It seems like the Pilates movement is on the rise in Singapore – with more studios opening this year and a wider range of classes available for fitness enthusiasts.
Case in point: Yoga Movement, one of the largest boutique fitness operators in Southeast Asia, has exclusively partnered with Australian fitness franchise Strong Pilates to open not one or two, but 11 new studios across Singapore in the next three to four years. The first studio has already opened at OUE Downtown in the Central Business District.
SG Magazine speaks to Yoga Movement founders Peter Thew and Alicia Pan on the collaboration, Strong’s strength/HIIT hybrid fitness routine, and why such workouts can appeal to people of all ages and fitness levels.
What inspired Yoga Movement to partner with Strong Pilates, and how does it complement your brand?
Peter: Alicia and I have been brainstorming for a while now about what we want to do next. We are eager to explore other modalities outside of just yoga. We thought it would be great to team up with other established brands that shared our values and combine our operational know-how to create a fitness lifestyle group that’s truly dynamic.
Alicia: When we first spoke to Michael and Mark, the founders of Strong, we instantly recognised that the vision they had for Strong was totally aligned with ours for Yoga Movement – and that was to de-gender and make accessible the fitness-focused side of both Pilates and yoga, and to fill the gap of what was missing in both modalities.
We grabbed hold of the opportunity and decided to take their unique idea of a “pilates-infused, cardio-inspired’ workout – similar to Yoga Movement “fitness-focused yoga” – into the market very quickly.
Pilates has been around for decades but is recently gaining popularity, especially in Singapore. Why do you think this is so? (You are opening 11 studios!)
Peter: Pilates is a highly effective workout that focuses on developing core strength, improving flexibility, and enhancing overall physical performance. This makes it appealing to people of all ages and fitness levels.
Another reason for Pilates’ popularity is its low-impact nature, which makes it a great option for people with specific limitations. Pilates also emphasises proper form and technique, which is essential in complementing any other forms of exercise and training.
Any tips for people starting pilates?
Alicia: Pilates is a technique-driven exercise, and it’s important to learn the correct form and alignment from a knowledgeable instructor. Start with a beginner’s class, and don’t be in a rush to jump into the more advanced stuff.
One of the most important things to remember during Pilates is to focus on your core engagement. Additionally, it is crucial to listen to your body and work at your own pace. Similar to any other kind of training regimen, don’t overdo it or do anything that causes pain. Take a break or look for modifications when necessary.
What are your thoughts on the perennial yoga vs pilates debate? For people who have yet to try both and are deciding between the two, what are your recommendations?
Alicia: Yoga and Pilates have many health benefits. If you are trying to decide between the two, it’s important to consider your personal goals and preferences. There are many different types of yoga; some emphasise more on breathing and relaxation, while others are more physical.
Similarly with Pilates, you can choose different focuses, from breathing to rehabilitation to toning. Depending on each individual’s needs, I’d say both encompass heaps of benefits through different aspects.
Tell us more about Strong’s strength/HIIT hybrid training using the purpose-built Rowformer and Bikeformer. How does it contribute to a full-body workout?
Alicia: Our exclusive rowformers and bikeformers are what makes the Strong method unique. By incorporating a cardio component like the rower or bike, participants get the added bonus of a significant calorie burn while still reaping the incredible benefits of Pilates. The class is adaptable to most fitness levels, making it a low-impact but high-intensity workout that anyone can challenge themselves to try!
An example of the 45-minute STRONG body class will see you doing up to three five-minute blocks of rowing/biking, all with different target settings. In between each cardio block you will work on strength blocks to target different muscle groups, either with the reformer or added weights that we provide.
Because you’re keeping your heart rate up the whole time, you can burn some serious calories while also achieving all the benefits you get out of traditional pilates.
What does your daily exercise routine look like? Are there any wellness practices you swear by?
Alicia: I workout about four to five times a week when time permits, and this includes a combination of boxing training, weights, yoga and spin. I also like cycling to work, so I am thankful that my work attire consists mainly of athleisure wear to make cycling in the Singapore heat bearable.
I love massages, and because I workout quite often. I love to iron out all those kinks with a good painful rub!
Peter: My workouts consist of mostly progressive strength training two to three times a week. I am also really into golf so I incorporate that into my weekly routine as well, for both social and therapeutic gains.
Strong Pilates is at OUE Downtown, #02-01/02, 6 Shenton Way, Singapore 068809. For more information, visit strongpilates.sg.