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Meet Your Pilates Instructor - Clare

Clare Roberts is passionate about breaking down barriers to exercise and empowering others to begin their movement and health journey from wherever and whenever they can. A qualified Polestar Pilates Instructor, Clare is also certified with the Menopause Movement, has studied as a Pelvic Floor Fascia Trainer, is a professional member of BackCare and is registered with The Guild of Pregnancy and Postnatal Exercise as a pre and postnatal exercise and nutrition instructor.

To celebrate Clare joining the LIVE BRAVE Pilates family, we asked her about living brave, her journey to Pilates and her daily habits that keep her healthy and consistent.

What does living brave mean to you?

To me, living brave means being true to who you are and not just following trends. It’s also recognising when you can learn from others and being open, willing and brave enough to change your opinions and admit when we are wrong.

It’s also about having the strength to fight my instinct to say ‘no’ and settle for comfort and familiarity, over change and opportunity. Saying ‘yes’ opens pathways to new experiences and growth; whether that is saying ‘yes’ to exercise and movement even when I am tired and feeling overwhelmed – or saying ‘yes’ to something life changing that really takes me out of my comfort zone!

What gives you strength to be brave?

My family, friends, my amazing clients – many of whom have overcome huge barriers physically and psychologically on their journeys towards joyful and pain-free movement – and Pilates of course!

What’s one of the bravest things you’ve done?

Becoming a Pilates instructor! After a 20+ year career in the art world, working with some of the best names in the business, I qualified as a Pilates instructor (600 hours of coursework, student teaching hours, observation and self-practice later!) and took the plunge to go full-time as a Pilates teacher... and I don't regret swapping Picassos for Pilates for one second!

What started your Pilates journey?

10 years of chronic back pain in my 30s and 40s due to bulging discs and nerve compression had a debilitating effect on my ability to look after my two small children, work and live life to the full. Pilates formed a vital part of my recovery and I was lucky enough to have some really amazing and utterly inspiring Pilates instructors, who returned me to good health (and in turn inspired and encouraged me to train at Polestar).

What has Pilates taught you? 

Pilates has taught me to be patient, and incredibly curious. The more you know, the more you realise that you don’t! The learning process is endless and utterly fascinating. One size does not fit all – and you need to teach the person in front of you rather than a class you might have pre-planned. The mind and body connection in Pilates is so incredibly important for effecting long lasting change. A small shift psychologically can have the most profound physiological benefits.

“If your spine could speak it would ask you to move it in all directions, every day.”

Clare Roberts, LIVE BRAVE Pilates Instructor

What are your non-negotiable daily habits?

In the morning, I always try to get outside, preferably before 8am, as it helps wake me up and ensure a good night’s sleep. This is followed by a nutrient-dense breakfast – typically Greek yoghurt with berries, a knob of peanut butter and a sprinkle of nuts and seeds that I keep in a jar ready to go. In the evening, I do some gentle movement and keep screen time to a minimum. 

How do you stay consistent with your workout routine?

I have a fundamental understanding that my body needs movement in the same way that it needs water and food. I keep my routine on track by approaching moving similarly to eating; my body needs longer, more substantial periods of exercise as well as 'movement snacks’ throughout the day! Most weekdays, an hour-long workout is simply not realistic – but taking the opportunity to move for a few minutes in between clients and then do 15-20 minutes of Pilates at lunchtime or at the end of the day is a necessity.

As a busy and working mum, how do you stay consistent with your health?

 Getting the fundamentals right is my recipe for good health. For me, there are four pillars:

  • Sleep - the hours before midnight are golden in terms of the quality and quantity of sleep I need to feel good.
  • Hydration - I limit caffeine to one cup in the morning and plenty of herbal teas along with water throughout the rest of the day. 
  • Exercise - a daily walk, preferably with my dog Ozzie in the lovely green spaces near my home as well as Pilates - even 10 minutes of movement makes so much difference! 
  • Diet - good protein and fats with every meal. I have a jar of nuts and seeds ready to go which I sprinkle on everything!

What's one piece of advice you'd give someone who wants to start their Pilates journey but something is stopping them?

There’s so much to say on this one! Firstly, don’t think it’s not for you; Pilates is suitable for all ages and levels of ability and no special equipment or clothing is needed. If you have a body, you have a Pilates body! I always encourage my clients to start from a place of comfort, and to modify rather than avoid certain positions or exercises altogether.

Empowering yourself with knowledge and moving in a safe space is also a great way to break down any barriers to exercise. Once you start to move, the sky’s the limit!

What’s your favourite Pilates move?

Any movement that involves spinal rotation. If your spine could speak it would ask you to move it in all directions, every day.

What’s your favourite Pilates prop?

Resistance band! Pilates is all about feedback and the resistance band allows us to feel both concentric and eccentric muscle activation, in a similar way to the Reformer or other larger pieces of Pilates equipment. It's fabulous tool for enhancing functional movement and can be used to both support or challenge. It's also so easy to take everywhere and anywhere.

That being said I do also love using everyday household items as props, such as tea towels, tennis balls, coffee tables and even broom handles!

What’s your favourite activewear brand?

Skimmed Milk, a start up company based locally in SE London with a range of clothing made from recycled plastic in a rainbow of joyful colours.

Experience one of Clare's Pilates Classes here.

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