I’m a 30-something qualified Pilates and Fitness Instructor who simply believes we all could benefit from a stronger, healthier and more flexible body that is free from aches and pains.
Pilates is stereotypically seen as a type of exercise practised by celebs or glamorous, well-off women, but this really doesn’t do justice to what Pilates is about and who can benefit from it. Kalm Pilates is my attempt to spread the virtues of Pilates, making it easy and affordable for people to discover how their body can be transformed without doing cardio-based, heart-pumping workouts.
Raised in Belgium, I have lived in London since my early twenties for work and love… I adore this vibrant city and it was here I was able to indulge in my interest in fitness and qualify as a Group Fitness Instructor, Pre-natal and Post-natal Instructor and Pilates Instructor.
As a mum-of-two, I know how fit you need to be for life… Being a working parent with two kids and a household to run is not an easy task. I stay fit because it makes my life easier and I can be the friend, partner and parent I want to be. Pilates is about functional fitness, making you physically ready for whatever life throws at you.
I was really unfit in my late teens and early twenties. I didn’t do any sport and on top of that I also had stomach aches, which I thought was just due to having a sensitive stomach. I also suffered from mild back pain when standing up for a long time. Basically, my body was a mess, but I didn’t know it at the time.
When I moved to the UK, I became a member of my local gym. It offered these amazing Circuit classes, taught by a Polish ex-body builder. I loved them. As I got fitter and stopped eating so much bread (which is a key staple in the Belgian diet), my stomach issues reduced.
In my 20s, my workouts were cardio based. If I didn’t feel out of breath, I didn’t feel I had done a workout. It was only when I start teaching Pilates, I realised how wrong I was. My body dropped a dress size (even after having two kids!) and felt stronger and more flexible than ever after 6 to 9 months of practising Pilates regularly.
Basically, my body is now in a much better place than it was in my 20s. It has shown me that ageing is not just based on time, it is based on how you treat your body. I also learned you don’t have to go to the gym five times a week to get results. It is about doing the right exercises and focusing on technique rather than just reps that will make the real difference.
I thought I knew what healthy eating was, until we had to completely change our diet when my husband Matt developed severe digestive issues after contracting food poisoning. At the time, we ate a ‘normal diet’ rich in everyday foods such as sugar, caffeine, pasta, potatoes, dairy and bread. To help control his symptoms that ranged from nausea and stomach aches to headaches and feeling exhausted, we went on a strict Paleo diet, which I had heard worked well for people who suffered from digestive issues.
We had to completely change our way of cooking, but once mastered it became relatively easy to do. It was a huge learning curve for both Matt and I to discover our relationship with certain food groups such as sugar and caffeine and to let go of these addictions. It felt amazing and liberating!
For someone who has never been able to do any type of diets, I realised that doing it to support my husband made it such an easy decision. The motivation I felt to get him better was incredibly strong and it taught me that health is a very powerful source for change – for some people like myself it’s much stronger than aiming to drop a dress size for summer as that brings up a lot of issues about trying to get the perfect body and what is the perfect body anyway? Focusing on health takes all these questions away and just focuses on what really matters, making your body healthier and stronger – weight is just a side effect. It was a lightbulb moment.
Although the Paleo diet put us on the right path, it didn’t manage to get to the core of the issue and Matt’s symptoms still flared up. Luckily, we found a great Nutritional Therapist who managed to give a clear picture of the cause of the issue and prescribe a gut health healing diet, whilst providing advice on which supplements to take to support the healing process.
They say that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Well, life gave me and my family quite a few health challenges, but I call these ‘the worst and best thing that ever happened’ as I know in the long run the knowledge I gained through this has enhanced the wellbeing of myself (I hardly ever suffer from stomach aches anymore), my partner and my kids. I truly understand the power of healthy eating now, as a preventative and healing measure for the body. Diet is not about losing weight and being skinny, it’s about being healthy in the true sense and then your weight will find its natural equilibrium. And Pilates is the perfect partner to give your body the strength and flexibility it needs to be the best it can be.
If you don’t believe me, then just try it… Sometimes words are just words and what really will inspire you is seeing the results, so start the journey and find out where it will take you.