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Core strength? What’s that? Muddy tries pilates

How do you banish the post-lockdown couch potato vibes? Er, call on Sophie at FLEX.Pilates to reacquaint you with your core.

Flex pilates Sophie Hewitt

After months of Joe Wicks online HIIT classes, lunging over pets and trying to avoid the chandeliers during burpees, when we were give the green light to go back to class, you didn’t have to ask twice.

If there’s an exercise fully endorsed by celebs it’s pilates. Kate Winslet, Kate Hudson, Mandy Moore, Reece Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz, all swear by it to keep them looking long, lean and strong. Don’t worry if you’re gymphobic, if you’d like to reacquaint yourself with your core, improve your posture, balance and develop the flexibility of a human pretzel, this is the class. for you.

So when Sophie Hewitt of FLEX.Pilates invited us along to one of her first IRL classes, Muddy’s Amy Richards was pulling on her Lycra faster than I could eat a doughnut. Here’s her review…

Flex.Pilates class Christchurch Centre Henley Muddy Berkshire review Amy Richards

I love a bit of baking, but for some reason during lockdown I kind of morphed in to some kind of wannabe Mary Berry protégé and judging by the national shortage of flour or sugar, I wasn’t alone.

Post lockdown I’ve stopped worrying about soggy bottoms. It’s the saggy bottom that needed to rise. I was so grateful for Joe Wicks. God love him, and his amazing campaign to keep us all fit and support the NHS – but planking with a child crawling on your back, jumping onto a rogue piece of Lego (a unique form of torture) or sending a light shade flying during a workout just didn’t cut it.

Fast forward 16 weeks and I am ready for a change of scenery from my living room and if I’m honest just to leave the house (by myself!) in general.

Although keen, I didn’t fancy a big gym and so joined Sophie from FLEX.Pilates in the hope I could rediscover my core after months of banana cake and flapjacks.

Christchurch centre Henley Flex.Pilates classes

I joined one of her classes held at the Christchurch centre in beautiful Henley – certainly shabbier places to be on a Tuesday evening! Such a lovely little venue, on the outskirts of Town with it’s own parking, so not in the least bit stressful to get to and was very quiet, no queue to get in.

In fact I didn’t see another soul until I got in to the room. There was hand sanitiser provided on arrival and Sophie had made sure spaces were limited in the class and we were spaced out considerably for social distancing.

Flex.Pilates class Christchurch Centre Henley Muddy Berkshire review

If you want to know anything about pilates she is your gal, Sophie has a lovely manner and is committed to ensuring you get the most out of the class – I loved the way she talked through the technicalities of each move and, although she couldn’t physically correct my positioning, she gave direction from the front of the room to ensure I was getting the very most out of each position and working the correct muscles to the max – I soon learned that my gluteus medius  has not been worked in a while!

The guidance from Sophie was a huge benefit in comparison to doing a ‘virtual’ workouts where I wasn’t always sure whether my form was correct and, let’s face it, it’s soooo easy to miss out the odd move and grab a Hob Nob!

Flex.Pilates class Christchurch Centre Henley Muddy Berkshire review

She has a real passion for pilates, nutrition and wellbeing – and is very calming and approachable, I didn’t feel in the least bit intimidated. It’s also important to stress the class was very much mixed ability. Sophie gives options so that you can decide how intense you would like certain exercises to be.

Pilates is really good to throw into your fitness regime. The strength and conditioning it gives you really helps to prevent injuries and works out your knackered body’s aches and pains.

Join a FLEX.Pilates group class in Henley or Twyford. But if you’re looking for a more targeted and individual approach she also offers 1:1 sessions where a programme will be tailor-made to your goals. Oh, and make sure you ask her about her time working in Monaco on super yachts – Sophie’s got all the goss.

To book a class, 1:1 session, clickety click to

Words: Amy Richards

2 comments on “Core strength? What’s that? Muddy tries pilates”

  • Melissa August 12, 2020

    I’ll definitely be giving this a go! Thanks for the review. X

    • rachel August 13, 2020

      Do it. If it’s good enough for Hollywood it’s good enough for us.


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