My Hot New Fitness Routine

19 April 2010

I’m not much of an exerciser. Don’t much like to sweat. Hate gyms: the smell, the lycra, the gym people (sorry), drinking from a bottle. Yuk! But when I read that Kylie, that pocket Venus with amazing bod, had bought herself a Powerplate, I was amazed to discover I am in the most unlikely gang. I’ve never been anywhere near the cutting edge of anything physical. But a couple of Powerplate sessions a week are so transforming my life that I am becoming positively evangelistic and curiously find myself bang on a hot new fitness trend.

It’s been about a month since I signed up. I came back from four weeks at fashion shows feeling like a bloated corkscrew. I had to do something. On the road you eat whenever and whatever you can. Brownies for breakfast, coffee for lunch, canapés for dinner. Champagne is a food group. And then there are the hours spent hunched up on benches waiting, hunched over iPhones tweeting and blogging, shlepping bags, sleeping badly and generally living wrong. I felt awful.

I had a faded memory of the year I spent in NY (pre-Grazia) when I was freelance and my time was my own and three days a week I started with a yoga class. At the end of it I felt incredible.  But I don’t have that kind of time now so I rang my friend Nahid de Belgeonne at Good Vibes, the Powerplate studio around the corner from our office, and signed up for 20 sessions.

I’d had an introductory training session with Nahid, about two years ago, when she first opened her Endell St studio, and I was making another aborted attempt to get in shape. The commitment crashed but I loved her. She put me through the routine on that machine wearing fuschia pink leggings, huge jewelled earrings, high glittery heels, an embroidered vintage jacket and balancing with a gold topped cane. She was my kind of fitness teacher. The moves were all vaguely familiar from yoga. But the big difference is the session lasts 25 minutes, you barely break a sweat (important… me) and your muscles are working like pistons, all without you really noticing it.

The plate vibrates (a kind of humming vibration, not a bucking one) so your muscles are contracting and relaxing at a rate that makes a ten minute Powerplate workout worth an hour in the gym. Result! So now I slip out of work for an off peak session twice a week. I have a teeny bag with leggings, t shirt and socks. No need for trainers. And since I often have meetings and work things after 6pm, where appearance matters, I love it that there is no sweaty hair and no running mascara to deal with. I am on that Plate, toned and jiggled and back at my desk before anyone notices. And I know it is working because I am seriously jelly-legged on the way back.

Haven’t got the outfit sorted yet, to be honest. I wasn’t sure I could stick with it. I still have a pair of box fresh and very expensive trainers I bought last year when I was about to sign up with a personal trainer, paid for ten sessions, and did one. So the look is a bit thrown together: American Apparel leggings and a Uniqlo t shirt for the moment. But I am seeing results already, so am thinking it might be time for a judicious investment in some adidas by Stella McCartney.

PLUS, completely psyched by the charge of endorphins and the emerging muscle tone after only a few weeks, I have added a Pilates class to my weekly routine and skipped easily from beginners to intermediate in less than a month. I even made it to the end of David Higgins class at Ten Pilates today (only bottled the reps twice). And on a two hour break in Paris last week waiting for a meeting with Ralph Lauren, I WALKED up the Eiffel Tower and back down high heels! Thank you Miss de Belgeonne. I am convinced it’s because the Powerplate has given my muscles a head start.

No need to shell out the 24,000 to have a machine at home. Even if I was a squillionaire, I find it’s way easier to get motivated in a class with a group. Google your nearest studio and get down there. You can still fit in a few sessions before bikini time.

- Paula Reed


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