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Absolute Blogging
Absolute Blogging is a place you can find all sorts of useful information that will keep you informed on tips and advice in keeping your body mind and soul in the best shape possible. In addition our in house DJ LMBB (Little Miss Beat Box) bringing you Ab

Pilates Clothes - What Do I Need?

Back in the day, gym clothes used to be ill fitting garments we all dreaded to put on - some of the sports fashion in recent history has been straight up appalling. However, today's fitness market is abundant in choices when it comes to clothing. So much so that it can get a little confusing - what exactly do you need during a Pilates class? Stepping into the sports department of a store can be stressful unless you know what you're looking for, so let's break it down: What should you look for when buying workout gear for Pilates?

1. Fit. This might seem obvious - of course it should fit well. But let's dig a little deeper - what does fit actually mean? When doing Pilates reformer classes, it's good to wear clothes that are soft and supportive at once. If you wear trousers or tops that are designed to look very lose or oversized, you run the risk of the fabric getting caught in the reformer machine. Also, it's important for the teacher to be able to see your body movement, so anything to large and floppy might make this hard. Comfortable leggings are always a good bet! If you're unsure about your size, get someone at the store to help you - the right size can make a big difference! Sometimes, we like to buy clothes a size smaller in the hopes that we will fit into them soon, but what about...

2. Comfort. In order to get the most out of your practice, choose clothes that make you feel comfortable, confident and strong. Do you want to wear leggings so tight they are see through? Not really, unless you're Sofia Vergara. Is blue your favorite color? Go for it! Do you love working out in shorts? Do it! This is your time to work on your mind and body, so make sure your garments will make you feel your best!But it's not only about what everyone else see's you in, but also about the...

3. Undergarments. Excuse the intimate tone here, but it really is very important to wear underwear that will make your practice easy and comfortable. Stay away from underwear that doesnt stay in place. Wear natural fibers. And of course - it's all about the sports bra! During a class of pilates, you spend a lot of time on your back. Therefore, many people find it uncomfortable to wear sports bras with clasps in the back, since they can 'dig in' to your skin whilst exercising. We recommend a seamless bra with medium support, unless you're doing a cardio pilates class, in which case you'll need high support. During cardio classes, the time is split evenly between floor work and work on the reformer, so the issue with the clasps in the back might be less irritating. Alright, then, so that's the undergarments. How about some....

4. Socks. Whether you use socks or not during class is completely up to you. Some people prefer having special Pilates socks with a bit of rubber underneath for better grip on the reformer and floor. This can certainly help, but it's not a necessity during class. Last but not least...

5. Style. There are SO many amazing labels who make beautiful clothes aimed at fitness. They're so nice, you can actually wear them everyday! Brands like Sweaty Betty, Manuka, Lululemon and Every Second Counts (The latter is pictured above) make clothes that will make you feel like a million bucks. In fact, we love Lululemon and Every Second Counts, you can find it here at the studio!

If you feel inspired, why not come and ask us at reception for more info on what clothes we sell here at Absolute? We have a feeling you might want to change that Christmas wishlist... ;)


Kiwi's at Absolute

What is it about New Zealand and crazy good Pilates instructors? If you've been coming to class recently, you'll have noticed we have a couple of new faces here at the studio, and many of them are from that place on the other side of the world. Kate and Nick are two of our new instructors, and after hanging out with them for a while, I had the feeling that the perception of fitness is quite different over there. I was interested to ask them what they thought about the approach to fitness back home vs. here in the UK.

"Oh, it's totally different! Back home, everyone is so into health and fitness and that industry is just huge there. It's a lifestyle! Because summer is such a big part of life it feels very natural for everyone to be physically active. Everyone will just go to the gm, head to the beach or go play a game of sports together, after work." Kate tells me.

"It's just about making fitness a part of your life, a part of your daily routine. Health and fitness is so important to me, and it's fun to see how people over here are becoming more aware of it too. Like, more conscious about good choices in regards to health and fitness." Nick explains.  "It's just so important for feeling food!"

"Yes" Kate elaborates. "This whole raw food and organic eating is almost like a 'trend' thing overe here, like, 'it's cool to be vegan'. But back home, everyone really is into healthy eating and it's not a very big deal - it's just how it is!"

I've noticed that Kate frequently has a snack with her to work, and it's often of the chocolatey kind.

"I'm a firm believer in salads. Salads and chocolate!" She laughs. "I just love chocolate! But I always make these treats myself, using only organic super foods such as raw cacao, coconut oil and chia seeds, so they're actually healthy." Well, I don't know about you, but we're all about the guilt free snacking - bring it on!

Nick and Kate will both be teaching lot's of classes here this fall and winter, so be sure to check the schedule to come in and try one if you haven't already/. Their classes are so much fun and always varied, getting you that varied Pilates workout we all love so much. Your heart rate will be pumping to the sing-songy sound of their Kiwi accents, guiding you through an awesome class of Absolute Pilates. See you soon!


Aleksa's secrets

What sparked your initial enthusiasm for Pilates? Were you always into it? 

I started Pilates when I was 15 with my physiotherapist in Brazil. At the time I was trying for a career in professional tennis training about 6 hours a day. Tennis is a very high impact sport and even though I was well conditioned, I needed help with flexibility and stretching.  Initially I worked 1-1 with her to help me mainly with flexibility and to deal with my injuries in the shoulder and lower back that started quite early in my career. The work I did with her was a lot different to the reformer method I teach now. But using pilates for re-hab and to gain more flexibility was the best way for me when I was training so hard.

What does a normal day look like for you?

Wake up really early and go out to exercise for 1-2 hours every day. You will either see me at the studio for a 7am class or you can find me in Kensington Gardens running. I have very recently started training for a triathlon and I am adjusting my body for endurance based running, which is actually quite hard for me considering I come from a tennis background. 

I also walk Dylan (my dog) every morning around Fulham/Parsons Green, and then go home to work on a fashion business I'm starting up. And of course, pop over to Absolute for my group classes =)

Do you have any tips for people who have a hard time finding motivation to get started? Or for those who just want to keep the focus but find it hard?

One of the things that I always say is: WORK OUT IN THE MORNING! It's the best time... find a way to do it! I have actually written an article exactly about that in my blog if you want to check it out:

Do you read any blogs or follow any instagram accounts for fitness motivation?

I have 2 blogs that I regularly check out: OH SHE GLOWS (for vegan recipes) and a famous Brazilian fitness blogger that just posts about workouts and beauty and makes me feel really bad every day if I get lazy to go to the gym - Gabriela Pugliese 

You’re from Brazil – would you say there’s a difference in body perception and how we treat ourselves in the UK and Brazil? If so, how?

Ha! Great question! Yes, for sure! And this is a lengthy topic for discussion. But to summarize, Brazilian standards of beauty are ridiculously high, especially for women. And it's very difficult to be a woman in Brazil, in any age group. Not so much about being thin, but about being PERFECT. Perfectly tanned, perfectly curvy, no cellulite, perfect white teeth, long wavy sun kissed hair. It's very stressful to be a women in Brazil as you are always chasing something and feeling defeated. I mean you are in your bikini all year round! In the UK I feel it's more about the make-up and beauty; Brazil is about the body and the tan. Although I feel people are becoming more body conscious in the UK with all the "hype" around fitness, and how suddenly it became so fashionable.

What’s your favourite exercise on the reformer?

I love all the squats, lunges and scooters (lol) amazing how they can shape up the thighs and bum! - Also love all sorts of planks and working the obliques ;)

What do you do in your spare time?

Spare time? Hmmm... I spend time with my husband and dog. During the day we will be either working out, playing tennis, having brunch around Chelsea, South Ken and at night at some restaurant. We love to try all the new restaurants in town, so many exciting things happening in London. 

Your husband comes here sometimes. Do you have any suggestions or tips for couples that want to stay active together?

I think it's fun to work out together, and find things that both like doing. It's fun to also learn other things. I teach him tennis he teaches me golf, so even if you are different levels, you can still find ways to hang out together. We also find that exercising together during the day makes us feel less guilty about our weekend food extravaganzas. 

I know you’re good at cooking healthy food and I’ve tasted your smoothies (yum!) – what’s your favourite smoothie recipe?

I have a rule for my house: only healthy foods are allowed inside, if we want to be naughty we need to go out! 
At the moment, I am into avocados and spinach smoothies. You can find the recipe on my blog:

Is there a role model out there for you, in terms of fitness?

My role model is me when I was 16 years old. I had the discipline of a professional athlete and I always look back to those days to find strength and motivation to stick to my objectives. 

If someone would play you in a movie, who would it be?

Erin Brockovich

Spin? Absolutely!

How do we feel about summer being over? Being back in the ol’ routines? With the arrival of fall, why not spruce up your energy with some Absolute Spin classes! Let’s have a little look at just why Spinning is so good for you.
Spinning has long been a favorite type of workout for celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Scherzinger and David Beckham. Wait a minute, you think. These people are celebrities, whose whole life is more or less dedicated to working out. What about us mere mortals? I asked one of our new Spin instructors, James, what you can expect from a spin class.

“Spinning really is a fantastic workout for everyone, regardless of your fitness level. Since people can adjust the level on their own bike, it’s an excellent way to build up strength according to your own need, while still in a dynamic group environment. Remember- this is YOUR workout! I’m here to guide you, and makes sure that you get the most out of your workout in a safe, fun and sweaty way!”

James definitely knows what he’s talking about – with a first diploma in Sports Exercise Science and an F.A Coaching License, he’s been in the fitness industry for over 10 years. In his class, he’ll make you forget about your daily stress and worries and instead focus on getting the very best workout You can get on a bike in 45 minutes, and afterwards he will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about your own workout routine or how to get the most out of his high-in-demand classes.

So, get ready to sweat! Because sweat, you will: when you walk out of that class, you’ll be dripping but smiling. Really, smiling? Yes! Here’s the thing: exercise releases endorphins, also known as the Happy hormone. When you really push yourself with exercise (which you will, in our Spin classes) the brain releases this hormone that can make you feel almost euphoric after a class. I asked our other new Spin instructor, Nadia, about some of the benefits of spinning.

“Spinning is great because it is a high intensity cardiovascular exercise which allows you to burn up to 400-600 calories per session. When you exercise on your own, it’s so hard to push yourself that extra bit which is necessary to see real change in your body – this really is a great way to tone up your legs and glutes as well as getting that amazing interval training with climbs, sprints and out-of-the-saddle work.”

Nadia has been teaching Spin since 2007 and she loves it! She is a welcomed addition to the Absolute team, with her fun and charming personality and music that will be sure to get your heart rate up. Because that’s another thing about Spinning – it’s all done with awesome music that will help motivate you during the class.

So, why not hop on one of our 11 stationary bikes and add some extra cardio to your workout routine? Ladies and gentlemen… ready, set, SPIN!


Have you met Mark?

How and why did you get into physiotherapy?

My first involvement with physiotherapy was in my teens when I pulled my hamstring during a 100 meters sprint final for my club in the All Ireland sprint championships. The rehabilitation process and the understanding of anatomy that was required to overcome my problems intrigued me and so initially sparked my interest. Further involvement with physiotherapists throughout my rugby career made me realize it was something I could do within sport once I was finished with rugby. However I never have any intention of retiring from rugby.

What sparked your initial enthusiasm for Pilates?

I have been using the exercises that we do in pilates for a very long time. From the age of 10 I started my TaeKwon Do training which incorporated a lot of the exercises we do today. Throughout the mid 90’s to the early 2000’s I saw a lot of the movements becoming more popular in rugby training with academy training in the munster and irish rugby camps. Pilates training plays a part in studying physiotherapy so it was a natural progression to train and learn more in this area.

What qualifications and training did you have to do to become a Physio?

Having an A+ in irish leaving certificate biology helps before you apply. Added to that going back as a mature student with a previous 4 year university degree also helped. Doing personal training, strength and conditioning and sports massage gives you a base level of knowledge. On top of that it’s a 3 year university degree in the UK. In first year a lot of time is spent on anatomy and physiology, from dissecting cadavers to learning the biomechanics of the body. As horrible as it may seem I have been fortunate enough to be able to see the human body inside and out. After a while you get over the fact you are holding a heart, brain or liver in yours hands and learn to really appreciate what we are made of.  In second and third year you have to do a thousand hours of clinical work which incorporates respiratory, neurological, musculoskeletal and community/elderly care placements. Everything from individual assessments, assignments, dissertation work to group work. The usual stuff that comes with degree work. I think the most important thing of all is having the skill to be able to critique scientific research and learning to have to be reflective on your practice ensuring you try to constantly improve.

How has your physio background contribute to your work today?

It has given me a great understanding of anatomy and how the body works and functions. Physio has also contributed to my understanding of the social and psychological problems that contribute to a person’s welfare as opposed to just their physical ailment.

What are the most common injuries you come across in your classes?

Unsurprisingly it would have to be lower back injuries 

What advice would you give to your clients to prevent getting injured when working out?

If you are unsure about anything or already have something that you may be concerned about, do not be afraid to speak up and ask for help or assistance.  

What have you enjoyed most about your career? 

Helping people solve their problems and coming up with solutions. Helping other people is extremely rewarding.

Who most inspires you?
Arnold Schwarzenegger

What do you listen to when you work out? 

Generally I am not too bothered about what music is playing when I am working out. I will listen to most things within reason. My music selection can be very broad. However, if I was to choose then Guns N Roses or AC/DC generally gets me pumped up.

If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?

Welcome To The Jungle, Guns N Roses  

If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?

A mobile, laptop and internet connection so I could go online, buy and order all the things I wanted on the island.

If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?

Don Johnson because he is a cool dude. I am a crazy 1980’s Miami Vice fan.

New Mini Urban Retreat with Corrie

Tone Up & Gain Energy
​Sunday 21st September
3.30pm - 8.00pm

Take a few hours out of the week to escape your daily demands and immerse yourself in a Mini Urban Retreat to completely reset your health and fitness without the need to spend hundreds of pounds and travel hundreds of miles.  This is your one stop well-being shop!

During this extended workshop we will be learning how to exercise efficiently to ensure you maximise your energy reserves rather than draining them, with trainer Corrie McCallum combining Pilates, Yoga, Breathing and Weight Lifting.

Joining us on this workshop is Julie Deeks, a top Nutritional Therapist who specialises in functional nutrition medicine.  She looks at all symptoms and signs including physical, emotional, psychological and environmental to ensure care in holistic and integrative.

Julie will be giving an exciting talk on how we can use our nutrition to manage a healthy weight and support muscle tone, whilst boosting and sustaining energy levels.

To keep us fuelled, a healthy snack will be provided and the day will conclude with a delicious salad and nutritious sweet treat, all made by London's latest urban bakery and street food gurus, Breadren.

​​3.30pm - 4.30pm -  Dynamic Reformer Pilates Class

4.45pm - 5.45pm - Nutrition Talk and Q&A with Healthy Snack

6pm - 7pm - Vinyasa Yoga Class

7pm - 7.30pm - Breathing, Relaxation and Meditation

7.30pm - 8pm - Healthy Food!

Suitable for all levels.

Cost: £95 (only 9 spaces available)



New Workshop - Complete Core Strength with Corrie

Complete Core Strength
​Saturday 6th September
2.30pm - 4.30pm

Training your core muscles means so much more than just getting rock hard abs, it's about creating endurance and stability throughout the whole body, enabling freedom of movement and the ability to make it through your day without pain, particularly back pain. 

Performing endless crunches will only ever make you good at crunches, so instead we will look at how to attack the core from all angles, giving you a functional workout and the knowledge to apply improved technique to your future health and fitness activities. 

The workshop will be dynamic and a great workout with plenty of opportunites to stop and ask questions, create modifications to suit your personal needs and go deeper into your Pilates practice. 

In the beautiful studio at Absolute Pilates Plus, we will use the innovative Reformer Pilates equipment in combination with body weight exercises, Pilates mat work and some Yoga inspired breathing techniques to work deep into the core muscles.

There will be a chance to analyse your posture and learn how exercises can be modified to suit your personal posture and how to work around any injuries or limitations you have, to enable you to maximise your exercise efficiency in the future.

A sheet of Pilates Mat exercises to be performed at home following the workshop will also be handed out and we will  work through these together.

The workshop will be lead by Corrie McCallum, who is the founder of Stretch Breathe Smile and works throughout London as a Pilates and Yoga Teacher and Personal Trainer.

There are only 9 spaces on this workshop, giving you a truly personal experience and a chance to make some real progress with your health and fitness.

Suitable for all levels.


£60 (only 9 spaces available)



Everything you always wanted to know about Hollie!

Hollie is one of our Pilates master instructors at Absolute. She has been working with us almost since the day we opened and she is one tough cookie. Her classes and healthy life style have inspired many of us, myself included so I was thrilled to interview her for these pages. We talked about how she developed her style, along with everything from the specialization of Pilates, equipment, and more.


1.       What sparked your initial enthusiasm for Pilates?

I was doing a lot of Pilates in the run up to a charity event I was taking part in. I’d agreed to run 7 marathons in 7 days for charity and kept getting injured whilst training. Pilates helped me prepare and was the only training I could actually do post-run. I was badly injured and I realised I wanted to be able to support others in reducing injury and protecting their bodies while working out.


2.       What are some tips you have for people to get into shape?

Move, move, move! Do one thing every day that gets you out of breath. No matter what it is; gardening, power walking etc. If you’re trying to get fit fast, try HIIT. It prompts you to keep burning fat for up to 48 hours afterwards and it shreds away fat. For women, lifting heavy weights will also help burn fat for long periods afterwards, as well as improve the metabolism.


3.       What are some common mistakes people make when working out?

Technique! Be careful and conscious of what muscles you are actually using. Often you see men in the gym, constantly working their pecs and traps: what they are doing is simply giving themselves a kypothic/hunched back! Also, doing sit-ups will not give you a flat tummy! Pilates ensures that you use all muscle groups equally. Speaking to a fitness professional will help you understa nd what you should and shouldn’t be doing.


4.       Are there any fun exercises people can do at home?

Use a flexi band! There are loads of great exercises online/on YouTube that you can use to recreate reformer pilates – with the flexi band.


5.       What do you listen to when you work out?

Music that gets me pumped. Usually music with a lot of bass in it. If I don’t feel like going to the gym, I just listen to my playlist and that always gets me in the mood!


6.       What is your favourite cheat food?

CHOCOLATE! I used to be a Chocolatier before Pilates and I can’t shake that addiction.


7.       What motivates you to stay on track with your diet and training?

My career. I should be an advert for my services and nobody trusts a fat PT. You should lead by example in fitness.


8.       What is one thing you could tell us about yourself that others would be shocked to know?

I used to be an award winning pastry chef and once I ran 7 marathons in 7 days and cycled 1000 miles from John O’ Groats to Lands’ End for charity!


9.       If you could have a different job what would it be?

I always wanted to have my own farm or own an organic coffee shop/healthy food café. I also completed a psychology degree as I was going to be an educational psychologist.


10.   If you could be one character from a book who would it be?

Katniss Everdeen – May the odds be ever in your favour J


11.   If you won the lottery what would you do?

I would move to Cornwall and surf all day every day.



Indie House Music Mix from LMBB. Happy Summer 2014!


Banana Pancakes with Coconut Yoghurt* and Berry Compote

Gluten and lactose free, antioxidant and fibre rich, promotes a healthy digestive tract)

Serves 3-4

Pancake batter:
225g buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of cinnamon and salt
275ml almond milk
1 large egg

200g berries of choice (raspberries and blueberries work well)
2 banana’s, sliced
Coconut oil
A squirt of agave
Coconut yoghurt 

Simmer berries in a small pan with a splash of water. Flash fry banana in a hot pan with coconut oil and agave.
Mix top 5 ingredients together for pancake batter and fry pancakes in coconut oil on medium heat.
Stack pancakes, top with coconut yoghurt, berry compote, banana and nuts of choice (I like walnuts)

* ‘Coyo’ is a fantastic coconut yoghurt variety


By: Hollie Grant