Bit of a stretch

With temperatures falling and not a hint of condensation in sight, it’s back to the beach for the masses. However the bikini and beach shorts shy Team TMN are resorting to emergency measures to shape-up after a summer of long working hours and less than no exercise. In a desperate bid to get body beautiful on the double, we fully embraced the invitation to trial some Pilates Reformer classes… and wondered, could this be the answer to our quick-fix body prayers?

What: Pilates Reformer

Where: Fitness 360, J3 Mall, Al Wasl Rd, Jumeirah 3, Dubai

When: Opening hours are from 6am to midnight, seven days a week

The promise: “With emphasis on correct postural alignment, Pilates Reformer sessions support the core while allowing the development of long, lean muscles without adding bulk. It enhances body and spatial awareness through mindful exercises.”

Did it deliver? Outfitted in the theme of the American film Grease, down to the sock-hop décor, the framed photographs of Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, and the bright pink lipstick on reception, we were sold the minute we walked through the door. But don’t be fooled by welcoming décor; one glance at our energetic and intimidatingly fit instructor, Rica, told us stone thighs and firm buttocks means more work and less muscicals.

Tucked away behind the boxing ring, the warm lighting and oak floors of the pilates studio contrasted sharply to the six guillotines in the room. Fitness 360 uses metal reformers, and the first thing that Rica taught us was how to adjust the system to better fit our individual frames and resistance. Rica took us through the basics, using fun metaphors to keep us at ease and in form. “The proper way to do a crunch on the Reformer is to give a gorgeous man the eye,” she said. “Tilt your head up, and then to give him a nod, tucking in your chin. It’s also the proper way to play coy with a guy in a bar.”

The class continued to be lighthearted and fun, and Rica was attentive to our motions, providing insight about our individual bodily tendencies and the way that each motion worked on our muscles. She even allowed us some grunts and cries when we started to work those long neglected muscle groups.

The Verdict: With Team TMN aching from head-to-toe the following morning, the Pilates Reformer class at Fitness 360 certainly did its job – and reminded us that there is no quick-fix to getting body beautiful. It seems hard work coupled with a good instructor is key to getting in shape, and with the fun and lighthearted approach to fitness, we can definitely say we’ll be returning to Fitness 360 to reclaim our beach bodies.


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