Health and Fitness

The One Change That Transformed My Wellbeing

Getting healthier doesn’t have to mean overhauling your entire life – sometimes all it takes is one small change. Here, the body+soul team reveal the huge results they experienced from a simple lifestyle tweak.

“I’ve always loved running. It’s seen me through some of the toughest and most trying times in my life — a reliable mental-health crutch and a simple but effective way to keep my weight under control and my energy levels in check”.

The problem is, running doesn’t love me back — in fact, it hates me. I’ve just been in denial about it for almost 20 years. I’ve lost count of the number of times it’s got me into trouble — shin splints, calf tears, hip strains, torn ankle ligaments, you name it — but after a few weeks’ break to recover, we always seemed to find a way back to one other. Until last year when an achilles injury signalled the end of my relationship with running for good.

So after decades of stubbornly refusing to try anything else, and nine months of no running, constant headaches, gaining weight and haemorrhaging energy just as fast, I finally decided to try something else. I’ve resisted so-called slower workouts for years, assuming I just wouldn’t see the same results, either mentally or physically. But Studio Pilates’ 30 Day Amplify Challenge (as many reformer Pilates classes as you can manage for a month) got my attention. And without sounding dramatic, it changed my life — well, my self-image at least — after just
a few sessions.

Each 45-minute class (perfect during my lunch break) offers a full- body workout, places no strain on my back and neck (something I’ve always struggled with in resistance workouts in the past) and leaves me feeling calm and focused for the rest of the day. And there’s nothing slow about it — the music is cranked up and there’s no downtime between moves. It’s basically the opposite of what I’d expected and assumed about Pilates.

I won’t pretend it’s been easy — after the first few sessions I felt muscles in places I didn’t even know existed. And I was pretty hopeless for the first couple of weeks. But with gentle encouragement from the instructors at Sydney’s Bathurst St studio I’ve felt myself improve, and my body strengthen with each session.

Studio Pilates has also teamed up with the Nourish’d meal-delivery service to offer challengers the option of healthy meals delivered for the duration of the 30 days, which can be invaluable in helping you stay on track.

I’ve still got a way to go and Pilates hasn’t replaced running as the love of my life quite yet — but after just four weeks, I’m 3kg lighter, my jeans are looser, my headaches have all but stopped and I just feel a whole lot better about myself. Consider me a convert.

This article was originally published in The Daily Telegraph Body+Soul Sunday Edition.