• Philippa Kartawick

The Best Reformer Pilates Class in Fulham

Updated: Oct 31, 2019

I love yoga, the accessibility of it, the focus on the breath and take-home message of: be happy with where you are now...but reformer pilates, that hits the physical spot with PRECISION.

I feel exceptionally safe during reformer pilates and can adapt the amount of resistance I use, in addition to knowing that the teacher will possess top-notch knowledge on anatomy and correct form. So as somebody rather accident-prone, I am thrilled that I can usually continue doing pilates whatever the world throws at me, especially under the knowledge that it is therapeutic for my body (and that most of my injuries come with the advice: 'don't stop moving'), so yes, I adore pilates. Dare I say as much as yoga...

I write this as somebody who is pretty strong - not at lifting weights, but from doing consistent bodyweight exercises like pilates, yoga and climbing. I find it difficult sometimes to find classes that challenge me, but there are a few...Paola's BodyBarre, being one (which I've written about here) is WOW... such a workout, and Ben Andrews' advanced class at Absolute Studios, is absolutely brilliant! Whilst I force myself to go to PBB because it is such an intense but amazing workout, my Wednesday evening class with Ben Andrews is a highlight of my week!

The studio itself is hidden up Heathman's Road, which is some kind of secret fitness heaven, tucked just behind Little Waitrose in Parsons Green. Just after Rondor coffee, which I am yet to go to, but every time I pass get serious European 'we make ridiculously good coffee here' vibes, are FOUR fitness studios!! Four! The street is barely a street more of an alleyway.

Pass Transition Zone and Slice Fitness, and you get to a building with a lot of named buzzers. Sorry, there is no big ABSOLUTE STUDIOS sign to help you find it, just a wee buzzer with a small tag (I mean, there is a tiny-weeny one, but..it's not very visible at the 7:30pm class). Buzz, and up to the top of the stairs you go. It's all quite exciting, there is something rather alluring about hidden things, especially hidden studios.

The building itself is simple enough, downstairs you sign yourself in and can mooch about in their reception about if you're early, before heading up the New York-esque winding stairs, to the studio itself.

The studio has about 11 reformer machines with all the usual gear you'd expect and classes are 55 minutes long.

Ben's advanced class is challenging but doable. I never leave feeling exhausted or overworked, instead, I leave feeling stronger and as though I have done my body a world of good. Aesthetically since starting pilates, I have noticed a big difference in my arm and shoulder definition and indeed have longer, more defined looking abs! So the classes certainly work on giving you that pilates body.

Ben greets everybody individually and keeps a beady eye on all of us throughout the practice, adjusting people or giving more instruction as and when needed. His instructions are always clear and easy to follow, and the 55-minute class feels more like 10 minutes.

The studio feels very relaxed and down to earth. There is no stuffiness, which sometimes Fulham and Chelsea studios can sadly host, just a friendly group of (mostly) women. There are men of course, but about 2 for every 8 women. But as I said, because it feels so relaxed at Absolute Studios, I would feel happy taking a partner along with me and would feel comfortable that they would feel just as welcomed.

At a 19:30 class start, there will never be buckets of conversation - we've all just finished work, probably hungry and need to hurry off to Bedfordshire asap, but the icing on the cake of Ben's classes is his too cute, little dachshund 'Bob', with whom he brings along, and always creates a little conversation between the students.

Throughout the whole class, Bob patiently sleeps/waits in his little bed, only starting to make a little peep towards the end of the class, which always brings me back into the room and out of my pilates/ workout head of nothingness. So he is a very good boy.

Once the class is over and we all clap Ben thank you, Bob is unleashed (after Ben checks we're all good with doggies) to cutely run up to people for a rub, and sweetly woofs at us if we're a little too loud or heaven forbid (!) do not stroke him.

So I am an 'absolute' fan of Absolute Studios, and will be heading back each week without fail!

They do beginner, intermediate and of course advanced, and you can have your first class free! (Originally £35, without a class pass) so sign up and have a go!

Lots of love,

Boo x x x

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