What?: One of our all-time favourite activities is Mum & Toddler Yoga at Islington’s The Life Centre. Bab loves it because she gets to sing songs about butterflies and eat rice cakes, and I love it because, aside from it just being a really lovely class, it’s the only opportunity I get to do some exercise (aside from hoisting the buggy up and down the steps at Finchley Road tube station, which is making me beefy).
Anyway, last week I decided I needed to up my workout game and dragged Bab along to a Parent & Toddler Pilates class at Training Points fitness studio in Crystal Palace, which, despite being nearly 11 miles from our flat, is the nearest one I could find. I’d literally only done pilates once before in my mid-twenties when I was a member of a trendy Wendy gym in Shoreditch, and remembered really hurting afterwards, which is exactly what I was looking for. I needed to ache so badly.
Training Points describes this session as “pilates for Mum and Dad with a soft play for your toddler”. It promises a “dynamic pilates workout, strengthening and toning your core, upper body and legs… while your child is tumbling, exploring and improving their motor skills on [the] Danish-design tumbling animals”, which sounded freaking awesome to be honest. I mean who doesn’t want to get a dynamic workout while their kid tumbles on Danish-designed animals? No one.
We arrived hot, flappy and five minutes late, thanks to Google Maps sending us to a completely different yoga studio on the other side of the Crystal Palace Triangle. The actual studio was much prettier than the one we’d been misdirected to though, being housed in a beautiful old stable down a remote lane. Despite our tardiness the class hadn’t even started and there were only two other mums and babies there anyway, so I immediately felt much less self-conscious (I’m so crap at any kind of physical exertion I generally feel like I should be made to do it all behind a curtain).
Unlike our regular The Life Centre class, which involves the little ones in almost the entire session, the Training Points class focuses solely on the adult, providing parents with a full and, for me, unexpectedly intense workout while their miniatures play around them. While I was more than okay with this, Bab took quite a lot of convincing since she hates me doing anything that doesn’t involve her – particularly when it involves me lying on the floor, since she always seems to think I’ve died – and I did spend about a third of our session with her clamped to me like a sticky koala.
While this prevented me from being able to do every single exercise, I can confirm that yes, I did ache like hell the next day and, for I think the first time since getting pregnant, I had that lovely sense of total physical exhaustion that only comes from pushing your muscles harder than your everyday life demands. I also really liked the variety of exercises and that there was a good mix of floor and standing-leg work, and an equal concentration on arms, legs and core. Absolutely one of the best (and only) classes to help you tone your body with a toddler in tow, though I might have to pack more distractions next time.
Where and When?: Sessions take place at 10.30am on term-time Fridays. Training Points can be found at 5-6 Cooper’s Yard, Crystal Palace, and is a 13-minute walk from Crystal Palace mainline station.
Best Bits: The teacher, Mathilde, is laid back and lovely, and the class will really make you sweat.
Worst Bits: Bab wasn’t massively into the Danish tumbling furniture and quickly got bored and whingey.
Facilities: Buggy parking, baby changing.
Cost: £14 pay as you go.
Would We Come Back?: Yes. If only it wasn’t so far away as I could really do with the exercise.
Bab poses post-workout at Training Points, Crystal Palace.