The first thing that strikes you as you walk into the Bootcamp Pilates studio is quite how terrifying the equipment looks. I was expecting a sort of high powered version of the more traditional exercise format if I am perfectly honest, perhaps with a few weights thrown in for good measure, but this looked like the sort of thing that would have been more at home in a medieval torture chamber.
Fortunately the honed and toned Ivo, who even before I enter the class I learn has a bit of a reputation for pushing people to the limit, is on hand to explain, quite literally, the nuts and bolts of the thing.
The Bootcamp Pilates class revolves around a bed-like structure attached to a frame, which moves on springs. Throw in a couple of weights, and a rubber ring and you are ready to go. Like any other Pilates class, the focus is on core strength, but with a bit more umph!
Far from being an implement of torture, I found that the machine fast became my best friend (well, it’s still a little bit like an implement of torture, but no more than one might expect in an exercise class). The beauty of it is that in addition to taking the regular poses and motions to another level (after the 30th lunge my backside didn’t know what had hit it), I actually found that it supports your body, putting less strain on your neck and back, and with any luck working the body in all the right places.
As a tolerably fit human being I was slightly affronted by the suggestion that as a first timer I should join a beginner’s class to get the idea, but dutifully did so, and I am certainly pleased I took the advice. While from a cardio perspective I could have happily gone for a run after the class, it definitely was a shock to all those places that clearly are not getting enough attention on the strength front, with arms and legs feeling positively gelatinous for a good hour after the 50 minute session. I think if I had gone straight to a regular class, Ivo and I would no longer be friends.
What was particularly nice about the session was that it was equally suited to men and women, and given that Bootcamp Pilates have studios in several locations across London, it is ideally suited for a pre-work workout, or at lunchtime for anyone trying to fit a bit of exercise into a busy schedule. If you like Pilates but always feels that there isn’t quite enough to a regular class, then this is right up your street.
I am always a little sceptical when anyone runs a course or campaign featuring fitness alongside the sort of aesthetic promise to get you in ‘Beach Body’ shape, or similar, but Bootcamp Pilates’ seasonal promotion has had another dimension, because this isn’t a place focusing on weight loss, this is a place focusing on strength and power and feeling good, an object that is certainly achieved by the end of a class – you do feel strong, and positive, and fitter than when you arrived …well, y’know, after all the aching has subsided anyway …
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