3 Things we could all be doing better from Pilates expert Nicki Philips

Nicki (aka @niix) is our resident Pilates expert whose classes are designed to lift, tone and strengthen our mums post-partum bodies. She is now sharing the three things she thinks we could all be doing better.


Technique technique technique. The majority of women make errors in their fitness routines; sometimes by working out too hard, not exercising often enough, by sticking to the same routines for too long or by not being consistent. In my experience though, the error women most often make is using poor technique. Developing good technique requires learning about each exercise, what it is for and how it effects your body. Women who develop this understanding achieve better results in less time.


For years, the fitness community thought that low-intensity cardio workouts were the best way to lose weight; studies have suggested that this type of long, slow session took its energy from fat stores in the body. However, recent studies show that there is a direct relationship between oxygen-uptake fitness and fat loss. Helgerud et al, proved that four 4-minute runs at almost maximum heart rate followed by 3 minutes of 70% of your maximum heart rate (three days a week for eight weeks) gave a whopping 10% increase in heart fitness. In other words, working out for shorter but harder sessions will give you amazing results in less time than working out for longer less intense sessions.
Try 30 secs of high knees ((or any other cardio you like ((Burpees!)) for 30 seconds and then go as hard as you can for another 30 seconds, and repeat…do around 8 intervals with a 5 minute cool down. Anything that gets the heart rate up.


Here’s a new rule that’s not quite ‘use it or lose it’ but more ‘push it or lose it’. Pushing your own body weight in exercise will tone you up, rather than building mega muscle; it’s really rare for women to build mega muscles given the hormones that we have. Don’t be afraid to do fewer but harder exercises to tone your muscles, especially the triceps and biceps, as well as your thighs and bum. A favourite of mine is reverse plank to really use your body weight to tone the quads, core and upper body.