Here at Feelgood Fitness we pride ourselves on being down to earth and making our classes fun, educational and inclusive. This is my brief history as to why we have this ethos here at the studio and why our Pilates classes in Bristol are like no other!
My early fitness experience of fitness and Pilates in Bristol
I have always been a firm believer in making exercise and movement accessible for everyone. I’ve been to many classes myself when I was first starting out in my fitness journey. I remember going to some and feeling very intimidated, small little groupies, in tight leggings and crop tops, all giggling. Or looking at everyone else lifting big weights whilst I was doing small light ones. I used to look at people doing spin or long runs with envy as my own poor lungs would burn!
Whilst I was learning to become a personal trainer and then Pilates instructor, I was often met with either fear or lack of understanding of my scoliosis. It’s a tiny one, but it does make me unbalanced and it can cause sciatica when I’ve annoyed it.
I’ve often felt like I was either told to do nothing or too much. My body had to fit the exercises, no leeway or modification. Squats were supposed to be parallel feet, with a 90 degree bend at the knee and hip. There were times when this would make me either frustrated and angry or feel just plain rubbish!
Starting to look and listen
After I qualified as personal trainer, I wanted to work with back pain. Originally I was going to have a focus on nutrition but I soon learnt it wasn’t for me! As I started to work with these clients I realised that their bodies moved completely differently to the text books, they were frightened to put their body into a particular movement or range, or they weren’t able to do it yet. Now we are all taught to modify and regress exercises when needed. But what I began to realise was that I also needed to reassure my clients what it was ok not to be able to do something.
Make the exercise or movement suit the body
My philosophy became to make sure that exercises or movements were modified to suit the body. If someone’s knees turned out because that is how they were born, then we turn the toes out and keep the alignment. If someone is a bit wonky on one side, instead of homing in and forcing them to be straight, we allow a little bit of play.
In Pilates this is especially important, particularly when looking at some of the traditional movements. Mr Pilates aimed his movements at a lot of dancers, and it was mostly dancers who carried on his teachings when he died. Not everyone who comes to a Pilates class or session is a dancer or moves like one! So why do we expect them to? There is nothing wrong with making the movement smaller, or adding in some assistance, or just not being able to do it at all!
Why our Pilates classes in Bristol are different
It’s because of this that I feel our classes here in Bristol are just that little bit different. Myself and my team aren’t from big sporting or dance backgrounds, we don’t naturally move like elegant dancers! Most of us have long term or chronic health conditions, we have to keep working on ourselves too.
Most importantly, we get it. We know what it’s like to not be able to do something, or to really rubbish in a class. If you can’t do a roll up, we don’t actually mind! In fact I’ve only ever found 2 reasons to be able to do a full one; playing row, row, row your boat on the floor with a small person, and getting out of the bath whilst holding a book. Other than that, why do you need to do the movement!?
It’s important for our clients to feel they are listened to, supported and that we will work with them, not forcing them into something they feel unsure about. We encourage you to talk to us throughout the classes and most importantly to ENJOY the class!
If you fancy joining one of our Pilates classes in Bristol, you can book a class here: here