Wednesday, 27 November 2013

GUEST BLOG: Dynamic Pilates….Is it the way forward?

My great friend Paola is opening her new studio, Paola’s BodyBarre, this January which is guaranteed to be Fulham's hottest new fitness studio, offering Dynamic and Traditional Pilates, Yoga, Personal Training, and TRX.  Here is a fantastic article written by Paola outlining the differences between Traditional and Dynamic Pilates…….

"Over the past few years, there has been a significant shift in popularity from Traditional to Dynamic Pilates. Strictly speaking,  “Pilates purists” might say Dynamic Pilates is not Pilates. This is true in the sense that it was not Joseph Pilates who created this particular method. However, Joseph Pilates did not patent his method; therefore, we have had MANY variations of the true Joseph Pilates method over time. With sports science research and further studies into human movement, exercises on the whole are constantly evolving!

During my 11 years as a Pilates teacher, I have found that many of my clients tend to want a to combine many aspects of training into a single session. Life is so busy, so we want to make your workout count! In order to get maximum results for your time, we aim to incorporate all the traditional elements of Pilates mixed with dynamic movement, so you end up with a “Double Whammy” class.

The pairing of Traditional and Dynamic methods gives you all the benefits of traditional Pilates: strengthening and focusing on the “power house,” the core muscles of the waist and lower back, lengthening tight muscles, and general toning of all the muscles groups, with the added bonus of improved posture and balance.

The Dynamic/athletic aspect of the class allows us to “up the anti” by increasing repetitions until we work the muscles to exhaustion. Unlike Traditional classes, we add isometric work and “pulsing” with high repetition, which gets in deeper to the smaller muscles often neglected. This really draws and pulls the muscles in. We have also become creative with movement patterns and routines, and have introduced a functional aspect of training into the session.

Each class consists of precise, controlled movements. In Dynamic Pilates, we always move continuously from one exercise to the next, so the class flows and keeps the heart rate up at a good pace. We also ensure that we stretch and lengthen the muscles after strengthening, to avoid the bulked up “body builder” look.

The end result of the marriage of Traditional and Dynamic Pilates with an element of functional training is a strong, streamlined body with improved balance and alignment. After a Dynamic Pilates class, you will be walking taller, feeling energised, and moving with greater ease! 

Are you ready for the burn?!"

Paola’s BodyBarre opens this January in Fulham.  Follow us on Twitter @PBodyBarre and like us on Facebook for more information! Or just e-mail  to sign up for Dynamic Pilates classes today!

For more articles from Paola and PBB’s trainers on health and fitness, visit

Sunday, 24 November 2013

10 minute BUMS & TUMS blast you can do at home

Everyone seems to have a fitness circle (AKA ‘magic circle’) at home but never seems to use it.  And if you don’t have one, buy one, because they really are magic!  You can use them for so many different stretches and exercises.  
Here are 3 of my favorite to target your bum and tim!

1.Inner thigh squeezes with abdominal crunch

-        Lying on your back, imprinted spine (see note below) and legs in tabletop position.  Place the circle between your knees.

      NOTE: To find an imprinted spine position – use your core obliques to tilt your pelvis under ever so slightly. Think of your pelvis tilting back towards your rib-cage. Do not squeeze your bum. This is a stabilizing position so use your core, deep abdominal muscles.

-       Squeeze your knees together on the exhale and Inhale to release.  Repeat for 20 counts. 
-       Then, maintaining a squeeze on the ring, place your hands by your temples, exhale and crunch your upper body up towards your knees
NOTE: Be careful not to jam your chin to your chest – keep looking at the top of your knees.

-       Inhale to release your head and shoulders back down to the mat.  Repeat for another 20 counts.

2. Glute (Bum) Bridges

-       Lying on your back, knees bent with fitness circle placed on the outside of your knees.

-       Engage your core abdominals, squeeze your bum tight and lift your hips up towards the ceiling. 
           NOTE: do not let your rib cage pop

-       Hold at the top and squeeze your knees out against the ring – try and break it! Continue to hold and squeezing for 2 minutes. 
-       Then add in a small pulse, up and down an inch with your hips for 2 minutes, then hold it at the top again for 2 minutes and really try and break the ring!
3. Lower abdominal leg lifts 

-       Lying on your back, lift your legs straight up towards the ceiling.  Place the fitness circle on the outside of your ankles. 
-       Engage your core abdominals and imprint your spine. Inhale to prepare, exhale, slowly start to lower your legs on the diagonal.
      NOTE: Try not to let your lower back arch of the mat. If you feel your back strain, don’t lower your legs so much.
-       Inhale to hold it and exhale slowly bring the legs back up over your hips. 
Repeat for 20 counts with a 10 second hold at the end when your legs are lowered.

Saturday, 23 November 2013


Breakfast is definitely the most important meal of the day. Not only does it give you energy to start a new day, but breakfast is linked to many health benefits, including weight control and improved performance.
People who eat breakfast…
  • Are leaner
  • Are healthier
  • Fell more energised
  • Have better cholesterol levels
  • Have better concentration and short-term memory
  • Consume more nutrients, vitamins and minerals
  • Have more strength for the day ahead 

Here are a few of my favorite breakfasts I have made recently….

Stewed apples, blackberries and ginger

American-style pancakes with berries & greek yogurt

Spelt soda bread

 Oat & Nut bars

Saturday, 16 November 2013


To help yourself be the person that you want to be – a happy healthier you –here are a few tips for you to practise every day:
  • be patient
  • be self aware
  • love yourself
  • stop & think
  • be realistic
  • be logical
  • don’t generalise
  • have your own opinion
  • take positive actions
  • live for the moment
  • learn from your mistakes
  • don’t worry about the future and don’t regret the past

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

GUEST BLOG: Healthy canapés by Claudia Winfield

The amazingly talented private chef and professional caterer, Claudia Winfield, reveals her delicious and healthy canapés just in time for the christmas party season;

Christmas: a time for indulgence on multiple levels, right? But it doesn’t necessarily have to be a time of excess, and while the endless parties and trays of canapés floating round are an integral part of the festive season, there’s no need to set aside your skinny jeans until the new year to accommodate that.

There are countless ways to treat yourself and your guests while still maintaining all the hard work you put into looking after your body the rest of the year; the following easy recipes are protein-rich and packed full of nutritional goodness, and what’s more, they are arguably more delicious, certainly more innovative, and undoubtedly far prettier than the usual fare one sees at this time of year.


To make approximately 16-18 canapés, mix the juice of 1 lime, half a red chilli (finely diced), about 1 heaped tbsp finely chopped coriander, 1 tbsp sesame oil and about an inch of  finely grated fresh ginger (preferably using a microplane) in a medium-sized bowl. Dice a large ripe avocado (no bigger than 1cm cubes) and gently stir into dressing.
 You’ll need approximately 170g of the freshest, best quality tuna you can find; mix together the juice of half a lime, 1 tsp sesame oil and a few drops of soy sauce and sparingly mix in the fish just before serving. Place a small amount of avocado beside a similar amount of fish on each spoon and garnish with toasted sesame and/or poppy seeds.


For approximately 20 canapés, cut one long cucumber into equal-sized discs measuring about 1cm thick. With a teaspoon, carefully scrape away half the seeds to create a well in each disc in which the crab will safely sit.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix 1 tbsp low fat mayonnaise with 1 tbsp half-fat crème fraiche, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp ketchup, a few drops of tabasco (according to how spicy you like it), a good pinch of celery salt and a good crack of freshly-ground black pepper. Fold about 150g white crab meat into the sauce and mix before seasoning with more salt and tabasco if necessary.
Place a teaspoonful of the crab mixture on top of each cucumber round and garnish with microherbs (micro celery is wonderful) or freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley.


For approximately 24 canapés, place 3 large free-range chicken breasts in a food processor and pulse until minced. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok or large frying pan, then add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes until all the meat is cooked through. Break it up with a fork as you are doing this, and drain off any excess liquid from the pan. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and leave to cool, then add half a finely chopped red onion, 1½ chopped seeded small red chilli (as usual, add more/less as you wish), 1½ tbsp grated fresh ginger, and 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander. Mix all the ingredients together.
To make the dressing, mix the juice of 1 lime and 1 lemon in a bowl with 2 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp caster sugar and 1 tbsp water. Toss the chicken  with the dressing and season with salt to taste.
Serve approximately 1 tsp of the chicken mixture in little gem lettuce leaves (I usually remove the outermost leaves as they’re a bit too big for canapés) and garnish with a few coriander leaves and/or toasted sesame seeds.