I love the gym, I go at least four to five times a week but just recently I found I was bored of my routine and not seeing the results I was expecting.   I decided to shake things up and swap my gym visits for Reformer Pilates classes three times a week. And let me tell you, it was a game-changer.

I booked into Chilli Pilates for a four-week course of classes.  Based in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire their contemporary studios offer dynamic reformer classes with their team of skilled, knowledgeable and friendly instructors.

If you’ve never tried reformer Pilates, let me give you the low-down. Picture a long, sleek contraption with a sliding carriage, springs, and various straps and handles – that’s the reformer bed. It might look a bit intimidating at first, but trust me, its easy to use and at Chilli studios the instructors take the time to show you how to set up the bed for each exercise.

I’ll admit, I was sceptical at first, I like to leave the gym feeling like I’ve been put through my paces so was expecting some stretching and breathing.   Boy, was I wrong.  Reformer Pilates isn’t just about stretching, it’s a full-body workout that strengthens your core, improves flexibility, and enhances your overall muscle tone. Unlike traditional mat Pilates, which relies solely on body weight for resistance, the Reformer adds an extra challenge by incorporating spring resistance. This means you can adjust the intensity of your workout by simply swapping your spring, making it suitable for everyone from beginners to seasoned athletes.  Plus, it’s low-impact, which means it’s gentle on your joints.

After my first class I felt like I had done a full body workout.  Reformer Pilates may look easy, but don’t be fooled, it’s anything but. Each class was a challenging mix of strength training, cardio, and flexibility exercises, all rolled into one. From ‘the hundred’ to ‘the elephant’ to ‘the plank,’ every move engaged muscles I never even knew I had.   After two weeks I was able to adjust the springs and challenge myself.   To mix things up a little, I booked into Chilli Pilates 1-2-1 cardio class.  My instructor, Beth created a bespoke workout for me that combined the reformer and cardio based exercises.  Again, it left me feeling like I had physically pushed myself.

I found that the classes gave me a sense of calm.  Unlike the hustle and bustle of the gym, from the moment I stepped into the studio I felt relaxed.  Low level music and lighting set the tone, and I spent the whole 50 minutes focussing on each movement, checking my form and listening to the instructor.  It’s a fantastic way to switch off and be present.

After just a few weeks of reformer Pilates sessions, I noticed a significant improvement in my strength, flexibility, and overall muscle tone. My posture had never been better, my clothes fit more comfortably, and I had more energy and stamina than ever before. Plus, the low-impact nature of reformer Pilates means I could push myself without worrying about sustaining an injury.

One of the biggest changes I noticed was improved core strength and definition. Because the carriage is unstable, your core muscles have to work overtime to stabilise your body and maintain form. This not only strengthens your core but also improves your balance and stability, essential for preventing injuries both in and out of the gym.

But perhaps the best thing about reformer Pilates is the diverse classes. Unlike mindlessly running on a treadmill or lifting weights in a crowded gym, reformer Pilates keeps things interesting with a constant variety of exercises and movements. Plus, the small class sizes mean you’ll get plenty of personalised attention from your instructor, ensuring your posture is correct and you get the most out of your workout.

To find out more about reformer Pilates, visit Chilli Pilates where you can book your first class for just £10 and invite a friend for free.  

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