If you’re looking for something to snap you out of your exercise (or lack of) rut, then I can highly recommend Bootcamp Pilates. This is a no-nonsense approach to a workout – trust me when I say that your legs, your arms, your core, your everything will burn! (In a good way, of course!)
Bootcamp Pilates is the perfect mix between free weight training, resistance training and pilates. The workout is performed on a pilates reformer bed, which if you haven’t seen one before, involves a flat moving platform (the carriage) and straps connected to springs of various resistances and a foot bar at the end.
Dynamic Reformer Pilates, a revolutionary workout introduced to the UK from the US, involves the pushing and pulling of the carriage with the assistance of the straps against the pull of the springs' resistance. Bootcamp Pilates combines these exercises as well as light weight repetitions to build strength, define muscles and burn fat.
The most notable benefit of the pushing and pulling motions against the resistance of the springs and carriage is eccentric muscle contractions, which is when a muscle lengthens as it resists force. This helps strengthen and lengthen muscles.
Reformer Pilates includes all the benefits of normal pilates including improved balance, coordination, strength and flexibility. On top of this, Bootcamp Pilates involves the use of light free held weights for some exercises, which gives an extra boost to the strengthening benefits of the pilates practice.
The studio only takes 10 people so you get the attention that you need and you're not peering over another 25 heads trying to see the instructor. Our instructor, Martina, was incredibly attentive, patrolling the room with eyes on everyone and not allowing a single limb to move out of place without correction and assistance. Whether you’re struggling to control your core through the movement (or taking a cheeky break to catch your breath), she was there in a flash helping the class keep up those reps.
Our workout consisted of various core strengthening exercises, push-ups using the foot bar, lunges and squats using the resistance of the springs to intensify the movements and some free weight arm exercises. The weights aren’t very big (1-2 kg) but trust me, combined with the pushing and pulling against the springs, this is harder than it first seems!
There are six Bootcamp Pilates studios and I attended the Fullham studio, which is located just 5 minutes from Putney Bridge tube station on the Fulham High Street. There are different classes ranging from beginners to standard classes, 45 minute express classes, cardio pilates and there is even a Mums and Babies class. Apparently, the babies just love it and often fall asleep whilst the mummies workout.
The staff at the studio were extremely friendly and I got the impression that this is a very personable environment, where clients and staff know each other by name and encourage each other to live a healthy lifestyle.
To the left, as you walk into the Fullham studio, there is a health café where smoothies can be pre-ordered and waiting for you once your class has finished. The café also sells organic ready-made food, organic protein powder and healthy snacks, so not only is it the perfect pre or post workout catch up venue, it's also great to pop into on your way back home from work and pick up some dinner ingredients.
Give them a look at www.bootcamppilates.com!
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