After such amazing dedication and incredible results we’ve asked Gemma Allwood a few questions…

What inspired you to begin exercising?

Looking back I remember starting my new job and realising that there was such thing as a lunch break! For the first time in a long time I was able to spend some time thinking about my health. I hated the idea of exercise, although I was an active child once I had my own children I was always too tired or too busy and they were the priority. My husband wanted to lose weight and when he had done so before I had been reluctant to join in, not wanting to have to change the way we all ate as a family. However, I realised that along with a lunch break came overeating and I put weight on quickly and began to feel unhappy about my body, covering up with long baggy clothing. I remember the day when I weighed myself on a machine at work and was astonished, I had never thought of myself as overweight but I realised I needed to do something to change how I felt and improve my overall health. It was hard to find time, but we started to go out for a walk on the evenings with the dogs and younger children, we started timing ourselves and trying to beat the time and distance we went. My husband had always talked about joining a gym and I had always associated this with pain and sacrifice!  I went along with him and tried the cycling machines and weight benches but did not feel motivated by the experience, it felt very clinical and anti-social. I decided to try classes and found this was better for motivation and keeping going when I would have given up. As a child my mum had been interested in yoga and I was aware of the benefits of Pilates, inspired by this I found Pilates Lounge.

When did you start?

I started attending The Pilates Lounge around about February of 2017.

Why Pilates Lounge?

Pilates Lounge seemed the obvious choice as it was local and easy to get to, the website was informative and booking was straightforward and convenient using the Mind Body app. There was lots to choose from at various times during the week which meant that I could book times when I knew I would be most able to come around my other commitments.

What’s your experience so far?

I was nervous at first but my confidence grew as my fitness improved. I was encouraged to try other classes and began to love exercise and how it was positively affecting my body. The classes were small and friendly and the instructor’s very knowledgeable, no two classes were the same so there was always a challenge. Due to the small class sizes there was really helpful feedback about how I was progressing and lovely compliments and encouragement about my achievements, which kept me motivated. I began to get to know other people and the small team of instructors meant that I got to know them as well, the complete opposite of the cold and clinical gym and overly subscribed classes where no one knows your name.   I feel very valued and supported and encouraged. They have taken the time to get to know me and always spend time finding out how I am and how my family are, I feel genuinely cared for. They supported me through an injury with genuine thoughtfulness and consideration.  My health and wellbeing is always their first thought. They are very passionate about everyone getting the best from their workouts and go at a pace that is right for everyone and really care about technique. I haven’t been living in Birmingham very long so it has been great to meet such lovely people and feel part of something. I am really enjoying the social events and the retreat day was amazing!

How does regular practice make you feel?

The lounge is now an essential part of my life that I make a priority, and my children are slowly becoming inspired to think more about their own health. I have so much more energy and I sleep so much better. After a hard day at work, it’s a great way to get rid of stress. I have more confidence to try things that before I may have worried I couldn’t do. I have recently done a race for life and have started horse riding again. If I can do this I can do anything! I like my body again and not just how it looks but what it can do.