When time is of the essence, I’m usually more of a cardio or nothing girl, favouring high impact classes that will make me sweat. But my poor old bones are feeling that impact, and friends in the know clamour to inform me that Pilates is likely to be the answer to my niggles (not to mention being the ultimate all-over body conditioning exercise, too). I’ve done my fair share of mat Pilates classes in the past, and I’m game to give it another go – not least because I’d like to check out Raw Pilates, north London’s newest studio. Though it may be set in the rather lovely surrounds of The Laboratory Spa & Health Club, it is very much open to non-members, so I book in for an hour-long one-to-one session with Kate.
The stylish studio is small and intimate – I am the only one there on a Tuesday lunch time – and equipped with every conceivable piece of Pilates kit, all of it top of the range. Kate and I have a quick chat, during which we set some goals and she introduces me to the various equipment available to us. We start on the table, a sort of raised bed, so that Kate can see how my body moves (answer: not always in the way it should!). Through a series of seemingly simple exercises, using the various springs and straps on the table, we work our way from top to toe, concentrating largely on my core. Although everything sounds easy in principle, and appears to be straightforward movements of arms, legs and body, I find myself struggling, and I have soon worked up a sweat. We move on to the reformer, the tower and the chair – I really get my money’s worth with Kate – until every inch of my body has been worked out and stretched to its limit. I’m exhausted, but I feel much more in tune with my body and its quirks, and I can’t wait for my next session – although my enthusiasm wanes a couple of days later when the delayed onset muscle soreness sets in. Still, I reason, that is a better sign than anything that we’ve done some seriously good work.