Like numerous Hollywood stars before it, Pilates, as it turns out, was not born in Los Angeles. In fact it started in 20th century Germany but it wasn’t until it came to Tinseltown that everyone sat up and took notice; there’s nothing like a celebrity following to make something old new again.
Its constant reinvention continues to draw in exercise enthusiasts; its first collaboration resulted in the brainchild that was yogalates, which as it turns out is fun to do and fun to say. Now it’s all about Piloxing, a fusion of Pilates / boxing. And no, it’s not for pillocks.
Piloxing, which advertises itself as “sleek, sexy and powerful” is tipped as the new Zumba, which if true is a long-awaited blessing for the gym world. Finally our studios will be safe from the bandana-waving, hip shaking Les Mills of Latin America that I’m convinced is basically the exercise equivalent of just jumping on the spot.
The fat torching and muscle sculpting workout, created by Viveca Jensen -best known as Hilary Duff’s personal trainer- is still very new to London and only taught at about four places across the city. Fortunately for Southwark and Lambeth dwellers there’s pop-up Piloxing classes at Push Studios in East Dulwich and in Beckenham.
It’s a fast-paced, fun class that somehow manages to eliminate the kind of boring element of Pilates and the annoying parts of Boxercise. It shares some elements of the Tracey Anderson method (the exclusive trainer to Gwyneth and Madonna known for her dance-inspired toning workouts and clean eating regime) with classic pilates while combining ballet style aerobics and intense cardio. Done in short sets to electro/dance music the hour flies by as we leap about the room.
Piloxing also comes with accessories in the form of black and pink weighted fitness gloves. Based around interval training it’s designed to burn up to 1000 calories in a session. We flit between high-impact cardio boxing and toning squats and core-strengthening exercises. It finishes with floor work, ab crunches, glut exercises and planks.
Not to discriminate, but it’s definitely targeted more towards women. We’re told to deliver our air punches not in the way one would throw a real punch but with fists facing up as though you’re holding an ice-cream! My past experiences with Boxercise have made me frightfully aware of how ill-prepared I am for an actual street fight. At best I could probably hold my own in a West Side Story staged battle with contactless high kicks and over-gestured right hooks. Fortunately on my walk home from the class along the mean streets of East Dulwich I didn’t encounter any Sharks or Jets affiliated gang-members.
Trainer Teresa Malins has been teaching Pilates for ten years and has been in the health and fitness industry for 20 years. After having two daughters the instructor is back with a vengeance, and also teaches a number of Mum and baby classes.
Piloxing classes at Push Studios, 17 Blackwater St, SE22 8SD, are held every Tuesday from 9:45am-10:45pm and at 8:15pm-9:15pm. Classes at Dance Company Studios, 76 High St, BR3 1ED, are held each Wednesday from 8pm-9pm. Cost: £42 for eight pass card or £6.50 pay as you go.