Category Archives: Motivation

A new year, new changes and a new you with The Pilates Pod

“One size does not fit all”  (Michelle, owner of The Pilates Pod)

Known originally as Contrology, Joe Pilates’ method is the art and study of control. 

Control over the mind, breath, centre (powerhouse) and the whole body to create balance and a uniformed body that is strong AND flexible all over.

We have LOTS of new exciting changes to the studio for 2018 so grab a cuppa and read on…

Pilates is a journey. Your own journey.  Joe never had “levels” in his sessions as every one works at their own level. You had your 1st five sessions as a new beginner to the studio, then you had a lifetime of individual work, journey and progress working around the studio on all the apparatus in an open studio with just Joe or Clara around to help assist and give you one more exercise to add to your routine when they felt you had earned it.

How we start here at The Pilates Pod

We don’t leave you quite as alone as Joe did. Start with the fundamentals of the studio system. In the fundamental system, you will start learning the Intro exercises, orders and transitions of Matwork and Reformer (the bread and butter of Pilates) as well as introducing you to the arm springs work, roll back bar and wall endings with hand weights.

We’ve got 2 Intro Packages for new clients  to do this. You can buy each package once. (if you are already an existing client, and you have never experienced a full studio session, you can also take advantage of each one of these packages, once.)

  • Semi Private Group (up to 4 people) 3 weeks Unlimited Studio sessions £60 (3 weeks from your 1st session) For healthy bodies, or those with general aches and weaknesses.
  • Individual Private Training:  3 x 1:1’s £120 (to use in 2 weeks from your 1st session) The recommended route for “all eyes on you”, or for anyone suffering with back disc issues, joint pain, neurological issues, or specific issues surrounding pelvic floor, c-section or abdominal separation.

Where to go after the basics?

Every BODY is different, every mind too! Some people pick things up quicker than others, some people’s body responds easier than others. It doesn’t matter! What matters is YOUR journey, your progress. It’s not a race. Pilates is about learning your orders and transitions for matwork and reformer,  as well as practicing the exercises themselves and getting it deep inside the body. If you are working through specific issues, you should stay with 1:1’s, otherwise We recommend that everyone as much as possible follows 2 -3 sessions a week, pre books them in to ensure consistency and includes:

  • Semi Private Pilates Studio Apparatus class.  With up to 4 people per session, these classes are the true Pilates experience. Using resistance from the springs and matwork combined as well as an opportunity to correct your individual needs using the whole system from barrels, spine correctors, pedi pole, toe corrector, foot corrector, magic circles on top of those exercises found in the fundamental levels. Plus it gives you a chance to be more independent than 1:1’s, for the best result.  If you have been doing 1:1’s for a while now and aren’t dealing with specific issues, maybe it’s time to switch to semi-private. If you have been doing Mat or Reformer independently, give these classes a go.
  • You can find even more of these classes for 2018: Mondays 2pm, alternate Mondays 6pm, Wednesdays 8pm,  Thursdays 10.30am & 7pm, Saturdays 12.15pm and Sundays 11am.
  • OR Private Training 1:1’s, Duets or Skype sessions.

PLUS a weekly one of these to fine tune one aspect of Pilates…

  • Matwork. Using no resistance except your own body weight, this can often feel the most challenging if the body is too tight in some areas, too weak in others, to support and perform the exercises with control, which is why the Reformer and small props helps give you this balanced body. Some small props may be used now as required. It’s really easy to learn and do at home between studio visits, but remember matwork is only 2% of the full Pilates system, so do use apparatus as often as you can!
  • You can find these classes for 2018: Mondays 9.30am, 7pm & 8pm, Tuesdays 8pm, Wednesdays 9.30am (Gentle Flow Mat) Wednesdays 7pm, Thursdays 8pm, Fridays 10.15am, Sundays 10am.
  • Barrels & Matwork. Using the small barrels and spine correctors, your body will restore its natural curves and alignment with the help and support that the curves of the barrel provide. Your Matwork & Reformer exercises will be enhanced, challenged and given support in order for you to learn and fine tune your Pilates. A perfect antidote class to modern life ill posture and tight hips/rounded shoulders.
  • You can find this class for 2018:  Fridays 12.15-1pm
  • Pilates with Small Props. A CHANGE to the old Pilates with Props circuit style class. This new class will be performed all together more like traditional matwork classes rather than a circuit, but every week will use many of the small props found in the studio, both contemporary and classical from fitballs, magic circles, poles, mini balls, rollers, hand weights, flexi-bands, toe correctors. Matwork with lots of small toys! No large apparatus will be used in this class like Reformer, Pedi Pole, Spine Correctors and barrels.
  • You can find these classes for 2018: NEW TIME Saturdays 10am, Sundays 10am.
  • Reformer Pilates. If Matwork is the butter, Reformer is the bread. These two systems that Joe created are the only ones with orders to them. Just as you would practice the finer deeper work of Matwork in a full 55 min class, this is the same but on Reformer.  The springs are what make the change to people’s bodies and create a lift in the spine; better, faster and more efficiently than matwork alone. Only 2 per class, you work at your own level and order.
  • You can find these classes for 2018: Mondays 12.45pm, Tuesdays 6pm, Thursdays 9.30am & 6pm, Fridays 6pm.
  • Jumpboard Reformer Express. The jumpboard provides a soft platform in which you jump and bounce off whilst laying down. Add an express workout for your cardio levels and fat burning for those short on time, or in perfect addition to a regular class before or after. Not suitable for pregnancy or anyone with weak core, bad backs or new.
  • You can find these classes for 2018: Wednesdays 9am and Fridays 5.30pm.

Our door is open…..

By popular request, we’re opening our studio doors to you for 2018 at special times every week in which you can come in to practice by yourself. These “Open Studio” sessions give you an opportunity to come into the studio, work with the apparatus, matwork and small props. Whether you feel like stretching, working hard, geeking out on one particularly exercise or particular piece of apparatus, it’s all up to you. An instructor will be present but this is NOT a led session. A teacher will only be present for safety not for asking questions or advice. Please do be respectful to this and to other clients present in the room for their workouts to keep noise to a minimum. This is a time for yourself to workout,  a chance to come more often, workout with others, for your own practice, your way, with our studio, our equipment. We ask that you show up on time but feel free to leave quietly whenever you like within the 55 min slot. You are responsible for your own safety, modifications and for the equipment during these times. You must only use apparatus if you know how to use it and must sign a declaration form from Michelle before attending your first session. Min 5 sessions must have been attended on mat or on apparatus before you attend.

Open Studio Matwork £7.50 – Matwork only with small props. Up to 55 mins. 6 spaces .
Times available during 2018:
Mondays 2pm. Tuesdays 6pm. Wednesdays 8pm. Thursdays 9.30am, 6pm. Fridays 3.30pm, 6pm. Saturdays 9am. Sundays 12.00
Book here.

Open Studio Apparatus £15 – All the toys big and small in the studio inc Reformer, small barrel, spine corrector, foot corrector, toe corrector, pedi pole etc. Up to 55 mins. 2 spaces 
Times available during 2018:
Mondays 8pm. Tuesdays 8pm, Wednesday 7pm,  Saturdays 10am, Sundays 9am.  Book here.

To help you with your Open Studio workouts, we’ll be running Pilates Playground workshops every month. In these workshops, we’ll be taking a close look at a couple matwork exercises, and a couple of exercises performed on one piece of apparatus. We’ll geek them out, understand them, play with them, practice them, learn how to and how not to do perform them. You can then add them into your routine when you next come to the studio, or just use them as helpful tips and tricks. We strongly suggest you attend these as often as you can, or book a 1:1 instead if you cant make it. Fee £20 for each workshop, class credits cannot be used as payment.
The next Pilates Playground will be:
Saturday 6th January 9.15am-10.10am with Michelle.  It all starts from the feet!
A look at some of the feet on the bar work taken from the Reformer and the Foot Corrector. Essential places to start for everyone to connect their “feet to the seat” as well as particular useful for those with neurological issuess, limited foot mobility and strength.  Book here.
Sunday 4th February 12.00-12.55pm with Ellen.  Arm Springs. How the arms are rooted into the shoulder joint and how the shoulders are connected to the back body is so important. We’ll look at the arm spring series, some exercises on the Reformer and adding hand weights into our matwork. Book here

 

 

Christmas Unlimited

We all know the run up to Christmas is fun fun fun, but with Christmas parties and family gatherings to fit in, your Pilates routine (and your fitness levels!) can go a little off track.

So to help you find that balance and to avoid the inevitable hard slog trying to workout again after the festivities end, we’ve created our Christmas Unlimited Package.

Running from now until 7th January, come as often as you like for 2 weeks –  any time, any class – from Classical Matwork Pilates, to Barrels class, Semi Private Studio Fundamentals, Twin Reformer, to Xmas Eve specials. All classes whether 1 credit or 2, semi private or regular classes, all teachers…. that’s 2 weeks unlimited Pilates Pod over 7 days a week for just £100.

You’ll find our usual fabulous classes, as well as the Christmas Timetable (over the period of 24th December -7th January inc) which sees all sorts of little bonus sessions from extra Jumpboard Reformer Express workouts to raise the cardio levels and burn off some mince pies,  Matwork with Fitball fun, Semi Private Studio Apparatus to work the basics of the whole Pilates system inc Reformer, Matwork and small props combined, Barrels & Matwork, and of course the much loved Classical Matwork, and Pregnancy classes.

You can join the Christmas Unlimited Package anytime from now, but the last date you can come to classes under this deal is 7th January 2018.

Buy online, via our Mind Body app, over the phone 01462 338002 or email us info@thepilatespod.co.uk and authorise us to purchase using your card.

And just a quick request from us… please do cancel online if you are no longer coming, others may really want a space!

5 ways to become successful… in life and Pilates!

For many around the UK, today marks the first day back at school for the kids. <insert sighs of relief for parents everywhere!>

I bet you’ve already prepped their day and week with military order and discipline to ensure everything runs successfully, right?

  • New shoes and uniform bought, ironed and name tags on? Check.
  • Book bag and PE kit ready for PE Wednesday even though it’s Monday? Check.
  • Swimming lessons bought and booked for 12 week term. Check.
  • Arrangements made with school friends mums to pick up kids from football practice and we’ll take them all the next week? Check.
  • Lunches made. Check.

The importance of a good routine for children is vital to instill structure, consistency and development through repetition. But the same applies for the grown ups too and Pilates too.  Is it time you had a successful Pilates well-being routine? Let’s go back to school in 5 easy lessons.

  1. Provide structure and take ownership

Make your Pilates workouts part of your every day routine. Pilates isn’t just about the studio work, it’s about lessons learnt and transferred to your everyday life. Get a structured routine to your studio workouts 2-3 a week. Once every couple weeks just won’t do it! Do extra “homework” practice in-between with matwork routines that can take just anywhere between 10 -25 minutes, or just committing to a daily “Hundred” challenge, or simply being more aware of using your abs “in and up” when you bend over and lift things.

When you have structure, you take ownership and commitment to what you are doing. You have made things fit in, you aren’t wondering how you will find the time to fit things in. You are less likely to re-organise your workouts if they are already part of a structure and schedule.
One thing is for sure, you won’t get out of back pain, lose weight, feel fitter and make new friends by not creating a routine for your Pilates! You are the master of your own Pilates goals destiny. It’s time to take ownership of your self!

2. Repetition becomes habit

Habits can be good or bad but all habits are learned and can be un learned!
They used to say it took 21 days to make a habit (some say 30 days) but according to scientific study, it can take anywhere between 18 days to 254 days of daily repetition to form a new habit, it depends on the individual. But on average it takes 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic. Plus as an extra bonus, when you make Pilates part of your every day/every week life, the healthy habit encourages other healthy habits to kick in.  You’ll start moving better and with ease, so you’ll start walking more or going to that aerobics class. You’ll feel healthier, so you’ll start eating healthier. You’ll sweat and improve circulation, so you’ll want to drink more water.

In Classical Pilates, we focus on repetition. Pilates is mean to be about low number of repetitions per exercise, not millions for the sake of it and the burnout feeling. It’s to ensure you get through the material, and it gets into your brain and body.  Unlike other styles of Pilates, Classical follows the clear format and order for the exercises as laid out by Joe Pilates himself for his work. In doing this, you learn the order! it becomes a habit through repetition. You are free then later to concentrate your mind on getting better at the same exercise and working deeper. Classical teachers are trained to teach you in the same way, the same wording, the same format. In doing so, the message sinks in quicker, the habit is formed without the confusion of extra flowery language to distract the mind. How many times have you heard Michelle cue the Hundred for beginners in this way…. “Bend your knees into your chest, curl up your head, neck and shoulders to your shoulder blade tips, lift your arms out of the mat by your hips and above your abdominal wall, move your legs to tabletop, anchor the pelvis and shoulders, eyes on the abs, long fingers and neck. Pump your arms up and down vigorously as you breathe in for 5 counts and out for 5 counts, in 2,3,4,5, out 2,3,4,5.”  Once you know it, you just do it!

3. Successful people are more efficient

When you start out at anything, routines are things you just have to keep doing over and over again. Pilates is just the same. You will need will power, you need motivation to stick to the routine especially if you’ve had a bad day at work, or it’s raining and you’d rather sit on the sofa with Game of Thrones and a cuppa. Once a routine is a learned behaviour (through repetition), it becomes a habit. Once it’s a habit, it’s autonomous so you don’t actually have to think about it, will power and motivation isn’t needed to attend. You won’t have to keep reminding yourself to book in your Pilates class, it’s an essential part of your daily routine.  You don’t let it slip, it’s a good habit. You therefore save time and free up more brain space to concentrate on other tasks as wellbeing and self care is under check!

In Classical Pilates, the orders and important transitions that link the exercises together make your more efficient in your Pilates and a learnt habit of good efficiency for outside in your every day life. Transitions are key to the Classical Pilates style for you to move from one exercise to another in the most efficient way. Your body is warm from the exercise, we transition from one to another in such a way that you don’t rest, cool down and undo all your hard work. It’s stamina building. It makes you get through your material so eventually a demanding, sweaty and challenging advanced matwork session will be done in under 25 mins. Efficiency! Who has time to workout for hours at a time?!

 

4. Builds momentum little by little

There is a quote that goes “little by little, a little becomes a lot.”  That’s true with everything in life. Pilates is just the same. How can you be a master of the advanced work if you don’t go through the little steps of learning how to break it all right down to the basics and learn how to use your powerhouse correctly, every single time, every single exercise.  You wouldn’t just run a marathon, you would put in the months of training, step by step, mile by mile. A little Pilates every day means your body will have moved well hundreds of thousands of times over a year. No wonder you don’t need the weekly Osteopath fix anymore hey?!  One of our client’s Pete, committed himself to over 100 Pilates sessions in a year, and by doing it, he ended up losing 2 stone!  But you have to start. It won’t look pretty, you won’t be great at it to start with. but you will have started and that’s what gets you great at something.

5. Commitment saves you work in the long run
If you are constantly writing each and every day, you will become a better writer.  If you are constantly running mile after mile, you will be able to do a marathon. If you never thought you could learn languages but you kept listening to the tape everyday in the car, you would become better at Spanish. Pilates is the same. If you practice a little Pilates every day, you will be better at Pilates and your aches and pains/knee issues/weight loss/neurological issue will be better.  If you practice once a week, it may take a little longer, it you practice one every 2 weeks, it will take even longer. Down the line you save win in the long run just by dedicating a little time.

Written by Owner and Pilates teacher: Michelle Smith
www.thepilatespod.co.uk

 

Completing a Pilates Hundred Challenge

Ever wondered how it feels to complete your “Pilates Hundred Challenge” with us? Pilates Pod client Pete Summerbee explains how it helped him on his journey to fitness:

“Well as my 100th Pilates class of the year has passed, I wanted to reflect on the year I hit 43 and the approach I took to fitness.

I wanted to get fitter in 2015 and started the year with Dry January as well as a target to reach 100 Pilates classes by the end of December. My other target was to lose a stone but that seemed a pipedream, more of that later.

The alcohol bit was really easy, a lot of tonic water, and ever since then my relationship with alcohol has really changed. I still enjoy it but rarely have it – once a week maybe.

Not a lot happened for the first month weightwise and then I tweaked my diet – porridge, honey and chia seeds for brekkie and homemade veg soup for lunch, cut out the sugar and a lot of junk. (Still have junk food Friday nights though!) With this combined with the Pilates the weight dropped off and I toned up too. I am also a bad carb freak and won’t touch lots of foodstuffs but I now love brown rice and pasta.

The Pilates classes got easier, even though I don’t know left from right and have no co-ordination some days. The classes and people are great fun and I have never been fitter, lighter or healthier plus I have muscles where I never knew I had muscles. I put it down to a combination of watching food, sugar and drink intake (not dieting), a lot of walking (my tip is get a dog),the Pilates and the great team at the Pod. There is always laughter in the classes, however that might just be my classes!

The other day for some weird reason a group of us (outside of class) had to show whether we could sit down and stand up without using our hands, I was the only one who could. It is easy for me now.

What else has happened? Well I have done a Pilates display in public (which was great fun but scary. There was so much noise going on that none of us could hear our instructor Ellen and it is hard to watch what someone is doing when you are doing a cat stretch and trying to figure out the next exercise) and I’ve also taken part in a photoshoot for the Pod. There should definitely be an out-take section on the website, that’s for sure.

Overall I am loving Pilates and feeling really fit. Going to try to fit in more yoga as well as cycling in 2016.

Oh yeah and about that weight loss – 2 stone 7lbs at the last count!

So how is 2016 going? Well I hit the big 44 and by the time you read this post I’ll be on my 56th class of the year, working towards my second Hundred Challenge, what a great idea where did that come from?! I’ve completed another Dry January and I am healthier than I have ever been and I put this down to the Pilates. I now do a range of different classes and levels as well as really getting into my yoga. I’ve found having less alcohol is easy and I’d advise you to go for quality over quantity once or twice a week

I’m still enjoying the Pod, the journey, I’ve even been to my first baby shower and guessed the size of the bump. I’ve never felt healthier, loving life and 99.99% sure that will be training to be a Pilates teacher in September.”

Thanks Pete for sharing your experience.

You’re doing great, now – keep it going

So, we’re just over three weeks into January, and the excesses of Christmas and the New Year are but a dim and distant memory as we plough head-long into 2015. Here at The Pilates Pod, January is always a very busy month, with lots of new people using the new year as inspiration to try something new and make changes to their lifestyle. We also always look forward to welcoming back our regular clients, many of whom take a well earned rest over the festive season.

When Michelle and I first came up with the idea of opening a studio, we spent quite a long time thinking about how it should feel to come to the Pod. Obviously, we wanted people to feel that they had enjoyed a thorough, and rewarding Pilates workout. But more than that, it was important to us that the experience of becoming a client of The Pilates Pod was an enjoyable and rewarding one in itself.

I’ve never been a ‘gym-bunny’ kind of person. I’ve been a member of a gym on a couple of occasions, gone hell-for-leather for a few weeks before missing a session then bit by bit losing motivation. Personally, I always found the gym to be a rather intimidating experience and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. So when we set about creating the Pod, we had it at the front of our minds that we wanted the Pod to be a warm, welcoming and fun place where people who maybe weren’t into the gym, would feel more at home and hopefully more motivated to establish a regular exercise routine.

So far this year, we’ve been delighted to see so many of our classes being so well attended. Just taking a look down the schedule, we’re regularly seeing 7 or 8 people in a class (8’s our maximum don’t forget!), and our Intro Courses in January have been filling up to. It’s a great sign that people are understanding the benefits that Pilates can bring to them, and we also take it as a compliment that we’re getting things right.

The Pilates Pod Matwork Class
A matwork class in full flow at the Pod

But we also know that keeping up with something new can be difficult. Life can get in the way, coughs and colds are only too common in January and February and sometimes by missing a session here or there, it’s easy to fall out of the habit. Apparently it takes 21 days to form a routine that sticks, so it’s really important to KEEP GOING. Because once you’ve formed a regular habit of coming to classes or 1:1s, you’ll really start to feel the benefit on and off of the mat. You’ll meet new, friendly people, learn some new techniques and start to feel like a stronger, leaner and taller version of yourself with every session.

Don’t let yourself get bored either – mix things up with a different class or time, maybe try a twin reformer class or an equipment class for a bit of variety – it’s the spice of life y’know.

Anyway. Well done you. You really are doing great – now, keep it going. And if you haven’t started yet, there’s no time like the present.

Cheers. Ed x

Ed Smith is the quiet director at The Pilates Pod
You can follow him on twitter @ed_p0d