When it comes to exercise, I’m a big fan of Pilates. Having taken regular classes for the last couple of years, I find it enough of a challenge that I feel I’ve had a good workout, but not so much that it leaves me red-faced and exhausted.

My usual sessions are mat-based, so I’ve always been intrigued by reformer Pilates – similar exercises done on a machine, using weights for resistance. It’s a fitness genre that is rapidly growing in popularity, hence the success of HIIT Pilates in Charminster, which opened its doors in January.

The studio, although on the main road, has obscured glass windows, so no need to worry about being put off by gawping outsiders. Inside, however, it’s light and bright, with upbeat music playing in the background. There are just four, top-of-theline Allegro 2 reformer beds in the boutique studio – owner Sarah Hawkins tells me she purposefully kept the facility small in order to give her clients more individual, personal trainer-style attention.

She wanted to create a space where clients felt welcome, inspired and motivated to move, which she has certainly achieved. As I’m new to the reformer, I’m trying out the Fundamentals session on a Saturday morning, when instructor Juliana focuses on ensuring the class engage in the correct technique, strength and control.

The Fundamentals lesson is aimed at setting clients up for the more dynamic classes offered on the timetable. Private classes are also available.

I feel a little like a fish out of water to start with, but Juliana is quick to praise, and helps me out with which bits of the machine I need to use, whether it’s adjusting the weights, or using the straps.

Although I’m taking it slow while I get used to the equipment, I can certainly feel my muscles working, and I thoroughly enjoy the the 50-minute session, which is over before I know it.


Classes are priced at £15, but new clients can take advantage of an introductory offer of three classes for £30.


HIIT Pilates, Charminster Road, Bournemouth

01202 981887