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?

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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.

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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


Reformer Pilates – Intro Course vs Beginner Class

What can you gain from the course that you can’t from a class?


At Pilates HQ we welcome newcomers at any time. You can join any of our scheduled beginners’ classes and feel confident that you’ll be taken care of, shown the ropes (and the springs), and be eased into the exercises at a pace that is right for you.

However, on Monday, July 30, we are starting one of our Intro to Reformer Pilates Courses – a six-week program, open to anyone, no matter their age, fitness or physical ability.

What are the benefits of starting this way? Well…

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1. Everyone is a virgin

One of the biggest benefits of joining the introduction program is that you’re in a class of newbies. No one has been on a reformer before. We have eliminated any potential embarrassment or nervousness about being the only one who’s out of their comfort zone.

2. Slow and steady

Lots of time is taken to explain how the reformer bed works (which is a good thing because let’s face it, it’s a little daunting); and how to do each exercise correctly, engaging the right muscles. Extra time is also given to practice the exercises, which is handy for some of the trickier ones, like when your feet are in the straps. Yes, the same happens in the beginner classes, but not to the same level.

3. It’s a six-week commitment

Why is this better? Because it gives you time to feel comfortable using the reformer beds and doing theexercises, so by the end you will really know if it’s right for you. It’s also a good amount of time for you to start feeling the benefits and changes that a Pilates workout provides.


4. You’ll hit the ground running

If you choose to join the HQ family once your introduction course is complete, you’ll find it so easy to slip right into the beginner classes. You won’t feel behind or have to play catch-up. Everything the instructor says will make perfect sense.

5. You’ll get to know an instructor

You’ll have one of our great instructors for your entire course, which means the same friendly face will be there to greet you each week. That’s sure to make feel comfortable and relaxed.

6. You’ll make new friends

The same people will be in your class each week. You’ll get to know one another and be able to compare stories about how you’re finding the new and interesting world of reformer Pilates.

Our next intro course kicks off at 9.30am on Monday, July 30. The cost is $135 and all you need to do to sign up is to click the Book Now button below

Of course, if the intro program time doesn’t suit you, we still encourage you to drop us a line. We can set up a one-on-one session for you, or if you’re the brave and bold type, you can simply join any of our beginners’ classes.

More information about class times can be found here

Steph and The Pilates HQ Team

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Survive the Winter with Pilates

Now is the ideal time for a Pilates’ pick-me-up.

We get it. It’s cold; it’s dark, and most likely it’s raining. Of course, it seems easier to stay in your warm house than head to Pilates HQ. In reality, maintaining regular physical activity becomes more important over winter, making it the perfect time of year to start or step up your Pilates routine. And here’s why:

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Stay loose and limber
We all start to feel a little “stiff” over winter. As we work to stay warm our muscles can become tense. We also tend to not drink enough water in winter, which also contributes to the tightness of the muscles and joints. Regular Pilates sessions will help alleviate that tension, warm you up and have you reaching for the water bottle – all of which will keep you lithe and help avoid injury.

Fight off those winter blues
Winter can be a mental challenge. No one knows that better than Ballarat people! Shorter daylight hours and cold, grey days can make each day feel like a slog. Exercise releases those lovely, mood-altering endorphins to make you feel good, improve your wellbeing and reduce anxiety and depression. Not to mention, we love to have a bit of fun in our classes. An hour with us will have you walking out the door smiling.

Pilates a day keeps the doctor away
Well, maybe we’re exaggerating a little. Yet research shows that regular exercise strengthens your immune system so it can fight off bacterial and viral infections. Increased blood flow through your body, a side effect of exercise, helps to push immune cells around more quickly, helping them to seek and destroy infections. The increased circulation will also help you stay warm.

Be mindful though that this immune boost only lasts a few hours after exercise. So you need to exercise regularly to get the full benefits. If some of your activities have paused for the winter, consider picking up another class or two with HQ.

Avoid the “winter coat”
We’re not talking about the one you hang-up in the wardrobe. We mean the dreaded extra kilos that seem to accumulate over winter. Rich food, red wine, less outdoor activity and suddenly we don’t fit into our summer jeans. Pilates is the answer. Not only is it indoors (meaning weather is never an excuse), we can make it tough! So for those of you who suddenly find yourselves restricted to the indoors, our instructors are ready to ensure you don’t lose tone or fitness while you wait for the sun return.

If your physical activities have paused for the winter, consider picking up a class or two with HQ. Newcomers are welcome any time so invite your friends and let them enjoy some of these great health benefits with you.

For further information about class times and fees, visit the website or give us a call.

Steph and The Pilates HQ Team


It's our favourite time of the month again! This month, we spoke with Tabetha Pearce.

Anyone who has met Tabetha in class will attest to the fact that she is a pilates machine! she is strong,flexible, determined and dedicated, and the energy that she brings to a class and the studio is incredible! 

Read on to find out why Tabetha continues to come to Pilates HQ not once, not twice but three times a week...


1.     What sort of Exercise/Fitness Training have you done in the past?

In my younger years, I dabbled in many sports including swimming, tennis, netball and basketball. In the last decade I have enjoyed cycling, CrossFit and hiking. I love to challenge myself, be active and have a bit fun.

2.     What does your weekly exercise routine look like at the moment?

I attend three Pilates sessions a week. If I have time, I aim to complete at least 6kms on my indoor rower before or after the Pilates class.

3.     Why did you decide to start Pilates?

For over six years, I worked out at least four times a week at CrossFit. I made great gains with strength and endurance, however I began to experience recurring issues that required ongoing physio and chiro treatments. I began Pilates to improve my mobility, flexibility, and more importantly, to target my core and smaller muscle groups. I started my Pilates journey 18 months ago and haven’t looked back. Steph and the Pilates HQ team have provided assistance and guidance, helping me focus on correct technique to retrain my body to operate optimally.

I want to be better than yesterday!  I want to achieve that movement that I struggled with last class.

4.     What have you most enjoyed about Pilates?

The HQ team provide a varied, challenging and fun program. If I can’t complete a movement or I require a little bit more of a challenge, they are more than happy to adjust the activity to suit.

I love that Pilates is for any age, gender and ability. My 15 year old daughter has added Pilates to her own weekly fitness regime. It is extremely important to me that she learn to love her body and see what it can achieve. Her body confidence and awareness has increased through this a safe, low impact method, suited to her growing body. It’s also the perfect excuse for mother/daughter time!

5.     Have you noticed any benefits or improvements in your other exercise/fitness activities from doing Pilates?

Absolutely! Pilates has played a part in me coping with long days of work and study, hunched over a computer or desk for hours at a time.

Pilates has also increased my body awareness, to better control and isolate those smaller muscles. 12 months ago, I struggled completing a 2km indoor row without experiencing some level of lower back discomfort. I can now row over 12km without any pain or discomfort.

6.     You attend three Pilates classes a week. Did you notice any differences or changes when you increased from 2 to 3 classes a week?

I found the extra class was a gentle, safe yet still challenging way to increase intensity without the extra stress on my joints or ligaments.

7.     What keeps you coming back to Pilates classes each week?

I want to be better than yesterday!  I want to achieve that movement that I struggled with last class.

Walking through the Pilates HQ door is always a pleasure, knowing that you will receive a friendly welcome. 

The Pilates HQ team are very supportive and encouraging.  Always focusing on technique and tailoring a class to an individual’s needs and ability, which makes every class challenging.

8.     Do you have any hot tips or advice for anyone that is just starting on their Pilates Journey?

It doesn’t matter your fitness background, ability or age; Pilates has something for everyone!

It is amazing for rehabilitating injuries, keeping aches and pains at bay and staying supple and agile. I recommend Pilates as a fantastic way to compliment any sport or fitness activities to improve your functionality and performance.  


Thank You Tabetha!


Steph and The Pilates HQ Team


Why Pilates is Perfect for You

It’s time to dispel one of Pilates’ biggest myths

We all know the classic Pilates image. The lady is long, lean and holding a steely pose that has you filled with admiration, and apprehension. Suddenly you start thinking, “I could never do that. Pilates is not for me.”
While the image itself is not a myth (yes that person is real somewhere out there), the truth and indeed the beauty of Pilates is that it IS for everyone. You included. All you need in order to join Pilates HQ is a willingness to try; a desire to improve your health; and some patience.



We all start somewhere

Everyone, even that woman in the perfect Pilates image, was a beginner. That’s why Pilates HQ
classes range from introductory, all the way to advanced. You start where you are comfortable and we support you to move forward at your own pace.

We all have different goals

Some clients want to improve muscle flexibility; others need more joint mobility. Some use Pilates to complement a rigorous exercise regime; while others appreciate the breathing and gentle approach to core strengthening. It can be used for injury rehabilitation and injury prevention. No matter your goal, we can guide and help you to achieve it.

We all want results

Everyone at HQ comes to class to improve. No one is perfect. Even the advanced clients are
constantly learning.
Our classes are designed to progress you through the various stages at a pace that suits you. You won't become a superstar Pilates Athlete overnight. It takes persistence, consistency and a little self-belief. Our instructors are experienced and patient so they will take the time to help you no matter what level you are at.
You will start a beginner, but you won’t stay one. We promise.

We’re ready when you are, to start you on your Pilates journey; once you start you won’t look
Still unsure? Call and talk to us. We’re always happy to answer your questions and put those
concerns to rest.

Steph and The Pilates HQ Team


To celebrate the month of April, we spoke to one of our incredible Clients Sam Jones.

Sam's reason for starting Reformer Pilates at Pilates HQ, was due to a niggling injury that wouldn't budge. Sam wanted to be able to move and be active with minimal pain, and thought Pilates was the perfect place to start! 

If you would love to learn more about Sams story, keep reading! 


Why did you start Pilates?

I had been having trouble with my back and was seeing a Chiropractor every 2 weeks without any real difference. I saw an ad for Pilates HQ and had thought about trying Pilates for a while, so thought I would try the introductory course.

How long have you been doing pilates for?

Almost 12 months

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

It’s a fun and friendly environment, the instructors are able to modify exercises to suit any injuries and I have always felt welcome.

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

I have found I really enjoy the classes (to the point that I try to find a nearby studio when I’m away on holidays), I like seeing the progress I am making.

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

I am more flexible than I was and rarely have to see a chiropractor anymore. I have more confidence in what I am able to achieve and have seen a real progression. I have also been able to begin returning to running as I have found that my muscle tone and strength have improved. I feel fitter and am able to do much more with my kids.


Sam you are a legend and we love having you in the studio!

We really love sharing different stories about our clients as they are all so diverse. Reformer Pilates is not just for one body type or for one reason, it is for everyone.

Jump in, give it a go and you will see the exercises improve your strength, fitness and wellbeing. 

The Pilates HQ Team


Stay Strong Through the Season with the Power of Pilates

No matter what type of football you play, adding Pilates to your training will keep you stronger for longer.

Athletes everywhere are embracing Pilates as part of their strict training regime. And footballers are no different. You give me a football code and I’ll give you a list of top players (if not the whole team) who partake in Pilates religiously.

Many players get into Pilates as part of injury rehab, but what the smart trainers now know is that it’s instrumental in preventing the injuries from occurring in the first place.

Closer to home, football teams are currently kicking off their season, with countless hours of training and preparation already under their belt. But staying strong, fit and game-ready throughout the long season can be a real challenge; and this is where Pilates HQ steps in.

Pilates complements mainstream gym work by focusing on the finer aspects of fitness, such as flexibility, stability, mobility and controlled breathing.


How does it work?


Pilates works to lengthen muscles, as well as strengthen them. Increased flexibility of your muscles (such as hamstrings, and calves) can help you avoid injury.


Pilates is all about core and pelvic stability. A strong and stable pelvis and core means your body and its joints are well supported, which reduces the risk of injury and means less time on the sidelines.


Rapid directional changes, kicking, marking, tackling and the efforts required of a soccer goalie, requires mobility. What good is it if you can’t reach your arms overhead because your shoulders are too stiff? Specific Pilates exercises focus on uniform mobility of your spine and joints throughout many different ranges, which will make that zizu turn unstoppable.

Controlled breathing

Pilates workouts focus on controlled and reciprocal breathing patterns, helping you to improve your ability to stabilise without holding your breath – a handy skill to master.

So now you know the how and why to enhancing your game, contact us to learn the when and where of joining a Pilates class.

Our skilled instructors can’t wait to help you bring your game to the next level!

Steph and The Pilates HQ Team


This month we spoke to one of our incredible clients, Tatiana. After having a bub, this super mum wanted to work her overall health especially those pelvic floor & core muscles. Tatiana took the plunge and jumped into reformer pilates and has loved it ever since!

We had a chat to Tatiana recently to ask her a few questions about her Pilates Journey so far, here's what she had to say. 



 Why did you start Pilates?

My first experience with Pilates was in 2005 when I lived in Melbourne. It was floor pilates and I loved the benefits it brought. I moved to Avoca in 2006 and there weren't any options to continue. After moving to Ballarat and having my second child in 2016 I knew I needed to rebuild my core and pelvic floor and I knew I wanted to take up Pilates again. I just didn't know where. I saw the ad for Intro to Reformer Pilates classes on Facebook and jumped straight in. I had always wanted to try the reformer and felt comfortable with the idea of starting with people who were all completely new to the program.

How long have you been doing pilates for?

Six months.

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

The instructors. They are all so friendly and welcoming. Even when I have had a bad day I walk into class and my mood is instantly turned around. And that’s before the class even starts! I have had classes with Kirsten and Jess and both are incredibly supportive. They pay attention to how you're doing to make sure you're getting the most out of the class without going beyond your capabilities.  

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

I have done something new in every class I have attended. I get bored easily and like to mix up my exercise regime. With reformer Pilates, there are just so many different exercises to do to work all the parts of the body that I don't get bored. I love coming to see what new challenge I'll be presented with.

I also feel that Pilates is something that I'll be able to do no matter how old I am, and that is really important to me. I want to stay as active as possible for as long as possible. I know I won't always be bootcamping, but I'm confident I'll be able to stick with Pilates.

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

My core and pelvic floor are much stronger. My posture is definitely improved and find that through these things, my abilities in my other workouts has improved. My flexibility was so poor when I first started but even that is getting better now.

"I'm so pleased that I tried Pilates HQ. I did try a couple of places in Ballarat before this one, and none of them had me hooked. Pilates HQ is a step above the rest."


Thank You Tatiana!


The Pilates HQ Team


How to Conquer your Group Exercise Anxiety. And Yes, it is a Real Thing!

You all know the feeling… that deep in your gut, stomach flipping feeling you get when you even think about joining a new gym or exercise class. Thoughts start to creep in like; “I’m not fit enough”, “people will judge me”, “I could never use that equipment”, “I’m overweight”, “I’m too skinny”, I’m not strong enough” “I’m not flexible enough”.


Starting something new can be scary and daunting; a new environment, new people, challenging exercises, and the fear of looking silly.

But having these feelings and thoughts are completely normal. We can guarantee that nearly everyone attending that class/gym with you, has been in your head space at some point and has had these exact thoughts.

We can’t necessarily stop all of this from happening, but, what we can do is give you some suggestions of how you can lessen the nerves associated with attending your first Pilates Class… or whatever it may be!

Bring A friend

Why not exercise together? Having a buddy in class with you, can put you at ease knowing you are not alone in a new environment! Someone to giggle with and go out for coffee with when you’re done! PLUS, they also help hold you accountable – if they go, you have to go!

Why not try a 1 on 1 session first?

This will give you the opportunity to get the hang of the exercises and machines, without feeling the pressure of anyone else watching you while you are learning.Feeling nervous about having other people watching you in the class or not knowing how to do the exercises is perfectly normal. Remember: everyone has to start at the beginning!

Have Confidence in Yourself

 Believe in yourself, We do! You are your only competition - You don't need to compare yourself to others, worry about whether you will be as good as others, about what you’re wearing, because we don’t! You are amazing! If you have a goal, stick to it and don’t let that fear of what other people will think, or doubt in your own ability creep in. Focus on yourself! You are there for You, so take the class at your own pace and do what feels right for you and your body!

Call or email us

We would love to talk to you! Maybe even organise a time to come and see the Studio, we love meeting knew people and strive to make your time in our studio as amazing as possible. Any questions you have are more than welcome so please, shoot us an email or a phone call and we will set you on the right path.



So why not strike while the iron is hot, check out our timetable and send us an email with your burning questions or with a request for a 1 on 1 - we can’t wait to hear from you.


Steph & The Pilates HQ Team!