Fitness with an Irish accent

Posted by on November 30, 2014 | 0 comments

IMG_2362IMG_2236hello fellow fitness road warriors.
Happy to say I just got back from two glorious weeks touring Ireland. Despite sitting in airports, on planes and in cars for many many hours over a two week period, eating fish & chips, scones, sticky toffee pudding, brown bread, creamy Irish butter, bacon, smashed potatoes, venison, banoffee pie and a Guinness here and there, I did not gain any weight … (But at least if I had, it would have been from good good stuff, not crap).
It was a wee bit tedious finding fitness classes in Ireland, but I did manage to find four and they were were each different and satisfying in their own way.

The top floor Pilates studio in a federal house on Baggot Road was simply gross! The carpet was stained and not vacuumed. The air was stale. When I laid down on the skimpy mat, little hairs(ew, totally nasty)and particle bits attached themselves to my spanx wear. The rug held a slightly moldy scent.
The Pilates teacher was a stunning, tall and incredibly fit former gymnast from Lithuania. Her warm up of deep breathing and roll downs seemed interminable. Not only did we (there was a young lady and an elderly gent in class) do twenty standing roll downs, she had us do twenty reps of everything over and over and over! Twenty bridges, twenty push-ups, twenty spine stretch forwards,and then repeat the sequence as well as several sets of 100s, planks galore, side kick series in s*l*o*w motion… ok ok ok already. Was she a sweet well meaning instructor, by all means. Am I glad I went? Yup, it’s always good to see what’s out there in the Pilates world. The Bottom line, would I return? Nope. Perhaps this is why Pilates seems a bit obscure in Dublin.

I thought I was signed up for a barre class, however it was a Tae Bo class. Tae Bo is a total body fitness system that incorporates martial arts techniques such as kicks and punches. It was developed by Taekwondo master Mr. Billy Blanks.
The owner/instructor Aongus’ enthusiasm was contagious and the more we sweated the happier he was. I was completely drenched, endorphins flying. My body was singing hallelujah praise the powers that be. Would I go back? In a rapid heartbeat.

The studio is a ten minute walk from Philip Treacy’s glamorous G Hotel. With trepidation, I signed up for the hot Pilates mat class taught by Sharon. There were 15 students in the tightly packed class, the temperature was about 80-85 degrees. Working out in the heat is an anathema to me, the first ten minutes were torture but my inner body thermometer adjusted and the heat was not so noticeable. Yes, I was sweating profusely, dripping wet. Sharon’s cues and flow were smooth and gentle like her lilting accent. Sharon’s class is popular and it is easy to see why.

Steph Grey owns this stunning fully equipped sunny studio located in a former ancient prison in the Portobello section of the city. She calls it an oasis and I couldn’t agree more. It is newly renovated and the Stotts reformers are brand new. I took a private pilates reformer session and a barre group class both taught by Katrin. Loved this place, they are truly spreading the good word on fitness.

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