Meet Your Pilates Instructor - Catherine
With more than 25 years in the fitness industry, Catherine Riding is a highly-qualified, multi-disciplinary trainer, who now specialises in Pilates. She is certified to an advanced level in all the Pilates apparatus and has completed further study in injury rehabilitation, menopause as well as both pre and post natal.
Catherine is passionate about the benefits of Pilates and is a testament to its powers. After breaking her neck in a cycling accident, she recovered full movement and lives pain-free thanks to an Pilates-based rehabilitation program.
To celebrate Catherine joining the LIVE BRAVE Pilates family, we asked her about living brave, how she stays healthy and consistent and her advice for anyone wanting to begin their health journey in mid-life.
What does living brave mean to you?
For me, to live bravely means having the courage and confidence to be who I am and be true to myself. It is about accepting myself as I am and being able to embrace and celebrate my uniqueness at all times, knowing I AM ENOUGH! It means not letting my fears, insecurities and challenges stop me from doing what I want to do, or being who I want to be.
What gives you strength to be brave?
I need to be strong in mind, body and spirit. Physically and nutritionally, I need to look after my body via daily exercise and eating well. Mentally, I have a wonderful army of supportive friends and colleagues to guide and support me; and spiritually, I need to take time every day to do something that makes my heart sing and that connects me to my intuitive soul. This could be a walk in nature, a gratitude list or quiet time for meditation, because when I can connect to that inner loving voice within I am filled with insight, courage and strength….. not always easy though! Life can get very noisy and I am not perfect, but I try!
What’s one of the bravest things you’ve done?
It was always a dream to run Pilates retreats around the world and this year I finally made that dream a reality. I have organised several successful retreats in Ibiza with more planned around the world for next year. I was filled with fear and imposter syndrome but I am so proud of myself for achieving this and most importantly my client's had a wonderful time.
What are your non-negotiable daily habits?
Meditation and connection to my breath, a walk in nature with my dogs, a nutrient-dense, protein-rich breakfast; at least 60 mins of Pilates-based exercise and 2 litres of water. In the evening, I also turn off all tech and screens 30 mins prior to bed and I write a gratitude list as well as a plan for the next day, committing any fears, concerns or to-dos to paper so I can clear my head prior to sleep. .
What has Pilates taught you?
I see Pilates as a lifestyle choice. It has taught me to respect, cherish and look after my body. Gone are the days of punishing, exhaustive workouts, I now listen to my body and do workouts that I feel my body needs. I have developed much greater body awareness and mind-body connection than I ever did when I was just a fitness coach and as a result, my body is much stronger, leaner, more balanced and flexible and I have a more positive, self-affirming and resilient mindset.
How do you stay consistent with your workout routine?
The key for me is planning and booking my workouts in my diary for the week ahead as though it was for a client, and I never change it. When I’m planning my workouts, I keep my energy levels in mind. So if I know one working day will be long, then I’ll plan a flexibility-based workout. I also remind myself of my fitness goals and how amazing and invigorated I will feel after the workout both physically and mentally and this motivates me. However, I think the secret to good health is to incorporate movement and activity into your daily life - I cycle everywhere in London and walk my dogs daily.
How do you stay consistent with your health?
I tend to plan my meals for the following day and prepare anything I need to take with me so I know I have healthy nutrient-dense meals and snacks irrespective of what comes up in life.
“I see Pilates as a lifestyle choice. It has taught me to respect, cherish and look after my body.”
Catherine, LIVE BRAVE Pilates Instructor
What's one piece of advice you'd give someone in their mid-life, who wants to start their health and fitness journey?
As a mid-life woman myself, I am very much aware now more than ever that it is essential to look after your body - it’s your greatest asset. Our body is naturally ageing and whilst we can't stop that process we can do things to optimise our health and longevity. As we approach perimenopause and menopause, our body is going through huge changes, we lose muscle mass, strength, and flexibility plus have a higher risk of osteoporosis due to declining oestrogen levels. It is also often a stressful time when we are balancing demanding work schedules with managing families and often looking after ageing parents. So it’s easy to put everyone else's needs before our own.
My advice would be to seek out a trainer and workout style that resonates and nourishes you, incorporate activity into your daily life and never ignore niggles as these can quickly lead to imbalances in your body and then injuries. This is why Pilates is such a wonderful exercise as we age as it is a mindful exercise that addresses imbalances, releases tension and stiffness and improves your mobility.
It is all I do now and my body has never been stronger, flexible and injury free!
How do you want someone to feel after one of your classes?
I want you to feel challenged, invigorated, inspired and motivated; ready to take on whatever life throws at you.
What’s your favourite Pilates move?
Swan dive or a high bridge - anything that stretches the front of my body as we spend such a lot of time in flexion - it just feels so delicious and I also think it is great for my digestion!
What’s your favourite Pilates prop?
I love using small Pilates ball and bands in combination as they help me to challenge my clients and keep the workouts fresh and interesting.
What's your favourite activewear brand?
Catherine's Pilates Classes, coming soon to LIVE BRAVE.