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Tempo Blog


I have some good news and some bad news for you.

Here’s the good news – you can achieve success if you stick to one simple principle: consistency. The more consistent you are with eating good quality, unprocessed foods; taking part in some form of resistance training (lifting weights, cables, Tempo Pilates!) at least twice a week (preferably more) and sleeping at the same times each night, you will make progress.

The problem is that when it comes to fitness we all want quick results – but to get the deep results we want takes time, so we need to create an environment that will be conducive to helping us get there.

This means that if you’re starting out, or restarting out after a little lay-off, you’ve got to start small and micro-progress the intensity and volume. This is the key to creating sustainable fitness: adopting a fitness regime that is challenging enough to produce results, but intelligent enough for you to keep going without injuring yourself.

Because when we do get to where we want, we want to stay there! Having to take 4 weeks off due to an injury following your 6-week intensive program might regress that progress you just made.

This brings me to the bad news – unless you opt for some kind of surgical route, there are no fast results with your body – that will last. For example, research shows that the average dieter regains 107% of the weight he/she lost in the diet.

I’ve also read the magazine articles that claim “6 weeks!” to look like that guy/girl on the cover. Only that guy/girl has worked hard for years to look like that and perhaps their genetic window of opportunity was in their favour along with some photoshop magic.

Which brings us back to sustainable fitness. We all want to get quicker results, but we’ve got to be aware of our tolerance levels: where are you starting from?

For example, what’s the potential outcome for the stressed-out, under-nourished, lawyer who’s lacking sleep and then decides to start training for the London Marathon in 3 months, starting with a 10k run?

Or the person who hasn’t done any exercise for 3+ months, who decides to take part in a new crossfit/kettlebell/military-fitness class 3-4 times a week along with a strict no-carb diet?

What levels of stress are these people experiencing before starting? Remember, exercise is a stress and any change on your system is also a stress. So what’s the outcome from these new regimes?

In the short term, perhaps really good results!

In the long term, quite often progress slows down, reverses, or the person gives up because they don’t have the ability to recover. The long term outcome from this rapid and huge shift is not a consistently positive outcome.

“But hold on Goulden, I’ve done this and I’m still going!” Maybe you’re the outlier, or maybe you’re slightly younger and able to tolerate the huge shifts in stressors, but think of this as an analogy: you wouldn’t lay out in the sun for 10h without suncream to get a tan, if your skin is not accustomed to sun exposure, as you’d just end up getting burnt.

It’s unfortunate that we’re surrounded by fitness marketing and hype which leads us to believe that, when it comes to getting results, only an all-out approach will work. But it’s no coincidence that most of those programmes last for six weeks only.

By working with clients over longer periods, we see time and time again that sustainability is the key to long-term success. So remember: micro-progression, eat good quality food, take part in resistance training and sleep well – recovery is so important to your success. We’ll cover these tips more, in depth on the blog.

About the author

Michael Goulden is a biomechanics specialist and is the founder of Integra – Muscle Activation | Training, in Spitalfields, London.

He specialises in personal training and exercise rehabilitation, using Muscle Activation Techniques and resistance training and can be found here

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 For us at Tempo Pilates, what we wanted to achieve from the ‘New Year, New Challenge, New You’ task was to educate our students on how frequency and dedication to your reformer Pilates classes, whether in London E8 or WC2 can reap rewards. We wanted to prove the words of Joseph Pilates when he said “in 10 sessions, you will FEEL the difference” – and indeed, without any cueing from us, that is exactly what Dana has done.

The healthy diet aspect has for us been (and we hope for Dana) an added bonus, rather than the focus of the Challenge. Designed with a complete system cleanse in mind to start the New Year, Dana has done remarkably well at sticking to the regime prescribed by Pilates instructor and nutritionist Jane Grogan and we hope Dana will take pointers away with her when she re-introduces meat and treats!

Pilates Blog 4

So here we are nearing the end of my Pilates challenge at London E8, with only a handful of days remaining… I can’t believe 3 weeks and 9 classes has passed by so quickly!

The last week of my challenge at the Hackney studio has been incredibly smooth. My reformer Pilates exercises are going well, and as usual those pesky tricep dips and planks are keeping me on my toes. But I can feel myself slowly improving, and I’m feeling stronger every day. It’s been a subtle change but overall I feel more solid – more in control.

I think I’ve basically reset my brain to accept that going to Pilates three times a week is just something I do, and I think nothing of it. As a newbie to any sort of fitness, I used to consider going to exercise as some sort of epic self-sacrifice, doing what I hate in the name of that elusive thing called HEALTH. But now I’m actually looking forward to my Tempo Pilates classes in East London… What can I say, I feel refreshed, I feel ready to face the day. It’s just not a big deal anymore, and it’s as natural a part of my morning routine as eating breakfast.

Speaking of food, no world-shattering events have happened in the last week either. I’ve absorbed my new regimen and think nothing of it anymore. My last week has mostly been focused on thinking about how I will soon re-introduce “normal” food to a nearly all veggie & fruit diet, without shaking the boat too much. As much as I’ve gotten used to the super-healthy approach, as a hopeless foodie (the kind that instagrams all her meals… yup), I can’t realistically see a future denying all the distinctly unhealthy wonders of the culinary world forever. But to be honest, I don’t want to go completely back to how I was before either (give me pork or give me death!!). This’ll be something I have to think about…

Dana is back for a final Blog with us next week: Watch this space.

(PS: Dana has already purchased more Pilates Classes – yes, we warned you Tempo Pilates is addictive ☺)

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pilates jane grogan

“CHECK OUT MY BUNS OF STEEL”… is a phrase I actually uttered this week, having newly discovered that my butt is capable of slightly more than squishy floppiness. Jokes aside, I must admit that something is happening to my body, and I’m not sure what it is…

You see, muscles are forming in strange places – i.e. on MY body. Last week I passed the 10th class mark at the Hackney studio of Tempo Pilates, and my 5th class of 2013. This week also marked another important achievement – my completing a full session on the Pilates reformer without stopping at some point for a second to wonder “if someone thinks this is humanly possible they must be joking” – until I look around in disbelief see all my Pilates classmates happily holding up their entire bodies with one finger (that might be a slight exaggeration).

My biggest problem area (upper-body/arms) is coming along as well. I can definitely get through ten triceps dips now with the encouragement of the East London trainers. But usually those ten are followed by twenty more, which is when I start struggling. But ten is definitely an achievement! The dreaded plank is a lot less dreaded – though I can probably last no more than 5 seconds, that’s already 5 seconds longer than when I started. My biggest problem was pain in my arms from holding up my upper body, but now I’m happy to report that the focus has shifted to my core muscles during a plank on the reformer – which is how it should be. Progress!

The diet aspect which Pilates trainer and nutritionist Jane Grogan, a regular teacher at London E8 has devised, is coming along fine as well, I’m so used to it that it almost doesn’t feel like a diet anymore. The food is delicious and what was so great about bread anyway? Hmm…

Overall I’m feeling great and slowly starting to look different as well. Cutting out foods that make me bloated (hello local beer) and working on my core has got my belt down two notches after two weeks. If that’s not progress from Tempo Pilates reformer Pilates classes, I don’t know what is.

Check back later this week and keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter for words of wisdom from Jane on nutrition, and Dana’s healthier eating lifestyle plan.

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‘Locked out of Heaven’ by Bruno Mars offers us good reach with our 100’s on the reformer this month. A born star not shy of the stage and from a very young age, he used to perform with his parents band ‘The Love Notes’. With it’s fourth week at no.1 on the US charts, Bruno previously had to disobey label bosses adamant that he chose one genre to pursue a career in. We are glad he didn’t listen in the name of artistic freedom and Tempo Pilates!

Second time now that Nicolas Jaar has featured on our reformer Pilates playlist, we thought we would give him a much-needed mention. Debuting at only 17, this now 22 year old has wowed us with his signature abstract sound, creating a delicate and interesting tempo for our repertoire time and time again. There are no dates set yet for the UK, so we thought we would leave you with his essential mixer of the year 2012 whilst we patiently wait for him to play at venue local to us!

Zola Jesus needs no introduction here at Tempo Pilates. She is a force to be reckoned with and if you haven’t heard of her yet, we would be surprised. She fast tracked through school and college with 3 years each way and studied Opera on & off for 10 years. However, she did not perform any opera shows due to excruciating anxiety. Check out David Lynch’s remix of her song ‘In Your Nature’ in class and as an extra bonus, her rendition of Rihanna’s hit ‘Diamonds‘.


By Hayley Johnston

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