What inspired you to begin exercising?

As a kid I loved climbing ropes, and when I was a teenager got into circuit training and a bit of weight lifting. However, I never really found my preferred exercise.  Consequently, and along with all the joys of work, commuting, poor lifestyle habits and family life, I simply didn’t exercise for a long time.

A few years ago though, I did start going skiing, and in 2017 – after being away in February with friends – which included Sarah Clarke, I’d been hearing about Sarah’s pilates journey, and thought I’d like to give that a go.  I think, if I was being flippant, I thought I could have a go at that and I did the ‘frog’ (yoga friends will put me right) at social occasions. So there was a degree of bravado, but more fundamentally, and personally, I was in a particularly stressful role at work at the time and I saw this as a bit of time for me to mentally relax. I certainly found Pilates did that for me, and a lot more…

When did you start?

I started in March 2017.

Why Pilates lounge?

Honestly, it was more about trying out at this and Pilates Lounge, having being recommended by Sarah Clarke, was just down the road. I live in Mere Green/Four Oaks area of Sutton Coldfield.

What’s your experience so far?

I love it.I found the instructors and people at Pilates Lounge so welcoming and positive, right from the get go. I am pleased to see so many more guys at the Lounge, but when I got started they were few and far between. I think there are still misconceptions about Pilates, but as you all know lifting your weight using the techniques we are learning is a real test of strength, grit and core.

I started on Pilates Beginners, and found it really gave me some clear headspace, and a zest to learn more about Pilates.  After getting to level 1 Pilates, I had a go at TRX and also High Intensity Pilates (HIP). Wow, the first classes in both of these were hard work, especially HIP, but I felt so good, physically and mentally, after doing them.

These days, I usually do Pilates level 2/3, TRX level 2 and Barre Beginners and normal classes. Including the Sunday ‘open’ session – which I think is fab (thanks Sophie, Sarah and Yvonne) given it so successfully caters for everyone’s requirements and is a great work-out.

I come to approx 5-6 classes per week. The Freedom pass means this is affordable. And can even bring a friend a couple of times per month. Sorry, I am a Yorkshire man born and bred, so like to think I know a good deal…. I recommend all different classes and think it worked well for me to start with Pilates and base my development around this. I love Pilates, how it makes me feel and what strength it gives me.

How does regular practice make you feel?

Fantastic. I feel stronger, fitter, more energy (although not necessarily straight after TRX when Katie/Clare has worked us hard). I am sleeping so much better, and have found a fitness routine that is physically but also mentally good for me. I think I have quite a way to go, but I am on the right track and just feel so much fitter.

I’ve seen ads for other Pilates studios, but I love being a part of Pilates Lounge and feel it’s about more than just the classes, it’s the people, the culture and the results it’s delivering, day in, day out.