Glam’s Survival Diary: The Studio Pilates 30 Day Challenge

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In an industry packed full of gin launches, degustations, and FruChoc special occasions (seriously, those guys never stop celebrating), the Glam Adelaide team can occasionally get ‘side-tracked’ from our Best Selves. Throw in long hours at the computer, and an aversion to early mornings, and our new year’s resolutions tend to only last a matter of days. So when the team over at Studio Pilates challenged us to sign up for their 30 day challenge, we were inspired.

Molly had never done reformer pilates before, I’d done it with a physio to help with split stomach muscles after having babies, and my husband Steve had done it, but over ten years ago. We’ve signed up to the Norwood and Adelaide City studios, and are committing to at least 4-5 times a week (ideally 5 pending hangovers).

We all had the SA Body Analysis (InBody 570 Body Composition Analysers) before we began, so we can technically let you know our results after 30 days, but we’ll also be updating you with our weekly thoughts on the classes. We’re one week in so far. Here’s how we’ve found it.

WEEK 1

Steve, 40 Years Old
Body Type: Cyclist who enjoys wine

As a recently turned 40 year old, father of two, and a new business owner, I am time poor. My main love is cycling so when any time is available, that’s been my exercise focus.

Having completed reformer Pilates pre-children (we have a 4 & 6 year old) the idea of taking on the 30 day challenge didn’t phase me. The set up of Studio Pilates is a more comfortable and welcome one than I’d previously undertaken through physiotherapists/Pilates. The philosophy is similar, but rather than rectifying existing injuries as I did with the physio sessions, the focus at Studio Pilates is class-based in a group situation, so that you all start and finish at the same time. This group situation is less intense than one-on-one, but really, you can push yourself as hard as you want (or can). There’s also an instructor walking around the room to ensure you’re doing the moves correctly.

Directed through TV screens which are situated around the room, you follow each exercise as instructed for a set time (perhaps a minute? Maybe 2?). Then you power on to the next set. It’s kind of like an F45 version of Pilates.

Whilst you’re in a group situation, it doesn’t take me long to forget that there’s anyone else in the class. You’re so focused on what you’re doing, you don’t worry about anyone else in the room.

Pilates works you hard. For a low intensity workout, your entire body knows you have attended a 45 minutes class. Every day a different set of muscles that hadn’t been worked was targeted.

Even muscles I thought were my strengths (through cycling) were on fire within minutes.

With the earlier than usual starts, I’m attempting coffee before sessions rather than after to kick me into gear in the morning.

One week down, and with the second commencing, I’ll see if this week the body is less shaky.

There’s a strong emphasis from the instructors to make sure you don’t have pressure on your neck and lower back. All the pressure is instead on buttocks, thighs and shoulders.

My scan revealed I only had 3.5kgs to lose to be at an ideal weight. I’ll monitor and it will be interesting to see if muscle mass adjusts from this targeted exercise.

Molly, 23 Years Old
Body Type: not terrible but definitely enjoys pasta 
I’ve never done Pilates before. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to try it, I’ve just always been of the mindset that I need to be to be hot and sweaty and to the point of exhaustion during a workout – i.e. HIIT – to feel like I’ve actually done something. So I’ve tried everything from bootcamps, 12-week challenges, F45 and I’m currently hooked on OrangeTheory Fitness which has been great in that respect. But when this opportunity came up, it was a solid yes. I’m a glutton for punishment kinda gal. And I happen to really like food and wine… but also keen for that summer bod. To do that, according to my Body Scan, I have about 6 months to lose 8kgs (which will bring my weight, body fat % and a whole bunch of other stats to where they need and should be).
Now that Week 1 is done and dusted, I can confirm I was totally wrong. You don’t need to be a sweaty mess on the brink of collapsing to workout. In fact, laying down for exercise is no a joke either. I’m not as sore as I thought I’d be but I could definitely feel the burn in my legs and butt climbing the stairs to our office. My stomach hurts when I laugh… could this be the first sign of abs?!
I didn’t quite get on board with the nutrition program in Week 1 but still ate relatively healthy. I even walked to Pilates (45min) two mornings this week, admittedly because my car battery died, nevertheless I got my “cardio” component of the challenge underway. I plan on doing at least 2-3 OrangeTheory sessions in conjunction with my 30 Day Challenge to really kickstart my results from Week 2. Pray for me.
This week I learnt that “engaging your pelvic floor” doesn’t mean talking to it and asking if you guys are tight. What it does mean though is that you’re going to pretend to stop yourself peeing to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles which in turn will support all your internal organs (remind me one day to ask you what can happen if you don’t do this and it goes horribly wrong). I didn’t know presumably because I haven’t had kids.
Kelly, 38 Years Old
Body Type: 2 kids later, you won’t be bouncing coins off it
Did somebody say 20 year reunion? Yes, I have an ulterior motive for getting on this bandwagon. That alongside the fact that my stomach muscles still haven’t fully recovered from being ripped apart during my pregnancies means that Pilates has been calling my name for some time.
I’m a size ten but can easily bounce between an 8 and a 12 depending on which amazing restaurants I’m reviewing from week to week. Consistency is my kryptonite. Plus I’m constantly tired. My kids are 4 and 6 and don’t let me sleep. Getting up a 5am to go to the gym is a solid NO from me, plus I think Steve would kill me if I left him to handle the pre-school chaos at our house.
For the challenge, we’ve opted for the 8:15am weekday classes, as it allows us to drop the kids at before-school care, do a class, and still get to work just after 9. After work is our time with the kids for homework, dinner etc, so morning classes are really our only option.
This first week has been a killer for me. Going from zero exercise to 5 sessions of reformer pilates has been a push, but not unmanageable. I can feel muscles I didn’t know I had, pretty much all the time. I’m walking around like I’m ripped to pieces. I’ve looked in the mirror quite a few times to see if my new 6 pack has arrived yet. It hasn’t. I’m thinking about following the food plan that comes with the challenge, but until I find a printer, I’m dedicating myself to Poke Me green bowls and trying to avoid the inevitable trays of Krispy Kremes that land in our office on a regular basis. Overall I’m loving the challenge so far, and I’m pretty pumped about how manageable it is. It’s also not too sweaty, so you can just freshen up, change and roll into the office without needing to shower. A massive bonus when you’re pushed for time.
Check out more about Studio Pilates here, and come back next week for our Week 2 updates!

WEEK 2

Molly, 23 Years Old
Mood: Humble with a hint of Kanye
I’m loving my Studio Pilates sessions and finding that the 7:15am class in Norwood fits really nicely into my morning routine. The fact that I can wake up at a decent time, do my workout and can catch the bus straight into work is seriously a Godsend. I genuinely look forward to my classes and the motivation is stronger than ever. I’ve only wavered on a few days this week where I either had OrangeTheory in the morning and work events on at night or had very little to no sleep. Overall I did three Studio Pilates and one cardio workout this week.
I really noticed that the 45 minute sessions fly by… which is a good thing. It might be the fact I’m spending half the time making sure I’ve got the move and technique right and the other half making sure I’m engaging my “T-zone”. If that makes you panicky, don’t worry, there’s actually no way to get it wrong. You have your personal trainer on hand at every move, the virtual trainer/TV demonstrations and from what I’ve found, a pretty friendly group of people you can glance over at if you’re not sure.
My lower back hurt a little during one or two classes but a quick reposition thanks to the instructors and I was good to go. Come to find out, lower back pain is usually just a sign that you’re arching your back. It’s at this point that you want to try and bring your hips and ribs together and tighten your stomach. This has in turn actually made me more conscious of arching my back throughout the day, especially sitting at my desk – I have TERRIBLE posture. I’m pretty sure my chiro shed a tear of joy when I said I’ve started Pilates.
Personally, I haven’t noticed any changes in my physical appearance but am feeling like I’m activating my muscles more during my workouts and feeling slightly stronger. Bring on Week 3!

WEEK 3

Molly, 23 Years Old
Mood: Humble with a hint of Kanye

They said this would be the hardest week but in all honesty, I feel like I’m really just getting started and really challenging myself. I have a resounding ‘noooo’ ringing in my ears at the thought of entering our fourth and final week. I’m committed now and don’t want to lose this motivation. I feel like I could genuinely see myself working Pilates into my regular workout regime, well beyond the 30 Day Challenge.
In Week 3 I knew I was going to Melbourne for four days and I had only done two sessions so far, so what did I do? A DOUBLE SESSION and then let out the longest “yea boiiiii” known to man. I actually didn’t know you could do this but hey, turns out you totally can and it was a massive motivation saver. Old Molly would have said, too bad, so sad – you just will have to make do with less sessions this week while internally high-fiving myself. The first of my back-to-back sessions was focused on glutes (an absolute killer workout by the way) and the second time around, we had a small enough class that my lovely trainer (and mentor during the challenge), switched out the exercises JUST FOR ME. She thought of an entirely new workout for me on the spot that meant I ended up getting a full body workout. Lets just say I was sweating a little by the second session. But hey, I got up the next morning and did another session. And if that’s not a testament to how much I’m loving it, I don’t know what is.
This week I’m feeling the love and am starting to see some familiar faces around which is nice. There’s a great vibe at Studio Pilates. It’s a very relaxed, intimate and comfortable environment to work out in. One thing to note though: you do not – repeat do not – want to use the leg circle and make eye contact with anyone. It’s a hilariously awkward place to be in. But everyone is in the same boat.
At this stage, I’m really interested to see what our body scans come back like because I don’t feel like I’ve lost weight per say but am hopefully there has been some muscle gain. Stay tuned for Week 4.

WEEK 4

Molly, 23 Years Old
Mood: Humble with a hint of Kanye

Week 4 was a crazy week for me personally, in terms of juggling work, other commitments and “me-time”. Throw in a few nights of crappy sleep and I was definitely not going to Pilates as much as I had planned. Which SUCKS because I really, really wanted to be there but I also wasn’t going to beat myself up too much about not making it. I guess that’s just life and you’ve gotta go with the flow.

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Owner & Editor of Glam Adelaide. Proudly promoting the best news, companies, events and information about South Australia. To get in touch, email [email protected] or follow me on Twitter or Instagram @kellynoble.

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