Although Pilates is known as a slower, more reserved form of fitness, one studio turns up the pace instead
I often hear people tell me that Pilates is something that they find too boring, that it doesn’t keep them engaged or that it moves at such a slow pace they find that all they can do is concentrate on the pain.
Pain is often seen as a good thing in constructive exercise and there’s no getting away from the fact that the art of Pilates is very good for the human form. Honing in on the core and correcting alignment and posture, the exercise allows the people who practice it to become completely in touch with the movements of their own body. It is for this reason that is so popular with athletes, rehabilitation and dancers.
But Bootcamp Pilates focuses on stepping the art of the fitness regime up a notch – quite literally when it comes to the reformer machines. ‘It’s very different to mat Pilates, which can become quite dull – this is upbeat and dynamic,’ says trainer Lucy Thirsk. ‘It’s not cardio, but positions are held for longer and there are a lot more repetitions where we may up the weights quite a bit.’ So for those who think the Pilates they have tried and tested has been too slow, why not give this a go?
It is a new identity for Pilates. But it’s not just the exercise that is new; Bootcamp Pilates itself has a whole new identity of late. Replacing the old military branding on their website with a modern twist on artist Norman Wilkinson’s striking dazzle camouflage, Bootcamp Pilates aims to dazzle, energize and challenge, not scare you into submission.
Thirsk’s military background means she likes working clients hard, but her experience will keep you within your limits – making her classes intensive. So what is the bootcamp element? ‘If you go to a classical reformer class, it’s slow and there might only be three repetitions of everything,’ says Thirsk. ‘You will still feel it as if Pilates is done correctly, it’s quite intense anyway, but you won’t feel the massive burn you will get if you do a bootcamp class.’
Having been a fan of Pilates for a long time after watching it nurse my mum’s slipped disks back to incredible health, I was keen to try out the reformer style. For me, the biggest advantage is the obvious one – the faster pace and need to concentrate on a piece of equipment as well as my mat means that it is more exciting from the get go. The faster pace that Bootcamp uses in their approach combined with this means that this might just be the answer for those who struggle to find the zen in yoga or Pilates. And the machine takes no prisoners either, working muscles that I forgot I even had.
‘My clients want to work, they want to feel like they are exercising and they actually want to sweat,’ says Thirsk. ‘But the reformer means there is huge variety so my message to people is that Pilates is for everyone and that it’s a form of exercise, or sport if you will, that leaves no one behind.’
64 Porchester Road, Bayswater W2 6ET; bootcamppilates.com