June 25 2011
Spa Junkie is sampling three London centres that offer classes in Dynamic Pilates. Third stop: Bootcamp Pilates in Bayswater.
11am, and I’m at Bootcamp Pilates in Bayswater near Paddington. My inner thighs, sides and buttocks still ache 48 hours after my brutal seeing-to at Vita Pilates.
I’d scheduled to do the 10am class in my head, but in practice this was a whole other ball game. I spent ages trying to figure out what I am now sure is a two-touch online booking system for those a little more tech-savvy than I am. Then I gave up, and just did that old archaic thing, picking up the phone and calling.
‘There is no space in the 10am class; those are booked up three weeks in advance,” says the receptionist. But seconds later she has me booked into the later class. I’m reminded that it’s sometimes good to talk to a live human being.
The classroom is pretty depressing, old-school with grey carpet, low ceiling and lighting reminiscent of The Office. Barry is the man in command today. About 10 of us get onto the exact same branded reformer, pulling out the same pain-inducing gadgets – weights, poles and rings – neatly placed under the bed. A rather amateurish sound system – or perhaps just not-great speakers – has just come on and Barry starts the class. Not as charismatic as David at TenPilates or Matt at Vita.
I’m trying to stay motivated. My mind is wondering back to Sebastian Lagree’s odd website: “If you don’t want a tight ass, don’t do this exercise; if you don’t want your love handles to disappear, don’t do this exercise.” He also claimed on one of the many tightly edited videos that you can burn up to 700 calories in a 45-minute Dynamic Pilates class. Apart from boxing, I think that’s one of the best time-to-results classes you can do. If you only have very little time and need to shape and lose weight, this could be what you have been looking for.
I manage only half the exercises. There has not been a single sequence I’ve completed; now I’m an entire set off. This is not Spa Junkie’s finest hour. I’m baffled by how hard this is for me. I start; I stop. I start again. Barry is not impressed. “C’mon! Keep going. You can go slower but whatever you do you cannot stop.” I’m holding onto the handlebars, only one spring attached moving the carriage back and forth. The repetition is killing. The seconds feel like hours. I understand now why Hugh Grant famously said after starting Pilates that he could easily deal with giving birth.
This machine, I have no doubt, would give me a washboard stomach. But only if I don’t keel over in the process.
THE BOTTOM LINE
I’ve signed up for a set of six classes at Vita Pilates, for its proximity to my home. I would have signed up to Ten Pilates, were it a bit closer. It’s all much of a muchness; you can get the same workout at any of the centres.
As far as Dynamic Pilates is concerned? I think it’s brilliant. In fact I’m thinking, who has the time to traipse to a yoga centre which takes three hours of your day? I’m seriously considering making yoga my substitute “church”, and instituting Dynamic Pilates for the rest of the week. It’s in-and-out, and you get all the benefits of a cardio and yoga’s stretching and toning. Genius.
Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, treatments and accommodation.