Review of Pilates HQ – Cosmopolitan.co.uk – Bridget March’s bikini body confidence challenge – June 2011 – Weeks 1-3

01-Jul-11

Bridget March, Cosmopolitan.co.uk’s Assistant Editor, has begun a 6 week programme at Pilates HQ to get beach ready. She is now on week 3! Read about her bikini body confidence challenge and follow her progress below and at http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/lifestyle/diet-fitness/bridget-marchs-bikini-body-con

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Bridget March’s bikini body confidence challenge

June 2011

In pursuit of a perky derrière Cosmo’s Assistant Web Editor is trialling Pilates classes and a cellulite-busting sugar-free diet

No matter what my size I’ve never felt bottom-confident. Despite not being overweight you’ll never, ever catch me in a pair of jeans without a long top and I always dread the bikini reveal every summer.

And I fear the situation’s getting worse – the further I get into my twenties the more I’m noticing cellulite in certain lights and I’ve long had a phobia of cottage cheese!

So… operation bum-boost! I’ve decided to start Pilates classes (Pippa Middleton’s toosh-toning exercise of choice), eliminate sugar from my diet and cut down on caffeine as both are thought to be bad for bums.

My aim is not to lose weight (although let’s face it, if I shift some pounds I’ll be chuffed), but to tone up, increase my flexibility and make my muscles longer and leaner.

I have embarked on two to three classes per week at Pilates HQ, a specialist Pilates centre that offers traditional and cardio classes using reformer machines and have cut all refined sugars from my diet (natural fruit sugars and champagne allowed… I literally can’t say no) and shrunk my four/five daily tea and coffee cup consumptions to two.

I will update my progress weekly…

 

Week one

I have so far been to four Pilates classes, two intermediate classes (even though I’m a beginner – I am ambitious and the time slots suit better!) and two cardio classes which are different in that a ‘jump board’ is attached to the base of the reformer beds allowing you to perform high-energy jumping sequences against it.

All four have incorporated very different, detailed, controlled techniques and while at times I worried my muscles might rip and that my thighs might be on fire, what impacted me the most was how incredible I felt after the classes. I was going in tense and tired and leaving lifted in both my mood and physique. It instantly lengthens your limbs and improves your posture and by focusing intently on your breathing and body it clears your mind and oxygenates you with mood-boosting serotonin. I think I’m hooked…

Sugar-wise I haven’t buckled yet, but have stocked up on sugar-free Polos and had a Starbucks Frappuccino Light. I know sweeteners aren’t good for me either but I figured it’s better than cheating.

Surprisingly I’m finding the caffeine reduction harder than giving up the sugar but I have tried my very hardest to stick to two cups a day and it helped that I had a weekend away in Marbella with twenty other beauty journalists to keep me disciplined.

Admittedly I had a spray tan before I went – which massively helped – but I definitely felt more confident having been on my mission a week when I was wearing my bikini in the sun. If this is how I feel now I can’t wait to see how I feel (and look) for my holiday to Croatia in July.

 

Week two

I managed one intermediate class this week and two cardio classes. Pilates HQ is fantastic in that I have now only had the same trainer twice, so each session is incredibly varied which I understand is good so you don’t plateau.

The classes are also really small (with a max of eight people) so you get plenty of personal attention and direction which is brilliant being a relative beginner.

I am already seeing the effects physically. My posture has instantly improved and I am definitely more aware of my core but I’m also looking more toned and my boyfriend has commented that I am ‘firmer’ – bonus!

As demonstrated to my friends after a couple of (sugar-free) drinks on Friday night, I am closer to touching my toes without bending my knees. Something I have NEVER been able to do but I am determined to.

Interestingly I met a leading beauty therapist this week and quizzed her on cellulite-cures. She said some exercise can actually enhance the appearance of it, as bulked-up muscle can exaggerate the toxins at the skin’s surface. She said exercises such as walking, Pilates (hurrah!) and yoga are better than things like running or cycling which can build muscle instead of toning it.

Diet-wise, even though I had a dinner out this weekend and a home-cooked roast yesterday I have steered clear of the sugar and I have finally lost that last pound that I’ve been struggling to shift for yonks. Here’s hoping it’s not just fluke!

Today, being a Monday, I am struggling caffeine-wise and as I type am sipping on my third cup. I vouch to return to two cups from tomorrow!

 

Week three

I started off well this week but a traumatising incident threw me off track on Wednesday night. A whole plate of food, complete with mustard and tomato sauce (which clearly knew I shouldn’t be eating it) was catapulted from a table at a BBQ face down onto my prized Mulberry handbag. The sparkle tweed leather drank it up and no amount of attempted recovery kept it alive. Ruined. Anyway the point is I went home and scoffed handfuls of jellybeans which were the nearest treats to hand. And they tasted a-may-zing.

I’d like to say it made me work even harder for the rest of the week, scrutinising every salad dressing and vitamin coating for sugar but no, I’ve kind of lost momentum and am crazing sweets.

I’m still focused on the fitness though and loving the Pilates. It’s incredible for relieving stress.

Toosh-wise I’m feeling slightly perkier. I’m no P-Middy yet but I feel like the shape of my bottom is rounder and looking lifted. Hopefully I’m not imaging it!

I definitely think I’m building muscle generally. I feel stronger all over and am ten times more aware of my posture – which has an instant slimming effect in itself.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                             

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