Finding your Power in Pilates, by Rachel Huggins from Revive with Rachel

Finding your Power in Pilates, by Rachel Huggins from Revive with Rachel

Power and Pilates are not often seen as synonymous. Clients come curious but often share familiar anecdotes: their perceptions of Pilates as an “old people’s” thing that that they are not flexible enough for. It’s something they might do “later.” I get it. Before I discovered Pilates, I had grown up with Karate, achieving black belt status as a child so, at first sight, Pilates seemed too “light” - not something someone strong in Karate would do. 

I also see what my clients see out there too. They’re put off by endless options to “transform” themselves - to “get ripped” in the next 30 day challenge. Just one month to a new me via 5 weights and 3 cardio workouts a week. (Yeap, a friend did this for a year on 1.2k calories a day!) There are so many exercise options; it’s easy to understand why it feels like there is not enough time, nor energy, for Pilates. 

So, how did I decide Pilates was for me? I was lucky enough to be able to orientate my career towards wellbeing when my partner and I moved to Canada. Until then, I had a successful career as an accountant, but a new chapter sparked a re-evaluation and I had time to think about what I really loved and how I wanted to work.

My experiences with Karate from the age of 9 sparked an early consciousness of the power of the body and its connection with our mind. My fascination with the way the body moved, it’s awesome ability to support and empower us to take life’s challenges, had never left me. So, I followed my curiosity and embarked on finding training for Pilates and Yoga part-time.

This, of course, is when the full and amazing benefits of Pilates hit me loud and clear. The small steps and daily practice created much bigger changes. I started to feel strength coming with my newfound length. A new level of structure started growing in my bones and my muscles which were shining out through my skin. People commented that I looked great: “Had I had a facial?”, “Did I go on holiday?”, “Had I had a tweak-ment?” (Errrrrm NOOOO!). I was bombarded with these questions as my body and posture changed and I started to get into my Pilates groove.

Moves that had confounded me when I started training, suddenly clicked in. But it was more than a physical transformation. The work I loved was combined with the life I loved. I discovered how much I loved helping people discover their power through Pilates: seeing their mind-muscle connection develop, watching them walk taller into the studio, seeing their confidence and strength develop in moves they initially didn’t think possible was so rewarding.

I felt truly in flow, and the fascination and focus has never left me since. I built a joyful and successful Pilates practice in Canada before a new chapter beckoned again.

Returning to the UK after three years in Canada, sparked another new beginning. I had left as an accountant, and returned as a dedicated Pilates and Yoga instructor, but of course this meant I had to start from scratch again and find my client base back home.

I listened to friends about what had been happening in the UK since I left and researched the latest Pilates trends. Reformer had landed since I left and was starting to pop up in studios around my home base in Dorset. Around me, the fitness industry buzzed with a clear intensification of the imperative to “get ripped”, encourage another “new year, new you” and get “beach body ready” and yet, in parallel, Strava revealed its analysis, showing that, by 19th January, 80% of people have given up their new year fitness regime.

I knew from my own training, it was the small steps every day that made THE BIGGEST difference, not the radical changes, that ultimately are not fun and thus, don’t stick. As I rebuilt my business in the UK, I became committed to helping people make realistic, sustainable changes to achieve their objectives. Fitness must be fun and kind to our bodies too. I understand the desire the “feel the burn” as we all grow up with that “no pain no gain” mantra popping up all around us. But I want to challenge the value of this for all of us. If 80% of people can’t make the fitness change, that they think they want, last, then they haven’t picked the right training schedule for them. It was through this new re-evaluation of the fitness industry back home in the UK, that “Revive with Rachel” was born.

I wanted to help people reset their expectations about what they think they needed to do to feel fit and well. I was committed to helping my clients find fitness that fits into their lives. Our fitness and wellbeing journeys are as unique as we are, and I loved helping people find what works for them. Reviving to thriving – finding their own special power to shine every day, was the process I want to help people unlock.

Once clear on my new brand, I was able to start building classes and personal training that helped revive both body and mind. As I’m trained in Yoga and Pilates, I take the best of both worlds to help you achieve your objectives. I am also passionate about keeping classes fun and exciting. Sometimes we take them wild and outside to achieve this, which I love. But I am also passionate about innovating class content and creating new formats; this helps to keep it fun and surprise our bodies with new challenges.

This is also why I got excited when I met Martin and Nel just before they launched the Swell Fit Bag. Suddenly, powering-up Pilates became possible with a safe, practical and progressive tool.

The Swell Fit Bag powered up my Pilates practice in new and exciting ways that I could not have imagined possible. Its water weight not only sounds amazing in use (think about how you feel when you can hear the waves lapping on the beach!), but it feels amazing too. Its instability benefit draws in your core and makes every move count. As its water finds your weakness, you can’t go into auto-pilot mid rep set; you must keep mindful and present in your practice and the benefits of this in your mind and body are clear too. It brings a meditative edge to my time spent doing Pilates, so I feel revived and refreshed after a workout. It powers up every move - I feel the buzz and endorphins of a workout from a class which is still kind on my body. Importantly, it holds the power to power-up Pilates in a way that is fun and easy!

Working with the Swell Fit Bag at the Wellbeing by the Lakes festival, I realised I wanted to use it to create a new class format – Power Pilates – a fusion of HIIT and Pilates which we are bringing exclusively to launch LIVE on the Swell Hub in January 2023.

I’ll be previewing the class on Thursday 24th November at 6pm so would love to invite you to join me to experience a totally new and invigorating way to practise Pilates. I will also be featuring the Swell Fit Bag in some of my in-person classes as I develop the moves for my January series.

You can check out my full class schedule here and sign up to my November 24th Power Pilates preview on the SWELL HUB here

 - watch out for news on our January Series coming soon!

We can’t wait to help you find your power with Pilates!


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