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The changing shape of Pilates

18th October 2012

The changing shape of Pilates

With the summer months looming, the miracles promised by the latest fads are tempting, but nearly always too good to be true.

Talk to Peak Pilates founder Jason Richardson, and Pilates sounds just as miraculous - the difference is that Pilates has a proven record and actually works. For nearly 100 years it’s been helping people achieve greater overall wellness, develop long lean muscles, lose weight, target problem areas, improve back and joint issues, and relieve stress - all without donning a single pair of sweaty trainers.

Any Pilates enthusiast will tell you its biggest selling point is the efficiency – seemingly small effort yields big results. As Pilates creator Joseph Pilates said, “In 10 sessions, you will feel the difference, in 20 you will see the difference, and in 30 you'll have a whole new body.”

Jason, an ex-tennis pro sees that every day, and says it’s Pilates’ holistic approach that makes the difference. Developed with a real understanding of how the body fits together, Pilates instructors create a comprehensive exercise programme for clients - for every exercise that strengthens muscle, another stretches the body and encourages balance. It’s no wonder Joseph Pilates described his workout as ‘contrology’.

The muscle-building element is the key to the weight-loss people achieve with Pilates. The strength training builds muscles, which continue to use energy long after a workout has finished, increasing metabolism and revving up weight loss.

Peak Pilates goes above and beyond to ensure their instructors have the most comprehensive training in the country. New staff members have 1 month of full time training, both practical and theory, regardless of what previous experience they have, to ensure that they do things the ‘Peak Pilates’ way. Training techniques from world leaders are adapted and passed onto peak pilates instructors who receive weekly training sessions to keep them at the top of their game. Mat classes are very popular as they allow individuals to reach that little bit further, whilst machine classes are great for isolating muscles which would otherwise be difficult to train.

Clients are often amazed at how quickly they see a change in their body shape, but one client sticks in Jason’s mind. “She’d avoided dealing with her baby weight because she felt intimidated by gyms and their “skinny instructors”. Peak Pilates was a revelation for her. She worked one-on-one and in classes with workouts on the mats and machines. After only 8 months, she’d changed her body shape, shed 14kg, built stronger, lean muscles and dropped several dress sizes.”

But weight loss is really only part of the equation. Taught properly, Pilates can be therapeutic for people with sports injuries, tight muscles or bad backs. Indeed it was a muscle imbalance due to overuse of his right side that lead Jason to try Pilates, train as an instructor and open the first Peak Pilates.

“When you’re using your body incorrectly, it affects everything – it puts pressure on the spine and neck, you can get headaches or sleep problems.”

For Jason that came from hitting a tennis ball constantly with his right hand, clients at the studios range from mothers with stiff necks from carrying car seats around to the business man who spends eight or nine hours a day slumped over his keyboard.

With Pilates, the improvements start after the first session. Jason says Peak Pilates clients walk out feeling stronger and taller, reporting almost instant help with pain and sleep issues.

“That’s something you don’t get from weight-training or jogging, which tends to hunch people over more,” says Jason.

Osteopaths, physiotherapists and general practitioners recommend Pilates as one of the safest forms of exercise today - if it’s taught properly by trained instructors, like those at Peak Pilates.

So ditch the excuses and the running shoes. No matter what your age or fitness level, Pilates will cure what ails you (and help you get back into that bikini, too!).

Four easy ways to shape up with Pilates:

- Find a great instructor – working out on your own can only do so much. A great instructor and class will help you really get motivated, and get the most from your sessions. Peak Pilates has branches all over Auckland and 200 classes a week, so there’ll be one to suit your schedule

- Dig out your old duds – no need for any fancy new gear, you can do Pilates in any loose, comfortable clothing. Just make sure you wear socks!

-Take a friend - because Pilates doesn’t leave you red, sweaty and gasping for air, you can head out for a coffee after!

- Eat right – since Pilates focuses so much on abdominal, make sure you don’t have too much in your stomach. Have some complex proteins, carbohydrates like nuts, seeds and fruit (with loads of water) a few hours before your workout, so you’ve got enough energy to make the most of it!

Peak Pilates have eight branches in Auckland that are staffed by trained Pilates instructors and Physiotherapists. Since 2003, they’ve been helping people improve their health and fitness, recover from injuries and achieve their weight loss goals with regular classes and specialist support.


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