Sometime ago, a good friend of mine swore to me that there was this type of exercise, which would miraculously make all of my wobbly bits disappear. I didn't believe her. This is how the conversation went:
Friend: "Have you heard of the reformer?"
Me: "No, I haven't seen it, but I hear Megan Fox is hot in it."
Friend: "No, not Transformers...the reformer machine, the thing you do pilates on."
Me: "Oh!...no, what is it?"
Friend: "It's a torture machine..."
Me: "Say no more. Going to the gym is painful enough for me as it is. I'm not torturing myself anymore than I already am."
Friend: "Silly girl. It's the good kind of torture. The good kind of pain. You'll love it, you'll see. All of your wobbly bits will disappear."
Me: "Alright, alright. I'll do it. Wanna go have a burger?"
My friend is now a reformer addict. She swears by it. Says it's the only way to exercise. Months later, I finally mustered up the courage to sign up for a free class at Heartcore Pilates in Notting Hill (Kensington & Hampstead).
Heartcore Pilates, Notting Hill
My friend led the way to the studio, as I dragged my feet, walking snail-slow, not looking forward to an hour on the said torture machine. Heartcore is a bright and airy space, with red bricks, white walls and large windows. The sun shines right in through the glass and warms your face gently. By the time we got there, my friend was already in reformer-mode and she lost me at "It's great, right?" She grinned at me, mouth wide open, sweat trickling down her temples. Meanwhile I was fuming, cursing at every plank, notch, hook and bar on that machine. My feet wouldn't go anywhere, I was so confused by all of it, not knowing what went where. But only minutes after I settled in, and much to my surprise, Keri from Heartcore was already standing right by my side, assuring me that I wasn't going to hurt myself. She told me that I was safe and then before I knew it, I was smooth-sailing on the reformer and enjoying the class. I was grinning and sweating too. Whaddaya know. Pilates is a tough sport. You've gotta know what you're doing if you're gonna be doing it right. The reformer helps you get into place and supports you every step of the way.
You'll be in heaps of pain the next day, and the day after that and the day after that. And the cost is a tad cringe-worthy as well (£25 for a single class, £20 for a 10-class package). But it's worth it. You'll see the results almost immediately. Hey, beauty is pain, right?