How to reduce your risk of catching the coronavirus in Pilates

How to reduce your risk of catching the coronavirus in Pilates

In light of the on-going Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, I’ve decided to put in place a few simple steps to lower risk of infection when attending your Pilates class.

Current estimates are that 80% of us will contract the virus in the UK, and while the majority will suffer only mild symptoms, we should be diligent in protecting the spread to ‘vulnerable populations’ which will include some of my clients, your fellow classmates and their family members.

MATS – I would suggest you bring your own or bring a towel you can place over them. I disinfect these everyday but if you are concerned either bringing your own or just placing something over it will help.

EQUIPMENTPlease can I ask all clients to bring a small cushion or towel along to classes as a substitute for head cushions where required.

Exercises can be adapted and modified to avoid the need for equipment, but if you would like to purchase a (NEW) resistance band or block for individual use in class and at home, please do let me know, I know a lot of you have already done this and it should be here this week!

PERSONAL HYGIENE – Please can I encourage all my clients to continue to follow the government advice regarding regular hand washing and use of antimicrobial hand sanitisers. All of my venues have hand washing facilities.

HANDS-ON CORRECTION – Correct alignment and performance of an exercise is crucial in Pilates, but I will be limiting the use of hands-on correction during the current outbreak. Please continue to follow verbal cues and if you are uncertain about a move – please stop the exercise and wait for assistance. 

RETURNING TRAVELLERS – Please follow the up-to-date Government guidance about self-isolation available here

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE UNWELL –If you feel unwell and have any of the typical symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, please call 111 and do not attend your class, let me know asap on 07984367888.

We can all play our part in reducing the immediate risk of spreading, or catching, the coronavirus infection whilst in your exercise class. Perhaps the most important thing to remember though is that regular exercise and activity, adequate sleep, stress management, and good nutrition are all ways to support long term health and immune function.

Pilates 10 minute workout – toe taps

Pilates 10 minute workout – toe taps

Welcome to my new Pilates workout Wednesday series. Every week I am going to bring you a new Pilates workout you can do from the comfort of your own home. I know sometimes we are all time crunched and don’t get time to spend an hour on ourselves (we should!) so my workouts are all under 10 minutes long and can be done from anywhere by anyone in most cases.

My Pilates workouts start off with easy levels and increase in difficulty, please adapt and use the levels that are right for you. Reduce the range of movement or number of reps if you find it too hard. These 10 minute videos are a great addition to one of my weekly Pilates classes. 

Award-Winning Biking Family Opens Snowdonia Cycle Track

Award-Winning Biking Family Opens Snowdonia Cycle Track

Cyclists looking for great places to go on mountain bike weekends might be tempted to head to Wales after an award-winning biking family has recently opened new tracks in Snowdonia.

Rachel, Dan and Gee Atherton have spent £2 million buying a practise track at the Dyfi Bike Park near Machynlleth, Powys – and it has certainly paid off, as the family have collected eight world titles and 49 world cups over the years.

They have been based at the site since 2014, having borrowed the huge amount of money from a bank to create the cycle park in Wales’ famous mountain range, BBC News reported.

Dan, 37, told the news provider: “I had always dreamed of finding a forest with this much potential. We have an amazing blank canvas with 650 acres of forest.”

The site provides great downhill experiences, dropping from the 660m Tarren y Gesail Mountain through to sea level at the bottom. This has, no doubt, been helping 31-year-old Rachel achieve five downhill championships, as well as six world cup wins.

The family now hopes other biking enthusiasts will share their passion at Dyfi Bike Park, located in the beautiful Esgair Forest, along with them.

On the website for the park, Dan wrote the area offers the “perfect mix of max elevation with long descents and really varied terrain”.

According to the world-champion, the site, which has now opened its first four black trails, boasts “some of the most diverse tracks you can imagine”.

Pilates side leg lift with ball

Pilates side leg lift with ball

The side leg lift engages the oblique abdominal muscles and promotes lengthening of all the major muscles. Focus on keeping your hips stacked and stable as you squeeze your glutes and lift your legs. Side leg lifts work the abdominals, especially the obliques, as well as the inner thighs. Lifting the legs together keeps the inner thighs and glutes engaged as the abdominals pulled in and up, developing core strength and balance.

How to:

  1. Lay on your side check you can see your toes then bring your head back into alignment
  2. Top arm either bent to support you or on a ball to add to the difficulty
  3. Inhale to prepare
  4. Exhale and raise each leg individually, maintaining that core contraction
  5. Inhale and lower to the starting position
  6. Repeat 3 or 4 times
  7. Next Inhale to prepare
  8. Exhale and lift both legs together
  9. Raise your arm and place it along your leg
  10. Reach your arm over your head and back
  11. Inhae and lower legs
  12. Repeat 4 times

Muscle activation:

  • Rectus abdominis
  • Transversus abdominis
  • Obliques (internal and external)


The Carpathian MTB Epic – Day 1

The Carpathian MTB Epic – Day 1

Today was the start of the Carpathian MTB Epic, a three day stage race in Romania. I was under the illusion the 10km prologue would be a gentle introduction to the beautiful mountains surrounding the resort. I was in for a shock!

The day started pretty chilled breakfast and working out the jigsaw of putting the bike back together after, what already felt like, epic journey to get here.

After packing my camelbak in the heat of the Romanian afternoon I wasn’t entirely convinced carrying a bag was the best way forward, but it was too late to go back to bottle cages now. The music playing loudly and the chilled out vibe reminded me of the Trans Alp and as the sun shone I made my way out onto the course.

10km doesn’t sound like a very long way but it soon felt like it. The climbing was insane! I always knew it was going to be, it’s hard to practise for ‘mountains’ in Southern England but I kept pushing forward, knowing that it had to end eventually, didn’t it?

The ground was loose gravel and rocky and traction was proving tricky. The first descent was steep but manageable down a grassy bank, this brought you back into the area over two little jumps and then back out and up.

This final climb finished with two switch backs and then a short descent onto a gravel road which took me into the woods. I felt at home in the wood it was cooler and felt more like home riding the trail was loamy and I enjoyed making my way through the trees. Until, I got to the first ‘A’ line, when you see three downward pointing arrows you know its worth having a little peak before jumping in. I am glad I looked.

Nerves have always been a nemesis, I know everyone gets them, I seem to tie myself in knots quite easily pre-race and the knots had not released my brain yet so my feet hit the ground and there they stayed until I was at the bottom. Mind-set is something I find fascinating, how one way day it can just flow and on others not so. Whether your approaching a steep descent or your own ‘steep descent’ being able to think clearly enables you to react in the way you want to. Lets just say today there is a little fog in my brain and thinking clearly is hampered!

Anyway, back to the course after another fun section through the woods it was back to the climb a long an arduous single-track trail, the jumps and drop offs soon made me realise we were riding up a downhill track, the climb got so steep it was taking all my efforts just to keep the front wheel on the ground. I decided pushing may be more efficient and got off I am not sure if this was the case and what felt like a long time passed before the gradient eased out enough for me to remount.

After the ‘hairy’ descent and brutal climb it was just a case of staying on two wheels back round into the arena. With a sign of relief to see the white arch and flags again after what had been a testing adventure.

After a shower and sitting down to write down my thoughts on today it was a mental and physical battle, but one that I did enjoy, I think. The Carpathian team fitted an extraordinary amount of gradient, obstacles and work into 10k it was packed full of surprises no kilometre was the same.

Tomorrow it gets a little more serious! 60km 2,700m of climbing… I feel tired just thinking about it.

Guest Post – Basecamp Nutrition creators Michelle and Tom

Guest Post – Basecamp Nutrition creators Michelle and Tom

This post is a little different instead of a story of adventure I asked Michelle Reed creator of Basecamp Nutrition, bad ass mountain bike racer, and of course super team mate for the Bike Trans Alp to share some nutritional wisdom and recipe selection to getting those pedals turning through the winter.

But first.. an introduction from team Basecamp.

Hi everyone, my name is Michelle.

I am a South African currently living and working in Germany. I am a qualified BSc (Hons) Nutritional Scientist and currently completing a Nutritional Therapist diploma. I have a great passion for living a healthy lifestyle and helping others create the same for themselves and their families.

My aim is to further my studies to become a sports nutritionist and to always keep up with the latest and greatest in the world of nutrition, to educate those who require my services. 

Remember health is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.


Hey guys, my name is Tom.

I am currently living and studying in Bayreuth, Germany. I am doing my masters in Sports Economics with a focus on competitive sports. 

As a competitive cyclist, currently riding for a German mountain bike team, Kreidler, I have gained a lot of experience regarding what to eat and what to avoid.

With all the knowledge Michelle has and my experience as an athlete, we hope to present you with a lot of great recipes that will support your healthy lifestyle.

Never lose the fun when cooking and eating! The recipes presented here should only give you an idea. You can (and should) adapt them to your very individual taste.

Healthy recipes for winter training

 In my (Michelle’s) opinion an athletes performance revolves around 3 aspects; head strength, physical fitness and nutrition. Nutrition is one of the easiest ways to help improve performance and keep your body well conditioned.

Training through winter is never an easy process and it is the time of the year when many are preparing for their upcoming season. Come rain or snow training comes first to ensure you are earning that 1% over your competitors. The long hours in the saddle are accumulating to set up a strong base for the new season.

With intense training and a change in conditions, your body is put to the test in more ways than one, which makes taking care of it highly essential. This means supporting its processes in order to ensure that you are recovering quickly and not catching any colds along the way.

As a natural process with the increase in training, comes an increase in cortisol and inflammation. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is not only secreted at the sign of a stressor but also during intense and prolonged exercise. This natural increase has a tendency to lower immunity, which is why during this time many athletes battle with illness.

In order to help support your body by strengthening immunity, aiding digestion and absorption of nutrients and regulating inflammation, it is important to eat foods that hold the properties to do so.

Here are the links to our healthy recipes to keep you going through winter.

Breakfast – Warming raspberry oats

Lunch – Broccoli salad

Dinner – Pumpkin soup