Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Beauty is Pain

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?


  1. I agree Heartcore is the way forward - my body changed shape after the first session! Heard they are soon to be opening in Chelsea too... Hurrah for Heartcore this summer!

  2. Sounds amazing! How long did it take to work for you?

  3. ...i love the way you write! Still don`t think i will make it to the torture chamber ;-)

  4. Marie: I've been going once a week and have already been 4 times. My new-found strength:)was noticeable after just 3 times. I also find that everything just looks more toned.

  5. It does sound amazing, I have read about it somewhere else too.

    I would love to give it a go....altho it's looks very confusing too, I would be worried that I just wasn't doing it right!!

    Good for you :)

    Hope you are enjoying the sunshine :)

  6. I've tried it! It's worth it! It really is.. and you feel soo good afterwards! Lucky you, going to Paris....how I wish I could go with you!! Hope you have a great time shopping and enjoying the most beautiful city of them all!

    xxxx Kristin

  7. A couple of friends have told me about this... After reading your post I'm tempted to give it a try. That and the fact I'm almost completely immobile! xx

  8. Beauty is pain...yep I agree. I am trying to get back into running this week after not doing it for ages. It hurts. I want it not to so I have to do it more. And it hurts! Still I will be pleased I did when I get my bikini on I guess... L x

  9. Yes, all your life you will deal with this. Just get over it, you're a woman. Gotta do it!

  10. Well, I am glad I did inspire you to get your bum into gear. :) x D

  11. I do Equipment Pilates once a week and have been for nearly 2 years and reformer is part of my intensive workout. I have a back problem so it has helped so much and refined my posture so I can saunter around elegantly holding my head up high and stand proudly with my boobs thrusted forward. Keep at it, it's worth it! To alot of people the machinery looks scary but it's not at all. I highly recommend!

  12. Dear Emily, I wanted to do a little post about London Fields and wondered if I could use your 'girl in the yellow dress' picture? (as it's by far the nicest I can find) with a full credit and link of course. Please let me know if this is ok. I do only live two minutes away so could pop and take one but I don't think it would be as lovely as yours! xx

  13. Hi Marie,

    I have been doing it once a week for the past few months but amazingly the changes were noticeable after a few weeks. Like Emily said, everything looked more toned - I felt really proud of myself! Definitely give it a go - you will be so thankful and also hooked! Good luck....

  14. Dear Emily, I have tried for ages to get your blog added to my list but it refuses to accept the url, even when I type it from scratch. Most annoying! Can you try and add yourself to your own list for a second and see if it works... Please let me know how you get on. You can email me via my profile page if that's easier, Christina xx

  15. Haha beauty is definitely pain. I have been going to the gym religiously every day and not seeing much of a difference. This reformer device sounds awesome though - going to try it next time im in London!

    I've just been looking through your blog and you have made me miss london so much! I love your blog though :)

    Sophie xx


  16. kathy peck leeds2 June 2010 at 08:00

    Wish they had that kind of Pilates in LA. It's very slow and can be annoying here. Wonder if they'll open up a Heartcore here?
    What happened to your Paris post?

  17. Sounds scary... in a if it's sore it must work kind of way!

    Might be a wimp and stick with my normal yoga for the now. (May change my mind when it gets nearer to the wedding!)