but nothing you might not have lying around the house already, particularly if you’ve done some home exercising before. You’ll need a flat cushion or folded towel for your head, a fatter cushion to hold between your legs and the like, a chair, a stretch band or long scarf, hand weights (no more than 3 kilos) and ankle weights (no more than 1 kilo).
I’ll be challenging myself to do three hours of this DVD every week during January. Why not join me? You can purchase Inch Loss Pilates from www.bodycontrolpilates.com or www.amazon.co.uk – RRP £14.99, due out 31 December. You can also download a digital version for £9.99.
This post is based on a complimentary product supplied to me for the purposes of review in this blog.