This months focus is on Nicky Thomson. Nicky has been coming to Pilates for just over a year and is a regular in classes as well as the 121 studio. Nicky attends 3 times a week and my word it shows! A pleasure to teach, Nicky completely believes and invests herself in Pilates to get the most from her sessions.

1 – What motivates you to do Pilates?

I initially tried Pilates to improve my general fitness. I have since become completely hooked. The benefits for me seem endless, particularly following injury. I hurt my knee quite badly a few months ago and it was giving me considerable pain. Doing lots of specific exercises under Caroline’s brilliant guidance to strengthen the surrounding muscles, it has improved totally, I am pain free, with just an occasional twinge. I don’t naturally lean to doing lots of exercise but Pilates has made my muscles feel stronger, and I am far more flexible than I was a year ago, and if this helps me manage or keep injury free, that’s enough motivation for me to keep doing it!

2 – Do you prefer a class or to practice at home?

I find being able to practice at home using Caroline’s on-line videos really useful, but for me there is no substitute for being in a class, and it can be reassuring sometimes when you know you are not the only one struggling with a particular exercise. There seems to be a nice feeling of encouragement in the classes, I do think most of us are there for similar reasons.

3 – From your pilates experience, is there a tip/cue that has resonated with you or lead to a lighbulb moment where an exercise made more sense?

There are lots of things I enjoy about Pilates, but now I have been doing it for a while, I love it when I can actually feel something or understand something that previously had been a mystery. When I first heard Caroling talk about ‘engaging your lats’ I really struggled to work out what I was meant to be doing, I really wasn’t sure if I was doing it right. But then one day I just felt it, I was so pleased with myself I kept doing it whenever I thought about it! Likewise it took me ages to engage my abdominal’s properly, and I’m far from having a flat tummy, but at least I can feel them switching on now.

4 – Favourite and least favourite exercise?

I like doing most Pilates exercises, but I really love some of the stretches, especially the ‘cat’. I’m not such a fan of Hamstring stretches though or using the foam roller!, and I’ve yet to nail a really good ‘roll up’, but it’s coming – I think!

6 – Favourite Pilates prop and why?

I like using the props in Pilates, I’m a big fan of the Circle, but my favourite is the ball, I can often feel more of an intense connection when we use it in certain exercises, I like that it can make you feel quite unsteady so you have to really concentrate to stay balanced, you have no choice but to stay focused.

In my experience Pilates is something that has an immediate positive affect, although you may not necessarily notice straight away, but I would say just stick with it, the benefits are many, and will be noticeable. I also think it is something which you keep improving on, I have many exercises which I have far from mastered, but each little improvement, in balance, or being able to do something you couldn’t do at all at the start, or being able to hold an exercise for longer, is such a great feeling. I’m so pleased I started classes with Caroline – I’m loving them.