I’m not stupid. I know I can’t kick box my way into old age. But our Gavin The Champ sessions are such sweaty fun that I fear I might trudge down the road with a Zimmer frame to avoid EVER giving it up. That said, I need to stretch myself out much more than I ever do, so thought I’d review a Pilates teacher at home (with some friends) as well as meet the learned Anne Marie Zulkahari at her recently opened studio in Clerkenwell.
The first I heard about Hollie Grant was of her 7 marathons in 7 days achievement. And, it was this astonishing feat which turned her into the dedicated Pilates instructor that she is today. Without Pilates she would never have been able to reach her goal. Also specializing in Body Sculpting and Athletic Conditioning, she has since developed her own version of Pilates called Cardiolates. The session is made up of ‘HIIT’ (high intensity interval training) techniques to promote weight loss (rather than just stretching).
The class (in my kitchen) was fun. Three of us pushed ourselves pretty hard as an uncompromising Hollie directed. She refused to allow herself (or us) to chat while we were ‘working’. I was surprised to find myself huffing and puffing as she raced through the rather enjoyable hour of exercises.
My one-on-one session with Anne Marie Zulkahari was a completely different stretch and roll-down. Of course, travelling to a studio (particularly one which isn’t local) you find yourself in a completely different mind frame. To me, Clerkenwell feels a little like NYC and Anne Marie’s new studio is in keeping with this.
Anne Marie, herself, is quirky, lively and comes across as terribly wise. Her career started on BBC’s Playaway series where she was a dancer/actress. And then she lived in NYC in the 70s as an ultra cool dancer and choreographer before, as with most dancers, finding Pilates and yoga as her injury fix.
Since 1985, she has been back in the UK and has built up a pretty impressive following. I interviewed her while we worked together on my kick-boxing stiff body:
How can Pilates be misunderstood? With all the media attention and stars like Madonna doing Pilates, it has become known as a way to get a strong core – which is only one of the many benefits. Pilates is truly about balancing the body.
What does it mean to you? My job is to help my clients to understand their bodies better and to teach them how to move more efficiently with optimal alignment and posture. And the exercises and equipment facilitate this process.
Which is your favourite Pilates exercise? The double leg stretch on top of the box – because I love doing extensions!
What makes you stiff? Teaching too much.
Why Clerkenwell? I love the space, the environment and – most importantly – I am part of a team of like-minded practitioners. We learn so much from each other.
Best book you’ve ever read? The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Where do you hide? At home.
How could life be better? Life is a continuous work in progress. I try to take life as it comes and go with the flow, acknowledging and accepting.
What winds you up? People with no integrity.
To book a session with Anne Marie call 020 7566 6346 (Clerkenwell) or 020 7624 3948 (Kilburn studio) or click here