Say goodbye to the gym

and hello to a whole host of new things…

Bootcamp Pilates Entrance

I finally got round to starting my pension. As part of the process I went through three months of bank statements working out what I could afford to put aside each month. It made me look at how much I was spending. I have membership of a gym and pay to go to yoga classes at The House of Yoga and The Power Yoga Co. None of this is cheap, but I flipping love yoga and I only pay when I go, so I’m not loosing anything. The gym on the other hand I kind of hold on to, as it was handy to use the cross trainers when I was injured and because they have scales and I have none in the house. But paying £45 a month in case I get injured and need to faff in the gym or to weigh myself once in a blue moon struck me as silly. I rung up and handed in my notice. I decided to use it as much as I could before the month ended and went to 2 classes and used the treadmill once… I think I made the right decision.


As I am saving myself £45 a month I’ve decided to finally try out some of the classes and workout studios that my friends love. Technically I’m putting this money in my pension, but if I try one new class a month I’ve still not spent all I saved. Expect some posts from me over the coming months about the new places and workouts I’ll be trying.

First up I decided to be a bit lazy and try one of the more local classes, I’d heard great things about Bootcamp Pilates Richmond from Polly and others and I was lucky enough that they invited me down to try a class out for free. They must have known the money was supposed to be going in my pension. Thanks Laura, that’ll buy me a food shop when I’m retired 😉 Yep it’s right next to Sweaty Betty, luckily they were shut!

Bootcamp Pilates Reformer Machine

I headed down there on Wednesday for their 7pm class on the scary REFORMER MACHINE *horror movie dun, dun, dun, sound effect* I’ve been to Pilates before and loved it, but only mat pilates. I’ve seen these machines before and they looked like torture apparatus. I’ve always ignored the classes that say reformer in the front. But no longer, there I was faced with the machine.

Bootcamp Pilates Changing

I got there early to have a nose around, I was welcomed to the studio by the very friendly receptionist and surprised at how open plan the studio is, I felt like I’d walked into the previous class. This isn’t a bad thing though, after I’d got changed in the simple changing room I sat and got a good idea about what I was letting myself in for by watching the previous class.

Bootcamp Pilates Stretches

The class started with the instructor Jordi introducing himself to me and then talking me through the machine and apparatus, as well as the machine we have this loop thing (technical term), a pole and weights.

The class is fast paced and although there are lots of stretch breaks, there weren’t any camera breaks! In my mat pilates classes I feel as though only my core gets a work out but this was something else, Jordi guided us through exercises for our whole body, facing both ways on the machine, on our knees, standing on the machine, using the straps to work our arms and core. It was fantastic to have so much variety, as my brain and muscles got tired of one movement we were off, moving around and on to the next. Jordi was great at being really descriptive about the positions and movements we were doing, so much so I didn’t have to do my usual  ‘copy the person next to me’ trick. There was only a couple of moves where he needed to come and correct me, and I was really grateful that he did. Near the end of the class we used the weights and I grabbed the 3kgs like I would in BodyPump. Turns out holding in your core and doing bicep curls whilst lunging is more difficult, I did wonder why everyone else took the 1’s and 2’s. Luckily Jordi was on hand with a polite ” Do we think those might be a bit heavy?” and I swapped down to the the 2kgs for the rest of the reps.

Bootcamp Pilates Studio

As a noob I was slightly concerned that I had inadvertently signed up for the intermediate class, but there were different variations for different levels for most of the exercises or for some of them I just took it in my own time. As you are all lined up in one line there isn’t any time to look around or worry what anyone else is doing – you’d fall off the machine! Whilst I mention the machine, I didn’t realise they had different levels of resistance, Jordi talked us through when to add the resistance on or off and talked me through the fact that sometimes the lower resistance is harder as your core has to do more work. I really enjoyed his instructing style and the class zipped by.

Although it’s a Pilates studio during our class I also saw their run club arrive and leave on their run for the day, might have to join them next time! They also do a High Intensity style class which I am keen to try out. I chatted to a few of the ladies in the changing rooms after the class about how regularly they come, and they all said they’d like to come more but they struggle to get a booking – must be popular.

After the class, I popped my sandals back on (nice thing about Pilates – no lugging trainers round all day) and then literally wobbled down the stairs, I was surprised to see my legs were so wobbly! They’d obviously had a good work out. No aches the next day though, I think I could have done a better job at holding my core in during the exercises, but I suppose this comes with practise, as this was my first go on the reformer machine most of the time I was concentrating on keeping up with the movements rather than my core, not ideal but I can see at my next class it would be easier for me to concentrate on my core. I also noticed that on my run the next morning I thought more about keeping my core engaged. I was surprised how much of the class I could participate in, despite being a first timer. I don’t know about you but I think my weights spent more time on the floor the first time I went to BodyPump!

Class sizes are small at Bootcamp Pilates, and I guess because of the size of machine probably all reformer pilates classes, with only 8/9  per class you can see why the changing rooms are petit and there is just one shower. This didn’t bother me as I simply hopped on the bus home in my gym kit, but for those of you who like plush facilities it might not be for you. There are straighteners and hair dryers though.

I’d love to go to Reformer Pilates again and really focus on my form rather than just keeping up, I can see killer ab doms in my future! Thanks to Bootcamp Pilates for inviting me along.

What class shall I try next? I’m hoping Charlie or Katy will take me along to one of their Spin classes. or I might stalk new Lululemon Ambassador Cat to one of her assignments. I think this is going to be a great way of being more social as well as saving money on gym membership! OOo I also want to hit up one of Elle’s Sessions. There’s too much choice.

Bootcamp Pilates Selfie

Do you have a recommendation for me?

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  1. bethan says:

    This sounds amazing! I’ve always fancied having a go at reformer Pilates, but the price has (so far) put me off! I love the idea of exploring all the (millions!) of classes that are available, it’s something I’m trying to do more of – in fact, did you hear that Sweaty Betty has teamed up with Frame and is holding £5 classes on 12 July? I may have signed up already….

    • Stephanie says:

      Thanks Bethan, they do a good deal for your first two classes at Bootcamp Pilates you should check it out, they have a few studios. I really want to go but I have my 30km run that day and I may not be able to do anything else for the rest of the day haha!

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