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I tried Maya Jama’s workout. These were the results.

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Marsha Lindsay, Pilates instructor to the stars, has the likes of Maya Jama, Nicola Roberts and Rochelle Humes frequenting her studio. So, we tried out her intense class at the Nobu Hotel to find out whether it’s worth the hype

If you’re yet to experience the daunting world of reformer Pilates, I can safely say that you’re in for a surprise. Prior to this experience, when I heard the word ‘Pilates’, my mind conjured up the image of a low-impact exercise, filled with mindful stretches aiming to strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility.

I thought of it as something akin to yoga, intended to better the relationship between the mind and the body. And the latter is quite accurate, as upon entering Marsha’s studio, the words of Joseph Pilates himself welcome me in:

‘Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.’

But low impact is not the phrase I would use to describe this experience. Despite the luxurious setting of the Nobu Hotel in Portman Square in central London, Marsha’s studio feels daunting, with reformer machines positioned in rows, bands and blocks and weights slotted into their positions, and me with no clue as to how to use any of it.

 

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But Marsha is immediately on hand to dispel my clearly obvious fears, explaining that she’ll talk me through the whole class, and that it will eventually feel natural to move with the machine and not against it.

 

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Nobu Pilates has three signature classes — Power, Precision and Pure — which have been exclusively designed by Marsha. Each class is created to suit a different type of Pilates-goer, while offering a varied choice in case people like to mix up their class each week and engage with a different goal.

The class was filled with clear Pilates pros (including a member of Girls Aloud), but there were a couple of newbies like me, which aided my ego and helped ease my embarrassment when I didn’t know which way to lie on the machine.





 

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As we get going, Marsha keeps to her word, and explains each exercise using a calming and reassuring tone that makes me feel as though I’m not a fish out of water at all. And she’s right — after a few reps, the machine simplifies before my eyes, and I suddenly feel it working at my muscles (warning: it was HARD).

The small class size, which is initially daunting, is beneficial, as it allows Marsha to pay attention to everyone, helping to better align our postures, perfect our stance and ensure that we’ve all got the correct setting on the machine. It also adds to the luxury feeling of it all — it’s easy to get lost in a big class, but the lavish experience of exercising at the Nobu Hotel means that you’ll have extra-attention paid to you, which ultimately benefits the results you gain from the workout.

We begin by working on our upper body, and slowly make our way down, focusing on glute and leg exercises and finishing with an ab routine that has me taking breaks between reps — something I don’t expect from a Pilates class.

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When Marsha claps her hands to signal the end of the class (after a strenuous 60 minutes), I find myself covered in sweat, which I really don’t expect. Marsha instantly recognises my surprise: “Humbling, isn’t it?”, she says.

Humbling indeed. I ask Marsha how often I’d need to attend classes to see a real difference in my body, and her answer didn’t come as a surprise.

“One session per week will never cut it. Like anything worth doing, Pilates requires commitment and consistency to achieve long lasting strength and conditioning. I recommend three sessions per week to fully appreciate the benefits of Pilates.”

Marsha Lindsay

To be honest, I had come to the class expecting to go to the gym later that evening, as I thought it wouldn’t feel like I’d done enough. But enough it most certainly is, and my body feels like jelly as I walk back down Oxford Street, feeling exhausted yet great at having completed the workout.

I think that’s one of the main benefits of Marsha’s class, that you really feel like you’ve accomplished something at the end of it. Plus the location and company of her celeb clientele become a luxurious reward for the hard work that you’ve put in.

You can sign up to a class at london-portman.nobuhotels.com/pilates

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