PAUL Barber used to think Pilates was “a bit girlie.”
But the 34-year-old, of Marton, has gone from the construction industry to the fitness studio floor and now teaches the class to local people – including plenty of men.
In recent times, high profile sportsmen, as well as women, and football and rugby clubs, have announced Pilates is regularly included in their training routines.
Paul, a fitness instructor and personal trainer, is very much of the opinion real men do Pilates.
Paul said: “In my classes now, I get probably about 50 per cent men and 50 per cent women, if not more men.
“But when I first got into Pilates seven years ago, it was because of my partner Angelina, who taught it.
“She kept asking me to come to the classes – I thought it was a bit girlie. Eventually, I went along.
“And I got a good workout.
“A couple of years ago I qualified as a personal trainer and last year I also took my qualification in Pilates.
Lots of clients wanted Pilates as part of their personal training, including men.
“Before I first started doing Pilates I used to get a bad back. I would go out shopping or for a walk and my back would hurt after just half an hour.
“But not since I’ve been doing Pilates.
“My job used to be in an office in the construction industry, but now fitness is my life.”
Paul is one of only a few male Pilates instructors in Lancashire.
“I think it is a good idea to have men teaching Pilates, as it hopefully encourages more men to come in.
“I am trained in modern Pilates, which changed the way Pilates is taught and perhaps brought it into 21st century.
“One of the brilliant things about Pilates is it is suitable for everyone – all ages. I have people of 77 in my classes.
“It’s great for people with injuries and can be useful for rehabilitation after injury. It can help in all sports to improve performance and lessen injury risk.
“Pilates helps to get everything in correct alignment, to switch muscles on, to improve posture and balance.”
Football clubs, including Preston North End and rugby teams like Wigan Warriors, have told how they use Pilates as part of their training routines.
Its benefits include improved core strength, flexibility, body tone, awareness and posture.
Paul’s message to other men, who might think like he once did about Pilates, is: “Come and give it a try.
“It’s a good workout and has a whole host of benefits.
“You might just be surprised.”
Paul and his partner Angelina Davies run a Pilates and personal training studio in Marton.
Call Paul on 07980 261 685 or email firstname.lastname@example.org