What Type of Pilates HQer Are You?

Do you camp outside the studio hours before your class, just to make sure you get “your” reformer?
Do you only use reformers on one side of the room?
Do you forget what class your booked into and turn up just hoping that you have turned up at the right time?
Do you love making noise, you love a good groan when the exercises get tough or maybe you count down out loud when you know your instructor has got distracted?

Which Type of Pilates HQer Are You?

  1. The HQ Groupie

  2. The Loud HQer

  3. The Forgetful HQer

Answer our Quiz here to work out which HQer you are! or maybe you just want to make up your own mind by reading the descriptions below.

HQ Groupie

You like to get to class early so you can get your favourite machine, maybe the shoulder pads are just the right fit, you like the extra padding on your toosh or you like to get the reformer without the light in your eyes!

You have all the latest HQ Merch and newest grippy sock styles!
It depends on the day and the exercise, you try to keep your cool but sometimes you have to grunt and groan or start counting so your teacher stops sooner!

Loud HQer

You love your HQ classes, you like to get your classes in each week but you are not afraid to make some noise!

Scooters/ Lunges, Holds - You'll let your teacher know that you love or hate them and will groan and grunt and carry on, but who cares because you know it's good for you. 

You don't hold back, you give everything a go, but if your teacher forgets to count or misses a beat you'll sure as hell tell them!

Forgetful HQer

You love your HQ classes, but you always forget to book in ahead of time, waitlists are your friend either that or you are reminded to book a class or a new pack because Steph or Jess sent you a reminder text. 

You often forget to pack your gym gear, so you do class in your work clothes, sometimes you forget your socks and you are forced to buy those damn Grippy socks. 
On occasion you turn up to class and are not too sure if you are there at the right time!

Take the Quiz and Let us know what type of HQer you are and if you agree or disagree?

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team


Am I Too Old To Do Pilates?

I’m doing this thing where I try to be more confident and speak to people about what I do! So the other day whilst having a blood test, I mentioned that I taught Pilates, and I was met with the statement. “I’ve thought about doing Pilates, but I always thought I was too old!”

WHAT? Too Old?!, Never!
I feel like that phrase should be outlawed, you will never be too old for anything! Except maybe schoolies - no one wants to be a toolie!

Anyway, it really got me thinking, I wonder how many other people out there think that about Pilates or about exercise in general!

Reformer Pilates Ballarat

Well if you’ve been thinking this, I’m here to tell you to STOP! You are not too old, and you are definitely not too old for Pilates!

Actually as you get older you should really start paying more attention to your health and activity levels, because quite frankly, “you’re not as young as you used to be”.

Also did you know that as you age, after the age of 30, (I know guys!) we actually start to lose muscle tissue and bone density, which can cause increased risk of falls, and injuries! So if you’re 30 or older you need to get your butt into gear and try to prevent and reduce this!
And the best way to combat this is by doing the one thing we know that helps develop our muscle strength, mass and bone health which is…. Wait for it…. Exercise!

The type of exercise that is best for this is progressive resistance training, which translates to exercise with some form of resistance. This could be your body-weight, dumbbells, cans of beans, small humans or pets!

And it is recommended that you do resistance training at least twice per week working on the larger muscle groups, like your quadriceps, hamstrings, chest, back and abdominals. (Did someone say Pilates?)

At Pilates HQ we have both of these things.. You bring the body we bring the resistance (springs., dumbbells, bands) The added benefit of doing one of our Pilates class is that we tell you what to do!
You don’t have to think about what exercises to do, or worry about if you are doing them correctly, or using the right amount of resistance. We do all of that for you!
You bring your body and we bring the rest!

You can see that Pilates fits the bill for the type of exercise that would be good for adults, but maybe you are still thinking that you are too old? Maybe the machines seem a little daunting, or you aren’t really sure if you are capable of performing all of the exercises in class?

Well here are a few things for you consider before rushing ahead and booking your next Pilates class.

  1. Can you get up and down from a low bench? If so then you will be fine to get on and off the Pilates Reformer!.

  2. Are you restricted with what positions you can be in or movements you can do? If you are then Reformer or Mat Pilates Class is probably Not for you. BUT some 1on1s and a tailored program in our Studio Pilates Class might be more up your ally!

  3. Do you have any major health issues or injuries that may prevent you from starting a new exercise routine? If you do, then it’s best that you see your Doctor and make sure they give you the all clear to join a class

So to answer your question! NO!

You are definitely not too old to be doing Pilates. You might actually find that by doing regular Pilates classes will help you feel younger for longer!

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team

P.S Feel like starting out with some Pilates Today but it’s been a while since you exercised? Then check out our NEW Course - Find Your Fit here

HQ-er of The Month - Jocelyn Freeman

Our HQer of the Month, Joce Freeman, has taken over our blog this week to tell you all about her, as well as the what’s, how’s, who’s and why’s of her Pilates HQ Journey!
Take it away Joce…

Pilates HQ Client of the Month


I’m Jocelyn, aka Tom, Estelle & Hugh’s Mum or Sam’s wife, occasional bookkeeper and nurse.

My favourite hobbies are Pilates and walking my Border Collie, Lexie. Not cooking and cleaning as my children may think.

My Pilates journey started off as curiosity, So I decided to bid on a ‘HQ Beginners Intro Pack’ at a silent auction at Buninyong Primary School, thinking if I win then I will have to book in and use it, no excuses!

I have always enjoyed exercise, but like any Mum it is often difficult to fit it in and not feel even more fatigued afterwards, Pilates does not do this.

I was a complete novice when I started (no need to be afraid) but the beginner class set the tone for repeating and getting the basics correct before I increased to two intermediate classes a week. I can’t wait to start the new ‘Tempo’ Class next week, just for bit more speed.

I feel more toned and definitely more flexible- but I’m still working on conquering “Roll Ups”.

I was made immediately welcome, so lucky to have such a great studio and knowledgeable instructors and the best bit is that I have made some wonderful friends.

Buninyong is a wonderful community, I am often having one of Ballarat’s best coffees at Maggie and Kate, and you will often see me stocking up on groceries at my favourite Buninyong shop, Food works.

Be Warned Pilates is very addictive and great fun!


Joce, We have loved having you in our studio each week and are super lucky to get to hang out with you twice, sometimes three times a week, BONUS!
we are so glad that You won the voucher and can’t wait to see all the amazing things you do in and out of the studio in the years to come!

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team


5 Quick & Easy Ways to Get Your Exercise Mojo Back!

You started out on a roll with your exercise but you fell off the wagon, and the longer you went without exercising the harder it was to get started again. Sound familiar?

If you’ve taken a break from exercise, intended or not, you know that the struggle is REAL when it comes to getting back into your routine!

BUT, it’s time to dust off your active wear, climb out of that butt groove you created in the couch and get your exercise mojo back with our 5 simple and actionable tips!

Fitness Pilates Buninyong Ballarat.png

1.Know Your Why!

It’s easy to forget the reasons why you enjoyed exercising or the benefits you felt when you aren’t doing it!
I’ll bet you can think of heaps of reasons you can’t or don’t want to get back into exercise though!


Write Down all of the benefits of Pilates that you have experienced in the past!
Here are a few to get you started

  • Reduced Stress

  • More energy,

  • Better sleep

  • More time for yourself,

  • A sense of achievement

  • Feeling strong and fit

  • Less pain

  • Able to chase the kids around

Now stick them where you will see them often, like on your fridge or the toilet door, to remind you of all the awesome benefits you got from your Pilates routine!

Not only will this help you get your mojo back, but it will also keep your WHY front of mind! So,when the inevitable happens and, you’ve had a bad day or the kids are running an absolute muck, instead of cancelling your Pilates class you can look at that list and use it as your motivation!

And on those days especially, once you finish that class, give yourself a freaking reward sister!

2. Stop waiting for the Perfect Time- it doesn’t exist

How often do you tell yourself that you’ll book back into your Pilates Class when you have more time? OR When you aren’t working as much? OR when the kids sports die down?

It’s easy to tell ourselves that we will start again later, when the conditions are just right! But let’s face it, the conditions are never going to be right, there will never be a perfect time for anything.


Just start!
Book that Class today and don’t let yourself cancel it!

3. Lower your expectations

If it’s been a little while since you’ve been to a class or exercised, then you’ve probably lost some of your strength and fitness.
You probably know this though and I bet you are still worrying that you won’t be as fit or as strong as you used to be.
Well, Stop that thinking, because it’s totally OK if you aren’t where you used to be!

It’s OK if things have changed. You don’t have to be The Best or The Fittest or The Strongest.

You just have to be where you are at this very point in time. Allow your workout to meet you where your fitness level is.


Maybe attend a beginner class instead of an intermediate class, OR ask your instructor to modify some exercises for you.
Allow yourself to start again and build back up!

4. Motivation comes in waves - no one is motivated all of the time.

Motivation is a tricky one, I think we assume that people who exercise a lot have a never-ending supply of motivation, but that’s NOT true. What they do have is a habit and a routine!

So instead of trying to “find the motivation” to get yourself to class or to,instead, try to create a habit.


Pre-book and prepay for your class,(you’re already invested this way)

Set an alarm on your phone or pencil your exercise into your diary and train yourself to work on autopilot!

5. Don’t be afraid to change your session!

Doing something is better than nothing! So don’t be afraid to change up your routine on those days when you are feeling extra tired and like you really don’t want to exercise.

You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel for exercising anyway!


Instead of doing a really hard class, jump into an easier session.
Tell the instructor that you’re not feeling like your usual self and that you might take it a bit easier.

So when the time comes for you to re-start your routine again (NOW).
Remember! give yourself a break, allow yourself to start again and let your Pilates class meet you at the level you are at instead of the other way around!

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team


If it’s been a little while between Pilates classes, then we would love to help you get back into a routine and on the path to feeling happier, healthier and stronger.

You can book your classes here or maybe you need a little more support and guidance to get find your old fit, healthy & happy self, then our new Find Your Fit Course is definitely For you - read more about it here!

Everyone’s Fit is Different. How Do You Find Yours?

Pilates HQ can help you find your fit

In all aspects of life, we search for the right fit. Our clothes, our job, our friends, our home. We take the time to find what suits us. However, when it comes to fitness, it’s easy to get caught up in just one idea of what “fit” is - based on information from the media or someone we know. We can even get caught up on our former selves… (you know, the you before “life happened”). And based on that one idea, we judge ourselves to be unfit or worse, incapable of being fit.

But just like clothes, jobs, friends, homes, fitness is different for all of us. Some people need to run marathons; others get a great buzz from intense, sweaty gym sessions; and some people just want to feel good and know they can sail through their daily life with physical ease. Also fitness, just like everything else, is something that constantly changes, depending on where we’re at in our lives.

Pilates, Beginner, Fitness, Ballarat

Pilates, Beginner, Fitness, Ballarat

So what is your fit? How do you find it and how do you achieve it?

Great news!! Pilates HQ is here to help. With our own Exercise Physiologist and Pilates Instructor Abby Byrne, we have developed the Find Your Fit course to help you find it, achieve it and best of all, maintain it.

Over the course of seven weeks, we will provide the tools you need to achieve your idea of fit, starting with determining what that idea is! Abby will work with you to:

  • set your own goals

  • overcome any barriers you’ve faced in the past

  • teach you exercises suited to you that you can do at home

  • empower you become active and stay active in your everyday life.

You will receive:

  • a handbook to keep track of your progress

  • discounts to beginner Pilates classes

  • assessments along the way to keep you on track

  • a home exercise program to follow on with during & after the course

  • support, guidance and knowledge to ensure to achieve.

It’s a holistic program that puts you on track to achieve the level of fitness you want (not what someone else decides). It’s the perfect way to start your very own fitness campaign and discover (or rediscover) a stronger, healthier, happier you.

The Find Your Fit course kicks off at 11.30am on Thursday, August 8th.

The cost is $330 and all you need to do to sign up is click the link below, OR you can send us an email here.

Steph and The Pilates HQ Team


HQer of The Month - Tiana Pearce

June’s HQer of the month is Tiana!
Tiana is currently in year 11 at Damascus College and is our youngest HQ Member (By at least 10 years).

Tiana attended her first class at HQ as her Mum’s plus one on our “bring a friend” deal, and has now been doing Reformer classes twice a week for around 2 years.

Tiana’s Pilates skills have improved immensely since she first started, she now gives some of our more advanced exercises a go (with a little push from Steph 😜 ).

Read on to find out a little more about Tiana, her Pilates HQ Journey and how she felt about joining class with bunch of “oldies” (my words not hers).

Reformer Pilates Buninyong, Ballarat

Reformer Pilates Buninyong, Ballarat

What year level are you in at school and do you have any favourite subjects?

Photography and food is something I have a big interest towards, I have explored both these topics by completing VCE Studio Arts Photography units 3/4 this year with my theme being food. I currently have no idea what I want to do once I finish school but I plan to go to Uni and travel.

You come to Pilates twice a week, what other sports do you play or activities do you do?

This year is my 10th year playing netball, I’m currently playing netball for U21’s on a Thursday night for Dela Netball Club. I am currently working at The Red Door Pizzeria, this is my third year working there. I make pizzas and work in customer service.

What was it that made you want to do Pilates?

Mum was my major influence into starting Pilates by bringing me along to one of her classes so I could get a feel of what Pilates is all about. I never had any interest towards doing Pilates until I gave it a try.

Did you know what Pilates was before you started coming to Pilates HQ?

Before starting Pilates I really didn’t have any idea what it was, I thought it was some type of yoga.

Now that you have been coming to HQ for classes have you noticed any changes to how you feel?

After doing Pilates for a couple years now I have definitely noticed some changes not only in my physical appearance but also in strength. I feel fitter and healthier and believe it has helped me with my netball because I generally feel like I have more energy to get through a whole game.

You are one of our youngest HQers - did you feel ok going into a class with a bunch of older ladies? Were you nervous or scared?

I did feel a bit nervous going into my first class because I knew there would be no one my age doing it but then again I was excited to try something new. Now when I go to class each week I don’t feel nervous at all because I’ve gotten to know the people I’m around and I enjoy myself.

What is your favourite thing about coming to classes at Pilates HQ?

I enjoy knowing that whenever I come to any of my classes I walk in not knowing what to expect and what we will be doing during the class. I also enjoy the great atmosphere you feel as soon as you walk in, everyone’s always got a smile on their face and ready for a friendly chat.

Thanks Tiana for bringing your beaming smile to each class, it has been so amazing to watch your strength and confidence grow each week. we absolute love having you as part of our HQ Tribe!

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team


4 Exercises To Help You Nail the Rollover

Don’t let the Rollover’s early appearance in the Classical Matwork sequence fool you, because this bad boy is tough. Considered to be one of the more advanced exercises, the Rollover is a challenging exercise requiring a lot of strength, control and mobility to complete.
Don’t be disheartened if this exercise still stumps you. Instead, write it on your Goals list, and practice the exercises in this blog to help you develop the strength and the control to Nail the Rollover.

What is the Rollover?

The Rollover is the third exercise in the Classical Matwork sequence. Below is a video of me performing the Rollover, an exercise which I am still trying to perfect myself. Click the image to see how it is performed (you’ll notice I have only done two of each,legs open and legs closed,but the actual exercise calls for 3).

What Exercises will Help me do the Rollover?

The Rollover requires the following things;

  • Spinal mobility into flexion

  • Strength throughout the back of your arms

  • Mobility of your shoulders into extension

  • Strength and endurance of your abdominals

To build up to and improve your Rollover it is important to focus on improving all of these aspects.

This can be done with the following four exercises

  1. Roll Up

  2. Rolling Like a Ball

  3. Spine Stretch Forwards

  4. Open Leg Rocker

Rolling Like A Ball

Try adding these 4 exercises into your Pilates Workout 2-3 Times a week and you should start to see some improvements in your Roll Over!

Pop a Comment Below and let me know how you go or tell me some other exercises that you might like some help with.

Happy Rolling!

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team


HQ-er of The Month - Kate Bond

This Month’s HQer of the month is Kate! Kate is a Primary school teacher and she loves seeing the growth her students make emotionally, academically and socially throughout their school years.
Kate Started out at Pilates HQ around 2 years ago after a suggestion from her Doctor, due to her Hip Dysplasia. When she is not Pilates-ing Kate can be found reading a good book, catching up with friends and family over a lovely meal and glass of wine or maybe even Stand Up Paddle Boarding at Barwon Heads.
Kate brings a beautiful calm energy to Pilates HQ and we look forward to seeing her in class each week. Find out all about Kate and her Pilates Journey below.

Beginner Pilates Classes, Pilates Buninyong

Beginner Pilates Classes, Pilates Buninyong

Kate, I know you are a teacher and that you attend Pilates once a week, but I would love to know what makes you you? What do you love doing when you are not doing these things?

I live in Mount Helen with my husband, Shane. We recently built a new house and moved in at the end of last year. I spend a lot of time with my family and friends, often catching up over a meal or glass of wine. I really enjoy cooking for others and have enjoyed many fun catch ups over the last few months in our new home.

Apart from my weekly Pilates class, I go to the gym three times a week and do a group training session with my sisters and some friends. Although I'm not the greatest at exercise, I find it easier to go with others as I usually find an opportunity to have a laugh (at myself or someone else)

I also love spending time at the beach and feel lucky that we live close enough that we can easily go there for a day. Shane and I have recently found that we enjoy stand up paddle-boarding and we always try to do that a few times over summer.

How long have you been a teacher for? What Year levels do you teach and why do you love what you do?

I started teaching in 2009 and have enjoyed many happy, fun-filled and rewarding days in the classroom. I currently teach a beautiful Grade 1/2 class and I taught Prep for many years prior to this. I have seen many of the children that I taught in Prep graduate from Grade Six and move onto high school. It is so wonderful to see the growth the children make academically, socially and emotionally in their school journey. I feel extremely grateful to be a small part of this journey.

What do you get up to when school holidays come around?

I enjoy travelling both in Australia and overseas and have been lucky enough to visit many interesting countries. If I'm not travelling, I like to spend time relaxing at home and catching up on jobs or projects around the house.

We also enjoy popping down to the beach for the day, no matter what the weather is like. One of my favourite places in the world to spend time at is Barwon Heads and we visit it often.

What lead you to want to start Pilates and why did you choose Pilates HQ?

A few years ago, I discovered I have hip dysplasia. My doctor recommended Pilates to help strengthen my body and I decided I would try it. I chose Pilates HQ as it was close to home and I had heard some great reviews.

Did you have any apprehensions about starting Pilates?

I was nervous about starting Pilates. I did not know if I would be able to do all of the exercises and had no idea how to use the reformer.
I find it's always daunting walking into a new place where others are already familiar, however, I did my first class with Steph one day in the holidays nearly two years ago and have been going to Abby's Wednesday evening class since then.

Initially, I was really impressed by how comfortable Steph and Abby made me feel as a newcomer to Pilates HQ, and I feel exactly the same about all of the instructors now.

What did you think Pilates would be like before you started and has that opinion changed now that you come each week?

I had a very vague idea of what Pilates was going to be like prior to starting. I had heard some friends talk about Pilates and had talked with them about it, but I found it very hard to understand how the exercises on the reformer worked until I tried them. In the beginning, when Steph or Abby showed us a new exercise, I would often wonder if my body was capable of doing it. Now, I feel confident enough to have a go. Depending on the exercise, I might even try the next level. I always appreciate Abby and Steph for correcting my technique, and for their tips and advice.

Have you noticed any changes or improvements since starting Pilates?

My body certainly feels a lot stronger all over. Before I started Pilates, my hip would often give way however, I feel this happens less often now. Another aspect I really appreciate is that I feel relaxed after my weekly class at Pilates HQ.

Do you have any favourite restaurants or cafes to visit in Buninyong or Ballarat?

I do enjoy grabbing a coffee and love to visit many of the different cafes that we have locally. I really like to pop into Fika when I'm in town. Often, on the weekend, Shane and I will head to a small cafe for a relaxing breakfast or brunch. We're also fans of a hot chocolate from the Chocolatto shop in Buninyong.

What are the main things you do as self-care?

I always have a book that I'm reading, although I usually read the most when it's school holidays. At the moment, I'm reading 'Any Ordinary Day' by Leigh Sales. Apart from reading, I have recently discovered that I'm a huge fan of jigsaw puzzles and we always have one in our living room. I find working on a puzzle both relaxing and satisfying at the same time.

What words of advice do you have for someone who is wanting to come to their first Pilates class?

Just try it - all of the instructors at Pilates HQ are amazing and accommodating. I find that they use their expertise to support and guide you through the exercises so that each one is achievable. I appreciate Abby and Steph for their positive encouragement and guidance throughout the class, and I'm sure everyone else does too

Well Done Kate on Your Pilates HQ Journey so far, we can’t wait to see all the amazing things that you do inside and outside of our Studio this year.

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team

5 Common Myths About Your Back and Pain

I can’t lift heavy objects again because of my back.

I need to protect my back.

I have a sore back because I slouch all day!

Sound familiar?
We all know someone that’s had back pain, so it’s likely that you’ve either heard these comments said or said them yourself.

Back pain is very common, in fact around 80% of people will experience it in their lifetime. And of these 80%, each person will have a slightly different experience, from how they injured their back, right through to the recovery.

Sometimes we are told these stories or we read them online (thanks google Dr), and it can leave us feeling worried about our backs, much more than we really need to be.

So today, we are going to bust 5 of the common myths about your back and pain, in the hopes that we can spread a more positive narrative about back pain and injury.

MYTH 1: My spine is unstable and vulnerable

TRUTH: your spine is inherently STABLE

Strong, Back Pain

Strong, Back Pain

The definition of unstable is: something likely to give way or fail. (Your spine is not this!

The spine is made up of bony vertebra, strong ligaments and super strong muscles that surround it, this makes your spine very very strong , even if you are in pain.

If you didn't have a stable spine then your body would struggle to hold itself upright, but we all do a pretty good job of that, and more!

Your spine is strong and stable with or without pain.

MYTH 2: You need to have strong abs to help your spine

TRUTH: You need to be strong throughout your whole body not just your abs

Pilates for Back Pain, Reformer Pilates

Pilates for Back Pain, Reformer Pilates

Having strong abdominals can be helpful in enabling your body to produce movement of the spine, but strong abdominals alone are not the answer.

Evidence shows that exercise is what helps people with back pain. There is no evidence that any particular exercise is beneficial over the other BUT what we do know is that by improving our bodies capacity to withstand load by building strength it can be helpful for people in pain.

We also know that the main thing to focus on with exercise is to do something you enjoy, something that you feel like you will be able to keep doing for years to come.

So the choice is yours.

MYTH 3: Pain means damage!

TRUTH: Pain is an alarm system.

Pain is an alarm system in your body, it is your bodies way of alerting you that something has happened and you should do something about it.

Think about a paper cut, this is soooo painful, yet for the amount of pain we experience there is only a tiny little cut (weird huh?). This is because pain does not always correlate with the amount of tissue damage that has occurred.

This is not to say that Pain isn’t an awful experience, but rather, that having pain is a normal part of life and there are many other factors which can contribute to the amount of pain someone experiences. (Check out this short video about pain here)

MYTH 4 : Lifting heavy is dangerous

Heavy Lifting, Back Pain

Heavy Lifting, Back Pain

TRUTH: Lifting is not dangerous

People often believe that lifting something heavy is dangerous for their spine.
Now, whilst lifting something heavy or in an awkward posture could cause a strain of muscles or ligaments or other structures. Lifting itself is not dangerous.

What is likely, is that your body is not accustomed to the load or the position or the environment.that you are lifting in. (or there may even be some other non-physiological factors in play).

So the answer is to gradually build strength and to condition your body so that it is able to lift objects and weights that you may need to lift in your workday or weekends.

MYTH 5: Poor posture causes pain

TRUTH: “Poor” posture under low loads and short time frames does not directly correlate with pain

Studies have not been able to show a correlation between sitting posture and the experience of pain.

So whilst sitting slouched for extended periods each day over years and years may cause changes to your tissues and posture, it is not harmful in the short term to slouch in sitting, and it is not a direct cause of pain. (read more about sitting postures here).
(… I’m slouching right now… )

Do you have any other myths about back pain you want us to bust? Let us know in the comments Below!

We want to be spread the truth about your spine so the next time you hear someone’s story about their back pain you can remind yourself, that this was their injury and their experience, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be the same!

You and your spine are strong and resilient!

Steph and The Pilates HQ Team


Why You Should Do Pilates at Pilates HQ!

Because You get more than Just Pilates…

You Get A Tribe

With Birthday Week Over, It has left me with a massive amount of love in my heart and laughter and joy in my soul as I am reminded that Pilates HQ is so much more than a Pilates Studio It is a Community!
And we all Need a Community in our lives.

As we get older, we have more commitments in life and naturally begin to lose some of those social connections and activities that we had as a kid. Which can mean we might no longer receive all the benefits of being part of a community

But all of us, no matter how much of an introvert, want and need what a community can give us.

Why everyone needs community their life?

Being Part of a community brings about so many benefits, including;

  • A sense of belonging

  • improved mental health and well-being

  • connectedness

  • Improved sense of value

And being physically active within this community allows for all of the above plus the added benefits that being active brings.

Current literature actually shows that being part of organised recreation or a sports club reduces stress, anxiety & depression and improves resilience and that this all happens due to the social support and networks that are formed within the community (Read more here)

It can sometimes be hard to find that connection and community if you’re not playing sport, but we have managed to capture this essence at Pilates HQ!

What is it about Pilates HQ that makes it a Community?

A Community is a group of people who share common interests or attitudes (Oxford Dictionary)

At Pilates HQ this commonality is an interest in improving your health and well-being.
Everyone that walks through our doors starts off the same, with a desire to to take time out for themselves and their health, and they have chosen to do this with Pilates.

But it’s not only that, it’s also what happens once you start Pilates at HQ.

Once you start you will notice that you are surrounded by like-minded people so you automatically feel at home.
You’ll also notice that the people on the reformers next to you will be there to

  • support you,

  • laugh with you when you do something funny or silly,

  • catch you when you fumble,

  • Encourage you to do that exercise you didn’t think you could

  • groan with you

  • sweat with you AND

  • look silly with you in birthday week!

And it is because of this, and each and every person that comes through our door, that Pilates HQ is a Community!

When you sign up for one of our classes you don’t just get Pilates, you get friendship, encouragement, laughter and belonging….You Get a Tribe!

And everyone deserves that!

Find Your Tribe Today by booking into one of our classes here

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team


“Find people who help you feel more at home in your heart, mind and body, and who take joy in your joy. Find people who love you, for real, and who accept you, for real. Just as you are. They’re out there, these people. Your tribe is waiting for you. Don’t stop searching until you find them.”
— Scott Stabile

3 Years of Pilates HQ... But Wait There's More!

As we near Pilates HQ’s 3rd birthday, I thought it only fitting to look back on the years that have passed and reflect on our Journey so far.

…Cue flashback music…

Pilates HQ Buninyong

Pilates HQ Buninyong

3 years? You might be wondering why our Sign says Est 2015 then? Well…

”Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down And i’d like to take a minute just sit right down - I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called… I mean… the owner of a studio in a town called Buninyong.”

In 2014, 5 years ago, Pilates HQ was actually called “Elite Pilates Buninyong” - not my best in name choices. It started with letterbox flyer drops, Mat classes in the Buninyong town hall and 5 class passes printed from my computer. From this, grew a very loyal following of Buninyong Pilates Lovers - (Phil Meaney, you thankfully remind me of this almost weekly, keeping me true to my roots haha)

Pilates Reformer Buninyong

Next thing I knew I was buying a second hand Pilates Reformer on Ebay, for my own home workouts, which quickly became 4 Reformers in a Home Studio in our Rumpus Room (Woah! that escalated quickly right?)

By the end of 2015, we had decided to take the jump and spread the Pilates love beyond the confines of our spare room - it was at this time that Pilates HQ was born and the journey to where we now call home began.

Pilates HQ Team

Pilates HQ Team

Come May 2016 we had arrived at 509 Warrenheip St Buninyong, now up to 6 Reformers, an online booking system and a new home!

Fast Forward 3 years and here we are, we’ve welcomed new members kept some of the O.G Town hall and rumpus room crew, changed booking systems and added 2 New Reformers, and we live to tell the tale.

What was originally just me and the pooch has now become Me, 8 incredible instructors, a Rad as Studio Manager, 3 HQ Babies and some incredible friends but the same core values.


The original reason for me teaching Pilates was pretty selfish really, I loved it, as nervous as I may have been and as anxious as I may have felt, once I started to teach a class these feelings started to fade away.
I remember quite clearly saying to Bayden,

“If I could do this for a living I think I would be pretty happy”.

HQ Happy Place

The more I was teaching, the more I realised that this was what I needed to be doing, but I wanted to be able to offer more than “just” Pilates.

I wanted people to feel what I felt, to realise that it was ok to do something that was just for them and that they could and should take time out of their busy lives to focus on themselves. And I wanted people to be able to do this in a space where they felt at home.

I felt that it was important for people to feel welcomed and comfortable in our space and if I could create this then the Pilates would speak for itself.

The aim was to make other people feel as happy doing Pilates as I do when I am teaching it.

So HQ’s values grew from here, and they are

  • To create a community of people to support and uplift those around them. To exercise with, groan with, smile with, sweat with and laugh with.

  • To create a welcoming and safe space

  • To help people take time out for themselves without Guilt or judgement.

  • To teach people to move their bodies fearlessly and boldly

  • To allow people to feel comfortable in their own skin, and to feel at home as they build a healthier, happier and stronger body.

  • To help people take that first step in improving their physical and mental health.

And although I may have dreamed up the values and the space, none of this, and I mean none of this, could have actually happened without any of YOU.

Pilates HQ has been blessed with a community of incredible people.

Pilates HQ has been blessed with a community of incredible people. People who embody what we are about, who walk in each week beaming with their own uniqueness, who bring their own personality and spirit to every class. People who manage to create a community feel, who welcome new faces with a smile and new challenges with gusto.

We have also been blessed with a team of amazing instructors who encapsulate the spirit of HQ, who bring their best to each and every class they teach and continue to spread the HQ joy week after.

This quote from Helen Keller sums it up well

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller

So I have YOU to thank for Pilates HQ!
Thank you for creating a community and an environment that I look forward to welcoming new and old people into.
Thank you for giving me the gift of 3 years of Pilates HQ.
Thank you for allowing me to continue to do what I love each week.

And what better way to finish this post than with this quote

“One of the marvellous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn't as individuals.” – Jean Vanier



P.S Come Celebrate Our 3rd Birthday at Pilates HQ by jumping into a class From May 6th-11th. There will be prizes and Dress Ups & Lots of fun music!


If you are new to HQ why not try one of our free reformer classes on saturday 11th of May @ 1:30pm or 2:15pm - send us an email here to Book

HQ-er of The Month - Monika Graham

This Month’s HQer of the Month is Monika Graham!!!!
Monika has been coming to Pilates HQ for almost one year now and what an incredible journey it has been. She originally started because she wanted to improve her mobility after having a Horse Riding accident 3 years ago, and so she found Pilates HQ.
Read on to find out why Monika loves PIlates, how she makes sure she fits Pilates into her busy schedule and her favourite place to ride her horse.

Reformer Pilates, Buninyong, Ballarat

Reformer Pilates, Buninyong, Ballarat

Tell us a little bit about you. What makes you, you? what do you get up to when you are not working and pilates-ing?

Yes, well I work part-time at the hospital as a Medical Workforce officer – desk-bound and google-eyed, looking at the computer all day. I normally get up around 5 am, starting with a coffee to wake me up. Get dressed and walk Shadow my kelpie for half an hour before I generally ride my horses on the arena for 45minutes.

My horsey discipline is dressage and we are working hard to form a partnership and compete. Other pleasures are getting out on my motorbike, to work and to Pilates and travelling with my husband. Oh, we also have a miniature horse and I am helping Geoff competing with him with showing and in hand competition.

Pilates is right up there in my pleasure list – though at times I struggle and don’t feel elegant. Love the movies and catching up with great friends

What are your favourite places in and around Buninyong to go for a walk or to go for a horse ride?

I walk around the uni, union jack, Desoza park, the golf course and surrounds.

I generally ride on my arena at home but go trail riding out Ross Creek/Smythesdale area We love living near Buninyong, it has such a nice village atmosphere.

Why did you decide to try Pilates and what made you choose Pilates HQ?

I have done pilates before and really enjoyed it. It was mat pilates and I felt that I had a lot more mobility and flexibility doing it on a regular basis.

3 years ago, I shattered my leg in a horse riding accident (of course). Getting my mobility back was on top of my list. I felt Pilates would help me with that but was struggling to find the right place to join. I knew there was Pilates HQ in Buninyong and it was only speaking to a couple of ladies I knew found out that you can attend on a casual basis. Both ladies had really good things to say about Pilates HQ and living in Mt Helen, it was perfect to make contact.

You started out doing beginner classes and then stepped it up to an intermediate class as well as a group rehab class! (And killing it by the way)

What have you liked about the intermediate classes?

Reformer Pilates, Buninyong, Ballarat

Reformer Pilates, Buninyong, Ballarat

I like a challenge and intermediate classes certainly do that. I like is the different exercises that work on different parts of the body. No one class is the same and there is a great variety. Everyone is at different levels and no one is made to feel inadequate or awkward. The age group varies and it is really great when you see a male participating in Pilates

Have you noticed any benefits from doing 2 classes a week rather than just 1?

2 classes a week is perfect – If I had more time every second day would be even better. I do 1 reformer and 1 Group Rehab which means, I am pushed at reformer, trying to keep up with the session and working different muscles and then any specific challenges I have can be addressed at the Group Rehab Class.

Were you nervous about coming to your first class at Pilates HQ?

Yes – I was a little nervous coming back to Pilates and joining. Although the email correspondence with the staff was very positive, I was curious what was behind that glass window, as the set up inside had all this equipment which I never used before. However, Jess took my first class and was very encouraging, ensuring that the reformer was friendly and reasonably easy to use. Not having used this type of equipment before was fun and just added to the positive atmosphere and vibe when I came in.

Do you have any advice for anyone for someone that might be wanting to start Pilates but is nervous about coming to their first class?

As Nike’s logo states – Just do it.

Pilates is a great way to use parts of your body individually and together. Pilates HQ is well supported by staff and is a very friendly environment. No matter what your age or your physical abilities are, commencing at the beginners level, lets you start to see what you can do with your body. It is a great workout without the physical requirements of a gym or running and you do build up strength. Everyone is nervous when they start out, but really it is your own journey you should be concerned about.

Have you noticed any benefits or improvements since starting Pilates at Pilates HQ?

Although it has not made me any younger, I believe my benefits are improved in my dressage riding – I am able to isolate parts of my body and use my core better to ride one with my horse. My balance has improved and I believe my flexibility has too. I don’t have to go to the chiropractor any more with stiffness in my neck

What is your favourite part of your Pilates Classes?

Favourite part of Pilates – knowing that I did a great workout to the best of my ability. Having a discussion with my instructors if I have doubts and getting the encouragement to continue. Looking back on when I began and acknowledging that I have improved. Pushing myself to look just as good as everyone else.

You are very busy with your horse riding, and many people in the same situation wouldn't make time for extra activity, like Pilates so What would your advice to these people be?

If you are looking at doing some activity and do not know what you want to do, give Pilates a go. You just need to have the mindset that you can do. Just start at the beginning and gently push yourself. You do not know what you can achieve unless you try. Doing pilates at Pilates HQ, everyone is friendly and encouraging. There are many people that are doing pilates here of various ages, genders and body types. The instructors are encouraging and the members friendly

How do you find/make the time for your pilates and horse riding? What are your secrets to making these activities part of your daily/weekly routine?

I get up at 5 am to walk Shadow my dog and ride before I go to work. I plan my pilates for straight after work before I get home and cook dinner and walk Shadow again before the night ends. It is what I do and what I believe is good for my well being. Let's face it, we are not getting any younger. If we can improve our flexibility, mobility and everything else about us, why not.

Monika you are an absolute hoot, we absolutely love the energy and joy that you bring to studio and the way you always manage to make us laugh. Keep up all of the hard work, we can’t wait to see what amazing things you achieve in Pilates and Life by the end of this year!

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team

What Is Pilates?

And what is the best way to get started at Pilates HQ

So, you’ve heard your friends talk about how much they love Pilates, but you’re really not sure what it is!
Is it all stretching? Is it like Yoga? Do I have to wear Lycra?
If you’ve had questions like these then you are not alone, we get asked these questions and more all of the time.

To be honest though, I find it quite difficult to explain What Pilates is.

So, I’ve decided I will explain it a little in my own words, and then use some of our Clients’words, and see if this helps you understand Pilates a little better.

Beginner, Reformer Pilates, Buninyong Pilates,

Beginner, Reformer Pilates, Buninyong Pilates,

So…What is Pilates?

Pilates comes in different forms; Mat (which requires minimal to no equipment), Reformer (find out what that is here) and Studio (Performed on many different Pilates Apparatus depending on what your body requires).

At Pilates HQ we offer both Reformer and Studio Pilates Classes, which may at times include elements of Mat Exercises throughout.

Now you might be thinking, Steph, it’s all well and good to have different types of Pilates, but that doesn’t actually explain to me what the hell it is… I know I’m on it…

To me, Pilates is a mindful movement practice; a collection of movements that require you to connect to what you are doing, how you are doing it and how it feels to you and your body in that moment.

Pilates is a practice that takes you through many different movements to build strength, length, mobility and symmetry throughout your body. It teaches you awareness and control of your movements as well as confidence in your body what it is capable of achieving.

Still a little confused about what Pilates is?

Well, here are some of the things our clients have said about Pilates?

Georgia Shillito

“It’s a whole body workout where you leave feeling fatigued and invigorated. It means gaining strength you never thought you had. It’s time for yourself with a group of people who chat, laugh and support each other.”

Coby Fisher

“A Workout for the entire body, gaining strength and balance while in a self controlled Rhythm”

Reformer Pilates Buninyong

Reformer Pilates Buninyong

Jo O’Kelly

“I love everything there is to a Reformer Pilates class. I love the challenge of moving my body with an instructors direction. I love most the strength and flexibility elements…”

“once class formally begins and I focus on the instructors voice, her guidance and then allow my body to move; my mind calms, my body calms and when I leave, I feel much more in control.”

Sheridan Barber

“Pilates is an overall body workout so you never really know what's going to feel a bit sore the next day!”

Clare Douglas-Haynes

“...it is an all over body work out and I can see results and feel them.”

“Plus mentally it’s nice to tune out and just focus on breathing and exercises for the 45 minutes.”

Like the sound of all of that but still a little perplexed as to what Pilates really is?

The best way to get an understanding of what Pilates is and whether you and your body will love it, is by trying it!(And by trying it, I don’t mean like you do with food, a little lick or bite to get a taste.)

To really know if Pilates will be your new Thang! you need to experience it, and stick at it for at least 6-12 weeks, 1-3 times a week (that many times?? See our other blog here on how often you should do Pilates) This gives your body and your mind the chance to get used to a new way of moving and to start to see some benefits.

What’s the best way to experience Pilates at Pilates HQ?

Below are our top 2 choices of how you should start Pilates at HQ. These are what we believe will set you up to have the best experience possible, especially if you have never done Pilates before.

  1. Our INTRO TO REFORMER PILATES COURSE - (Next intake is May 13th only 2 spaces left)
    In this course you start out with other people new to Pilates and over the 6 weeks are taught the basics, including how to use the reformer and some of the exercises commonly included in our Beginner Reformer Classes.This sets you up with a great foundation and will allow you to see if Pilates is for you. (Find out more here - or email us here)

  2. STARTER PLUS PACK - (See more info here)
    This Pack kicks off with a 1on1 with one of our beautiful Pilates Instructors (followed by 3 Beginner Reformer Classes). You will be introduced to the Reformer and some of our common Beginner exercises. This session aims to help you feel more comfortable and at ease when entering into a Beginner Reformer Class.

So now you know what Pilates is your next step is to take the dive and experience it for yourself.

If you are keen to get started with one of our above options get in touch with us here!, We can’t wait to help you on your Journey to becoming Healthier, Happier and Stronger!

PB: If you have any significant injuries or health conditions then you best to send us an email here or give us a call on 0429578987 so we can help you decide on your best options for starting Pilates at Pilates HQ

We look forward to seeing you in the Studio Soon!

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team


How Many Times a Week Should I Be Doing Pilates?

Every week we get asked this question at least once, it’s a popular and a great question!

Now, if I was all about the money 🤑🤑🤑 then I would be telling you to do Pilates every day, every damn day, and to only do Pilates with an instructor and never at home alone.

But I’m not, and as much as I would love to see your face in my classes every day, ain't no-body got $$$ 💰💰 for that! And, you can absolutely do Pilates at home on your own without an instructor!

So here’s the deal on how many times a week you should do Pilates and how you can add in some extra sessions to your schedule.

Buninyong Pilates, Ballarat Pilates, Reformer Pilates Ballarat

Buninyong Pilates, Ballarat Pilates, Reformer Pilates Ballarat

What Did Joseph Pilates Recommend?

Joe was renowned for saying “In 10 sessions you'll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you'll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you'll have a whole new body". he also followed this by recommending you do Pilates 3-4 times a week.

When Joseph created Pilates he also published a book “Return to Life” and in this were photos and instructions of how to do each of the mat exercises with the intention that you do these exercises at home. He was all about enabling people to do Pilates on their own at home because he knew that if you did it regularly you would most certainly notice the difference.

What Does Current Evidence Suggest?

The Australian Government Department of Health currently recommends that adults do muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week. (you can see the guidelines here) Sooo, Joe was pretty close to the current evidence!

What do We Recommend?

We are big believers that everyone has to start somewhere and that what works for one person won't necessarily work for the next. So we usually say, if you are doing a Class once a week, then you are off to a great start and better off than you would be if you were doing nothing at all.

Our clients who attend regular classes two-three times a week, definitely comment on the significant changes they see in their bodies, like strength and flexibility and the ways that Pilates is making a difference to their everyday lives, physically and mentally. They also see a greater improvement in their Pilates ability over a shorter period of time, in comparison to those who attend once a week.

How Can I add in Extra Sessions To My Schedule without Breaking the Bank?

We understand that each person is different; we all have different goals, different incomes, different commitments and different things going on in our lives. So suggesting to each person that they attend Pilates classes 2-3 times is not always realistic.

So if you find you are struggling to get to more than one class a week but would like to see more improvements in your technique, strength and mobility here are our suggestions;

  1. Get yourself a $10 mat from somewhere like Kmart, or clear a patch of carpet so you can do your own additional Pilates Practice at home once or twice a week

  2. Aim for a 30 minute session or two 15 minute sessions twice a week

  3. Be consistent with your practice each week - schedule it into your diary and commit to it like you would when you book a class at the studio

  4. Rather than changing the exercises completely each time you work out, keep some of them the same so that you can see improvements in your body

What exercises can I add into my daily practice?

Use our March Matness videos on Instagram to help get you started - pick the first 5 or 6 exercises and use these as your self-practice.

There are variations on most of the posts, so if you find that an exercise is too difficult for you at the beginning, use the variation to slowly build it up!

If you are after a set home Pilates workout that you can follow along with, try out my friend Lesley’s online Pilates classes

For just $5 USD a week you get access to a 30 minute Mat Pilates Workout that you can do as many times as you like for that week. Then the following week a new workout is released. Sooo convenient and sooo cheap!!!!

Why Workout At Home Too?

The best part about working out at home is that you can do it at any time that suits you. It is also a fantastic accompaniment to your regular in-studio Pilates class each week.

Working out at home allows you to get in that second or third session that you haven’t been able to factor into your budget or your schedule and trust us - it will make you feel great - physically and mentally.

But if you’re worried that your technique on a particular exercise in your home routine isn't quite right or up to scratch - pop into class 5 mins early and check with your instructor! We would be so happy to help you and would love to hear all about your home practice and how it is working for you.

Alternatively, if you think that you are able to work that second or even third class into your life - let us know and we can help you find an extra class! Or you can click here and check out our timetable.

We would love to know what exercises you end up choosing for your Home Practice.
If you need some help staying accountable then let us know and we can make sure you are getting your sessions done!

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team


What’s the Deal with Private Health & Pilates… Can I Claim or Not?

If you have Private Health Insurance you may have heard or even received notice that from the 1st of April 2019, Pilates (and other Natural Therapies) will no longer be rebatable on your Private Health.

Maybe this made you freak out a little bit! Well, before you have any further freak outs, let us explain what classes at Pilates HQ you can and cannot claim on Your Private Health.


Can I Claim My Group Rehab Physio Classes?

The Australian Physio Association has lobbied on your behalf and the Australian Government and Private Health Funds agree “that physiotherapy is physiotherapy” and therefore fundable through Private Health Insurance.

Our Group Rehab Classes, once known as “clinical Pilates”, will still be claimable on your Private Health; but there are a few things you need to know and conditions we need to comply with.

These include;

  1. Group Rehab Classes are Physio Exercise Classes (Not Pilates Classes), they consist of rehab exercises, some derived from Pilates and some performed on Pilates Equipment and all are evidence-based and tailored to the individual.

  2. To participate in these sessions you are required to have a 1 on 1 Assessment with a Physiotherapist as well as regular reassessments (at least once a year).

  3. We need to be able to show & document that you have clear goals and that you are working towards in each session.

  4. You can only claim these sessions on Private Health if you are attending them for a current health issue, not as a preventative measure or for fitness.

Can I Claim My Group Rehab (EP) Classes?


If you have Exercise Physiology cover under your private Health Insurance, then all of the same conditions apply as our Physio led classes.

Can I Claim my Reformer Pilates Classes?

No, unfortunately, you are no longer able to claim your Reformer Pilates Classes on your Private Health (we implemented this new change from 1st of January 2019)

Why Not?

Under the new changes made by the Government, any classes that consist solely of Pilates Exercises are no longer claimable, no matter what your instructor’s qualification is.

So What Classes Should I Do?

We believe that when choosing the type of class that is right for you, the choice should be based on your reason for wanting to come to Pilates HQ.

Are you wanting to Rehab an injury or recover from a health condition under the guidance of a Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist?
YES! Then you are suited to our Group Rehab Classes. (which unfortunately have a very long wait list at the moment)

Are you wanting to experience the Pilates Method in all of its greatness?

Do you want to use Pilates as a tool to work on your fitness, strength, mobility and confidence and control over your health and body?
If you are injury free then you are best suited to our Reformer Pilates Classes.

If you have some niggles, or would like more individualised attention then our Studio Pilates Classes are the way to go.

The key here is to look at the reasons why you want to attend or continue to attend classes at Pilates HQ, and use this as a way to help you decide what class you should take. Once you’ve decided, then see if you fit the criteria to claim on Private Health Insurance.

We wholeheartedly believe in the Pilates Method, and week after week we continue to see people improving their practice and their overall health as a result of this. And it is for this reason that we continue to spread the Pilates love.

After all, not everything that is good for you is covered by your Private Health Insurance.

And if you are reading this and thinking oh my gosh I just can’t afford to be doing Pilates Each week.. then you should definitely read our blog to find out why you can’t afford not to be doing Pilates.

We hope this helps clear up some of the questions that may have been lingering in your head, if you still feel like you are unsure and would like to ask us anything else then feel free to send us an email here

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team


Our Top 4 Tips for Getting Back into Exercise After a Long Break

“I am so unfit.”
“I’m so inflexible”
“I am going to be so uncoordinated”

Do you ever tell yourself these things?
Well, you are not alone!, It’s what almost every new client of ours says. But, once they start they are always surprised By how much they CAN do and how coordinated they actually are!

Getting back into exercising after a big siesta can be scary, it can also be hard to know what sort of exercise is the best to do.
So, here are our top 4 tips on getting back to exercise after a bit of an exercise siesta.


1.Start gently

One of the most common things I notice as a physio are people who go GUNG HO!
They want to get fit and so they throw themselves into exercise, join a gym or boot camp or start running and they go from zero to 100 straight away. Then they end up injured and sore.

The best and safest way to get back into an exercise routine is to start out slowly.
- Start walking a small distance a couple of times a week.
- Join a fitness class once or twice a week and then rest on your other days

Whatever you choose remember to start slowly and then gradually increase your exercise from there.

2.Build Up You Strength

If you decide your goal is to get back into running, that is great! But it’s also a great idea to add in some strengthening exercises as well.

If you haven’t exercised for a while you most likely will have lost some muscle strength, tone and endurance, and whilst running alone is great, you will also need the strength in your muscles to help you go further and faster, and to help minimise the chance of injury.


Start with Strength Exercises once per week and then try to build up to the recommended guidelines of 2-3 times each week.

3.Pick Exercise You Enjoy

Exercise is an important inclusion into everyone’s life, as it helps to combat chronic disease, as well as improves mental health.
For Exercise to be beneficial we need to be doing it most days (5-6 times a week), and to be able to maintain an exercise routine you not only need to create great habits, but you also need to find a form of exercise that you enjoy!

If you aren’t sure what it is you enjoy, maybe try a few different things.
- Go for a ride with your family
- try a new class at the gym,
- try Pilates or yoga.

Whatever you do, find something you love, something you look forward to doing (most of the time) and you will be so much more likely to create a lasting healthy relationship with exercise.

4. Find the right people to guide you

Starting from scratch can be scary and you can often feel overwhelmed with information and questions like; What exercises should I do? How much should I do? How often should I do them?

Rather than scour the internet for information (which can sometimes be misleading) find someone that knows all of this information and more, someone who can guide you safely on your exercise journey towards your goals.

Our team of instructors at Pilates HQ would love to help you to get back into the exercise game!
We love helping people find their feet again after a big break, and we pride ourselves on providing clients with a safe and welcoming environment.

We have lots of different class times as well as varying class levels and we would love to give you advice on where and how to get started.

Have a Read of Our Where to Start Page Here, and if you are still wanting to know more then Send us an email here OR give us a call on 0429578987 to find out more.

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team

So You Want a Strong Core… BUT Do You Know Why?

Ever headed to “Dr Google” with Questions like…
How do I strengthen my core?
What is the best exercise for my core?
Why should I strengthen my core?
Can a weak core cause back pain?

If so, I am sure that you were bombarded by blog posts and articles ranting and raving about the importance of a “strong core”. And, as is to be expected with an extended amount of “Dr Googling”, you were probably left confused and maybe even convinced that You “have no Core!” or that strengthening your core would be the answer to all of your problems.

So Let's Break This Topic Down, What Is This Core Thing And Does It Even Matter?

Pilates, Plank, Reformer, Buninyong, Ballarat

Pilates, Plank, Reformer, Buninyong, Ballarat

The “Core” Is a term often used by people to describe the centre of their body and most people associate this with their abdominals, back muscles and pelvic floor.

Originally, we taught people to squeeze and contract all of these muscles at once, thinking it would help them be “stable” and would get rid of their back pain.

But more recent research suggests that it isn’t all about your abdominals, and that having weak abdominals doesn’t necessarily mean you will have back pain.

The thought process on how we should engage these muscles has also changed.
Whilst it can be important for certain people to engage and cue their pelvic floor and whilst we know that it is important to be strong throughout our body, we also now know that we don’t have to be squeezing these muscles all of the time.

Why Not?


Muscles are meant to contract and relax to produce or control a movement or body part.
Our muscles and our bodies adapt and produce more or less force depending on the demands of a task, rather than producing a large force all the time.

If we were to squeeze everything all at once, all of the time or even to perform a task, our body would become rigid; movement would become more difficult to produce and tasks like bending over or twisting, would be much more difficult to perform.

So now you're confused…

If I don’t need to squeeze everything at the same time and having super strong abs isn’t the answer to my problem then what am I meant to do?

You are meant to Move!

Your body is meant to be able to move in all planes of movement.
Your spine is meant to bend, extend and rotate with control and strength!

So, the answer, the key to you being healthy, fit and relatively injury free is to;

  • Find an activity you love, a way of moving your body that makes you happy and do that!

  • Be able to confidently move your body in all directions with control and strength

  • Get yourself and your body strong and resilient, so that you can perform the tasks that you love and need to do daily, with ease.

  • And then include all of the other ingredients to a healthy lifestyle; adequate sleep, healthy diet & minimal stress,

Do all of this and you will be laughing!

“Change happens through movement and movement heals.”
— Joseph Pilates

This is one of the main reasons that I love Pilates - because although Pilates focuses on building strength in your body (all of your body not just your abdominals), it also teaches you
- How to have control over your movements
- How to have confidence in your body
-To move through all planes of movement.

Pilates although often thought of as a method to increase “core strength” always was and still is a method of movement and as Joseph Pilates himself said, “Change happens through movement and movement heals.”

Want to fall in love with moving your body again?
Then get in touch with us today at hello@pilates-hq.com.au

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team


HQer of the Month - Jo O'Kelly

This month we are shinning the light on the wonderful Jo O’Kelly! Jo is a busy working mum of three gorgeous Children, as well as an incredible Photographer (She actually did all of our staff photos!).

Jo started at HQ just over 1 year ago hitting the ground running with our January Deal and doing 2 Classes a Week. Since this time, Jo has been so incredibly consistent with her Pilates and as a result has showed great improvements in all aspects of her practice.
Read on to find out all the things that Jo loves about Pilates at Pilates HQ, her advice for fitting in exercise to a busy schedule and her tips on where to go in Buninyong.

I don’t ever remember feeling as strong or as flexible as I do at this point in my life.
Reformer Pilates, Long Spine, Pilates Buninyong

Reformer Pilates, Long Spine, Pilates Buninyong

Tell us a little bit about you. (You are a teacher, photographer, mum) what else makes you you! and what do you get up to when you are not doing all of the mum, teacher & Pilates things?

So, where do I begin and what do I choose to share with you all about ME??
I am who I am because of the strong foundation of my extended family. I learnt from a young age that what is most important in life is people and the relationships in which we hold, develop and treasure. So I invest much of my time and effort into the relationships that I am most fortunate exist around me. I have a gorgeous husband and three children whom I adore beyond words could ever adequately express. My children are aged ten, eight and four.

I work as a primary school teacher. I adore supporting children on their journey as learners.

I also work in the professional photography industry and continue with determination to develop my craft, always exploring new avenues to learn and to extend my own knowledge and skill set.

Why did you decide to try Pilates and what made you choose Pilates HQ?

I first became aware of Reformer Pilates when gorgeous Steph made contact with me for my photography service. This was in 2016. I admired from a far for almost 12 months as at the time I had allowed myself to live at the 'bottom rung of the ladder' and I guess in retrospect had chosen to place the needs and desires of others consistently before my own. Prior to having children I was heavily involved as a netballer at my home club in Birregurra.

I continued to admire Pilate's HQ via instagram and often sat on my couch in awe watching Steph do the most incredible things with her body in the video footage that she posted. In January 2018 I made the decision to improve my self care choices and to value what was important for me to be successful in all facets of life. I had really enjoyed the time I had spent with Steph whilst photographing her. I truly believed in her story and knew that I would feel most welcome and safe at her headquarters.

You started out doing beginner classes and you are now stepping up the challenge to advanced classes? (AHHMAZING BY THE WAY)

What have you liked about the intermediate & advanced classes?

I truly still spin out and some times laugh out loud during classes at what my body has become and is able to do. I love everything there is to a Reformer Pilates class. I love the challenge of moving my body with an instructors direction. I love most the strength and flexibility elements. I don't ever remember feeling as strong or as flexible as I do at this point in my life. Both the intermediate and advanced classes challenge my mind and body in the most positive of ways. I also love watching Steph and her team model an advanced movement. I smile at how incredible their own bodies are able to move and feel excitement at what my body might be able to achieve once I make my own attempt.

Were you nervous about jumping into the next level of class (eg. beginner to intermediate?) and if so how did you feel after a few classes at that level?

I don't remember feeling nervous as such. I did however question in my mind whether my body would be able to do what was expected in the advanced class. Mindset is crucial and it was necessary for me to spend time with my own mind preparing myself. I chose to attend the advanced class with a mindset of growth believing that I could be successful, perhaps not immediately, but that with continued effort I would achieve success. I choose to believe that I can master new poses, stretches and skills with grit, tenacity and determination and genuinely believe in my mind and my body.

Do you have any advice for anyone out there who might be considering jumping up to the next level of Reformer Class but is hesitant or nervous about it?

My advice would be to listen to the suggestions of our gorgeous Pilates HQ instructors. They are all skilled and so aware of our bodies. I encourage you to trust in their knowledge. I also encourage you to trust that if they suggest trying an intermediate or an advanced class that they will guide you every step of the way. I believe this to be part of the genuine beauty of Pilates HQ. The way our instructors monitor our movements and use of the machines, is testament to their skill level and commitment in supporting our bodies to be the strongest they can be.

Have you noticed any benefits or improvements since starting Pilates at Pilates HQ?

Goodness YES! Without word of a lie I have never felt as strong, flexible and toned as I do at this point. My balance has improved and I have even noticed an improvement with my posture. The strength I feel isn't exclusive to one area of my body either. My legs, arms, abdominal area, back and even my neck all feel stronger.

There is an additional benefit. This is one I hadn't considered. I can arrive at Pilates a little like a duck. When I refer to a duck I consider the analogy that 'on top of the surface of the water' I am mostly calm and poised, but 'under the surface of the water' my legs are paddling for dear life. My mind is often so full that I feel it could explode within seconds and I can feel all sorts of mixed emotions. The truth is that once class formally begins and I focus on the instructors voice, her guidance and then allow my body to move; my mind calms, my body calms and when I leave I feel much more in control. I feel much more in control of everything. It is the most wonderful feeling having Pilates HQ allow me to reset and resume a state of calmness, in addition to the physical benefits.

People often say that it is hard to fit exercise in and to make time for themselves, what are you secrets to fitting in your classes?
You are a working mum so we would love to know if you have any tips for other mums out there, when it comes to exercising with a busy life/kids?

This is a really important question. I could give multiple reasons why I could choose not to fit my two classes per week into my schedule. I don't believe I have any secrets. I have simply made a commitment. And when I make a commitment I keep it. Rarely do I make commitments for myself at a personal level, however, when I took some time to reflect I realised that I deserve this commitment. I deserve to feel strong. I deserve to feel balanced and I deserve to practise mindfulness. I deserve time.

We love supporting our little Buninyong Community & We know you do too Jo, so we would love it if you could give us a few Hot Tips

1. Where is Your Favourite Place for coffee in town?

I am not a coffee lover and so couldn't make comment about where you'll find amazing coffee in Buninyong. Jimmy (my 4 year old) and I have lunch on Fridays during the school term at Katrine's, Maggie and Kate. I adore her smashed avocado dish with pomegranates. Jimmy loves her chicken wrap.

2. What is Your favourite place to hang out with the kids?

There are so many places that my family and I enjoy in Buninyong. We love bike riding as a family in and around town, in particular the track around Desoza Park. It is tranquil and full of the most beautiful shades of green. We also love riding to and around The Gong.

If the kids could choose where our bikes would take us, they would choose Chocalatto every time. They adore Zach's spiders.

3. What is Your favourite spot in Buninyong to photograph?

I am most fortunate to open my blinds daily to the sun rising from behind Mt Buninyong. We often sit at our kitchen table admiring the Mount. Some days we see it in its full glory and other days it is hidden by low fog and cloud cover. We regularly reflect as a family about how fortunate we are to look out to such natural beauty when in the comfort of our own home.

Mount Buninyong Photography, Jo O’Kelly

Mount Buninyong Photography, Jo O’Kelly

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Steph and her team for all that they offer at Pilates HQ. I personally feel so grateful to be a member of the Pilates HQ family. It is a beautiful place and one that Steph should feel incredibly proud of creating and nurturing. I look forward to continuing to care for my mind and body at Pilates HQ into the future.

Thank You Jo for bringing your beautiful bright personality and amazing attitude to our Studio each week. We truly are blessed to have you as part of our community and we look forward to seeing what you achieve both in and out of Pilates HQ in 2019.

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team

Why Does my Neck Hurt When I Do an Ab Curl?

Have you ever dreaded having to do an Ab Curl in class? Not because you know it’s hard work, but because you know your neck will feel uncomfortable and you end up feeling tight and sore in all the wrong places?

If you have, you are not alone!

Which is why we thought we’d give you some tips on why your neck might be hurting and what you can do about it.

You can get neck discomfort at different times during the Ab curl and for different reasons.

See if any of these descriptions sound similar to you and if they do, continue reading to work out what to do next.

Reformer Abdominal Exercise, Pilates HQ

Reformer Abdominal Exercise, Pilates HQ

It hurts as soon as you lift your head off that dreaded Headrest. You start to feel the tension in your neck muscles, you feel your abs working too, but your neck is what takes most of the focus.

If this sounds like you then one of the things that could help with this is building up your neck strength!
Neck muscles are just like any other muscle in your body, and they need to be strong to in order to hold your head up in space!

And like with any other muscle the only way to get them strong is by doing specific neck exercises (these may need to be prescribed to you by a physiotherapist).

Why can’t I just keep doing ab curls to get my neck stronger?

Doing an ab curl requires your neck muscles to work against gravity to lift your head up and it may just be that your muscles are not quite up to this level of exercise yet. In this case, there are other specific exercises that you can be given from a physiotherapist to help build you up to an Ab curl in class.

In the Meantime
you can definitely still attend your regular classes, our tip is to leave your head down on the headrest when these exercises pop up in class, you can even put the headrest up for a little bit of extra comfy-ness.

You curl up to do hundreds but you have to lower your head halfway through the exercise as you start to feel extra tension in your neck muscles after being in this position for some time.

If this one sounds like you then it may mean that your neck muscles don’t quite have the endurance to stay up the whole way through the hundred, and once they hit their fatigue point other muscles start to take over, causing a feeling of tightness or tiredness in your neck.

What the hell does that mean?

Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle to go the long haul, think of it as a long distant runner (in your neck)!

With an Ab Curl, you not only need the strength to lift your head and neck up but you also need the endurance to be able to keep your head and neck there for longer periods of time.

How do I improve this?

Keep working on your Ab Curls in class, and when you feel like you start to get tired then that’s your cue to lower your head and neck and take a little rest. You will find that over time your muscles will be able to hold you up in that position for longer and you’ll have no excuse to lower your head and neck down in the Hundred anymore… bugger.

You feel a little bit of pressure in your neck as your curl up, it’s not horrible and you can keep going, but for some bizarre reason, you just can’t feel that Burn in your Abs. You wonder why everyone is groaning away and you’re not

If you are this type of Ab curl-er than it may just come down to your technique and your abdominal strength!

There are a couple of common things we see in this situation;

  1. You probably use your hands to pull your head and neck up off the floor and pull your chin right onto your chest

  2. You lift ONLY your head and neck and your shoulders stay down on the floor/carriage.

The common theme here is that the movement is coming only from your neck.

In order for you to feel the work in your abs, you also need to have movement at the shoulders, which means the top of your shoulder blades and upper back need to lift off the carriage too.

Our Tips

  1. Try to push your head back into your hands so that the weight of your head feels supported by your hands

  2. Try to think of drawing the front of your ribs to your hips and use this to help you lift your head and neck and shoulders off the floor.

Do this and your Abs should start to feel the burn!

If after trying the above tips you are still having trouble getting the feeling in your abs rather than your neck, ask your instructor for some help in your next class, we love getting your belly burning!!!

Happy Hundreds HQers!


Steph & The Pilates HQ Team

3 Reasons why you can’t afford to NOT be doing PILATES at PILATES HQ?

Life is getting expensive, isn’t it? Food and petrol prices keep rising and so does coffee..anything but the coffee right? Yet despite the price rises we still need to eat and drive and so we pay for these things because we need them to live our lives. But when it comes to spending money on ourselves and our health, by doing something like Pilates we question it. Why? Because we feel guilty, but we shouldn’t! Spending money on your mental and physical health is so important and if done the right way you might even find yourself saving money in the long run.

We hear so many people say, I can’t afford to come to Pilates, and we get it, I mean when you look at it as a treat.. #treatyoself, then yeah maybe it is expensive. But when you look at it as a weekly self-care routine that improves your health, your mood and your hip pocket it starts to seem a little less like a treat and more like a necessity, doesn’t it?

Reformer Pilates Classes, for all levels at Pilates HQ

Reformer Pilates Classes, for all levels at Pilates HQ

Here are 3 Reasons Why you can’t afford to NOT be doing PILATES at Pilates HQ

1.Your pocket will thank you for it!

Have you ever added up the amount of money you spend on health appointments; on Massage,Physio, Chiro, Osteo, Drs?
The Australian Institute of Wellness and Health (AIWH) stated that in 2016-2017 Aussies spent $1,222 on health care each year (not including your private health). That’s almost the same as one Pilates Class a week (on a 10 class pass).

Add in your Pilates Class each week and you’ll start to feel stronger and fitter. Plus, you’ll see yourself saying goodbye to some of those aches and pains that you had.
(Don’t believe me? Then read our HQ-er Stories Here and Here.)

2. You’ll have better health, more energy and a better quality of life

Did you know that being physically active reduces the risk of developing chronic health conditions, which means you’ll live longer!!!

Exercise also releases all of those feel-good hormones which means your mood is better and you have more energy!
So you’ll live longer and you’ll have more energy to do the things you love with the ones you love. Think, walking your kids down the aisle, running around with your grand kids.
I’d pay pretty good money to be able to have and do all of those things, wouldn’t you?

Yeah yeah I know, it’s free to go out and exercise, go for a walk with the kids or a friend or to do some exercises in your lounge room, but these things have always been free and yet most of us struggle to find the “get up and go” to do them.

Which brings me to 3.

3. You will have more accountability more commitment and more benefits by joining a group Pilates Class at HQ.

You book a class time, schedule it into your diary and you pay for it! BAM! straight away you have a reason to attend, you’ve made a commitment to our instructors and the other clients in your class to attend.
When you start classes at HQ you have a community of other HQ clients around you to help keep you motivated and engaged. You also have us, your instructors to guide you in how to best move your body, as well as to help you stay committed to your health.
And then the final added extra! By exercising in a group you can reduce your stress by 26% (Dayna M et al, JAOA 2017).

So you see, you really have no choice but to get your body moving and what better way to do it than with us at Pilates HQ

Why not book your first Bundle of Classes today - by clicking here!
Or Send us an email to find out how to get started.

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team