Why Pilates is The Real Reason Celebrities Look so Toned

Holly Willoughby Pilates Fan

This is from an article in the Daily Telegraph, written by the Beauty Editor Victoria Hall.

Core Strength and Enhanced General Wellbeing

‘Pilates and other types of resistance training, like band work, improves posture and strengthens core while sculpting the smaller muscles that make you look fit and toned. ‘Resistance work is extremely good for maintaining a youthful body, especially for women who sit at a desk all day as it corrects poor posture while firming, toning and building endurance, which you won’t get from cardio alone,’ explains celebrity fitness trainer, Dalton Wong from Twenty Two Training.’

You can read the whole article on the Daily Telegraph website, you’ll need to subscribe or register (which is free).


Photo Credit: Instagram/Holly Willoughby

Pilates for Men – Why Men Should do Pilates

Pilates for Men Islington

Not The Easy Option

‘Rather than being an easy option, Pilates has always been about building strength. Joseph Pilates had a background in self-defence and boxing and opened his “body-conditioning gym” in New York in 1926 to teach people how to achieve strength through better body control.

Elite athletes have long loved it — David Beckham, Andy Murray and Tiger Woods are fans.

Pilates is also incorporated into the training regimens of professional rugby players — the England, Wales and New Zealand rugby union teams rely on its ability to build strength and offset injury.’

Significant Gains in Strength

‘Studies have proved that it works. Last year a paper in the International Journal of Sports, Exercise and Training Science found that men who did a one-hour Pilates class three times a week for ten weeks experienced significant gains in strength that enabled them to improve their step-up and leg-press performance.’

‘Men tend to take it up because of a specific issue such as back pain or tight hamstrings. They are unsure about it working at first because they are used to activity that makes them sweat, but once they see the effects they are more dedicated to it than the women I teach.’

Jo Tuffrey
Pilates Teacher
Danesfield House Hotel and Spa

Reformer Pilates

Reformer Pilates is certainly a great choice when it comes to clean living and reforming your exercise routine. This type of Pilates is equally suitable for people returning to exercise as well as those who are simply looking to add something new to their workout regime.

As it works the body and the mind too, it is ideal for helping you to deal with the pressure and stresses of everyday life.

Pilates can be easily combined with other forms of exercise making it a popular choice with tennis players, runners, golfers and people who are already doing cardio exercise.

Give us a call or pop into the studio to find out all the benefits of Pilates for men.

Article by Peta Bee

Read the full article on The Times website (if you’re not a member you’ll have to register, for free).

Pilates and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Pilates and HIIT Training

Pilates and High-Intensity Interval Training are two very different forms of exercise – but ones that complement each other well.

High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short, is a popular form of exercise that focuses on providing a cardio workout. The high-intensity intervals are done in short bursts and alternate with low-intensity movements. Pilates, on the other hand, focuses on improving strength and flexibility and is generally not counted as a cardiovascular form of exercise.

Great Companions

Pilates and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) make great companions when it comes to choosing exercise regimes, since they complement and support each other in their beneficial impact on the body. HIIT focuses on large, global muscles and Pilates works on the core, so when combined they work on both large and small muscle groups. This ensures a whole body focus.

HIIT provides a quick and effective cardio workout, which is helpful for burning lots of calories, slowing down ageing and boosting the metabolism. It is an excellent way of increasing fitness and stamina by building aerobic capacity.

Pilates Reformer for Injury Rehabilitation

Pilates for Rehabilitation

Unfortunately, because the moves involved in HIIT workouts are performed at a quick speed and, of course, a high intensity, they can involve a risk of injuries. This is worth bearing in mind, particularly if you are taking a class, as attention should be paid to good form and technique in order to minimise the chances of injury.

For those who are already doing high-intensity interval training and who have experienced an injury, Pilates is an excellent choice to help rehabilitate the injury while also working to prevent future issues.

For those considering trying HIIT, on the other hand, starting Pilates can be a good way of preventing injuries. This is because it teaches you an awareness of how your body moves while also working to strengthen the core. Both of these benefits help to ensure you can do HIIT exercises with less risk of injury.

Swimming for Injury Recovery

Low-Impact Rest Days

Even if you do not sustain any injuries, HIIT can have a rather high impact on the body. For example, it can place a strain on joints such as your knees and hips as well as your spine. To mitigate this impact it is a good idea to take rest days to allow your body to recover. During the rest days you can choose to do low-impact exercise such as Pilates or swimming.

Pilates is also a great way to prepare for more intensive training methods such as HIIT, especially for newcomers to exercise who may be tempted to push themselves too hard too quickly. If you rush head first into HIIT style exercise the result can be painful damage to muscles and tendons. This can affect your progress as you wait for the damage to heal.

Thankfully, due to the way that Pilates works, it ensures a steady and careful progression in terms of fitness ability, flexibility and strength. This naturally reduces the tendency to want to leap head first into exercise and exercise too hard.





Breast Cancer – How Pilates Can Help

Breast Cancer and How Pilates Can Help

Roughly one in eight British women will develop breast cancer.

Pilates can do a lot to help those diagnosed with breast cancer to start regaining their physical confidence, rebuilding their self-esteem and heading down the road to recovery of the body, mind and spirit.

One of the many things that can get neglected during and after treatment for breast cancer is exercise.

Body Focus & Recovery

After a breast cancer diagnosis and the invasive treatments – from surgery to radiation and chemotherapy – that tend to follow, many women are left feeling somewhat detached from their bodies. Pilates can help mend this separation between the mind and body since it makes patients “think” through their movements and focus on the quality of the movement.

Some women with breast cancer experience impaired movement of their shoulder(s) following surgery, such as a mastectomy. Pilates can help slowly increase their range of motion by encouraging and teaching good shoulder-blade alignment while at rest and then incorporating gentle movements from this stable base.

An academic study on the effects of Pilates on the shoulder and “upper-extremity” mobility among women living with breast cancer, published in the journal Physical Therapy in 2008, found that Pilates can indeed improve the mobility of such women.

Focus on Posture

Following surgery for breast cancer, many patients might notice a change in their posture and see a rounding of the upper back as well as some slumping in their shoulders. Since Pilates focuses on posture and alignment, patients can use it to teach their body how to resume a more erect posture and maintain that posture through further back exercises.

The emphasis in Pilates on focusing on the feel of the movement rather than on its appearance can also help build the self-esteem of those who are trying to get back into a routine and to stop worrying about how they look after a mastectomy or other invasive surgery.

A good Pilates instructor can design an individually based program that will progress and evolve as a breast cancer patient starts to regain strength.

As always, it is advisable to ask a doctor before starting any new exercise program.


Breast Cancer Care


Very Well Health

Is Pilates Good for Weight Loss?

Pilates and Weight Loss

Pilates and Weight Loss –  Celebrity Practitioners

Pilates and weight loss. Can Pilates help you lose weight? Many celebrities have credited Pilates with helping them lose weight. They range from Jessica Biel, Jonah Hill and Liz Hurley to Holly Willoughby and Paloma Faith.

Burning calories is, of course, not the main focus of Pilates but Pilates can, nonetheless, be a surprisingly effective part of a weight-loss programme. This is especially true when Pilates is accompanied by adopting a holistic approach that includes healthy eating and some cardiovascular exercise.

Pilates and Paleo

Jessica Biel proves a perfect example of this strategy. She opts to combine Pilates with a paleo-style eating plan at the same time as doing other exercise, according to reports. This multi-faceted approach appears to work well.

One reason Pilates is such a great tool when losing weight is because it employs both bodyweight and resistance to strengthen, tone and burn calories. Your body continues to burn fat long after you have exercised, which can help you to shed the excess pounds.

Metabolically Active

Pilates strengthens not only your abdominal muscles but your other muscles too, which causes your metabolism to speed up. Muscle is metabolically active whereas fat is not. This change in your basal metabolic rate means that your body uses up more calories at rest.

Pilates also lengthens muscle and improves posture, which in turn tends to make you look longer and leaner. It can also tighten your waistline, even when you haven’t lost any weight on the scales. Many people love this benefit of Pilates because their whole body composition changes for the better.

Body Looks

This type of body toning and reconditioning can have a dramatic impact on the way your body looks and the way in which clothes fit you, even if you are not noticing significant weight loss. In fact, observing looser waistbands, zips that are easier to do up and clothes that hang better can be a good way of noticing changes without becoming fixated on the scales or reaching a certain number.

Physically being able to perform exercise may be quite difficult or daunting for those who are new to exercise, who are overweight or very out of shape. Pilates is an excellent way to kick start transforming the body because it can be adapted to suit each person’s individual circumstances in terms of current fitness level, health issues and any previous injuries.

This makes it an ideal exercise choice for people who are overweight and looking to lose weight, tone up and become fitter. Please contact us here at Pilates Central if you are interested in making these type of changes.






Will Pilates Increase Your Chance of a Date?

Lady on stool doing Pilates

Including the word ‘Pilates’ in your online dating profile dramatically boosts your odds of finding a date, according to a new study. A survey of 7,000 members of the dating site, Zoosk found that mentioning the word Pilates in your dating bio boosts the number of potential matches attracted to you by up to 160 per cent.

Exercise is Good For You

The survey also pointed out that other exercise regimes such as kick-boxing, Zumba and yoga could set you up with a date.

65% of online daters said that regularly exercising was important in a potential partner, with Pilates being considered the ‘sexiest’ workout.


If your interests lie in eating rather than exercise, the research has also revealed the food that you should always include in your dating profile – guacamole.

You can read the whole piece here on the Independent Website.


Pilates and Pregnancy

Pilates and Pregnancy Image

We’re often asked if you can do Pilates when pregnant.

You should check with your doctor before doing any kind of exercise during pregnancy. However, Pilates tends to be particularly suitable for pregnant women, since it is a low-impact form of exercise that strengthens the back, stomach and pelvic floor muscles.

Discover Pilates

Many women first discover Pilates and become practitioners here either when they are pregnant or have just given birth.

The studio doesn’t offer separate classes for either pregnant women or new mothers. What we do instead is something much better and more tailored, which is to design a specific Pilates programme to meet the precise, individual needs of each woman.

You may need to do Pilates in a modified or gentler way while pregnant and to make sure you stop the moment that you feel any discomfort.

Tailored Pilates

A properly tailored Pilates programme, however, can be the ideal way to lessen or avoid the back-pain commonly experienced during late pregnancy and then to enable your body to regain its shape rapidly after birth.

Please visit our Pilates and Pregnancy page for more on antenatal and Postnatal Pilates. The page includes the Benefits of Pilates for Pregnancy, a handy table of the stages of pregnancy where Pilates can be performed.

Also included is an FAQ.

If you have any questions regarding your pregnancy and Pilates please see our contact page.

Pilates Classes for Pregnancy Page

Joseph Pilates in Unique Photographs

Joseph Pilates at Work in his Studio

Photographs by I.C. Rapoport

We are privileged enough at Pilates Central to have a permanent exhibition of rare photographs of Joseph Pilates at work in his New York studio in 1961.

They were taken by the acclaimed photographer I.C. Rapoport and signed by the latter after his praised talk at Pilates Central in 2005.

Joseph Pilates

Read a longer article about the History and Origins of Pilates on our website by clicking here.

Joseph Pilates at Work with his Clients

Photo credit: I.C. Rapoport

Memories of The Man – Joseph Pilates

Romana Kryzanowska, an 81 year-old who still teaches Pilates: “I remember Joe and how he named his studio. In glass in black letters, there it was, “Contrology: The Art of Control.”

She came to it as a reluctant, 18 year-old ballet-dancer.

“He had white hair. He has a very tanned, muscular body. In boxing, he lost an eye. He had all the muscles of a fencer.

“He had a studio on 8th avenue, on the second floor and it was not very big and kind of dirty.

“He was introduced to me and I thought he was a crazy old man. I couldn’t understand why Mr Balanchine wanted me to go.

“I hated the first lesson. I hated the second lesson. But by the third lesson, I noticed that my malady, a problem with my ankle, was better.”

Source: Radio 4 Documentary

Joseph Pilates on Reformer

Photo credit: I.C. Rapoport

The Photographer – I.C. Rapoport

I.C. Rapoport is a renowned photojournalist and screenwriter. He photographed everyone from Samuel Beckett and Fidel Castro to President JF Kennedy.

In 1961, I.C. Rapoport was fortunate enough to photograph Joseph Pilates in his New York “gymnasium”.

Pilates Central and the wider world of Pilates are lucky to have this rare glimpse of Joseph Pilates at work in his own studio.

Visit his site: http://icrapoport.com/

Purchasing I.C. Rapoport’s Photographs Of Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates Poster

Photo Credit: I.C. Rapoport

Those interested in buying signed prints of I.C. Rapoport’s photographs of Joseph Pilates should let us and know – and we can make arrangements with I.C. Rapoport for you to purchase them.


Men’s Pilates Classes Islington

Men's Pilates Classes Islington

Many people think of Pilates as something mainly done by women. But around a third of our clients at Pilates Central are male and some days the studio contains as many men as women.

What is true, however, is that men and women often start doing Pilates for different reasons.

A Specific Reason

“Men tend to come for a specific reason – such as an injury – after being sent by their physiotherapist or doctor”, says Peter Ottevanger, Manager of Pilates Central. “So, they come to us to heal that injury and then come back when they are injured again – or else, get hooked and never leave. For women, it’s more likely to be a lifestyle choice.’

Increasingly, Pilates is appealing to all types of men – from dentists or taxi drivers with back problems, to film stars who need to look good and move well.

From James Bond to Hugh Grant

When preparing to play James Bond, actor Daniel Craig took up Pilates in earnest. Another fan is Hugh Grant, who quips, “Now I have muscles of steel and could easily deal with giving birth”.

Novelist Martin Amis says that Pilates “…keeps you flexible enough to pull on your socks as you get older… When I get out of the car now, I don’t go arrggghhh…”

Athletes Recovery

Pilates can also aid athletes recovering from injury, or wanting to prevent it. Footballers Ryan Giggs and Jonathan Woodgate, cricketers Andrew Flintoff, Ryan Sidebottom and Shane Watson, golfer Seve Ballesteros have all used Pilates to strengthen their core muscles.

Many rugby players use it, while rugby physios are now expected to have a grounding in Pilates. Nick Easter, the England number 8, is a devotee. “I’m getting on in rugby terms”, he says. “I’m aware the body can only take so much but I think I’m in a good place. Pilates has been a big help. It improves stability and gets everything in sync, which is important because when you’re fatigued your running technique disintegrates and you’re most vulnerable to injuries.”

Pilates teachers have their own routines for making male clients feel at home. Julian Littleford, owner of a Pilates studio in San Diego, says: ‘You have to open a man’s eyes to the depth and importance of the work and allow him to experience everything it can do”.

Littleford attracts males through scheduling them together and showing them how it will help with their sport. Initially there can be macho grunting but Littleford then suggests another approach of “…light resistance, correct form and attention to the breath… I try to convince a man who comes from the strict gym approach that there is another way of working and the results can be the same, but without the strain and pain.”

Give us a call for a no obligation chat about how you can benefit from a tailored programme of Pilates sessions in Islington N1.

Pilates and the Menopause

Pilates and the Menopause

Pilates can alleviate many of the symptoms of the menopause.

Menopausal women often experience a sense of loss, for both their youth and their child-bearing ability. But exercise and a positive attitude can help assuage such a feeling and many the symptoms of the menopause, including hot flushes, mood swings, depression, irritability and sleeplessness. Stretching and breathing exercises can calm and relax menopausal women and help them sleep better.

Weight Gain

Weight gain can be countered through instructors giving more intensive exercises to menopausal women. These can help with weight gain around the hips, buttocks and thighs, another result of the menopause. Exercise also releases endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals that counter depression.

Skin Strength

Skin strength and elasticity can also be improved through Pilates. Exercise has been shown stimulate collagen regeneration in the muscles and bones. This is extra benefit for menopausal women, some of whom are at risk of osteoporosis.

The menopause is a time of great change, but Pilates can result in more energy and confidence, less stress and a drop in hot flushes, fatigue and other related symptoms.

Women also appreciate the social aspect of Pilates and the support and humour of women at a similar life stage.

What People Say About Pilates and the Menopause

“Pilates is a mind-body experience just like menopause is, and we can use the philosophy of Pilates to help women through it”, comments Carolyne Anthony, a Pilates expert and director of The Center for Women’s Fitness in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“Menopause can be a truly amazing time if women are given the tools necessary to cope with its trials and tribulations. Pilates is a wonderful aid in accomplishing these goals.”

“This is also a time of self-reflection, a reemergence of the self. Most women report an opening of the mind and an insatiable desire to learn new things. These women are strong and confident and are willing to do what it takes to achieve balance in their lives. Pilates seems to fit the bill.”

Give us a call for a no obligation chat about how you can benefit from a tailored programme of Pilates sessions.