Tempo Pilates, Covent Garden

Tempo Pilates, Covent Garden

Ah, me and Pilates. It's a funny one - I wouldn't even say we even have a love/hate relationship.... it's a bit more of a 'meh' one.

I don't mind it, I know I should do it as it's so good for strengthening your core, but when lying on the ground trying desperately to 'engage my pelvic floor' and looking left, right and centre to try figure out if I'm doing it properly (surely I'm not the only one?!), more often that not I'd choose to pound it out at a HIIT class or be practising handstands at yoga instead. A girl of extremes, right?! Don't get me wrong, I'm full aware of the benefits of pilates but, for me, I personally just feel there are more efficient ways of working out.

Well, up until I visited Tempo Pilates, that is!

With three studios around London, I was invited to try a class at the Covent Garden location, situated inside the members only Gymbox Cub. With Tempo Pilates having their own studio separated from the rest of the gym, I went along one evening, expecting a nice, gentle, mat based/lying on the floor class.

Boy, was I was wrong. This is WHY you read the invite properly people!

First up, Tempo Pilates isn't a mat based. Yep, it's one of those hardcore pilates class performed on what can only be described as sort of torture chamber - the reformer!

The Reformer Machine

A machine that looks a little bit like a medieval low bed, the idea is that you stand, sit, kneel or lie on the sliding platform to perform different routines. With springs allowing you to add varying levels of resistance to make the exercise easier/harder, Reformer pilates is generally known as being more intense and dynamic than it's mat based predecessor. Had I have read the class description properly, this, I would have known!

The second thing that makes Tempo Pilates different to any other pilates I've tried, is its pace. Fast pace pulses performed to the beat of the music, and slowwwwwww pace sections leaving you holding poses where it hurts the most.

Resistance bands and hand weights

Third is the methodical way in which the class was structured. There's no winging it at Tempo Pilates - this hour class is planned and considered, with room for fun too :-)

Whilst the first 30 minutes of each Tempo Pilates class follows a signature sequence, performed across all studios by all instructors, the second 30 minutes is up to the instructor, meaning you never get the same class twice. With the first 30 minute sequence being specifically designed to warm up the body and strengthen the core, I really like the idea that there is method and consistency between the instructors - so often you can go to the same studio and have an awful or great workout depending simply on the teacher. Equally, as they're given the freedom to 'freestyle' for the last 30 minutes, it allows them to put their own individual stamp on the class, and tailor it to the attendees capabilities having already worked with them.

Hip openers

The fourth and final thing that really made this class stand out to me was just how challenging it was! With the Reformer machine allowing for a much greater repertoire of available exercises, not only is there much more variety, but it allows for more work on the arms, shoulders, chest and legs - i.e. the peripherals. Chest presses, planks, shoulder presses, rows, and more Reformer specific exercises (e.g. horizontal abductions - killer on the glutes, especially going into pulses!), it definitely went beyond the usual 'core' focus, working you top to toe and leaving everything very very achey.... in a good way. An hour of strengthening, toning and, weirdly enough, sweating (I've never done that in a pilates class before!), I was ready to accept I was wrong about pilates. No-one could ever describe that workout as a bit 'meh'!!

From Tempo Pilates insta - some of the exercises for the Reformer 

Price wise, each class at Tempo Pilates is £26, which is inline with London's average for a Reformer class. Equally, if you do become an addict (and, whilst this is the case for most classes, I definitely think this is one of the classes where the more you go the better you become - it's all about technique), there are discounts for bundle purchases - e.g. £170 for ten classes = £17 a class. I mean, that means you save £9 a class, on ten classes..... that gives you £90 to go spend on new activewear, right?! The way my mind works......

Find one near you!


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