Back to Subscribe to InStyle magazine Subscribe to InStyle newsletter See inside the latest issue

Lean Machine: Week 3

InStyle’s Beauty Editor, Malena Harbers, gets a lesson in power pilates, bootcamp-style…

It’s week number three and I feel like I’m back at week one (You can read about my experience with pilates so far here: Thanks to a crazy work and personal schedule I ended up taking a week off of Bootcamp pilates and man do I feel my first class back on the reformer! Here’s how I get through the workouts:

Seventh class: After skipping out on a third class during week number two I stick by my vow to make it up with a morning class. When 6am rolls around I’m not as keen with my decision and almost bail. It’s only after hitting snooze twice and my boyfriend’s crass comment on my lack of morning vigor that I force myself out of bed, determined to prove him wrong. The instructor, Lee Smith, makes sure we’re constantly moving. No rest for the sleepy students in this class! He begins with a standard Pilates series that I remember from my days of doing Stott Pilates: a set of three separate foot positions, pushing off the foot bar while lying on our backs on the carriage. He continues with exercises that have a strong focus on our core. Case in point: we set up a box beside our reformer and with one hand on each (the box and the reformer) we do a plank while holding one leg in midair (the other is pushing backwards against the carriage shoulder rest). If that wasn’t tough enough we add in a push up while planking. Ouch! Once I complete the class I feel strangely elated and decide to try more morning classes.

Eighth class: The day before this class I run for the first time in two months. I’ve been putting off running because lately I end up in so much muscle and hip pain post-run that the physical gain is simply not worth it. But, during this 7km trek I’m able to run the full length without so much as a twinge in my calf let alone having to stop from the pain in my hip. This hasn’t happened in five months –what a breakthrough! To boot, when stretching I find that I am much more flexible and relaxed. I’m adamant that it’s thanks to the effects of pilates. During the class, my instructor, Sam Village puts us through our paces. I breeze through the first few exercises with ease. I feel like a pro; I’ve progressed since day one. But, by the time we do our shoulder swings and tricep pulls I’m back to sweating like it’s my first class. This slow but steady muscle burn is why I feel like I’ve been steamrolled the next day.

Ninth class: Today I try a jump board class. The jump board is exactly as it sounds: a padded board that replaces the foot bar at the end of the reformer machine that you use to jump off of. It’s a great way to add non-weight bearing cardio into a pilates routine (and apparently burn loads of calories!). How it works? You push off the foot bar with enough force to suspend yourself horizontally while lying on your back on the carriage. The carriage moves along with you but you have to be quick to get your foot movements in (such as a star jump or scissor kick) before you land back onto the board. Think of it as a trampoline without the jarring knee burn. Our trainer, Jessica Johnson, peppers six-minute spurts of intense jumping into a regular bootcamp pilates class. Each time I jump off of the board I can feel my abs working as the movement activates your core muscles to keep you in place while you’re suspended in the air. My favourite position is ‘skiing’ – landing with your feet together at an angle, moving from side to side on the board as if you’re skiing moguls. Six minutes may not seem like a tough go but when you’re constantly jumping it’s definitely intense and gets your heart pumping, quickly. At the end of every six-minute session I’m relieved for the rest period of a non-jumping exercise. I even start to enjoy them. Jessica has us hold a 3kg dumbbell between the crook of our knee while pulsing our leg up and down – a great workout for you bottom!

Stay tuned for next week’s update from Bootcamp…

New to bootcamp pilates? Get two classes for £12. If you’re keen to keep going, get an additional 20% off all pilates packages. Simply quote InStyle when calling the studio.

There are no comments yet, add one below.

Leave a Comment