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Lean Machine: Week 5

Staying strong at Bootcamp Pilates (this is not me!)

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

This entry marks my fifth week of braving Bootcamp pilates. Only one week to go and I’ve officially completed my six-week challenge! You can read all about my weekly trials here: I am feeling stronger and much more flexible than I did at week one or week three for that matter. Even my posture has improved significantly – no more slouching over my keyboard as I troll through (on my lunch break only, natch!). To celebrate a job well done as well as surviving five solid weeks of stretching, crunching and bicep-curling my way to a new, lean bod, I decide that I deserve a new kit to see me through my last two weeks. My pick? Wellicious’ eco-friendly New York Jumper and Stay Down Leggings ( both available from – seriously comfy, and seriously stylish to boot. The key bit for me is the stirrup-style bottoms of the leggings. It stops them from riding up while moving positions (especially during leg circles and kickbacks), plus, it adds grip when using the ropes as pulleys attached to your feet. Here’s how my new stylishly-clad week goes:

Thirteenth class: Our instructor, Lee Smith, takes us through the movements and I whiz through each one using all the intermediate to advanced spring settings that he suggests. I am elated that I can finally do most exercises on these advanced settings. But, I’m no pro yet – I’m sweating and thoroughly exhausted at the end of the class. The hardest part? A set of open arm flys and a straight-arm pull-type exercise – they have me groaning in pain. Clearly, I’m still super weak when it comes to my back muscles.

Fourteenth class: This class marks two firsts. One: Pre-class I size myself up in the mirror to observe that my stomach is flatter than I’ve ever seen it (and this is after the Byron chicken burger I scarfed down for lunch). Two: It’s my first afternoon Bootcamp Pilates class. Vicky Hilton, our instructor, proves a tough teacher coaching us through loads of exercises that test our flexibility, our balance and our willpower all at once. Note to self: the afternoon classes are as challenging as the evenings.

Fifteenth class: It’s Saturday and I peel myself out of bed after a Friday night of one too many glasses of mulled wine. I’m thankful I’ve opted for a regular class instead of the body blasting Jumpboard class that’s available an hour later. Again, I run through the class on the intermediate spring settings – even with a wine-induced foggy head. I’m proud and feeling ‘on it’ until it comes to back exercises. AGAIN! They are my biggest woe. The next day I feel like I’ve rowed the English Channel: my back muscles are stiff as a board. But, it’s a good pain and I know my traps can only get stronger the more I challenge them (or here’s hoping!)

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.

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