From being drawn to my first TotalBody Workout with Chiara Pellegrino following the enticing lure of an exercise class and talk combo with former Women’s Health editor Katie Mulloy, I’ve found myself wishing the calendar forwards to the next monthly Inspiring Woman event.
Set inside the flawless Third Space gyms throughout London town, Chiara’s cardio and resistance fused TotalBody Workout reminds me of my university Body Attack days (and that feeling once you’ve mastered a three step sequence and felt like a professional dancer for one brief moment).
Utilising a soundtrack ideal for getting low on the dance floor (those were the days), and featuring a mixture of resistance bands, walk out planks, tuck jumps and a gruelling glutes section where one leg seems to remain in the air for an eternity, Chiara’s class flies by. Speaking of the soundtrack, Dillon Francis’ ‘Get Low’ seems to work some kind of strength-instilling magic during the push up challenge track, or at least keep me struggling off my knees for at least five seconds longer than usual until the beat drops.
Rounding it all off with the finale, a combination of the session’s earlier dance sequences rolled into one final cardio push, TotalBody has become a new addition to my favourite exercise classes in a city as full of variety and fitness studio competition as London.
This leap up my list of classes is also hugely influenced by the welcoming atmosphere that Chiara creates as a fitness trainer. By making the effort to both recognise old faces and hug newcomers, you’re made to feel part of a community from your first class. Chiara’s approachable nature and genuine interest in supporting women and focussing on wellbeing shines through with each session, and always leaves me feeling ten times more upbeat and positive than when I came through the door. Those multiple squats and jumps might help to shake me up a bit too.
Following each 45-minute class, the Inspiring Women talks feature a Q & A with Chiara’s hand-picked network who pass on valuable advice from careers and personal wellbeing to nutrition and managing exercise schedules (I’m even now attempting to regularly take Vitamin D supplements following a discussion with Plant Based Pixie. ‘Attempting’.)
My first TotalBody class was as part of the Women’s Health session, where I spent most of the class in a daze at exercising in the same room as WH staffers. Katie Mulloy’s tips on finding a work-life balance hit home when she touched on the mindset of being a perfectionist, especially whenever I think about writing: “So many of us suffer from perfectionist syndrome. That leads to the idea of all or nothing thoughts: if I can’t go to the gym, that’s it! I might as well go home to a plate of pasta and half a bottle of wine. Get out of that mindset!”
To be allowed an insight into the thought process of the industry’s most well respected contributors at these Q & A’s feels pretty special, especially when you have the chance to ask your own questions. I never go to the classes with a question prepared, but I always find myself piping up – the sessions can bring out a new stream of ideas and creativity that you’ve been trying too hard to uncover before.
My second session featured Plant Based Pixie, a straight talking food blogger and nutritionist who’s doing real good and is around my age, which makes me feel like I should buck up my ideas. In all honesty, nutrition hasn’t always been at the top of my priorities. I love exercises classes, and feeling like I’ve ‘earnt’ a bowl of Coco Pops following a run (not a great mindset) – but eating healthily is becoming an area of life that is now getting more of the attention that it deserves. Listening to Pixie debunk common food myths, I surprisingly found myself enthralled by the discussions about food – another new improvement to my lifestyle routine following a TotalBody and Q & A session.
My third Inspiring Women Series 2 session focussed on becoming an entrepreneur, featuring Lauren Armes, founder of Welltodo London. Whilst starting up my own business is not on my current to-do list (dying my hair peach is coming out trumps), Lauren’s story about leaving a job to grow her own business in the wellness industry resonated when considering how to develop your own personal growth in all aspects of your life.
The discussion centered around finding value by looking at the mindsets of successful people and replicating some of their thought processes into your own actions – namely by disregarding fear to start doing something small, now.
“Then the fear falls away.”
As Lauren says, you only have to know step one. Writing on here, and reaching out to meet new people and learn at these events feels like my new and improved step one. I’m not sure of what step two looks like, but the next Inspiring Women event has the potential to hopefully make it a little clearer.
With the latest session ending with a Sweaty Betty goodie bag filled with a neon water bottle, healthy treats and a pristine Happiness Planner (so pristine that I’m scared to write in it), I can now add picking up the shiny pen as part of my big-life-goals step one.