Reformer pilates : love at first sight

July 16, 2018

It really felt like love the very moment I jumped from the kick board at my first Reformer pilates in Reform studios Holywood studio. I have had this blog for three years now and I have had the pleasure of trying Yoga at the  The Yoga Quarter, open water swimming and my first triathlon. I have worked with endless Personal trainers (most of whom feature here on the blog)with have guided me in my own training. But my experience with Reformer pilates has been a game changer. Here is why;

I love to engage all aspects of my body when I perform a movement in my workouts, reformers allows and demands that of your body.

It changes every time you go.

I am four classes in and not one class has been the same. As much as I love Body balance and body pump classes at my gym, after week five of the same soundtrack I’m ready for the next release. My love for yoga remains and two moves you become familiar with, and pretty good at performing are downard dog and Chaturanga. I have noted with reformers that there are lunges and one or two core movements which are integrated ito every class. As I would say in my own creative art and wine workshops, times like this which are familiar to the mind allow you to settle and feel secure. I love the variety in reformers but these snippets of consistency are good and you get a chance to improve technique the more they pop up in a class.

Micro muscles are fired up which you didn’t know existed.

Remember when you did a ballet class and had to rise and fall on your toes? Now you longer do ballet and feel like a simple few sprints and squats will be enough to keep your muscles toned. Reformers brings small definite movements into the framework of the body which, as we get older and forget about certain muscles, is really important for overall strength. Spine health, posture and an awareness of mind and body I would add to this thought.

Reformers is different from other workouts.

After I had a bulging disc diagnosis in my spine the only recommendation for me was pilates to avoid surgery. The pilates they recommended was mat pilates where the body is your biggest tool-  it’s the resistor and it is the initiator of every action. Reformers has instruments like a kick board and the whole class is based around the “carriage” which is like a small bunk bed with hinges and tracks.

When you’re changing springs on your “carriage” ( the instrument  you see me on in the picture above) and have the big hoops and the little hoops on the ropes which are attached you do begin to wonder ” who on earth thought of this!?”.

The actions your body takes are relatively normal and recognisable if you take away the instruments on your carriage ie: side bends and planks. The idea behind it all intrigued me so much that I have been looking into the founder Joseph Pilates. You can read all about him here and when you do you will see how his ability to bring in bed springs and small mindful movements into this unique practice is all because of him using what he had to hand. Reformer pilates with all of it’s gadgets, for me, does what the bodyweight mat work pilates can’t do for you. It adds resistance and more mind body connection.

Reform Studios website can fire you a break down of the two types of main class on offer. All of them are challenging so don’t ask me to differentiate! Right  now  I am caught in the reformer bubble and enjoying the diversity of each class not letting myself think of the details. It’s the luxury of attending a class, isn’t it? I don’t have to think when I am well lead.There are also personal training and one to one session available.

There is a dancer (ly) smooth element to the alignments.

This is a favourite part of the reformer experience for me. I don’t mean that this class is feminine and not suitable for men, there have been males in the classes. A failed ballet dancer like myself who managed only a year in pointe will forever be attracted to the exercises which require extension of the hands and placement of feet.

How often should I take the class?

That is a question that I don’t have the answer to. I have been attending the class as well as my own exercise regime. After the first two classes I thought this was a good combo and I could continue to train then use refomers as an added bonus for my body. However, after the last two classes my body has had to work overtime because of the demands of the class.

We head off for a short break to the sun and already over the past two weeks I know my pelvic floor and deep internal core muscles have improved. This is based on two classes a week.


I visit and work in New York a few times a year so any classes in Northern Ireland always seems affordable in comparison to the $45-$60 I pay for one session of soul cycle or flow yoga. I am also a member of David lloyd gym in Belfast which is nothing short of expensive. However, if you know me then you know about my stint with pneumonia a few years ago which was the driving force for me to take care of my body and to start this blog. Then i found out i have the same heart defect as my late Father.

So, life is important to me and I will invest in exercise classes if they are going to improve my wellbeing.

Reformers is probably on the expensive side especially if you’re doing it alongside other exercise classes. I would encourage you to buy a block of sessions which you can view here.

Ease of booking?

This life we lead can move at a fast pace and feel like a whizz on an overnight train with no time to stop and look at the scenery. I see so much importance in letting ourselves have time in the weekly schedule (hence I have my two hour art and wine workshops for my audience to escape and for their brain to fire up on different levels ) to stand still and rejuvenate.

The Reform studio app makes it super easy to add that headspace into your calendar. The hour of pilates has great music ( important element of a good workout) with constant instruction and guidance. Hopefully that answers your question. As well as getting a workout which will revive your body and soul.

Thanks to Reform studios for having me. I’m not sure you”ll be able to get rid of me now!! This love is growing deeper and ever changing which keeps things fresh !!

” fitness is like a relationship. you can’t cheat on it and expect it to work”.


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