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


HQer of the Month - Sheridan Barber

January’s HQer of the Month is the incredible Sheridan Barber!

Sheridan works with children and families in the welfare field and on top of this is currently studying ‘child play therapy’ part time. (She’s a busy lady!)

Sheridan had been doing Mat Pilates for a little while but after her sister took her along to a reformer class, she couldn’t keep away!.

Sheridan started off with one reformer class a week and it wasn’t long before one became two and her Beginner classes turned into Intermediate Classes.

Sheridan has now upped the ante to THREE classes a week (can I get a Woop, Woop!?) and she now has some serious strength and Pilates Prowess about her!

Find out a little bit more about Sheridan and her HQ Journey below.

What made you choose Pilates HQ?

I saw Pilates HQ pop up when I did some research and it looked really welcoming, I thought I'd give it a try and I haven't looked back.

What is it about Pilates or our classes that has kept you coming back?

The atmosphere of the HQ studio is relaxing, fun and welcoming and it makes you want to come back to have a chat and a laugh with everybody.

What do you like to do when you aren't working or doing Pilates?

Outside of work & Pilates I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend, our miniature dachshund (Dex), and my family including my nephews and niece (and soon to be another, yay!), as well as reading a good book that I can't put down.

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

I have noticed improvements in so much of myself including my ability to focus and control my movements, my balance, arm and muscle strength and overall excitement and motivation towards exercise.

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 especially around your busy life of working and studying?

I too used to say this but I have found more and more that with my role and studying, for me and for everyone it is so important to have a work-life balance so I really try to live by this belief and allocate the time needed to maintain my self-care and health.

What were your hesitations about starting Pilates or about coming to Pilates HQ?

I had a few hesitations, I always thought you had to be flexible and coordinated to do it, but soon found out I definitely didn't, I allowed myself the time to focus on the exercises to improve each time.

Were you feeling nervous or anxious about your first class and why?

I was a bit nervous at first beginning in a new environment but once stepping into the studio I knew I didn't need to be at all.

Have you made any friends in the classes you attend or do you like to fly under the radar and get in and out and do you own thing?

I think I definitely fly under the radar but not intentionally, I think to some extent everyone does as we're all there to allocate that time for ourselves and to enjoy something that is purely for our own health.

You mentioned that you found it hard to find something that you enjoyed doing in the past, what do you think it is about pilates that you enjoy most?

It is a different session every time you attend, it is never predictable, as you progress it continues to be challenging.

You can always have a laugh with everybody when you're all pushing through an exercise and all feeling the results.

The atmosphere is fun, it isn't serious or competitive, it is supportive.

Do you have a favourite exercise?

I enjoy the jump boards!

I did these in my first ever reformer class and they have just always stuck with me. I also enjoy the challenge of upper arm workouts.

Another thing I love is that Pilates is an overall body workout so you never really know what's going to feel a bit sore the next day!

Do you have any advice to give to someone who might be wanting to start Pilates?

Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!

The Pilates HQ team are so welcoming and you'd be in very good hands with their continuous encouragement every time you're in.

Sheridan you are freaking superstar and we have loved seeing you grow in confidence and strength each week. Thank you for choosing to spend your time with us at HQ, we are looking forward to seeing what 2019 has in store for you!

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team

Is this supposed to hurt?

When to persevere, when to speak up and when to stop!

If you’re coming to our classes at Pilates HQ, it’s because you want to work your body – strengthen, lengthen and move those muscles and joints. And all physical activity comes with its share of aches and pains. There’s no denying that sometimes it can hurt!

Most of us associate pain with being “bad”, or an indication that something is “wrong”, such as an injury. In actual fact, pain reflects a person’s assessment of how dangerous an input is, based on the context, belief or prior experience. In other words, we have mentally determined that something is going to hurt, so it does.

If we were to stop at the first sign of discomfort, we’d probably never exercise at all. So, when it comes to your Pilates workout, what should you be feeling? When is it a healthy muscle burn and when is it something more? When should you speak up and when should you stop?

Pilates HQ June 2018 High Resolution File-60.jpg

Muscle burn – the good pain

You’ve heard the instructors talk about “the burn” – that feeling when your muscles are on fire. It usually sets in after several repetitions of a particular exercise. That pain (believe it or not) is good pain. It is a sign of lactic acid build up in the muscles, which means you’re working hard. Go you!

The muscle burn will likely be felt in a large area, such as across your stomach, the front of your thighs, or the length of your calves. It will also have an aching feeling – that of a tired muscle. If this is the case, keep going – just a few more reps and you’re done (insert sigh of relief).

The good thing about good pain is that it stops when you stop working on that muscle, or at least dissipates quite quickly. Once the pain is gone, you will be able to move around as normal.

Muscle burn – two days after your class

You had a great class, you pushed through the burn, walked out feeling great, and two days later you’re struggling to lift your arms, laugh comfortably or sit down on the toilet easily. Yep, we all know it. Its Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), and just like the muscle burn in class, it’s good pain. It will pass in a day or two. Just keep your body moving and stretch out the soreness.

Something other than muscle burn

The most important thing to be aware of is new pain. If it is not muscle burn, and feels unusual to you and is concerning, alert your instructor. Often, a simple change in your position or a modification to the exercise will ensure you’re still working, and only feeling the good pain.

Pain does not always equal damage

Having discomfort during an exercise does not always mean that there is something injured or wrong. In cases where pain has been going on for quite some time (>3-6 months), it can be quite complex. In these cases, a little bit of pain during and after exercise is ok, as long is in the following days your ability to function and move about is unaffected.

When to speak up

  • Always and often! You know your body better than anyone. At HQ we want you to have a good workout, but we can’t feel what you feel. So, here’s what we need from you:

  • Tell your instructor at the start of your class if you have a pre-existing condition or injury that is causing you problems.

  • Always speak up during class if an exercise or particular pain you’re feeling is causing you concern.

  • Contact us at any time after your class if there is continuing pain, discomfort or concern.

No matter your pain, Pilates can help

We can create and modify our exercises to suit any injury or issue, ensuring that you rest the problem area yet still work all the other muscles. Continued movement and exercise are great for injury prevention, recovery and making sure you stay healthy, both physically and mentally.

If you have any concerns at all about your body and what you may or may not be able to do, give us a call. We can talk through your concerns over the phone, or arrange a consultation to work through the issue one on one before you join a class. We’re here to help get you moving and keep you active.

Steph and The Pilates HQ Team


How often do you tell Yourself "I've Got This"!?

How often do you look up at something and make an executive decision that it is not possible, that it is too hard and you may as well quit before you start?

We all do it.. Dukey and I did it with the Lal Lal Street hill in Buninyong. We looked up and said “Hell no! Aint no way I’m getting to the top of that.” (Yes Dukey can talk, can’t you buddy?)


We were setting ourselves up for failure before we even attempted to walk up the hill.

That kind of attitude wasn’t going to get us to the top! So instead we had a team meeting and decided that we would give it a go. We would just put one foot/paw in front of the other, it was OK if we had to stop a few times to get our breath back & it was OK if we looked like we were dying as we walked up it.

So that’s what we did, and now we add this hill into our walk each week. (Some weeks with a little more gusto than others).

Did you set yourself a goal at the start of the year?

Maybe you wanted to start Reformer Pilates or try a more challenging class level? Or Maybe it was completely unrelated to Pilates 😜.

And have you already decided that your goal is not possible, that it is too hard and that you won’t be able to do it?
Well I am here to tell you that it’s NOT! You just need a little plan of action to get there!

So here’s the plan!

  1. Go easy on yourself and allow yourself to feel a little uncomfortable & unfamiliar

    You are not expected to be a Guru in your first class or on your first attempt at something. Hell, who is?!

  2. . Be ok with not being perfect!

    Expect to find things weird & challenging and to be unsure if you are doing something correctly, that’s why you have us with you to help assist you

  3. Take breaks, don’t head into it full steam ahead

    Feeling puffed or tired or just mentally drained from all the new things going on? That’s Ok! Take a little rest. You’re allowed to!

  4. Break your goal down into steps & just put one foot in front of the other

    This is our Jam! We know that it’s hard to learn something new, so we break our classes and our exercises down into steps. We teach you the basics then build on them when you’re ready & have found your groove!

  5. FINALLY! Remember that You’ve Got This! and we’ve got your back every step of the way!

But if you are still feeling like you might need a little extra help to get started on your journey then we have the perfect thing for you.

It’s our Intro to Reformer Pilates Course and you can find out more about it here.

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team


Christmas Break Pilates

Take a little Pilates on holidays with you

Holidays are coming and we’re all excited. It’s a break from the routine, the warm weather is here and it’s time to relax.

The great part of summer holidays in particular is that they are usually quite active. So even though you may be taking a break from your usual workout routine at HQ and other places, you’re more likely to be out walking, bike riding, swimming, playing tennis and anything else the warm weather allows for.

While all this activity is great at keeping you fit over the holidays, your time off from HQ classes can leave you feeling tight and sore. It can also mean that when you return to classes, the whole reformer thing feels totally foreign and your body uncoordinated.

With that in mind, we have developed a little holiday workout for you. It’s short, simple and effective. Completing this routine four times a week (or even daily if you want to) will ensure your 2018 Pilates body will transition smoothly into 2019.

Happy holidays from all of us at HQ and we look forward to helping you achieve more of your goals in 2019.

Steph and The Pilates HQ Team


It’s time to get our heads around exercise: The benefits of exercise on your mental health

Mental health, Mental wellbeing, we hear these terms continually being tossed around these days. Whether it be on social media, in fitness centres or in one of many books preaching the mantra of “healthy body equals healthy mind”. But what exactly does all this mean? And why is it only in recent years that are we starting to finally shed a light on much more than the physical aspects of our health?

What is Mental Health?

The phrase mental health is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” Recent statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), show that this concept of mental balance is not as prevalent as we many perceive, with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, addiction, PTSD along with mood, eating and impulse disorders on the rise.

Prevalence of Mental Health Issues?

Statistics obtained from the National Survey of Health and Welfare found that almost half the Australian population, (45.5%), will experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime. The greatest prevalence appeared to be between the ages of 18-24 years of age. It was also found that over half the population diagnosed with a mental health concern fail to access treatment. Furthermore, the National Mental Health report of 2013 also published findings stating that the total number of people accessing services for mental health reasons was half of that compared to those accessing services for physical conditions. But why?

For too many years mental health has been perceived as a taboo subject, the elephant in the room and unfortunately, as a result it simply got swept under the carpet. This has led to many continuing to suffer in silence, afraid to speak up from fear of being negatively labelled. But thankfully times have changed. As a society, we have finally put our big girl and guy pants on and said we’re ready to remove the elephant from the room. Talking about it is the first step, however we also know that what’s good for our physical health can also positively impact on our mental health. What is it you may ask? Exercise of course!


The Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health

For a number of year’s, we have known the positive effects exercise and activity can have on our physical health. Stronger muscles and bones, improved heart and lung function, weight management and disease prevention to name a few, yet many overshadow the impact exercise can also have on our brain. Exercise has been shown to help regulate mood, whilst also influencing a number of factors that can contribute better mental health including:

  • Improved energy!

  • Assisting with the release of “feel good” endorphins including serotonin and reducing the impact of stress hormones including cortisol. Providing a feeling many refer to as a natural exercise high!

  • Assists with regulating sleep patterns.

  • Can act as a deterrent or distract you from daily stressors or negative thoughts.

  • Exercise such as pilates yoga and Tai Chi can also assist with increasing awareness of breathing and reducing muscle tension in the body.

  • Greater volumes of oxygenated blood are pumped to the brain during exercise assisting with improving mental clarity, concentration, memory and reducing fatigue.

  • Increased self-esteem and self-worth, it can also be a great social outlet and assist with meeting more like-minded individuals.

Exercise: how much, how often and what’s best?

The best exercise is what works best for you!

When you are feeling stressed, down, lacking confidence or demotivated the last thing many people want to do is lace up their runners and do some exercise.

HOT TIP: Start small and set goals, even blocks of 5-10mins a day can have a benefit! From there gradually build towards accumulating 30mins or greater a day. Remember consistency is the central to success!

Variety is key!

Keep the mind engaged and interested. A combination of aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, running and cycling along with resistance training such bodyweight exercise, using weights/resistance tubing and pilates have been shown to assist with mental health. Exercise focused on mind-body connection, reducing muscular tension and breathing such as Yoga and Tai Chi are also beneficial for overall management.

Exercise with others!

Exercising with others has been shown to assist with motivation, commitment and enjoyment. It also creates a sense of belonging and community.
Did I mention it also makes it a lot more fun?

So If you are looking for a way to keep your mental health on track, it might be time to schedule in a little bit of exercise into your weekly/daily routine.

And if you haven’t already, why not jump online and book into one of our reformer classes?

Your mind and your muscles might just thank you for it!

Abby & the Pilates HQ Team


HQer of the Moment - Clare Douglas-haynes

This Month’s HQ-er of the Moment is the gorgeous Clare. Clare started Reformer Pilates after an injury to her lower back.
Like most people Clare had her reservations about coming to her first class. She was worried about how her back may feel and if it would be a waste of time and money, but, these fears were soon quashed, as she started to feel the benefits of her weekly class. Clare has now upped the anti to two classes a week and has even progressed into our intermediate classes.

Read on to find out all about Clare’s Pilates HQ Journey…


What enticed you to try a class at Pilates HQ?

It’s close to where I live and I have always been curious about Pilates! Plus everyone looked happy coming out of the classes!

Were you feeling nervous or anxious about your first class and why?

Yes, I was worried how my back would feel, I was thinking maybe it wouldn’t help and it might be a waste of time!

How do you feel when you finish a class?

I feel great!! I can’t believe how I use every muscle in my body in all the classes , even ones I never knew existed!

How have you enjoyed the challenge of moving into intermediate classes?

I love it. I love feeling how strong my body has become and I am proud to be pushing it in the intermediate class

What is your favourite Pilates exercise and why?

I love the planks!! I feel they really push my body to the extreme every time I do one! Especially the side planks

What makes you excited either; creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

The fact that it is an all over body work out and I can see results and feel them. My lower back is getting much better! Plus mentally it’s nice to tune out and just focus on breathing and exercises for the 45minutes

What has kept you interested in Pilates and why do you keep coming back to class each week?

I love the exercises and the people that attend the classes, everyone is happy and I love that I am helping my fitness. The encouragement and support from the teachers is a big plus! I have noticed a massive change in my muscle tone which helps too

What improvements have you noticed since coming along to Pilates Classes regularly?

This is really random but I don’t crick my neck anymore or twinge muscles. My body is more relaxed and definitely way more toned. Great muscle definition too!!

Do you have any advice to give someone that is thinking about starting Pilates?

It really is as good as everyone says. I wish I had started years ago and then I probably wouldn’t have hurt my back in the first place!!! I am constantly telling people to join up !

Your body really feels amazing!

Thanks Clare for continuing to light up our studio with your smile, laugh and energy!

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team


Reformer Pilates: Medieval torture or fantastic workout?

We explain what it’s all about and what you can achieve in our classes




You’ve heard about it, seen pictures of it, your friends are talking about it but you still don’t really know what it is? Well we’re here to help. Trust us, it’s easy.

Let’s start with the basics. Pilates, in all forms, is exercise that aims to strengthen, lengthen, balance and tone the body. 

Reformer Pilates does all this and the exercises are performed on a bed-like frame, called a reformer. See, easy!

The reformer has a moving carriage, and springs to provide resistance. We use different combinations of these springs to make the exercises easier or harder for you.

Our Reformer classes at HQ are structured by level of difficulty to accommodate the stage you are at in your Pilates journey.



Beginner is for anyone who has not done reformer Pilates before or who hasn’t participated in exercise for quite some time. In a beginner class you will learn the basics. This will help you build a solid base for increasing your strength and flexibility. You will also learn the main exercises that we build all our classes around. You may not get a puff up or get hot sweaty in your first few classes. But our beginner classes are about learning a foundation, understanding how your body moves, and building mastery over your body and the key movements.

Once you master these movements, the real fun begins and you are ready for our intermediate classes.


In these classes we start to push you towards some fun, end-goal exercises. The end goal being what you will achieve in an advanced class (you know, those Insta worthy snap shot moves).

The intermediate classes are designed to teach you all of the elements needed to achieve the high-level exercises, while steadily building your strength, mobility and confidence to get there. We begin to challenge your endurance, co-ordination and strength, and we gradually progress the exercises week to week as you improve.

Pilates HQ June 2018 High Resolution File-1.jpg


Here it’s all about reaching the top of the mountain. We challenge your full body. We up the tempo to make you sweat, maybe even puff. We flow from one exercise to the next, and we start to get you pushing towards handstands, back bends and bridges and so many other fun things.

At HQ, it’s all about you. Everyone progresses at their own pace, so there is no exact time that you will spend in any one level of class. Our instructors will guide you and test your limits and when they feel that you have reached the key movements and strength needed they will suggest that you try the next class level. 

If you feel like you are ready for an extra challenge though, let our instructors know. They’ll be sure to:
1) push you a little more in your given level of class and help you hit that next class level; or
2) pay extra attention to your technique and let you know the areas that you may need to work on to achieve the next level of class. 

Ready to give it a try?

At HQ we want you to feel comfortable, so we have a number of ways for you to get started. Click here to view the Starter Plus or Beginner packages, and if you need more information, just give us a call or email. We’d love to hear from you.

Steph and The Pilates HQ Team xx

HQer of the Moment - Kellie Walton

This month’s HQ-eR of the moment is Kellie. Kel joined the HQ fam about three years ago after struggling to recover from a not-so-spectacular wakeboarding face plant and subsequent lower back injury. While she was skeptical about pilates at first, she was keen to try something new in the hopes it would give her some relief. It didn't take long for her to see and feel the benefits of pilates and all these years later, she is still rocking up every week, sometimes twice!

1. Were you feeling nervous or anxious about your first class and why?

I was a bit anxious as I really didn’t know much about Pilates and had certainly never seen a reformer before.  I didn’t think Pilates would be my “thing”! I was fortunate to have several one-on-ones with Steph who always made me feel comfortable and my confidence quickly grew. Steph convinced me I really needed to strengthen my core and so the journey began…


2. What is your favourite Pilates exercise and why?

Can’t believe I am saying this but probably planks-pikes with a push up thrown in. Maybe even a knee stretch or two! They really get my heart rate up and I always feel like I’ve had a good workout afterwards.

3. Which exercise is your least favourite and why?

Bridges!!!!!!! I cramp every time!

4. What makes you excited either creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

I love that Pilates can be done at so many levels.  I started doing clinical classes with a focus on rehab, which quickly progressed to reformer classes for fitness, then back to clinical and so forth. Unlike many other exercises, I always feel like I won’t injure myself doing Pilates and can always modify exercises if I need to. It is gentle on the body but still a great workout.

5. What has kept you interested in Pilates and why do you keep coming back to class each week?

Every class is different and you never quite know what the class will bring.  Will it be tummy, arms, will I walk out the door with jelly legs, will I have a good laugh, will I achieve something new? One constant is that I always leave “just feeling good”.

6. What improvements have you noticed since coming along to Pilates Classes regularly?

My lower back has improved dramatically.  By strengthening my core it has improved my back and although I still have flare ups they aren’t as severe and don’t last as long as they did pre-Pilates.  I can also swap to clinical classes during these times and focus more on rehab rather than fitness. I love the flexibility this provides. I also feel much stronger and am probably more flexible too.

7. Do you have any advice to give someone that is thinking about starting Pilates?

Just give it a try, you’ve got nothing to lose.  Don’t worry about your current fitness level, flexibility, age, weight, size or outfit because nobody else does. Pilates is for everyone and that’s what I love about it. It’s a really relaxed welcoming environment and the benefits for me have been great.

Thanks Kel

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team


Don’t let MenoPAUSE put a stop to living your life!

The benefits of physical activity during menopause.

It’s the M word every woman dreads. Menopause. Whether you’ve experienced it or not every woman has heard about this period of life, whether it be from their mother, sister, grandmother or even movies and social media. It’s commonly portrayed as the evil step sister to the reproductive period of our lives, characterised by stories of hot flushes, night sweats, fatigue and headaches.

So, what is menopause?

It’s a time during a woman’s life, usually between the ages of 45-55 years of age, when menstruation has ceased for a period of 12 months or greater. In the absence of ovulation the body fails to produce progesterone or oestrogen, two primary sex hormones. This can cause a number of side effects that you may be familiar with:



  • Hot flushes

  • Night Sweats

  • Fatigue and difficulty sleeping

  • Irritability and poor mood

  • Forgetfulness

  • Lack of self esteem

  • Aches and pains

  • Lack of sexual drive

  • Depression and Anxiety

  • Increased weight or central adiposity

  • Incontinence

And with all these symptoms the last thing you probably want to do is be active right?

Why becoming or remaining active during this time in your life should be a priority.



The lack of the female reproductive hormones, particularly oestrogen can directly impact your bone health. This is typically due to the protective role estrogen plays on our bones. This puts women at greater risk of developing osteopenia or osteoporosis and increases risk of fractures. (Women, we get it all right!)

BUT,  participating in weight bearing and strength exercise during this time can have great effects on strengthening and maintaining bone health.

Not only this, strength exercise has also been linked to increased muscle mass, weight management and a reduced risk of falls later in life.  



Changes in hormones, along with lack of activity due to menopausal symptoms can also result in weight gain, particularly in the abdominal region. Increased abdominal or visceral fat increases a person’s risk of developing many forms of chronic disease including: heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and some cancers.

Exercise can have a powerful effect on managing not only weight, but all these risk factors through improving heart and vascular health along with increasing insulin sensitivity and regulating blood glucose levels.



As hormone levels continue to decline, there are also a number of changes that occur in the genital region. These can include thinning and reduced elasticity of the vaginal wall along with atrophy of the pelvic floor muscles. This can lead to continence concerns along with pelvic floor dysfunction. Gentle exercise targeted at strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, such as Pilates, can therefore have a positive impact on not only reducing incontinence but also the stress and anxiety that can occur with such conditions.      

Ready to tame the menopausal beast?

Just a little activity everyday (at least 30 minutes) can assist with the management of menopausal symptoms and help YOU live the happiest and healthiest life YOU deserve. Not only for yourself but also for your family, partner and friends!  

Abby Byrne & The Pilates HQ Team

P.S - Stay tuned for details on our upcoming Women's Health Workshop this September

Skiers and snowboarders - this one is for you

How Pilates will have you carving up the slopes longer and stronger

The Australian high country is in high gear. If you are a snow goer, chances are your trip is booked, or you’ve already had a go and are looking to head back. 

The down side (or dare we say, the down slope) to skiing in Australia is that for most of us, we only make one or two trips in a whole year. We go out on Day One with a wealth of enthusiasm and stay on the snow all day, only to be crippled, cramped and downright uncomfortable for the rest of the trip. Not so fun after all right?

Did you know that the physical demands of snow sports can be easily managed through Pilates?

With a few extra classes before your trip, you’ll find you have the ability to stay on the snow all day every day; and be better at your sport while you’re out there! Here’s how:


How Pilates Helps Snowsports

Core strength is key

Core strength provides balance and stability – crucial for snow sports. For snow beginners, you’re out there with large objects strapped to your feet, and they don’t always go in the direction you want them to. A strong core helps to counteract the twists and turns of the slopes and improves your ability to spring back from a tumble. Advanced skiers and snowboarders also need good stability and balance on the fast slopes and off-piste areas to help avoid injury.

A strong core helps to maintain the dynamic, balanced posture that is essential for snow sports. If you don’t engage your core properly, you will overwork the big muscles, such as glutes and quads, meaning the next few days on the snow will just be painful.

A strong, stable core will also reduce pressure on the lower back as you twist, turn and manoeuvre your lower body.


Flexibility and agility

Flexible hips are essential. Skiers rely on the side-to-side hip movement to find the outside edge of the ski, while boarders tilt their hips forwards and backwards to use the edge of the board, as well as a rotational motion to change directions. Hip flexibility, combined with the strong core, gives you better edge control as you navigate the changing terrain and unpredictable snow conditions. 

Should you happen to catch a bad edge (and let’s face it, it’s going to happen), a high level of agility will help you roll out of a tumble unscathed.


Strength & Balance Counts

Skiers are highly susceptible to knee injuries. Pilates will help to focus on your strength throughout the full range of your movements. The exercises also focus on balance and control at your knee, hip and foot, which will have you sticking the landing of those 360s every time.

You’ll also find yourself adapting better to changing snow conditions, challenging terrain and falling less.

So if you’re headed to the snow and want to boost your slope style, book a couple of extra classes and prepare your body for the trip.

New to HQ? No problem. Visit our website to view the Starter Plus and Beginner packages we offer.


Steph and The Pilates HQ Team


Take a (small) step outside your comfort zone

Trying a different class will be a nice challenge for you

If you’re an HQ regular, you have your regular classes with your regular instructor that you like and trust. This is great! We want you to know us and to feel comfortable as soon as you walk in the door.

But how many of us do you know? Two? Maybe three?

Pilates HQ has a team of six instructors, each skilled and qualified, and each brings something unique to their class. Attending a class with someone different can be interesting and even challenging, which allows you to get more out of your class.


Introducing our team and what motivates their teaching:



Steph Neal

Steph is the owner and founder of Pilates HQ. Originally trained as a physiotherapist, Steph gained her Pilates qualification and realised her passion for teaching, so establishing HQ in 2015.

“I love providing people with a challenging class with movements that flow and connect to an end goal. I like to push people beyond what they feel capable of, while making clients smile, laugh and feel better than they did when they arrived.”

Nat McGrath

Nat is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, so she’s well versed in all things health and fitness. Her former career as a maths teacher means she counts better than most instructors.

“I focus on a gentle delivery yet functional approach to movement. I like to move the body in all directions, flexing extending and rotating. I want clients to develop an awareness of their body and to move confidently, so they can do what they love more often and with ease.”



Kirsten Beale

Kirsten has been teaching Pilates for nearly 10 years, giving her a thorough understanding and appreciation for individual abilities and goals.

“I love that Pilates can make a difference in people’s well-being. I learn as much as I can about clients’ bodies and what drives them, to make sure that they can achieve their personal goals. Knowing the clients means I can run a fun class while still addressing their needs.”




Jess Ure

Jess’s background as a professional ballroom dancer and teacher has given her a unique ability to assess human movement. She has a keen eye for correct posture and alignment and will ensure your technique is on pointe.

“I want clients to leave class with a smile on their face and a bit of a burn in their muscles. I love to push clients outside their comfort zones to achieve things they didn't think possible! Clients should leave feeling energised, like they've worked their bodies and had a great time doing it!”




Ellen O’Connell

Ellen is a qualified remedial massage therapist. She understands the complexity of human movement, guiding clients to find the right balance between strength and mobility to help maintain a healthy body.

“I like to focus on alignment and stability before moving and incorporating the breathe into the movement. I like to add some element of balance to my classes as I believe this is something we all start to lose as we get older, unless we practice it.”


Abby Byrne

Abby is a qualified Exercise Physiologist, making her highly knowledgeable in regards to the human body, injuries and rehabilitation, as well as overall fitness.

“For me it’s about creating a space where people can come to work hard, while also feeling comfortable and happy. I want participants to disconnect from any of the day’s worries and focus on themselves, tune into their body and challenge it, and become a stronger version of themselves.”



Jane van Dreven

Jane is a qualified Physiotherapist with a thorough understanding and insight into human movement and anatomy. Jane's knowledge allows her to create rehabilitation programs specific to each individual and their goals.

"I really enjoy participating in Reformer Pilates Classes and I can feel the benefits within my own body. As an instructor I enjoy being able to tailor a program for each individual and their injuries/conditions. I love seeing the improvements that this has on their general health and well being.”

So the next big question is, whose class will you try next?

The easiest way to find out the “who” and “when” is to check out our timetable here. You can also email us with any questions.

We hope you’ll be meeting more of us very soon.

Steph and The Pilates HQ Team





This month we spoke with Raelene. Raelene is a HQer through and through, and has been coming to our classes from the Start, back when there were only four reformers in Steph's Home Studio. 

Raelene is well and truly part of the HQ Tribe and not only has her strength and control improved in leaps and bounds but she has also managed to rope her husband into starting (and loving) Pilates.

Read on to find out all about Raelene's Pilates Journey.


Whilst it may not be for everyone it is the old saying you will never know unless you give it a go.

1.     What enticed you to come to a Pilates class?

I have suffered a couple of injuries which have ongoing impacts. I was finding boot camp and running too hard on my body, my Physio (not Steph) had told me to stop all sports. I did for a short-term but being active all my life was hard so I had to find an activity that would allow me to find a happy medium in my life that would keep me active and build strength without the hard impact on my body.

2.     Were you feeling nervous or anxious about your first class and why?

My feelings were more around hoping that I could do some of the exercises and I was fit enough to get through the session.

3.     What is your favourite Pilates exercise and why?

I have two –Teaser and Legs in strap bring legs up overhead (Don’t know the name).

Both of these exercises I felt I could get quite quickly, whereas other people struggle. But I then love the fact there are days when you think you have nailed it but can barely get your legs into table top always a challenge.

4.     Which exercise is your least favourite and why?

Back Bends- Body just not as flexible as it used to be.

5.     What makes you excited either; creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

I love the fact that no two classes are the same and every class challenges you in many different ways either being able to do the physical exercise or your mindset of having your feet high on the bar or balancing. Even the days when you don’t feel up to going you walk out 45 minutes later feeling good. I actually hate missing a class and get a bit annoyed if something interferes with my schedule.

6.     What has kept you interested in Pilates and why do you keep coming back to class each week?

That no two classes are the same, there are days when you can nail the difficult exercise and then there are days when you can barely get your legs into tabletop. I have been able to go back and play my basketball and netball as well as Pilates and I believe due to the fact it is continuing to keep me strong and reasonably fit but low impact on my body.

7.     What improvements have you noticed since coming along to Pilates Classes regularly?

Both my upper body strength has improved and also with my injuries, I do not suffer as much pain as I have been able to strengthen my body without the impact.

8.     Do you have any advice to give someone that is thinking about starting Pilates?

Whilst it may not be for everyone it is the old saying you will never know unless you give it a go.


Thank You Raelene!


Steph and The Pilates HQ Team