Ever wondered if doing shorter pilates workouts of around 10 to 15 minutes can really transform your health and wellbeing?  Then this blog post is for you.  

Kindly written by Carrie MacWilliam,  a member of my pilates membership, The Lifetonic Club.  Carrie shares her story of how being able to do shorter pilates workouts have allowed her to stay consistent with exercise, build her strength back up quickly after having a baby and feel more confident in her body and relaxed in her mind on an on-going basis.

You’ll also read how it’s given her the energy and patience needed to take care of herself & her family.   

photo of Carrie doing the hundred in her living room

Why I chose pilates to help me regain strength & confidence

About a year ago I made the leap back into exercise after a three year hiatus. From a very young age I’d always been an active person and enjoyed keeping fit, but the stresses of pregnancy and demands of being a working mum had put that on the backburner – there just never seems to be enough hours in the day!   My confidence in my body had also taken a knock.

I felt:

I had tried really hard to get back into the swing of things with exercise but finding time to get to the gym felt almost impossible. W hen I did make it, I was exhausted breaking a neck to get their on time, and carrying all the gym kit was like a workout in itself!  The classes were fast and loud and I often left feeling kind of more exhausted than I was before I arrived.

Something just wasn’t working for me – I knew I wanted to strengthen my body and rebuild my confidence;  I needed a new approach but I just wasn’t sure what that was!

Then I discovered an advertisement for pilates for beginners through Ostara Pilates along with Julie’s blog post on the benefits of pilates.  All the benefits of practising Pilates completely rang true to me and felt this is what I needed to take my first steps to truly strengthen my body and rebuild my confidence.

I signed up for 6 weeks of pilates for beginners.  Making the initial time for myself and not feeling guilty for that was the first step.  Julie helped me understand that by taking time to look after my own health, put me in a much better position to take care of everyone else’s; the old adage “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”

But guess what, as a new mum, busy PR Director and wife, I still struggled with finding those 60 minutes to get to class….

What shorter workouts have done for me

I joined The Lifetonic Club during the pandemic and started by following the pre-planned calendar, making a commitment to do at least 15 mins per day for 30 days and here’s what happened.

Instead, I got:

photo of carrie following along to one of her lifetonic club pilates workouts

On the physical side I couldn’t believe how quickly my body’s overall strength and stability returned. 

Within one week I felt stronger and more toned.  By the second week I felt like I was actually gaining more energy with every session as well as feeling calmer.  By 4 weeks my flexibility was so much better and I wasn’t aching as much from taking care of a toddler!  I also noticed that I had naturally lost the weight that had come with a maternity leave of cake and hot chocolate. 

I feel all the positive endorphins after every session no matter how short and like I have worked all the right places in the right way, and it feels good! 

How staying consistent has left me feeling

In short, this is how finding shorter bursts of time for myself has left me feeling:

Who wouldn’t want to feel like that each day?

I don’t ever remember enjoying exercise as much as I do now so if you’re looking for a way to make long lasting change to your wellbeing routine & have fun with it too, then The Lifetonic Club is for you!

You can read more about joining our pilates membership, The Lifetonic Club here.

Inspired by Carrie’s results? Want to try all the incredible benefits of pilates for yourself? Than sign up below for my FREE 21 Days of Pilates Challenge.

Recently in my membership, I was asked a question around how to keep consistent and motivated with your at home pilates workouts. I know from teaching hundreds of clients over the years that it can be hard to stay on track when we’re so busy and when life is so up and down.

So today on the blog I’m sharing the 5 simple steps I encourage my clients to use to get their fitness mojo back and to stay on track with your home workouts:

1. Change your perspective

One of THE most important things you can do is to think about how you want to feel and let that be your driving force. For example you might want to feel happier, more energetic, less stressed, less achy in your body etc.

This puts more of a focus on the intrinsic factors of motivation, i.e. doing something because you enjoy it and enjoy the way it makes you feel


the external factors of motivation ie. doing something for reward, praise, or a sense of obligation. For example thinking that a workout has to be 60 minutes and a sweatfeast to be effective. Or you have to crunch X amount of calories to earn that bacon roll for breakfast (you don’t by the way). This sort of thinking can easily lead to

2. Set a goal

If you’re out of the habit of exercising, it can seem like climbing a mountain in flipflops to get back into it right?!

I’ve found from experience that the easiest thing to do in is to focus on one thing that will support your wellbeing each week.

It could be something as simple as drinking more water each day or having the cupboards stacked with healthy snacks – just make sure it seems do-able for you and the season you’re in. For me writing it down and putting it somewhere I can see it helps me stay on track. I encourage you to do the same.

Try this 15 minute Warming Core Pilates workout

3. Schedule a regular time

Find a time that works best for you. Ask for help or support from partner if you have kids. Schedule it in your calendar and set a digital reminder. Focus on how the action you’re taking is going to support you to feel the way you want to feel. Try and stick to the same time each week to build the habit in your brain (neurons that fire together, wire together). Eventually you’ll just start to roll out your mat, fill your water bottle or reach for the healthy snacks on auto pilot.

For me, it’s always been about finding super simple ways to get my workouts in, without having to move heaven and earth in the process (how much kit do you need to get to the gym!).

I became a big fan of doing just 15 minutes of pilates when my Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I had zero time to myself – this just fitted easily into my day and I was amazed at how quickly and easily I built strength and was able to calm myself.

It was a real game changer for me and an easy way to take care of myself during a really stressful time.

4. Think fun and variety

You need variety to stay motivated plus a workout should be fun and enjoyable; something you look forward! That’s why I add fresh new content every month to the membership library with different themes and fun ways to enjoy pilates and look after your body and mind.

5. Get a work out buddy

It can help to have an accountability buddy if you’re working towards a goal. Time to phone your bestie! In my membership community, we encourage and motivate each other though our private Facebook group.

There is no end of support, encouragement and good vibes. I am always so humbled to check in to the group and see just what a safe, supportive and uplifting space it is. It’s the first place I go when I feel my fitness mojo waning!

When you make the time to invest in your health everyone you come into contact with benefits but most of all, you benefit yourself and you are SO deserving of that. ​

So, set yourself a goal right now and give my 20 minute Strength and Stretch Pilates workout a go over the weekend – why not challenge yourself to do it 3 times over the next week and feel the benefit of what a quick workout can really do for you. Just select the link and it’s yours! ​

Will you let me know your thoughts if you try it?

I know you can do it but if you need an accountability buddy let me know!

Am cheering you on.

Love Julie x

The pilates mermaid stretch is one of my all time favourites for a stiff low back and because there is also a kind of inner flow to it. You can use the pilates mermaid as a gentle warmup or as more intense cool down stretch or, if like me, you do a lot of sitting.

This is an exercise that works to lengthen and open the side body. Keeping the sit bones grounded as the arm extends in long reach up to the side of your head and over, it will connect the stretch through the center of the body. Mermaid is also a good lesson in keeping the scapula settled in the back as the arm moves. There is a special dynamic between breath and stretch as you ground down and reach skyward, which is what gives it the special inner flow feel.


This exercise is great for improving your overall flexibility by working to stretch your obliques, shoulders, and inner thighs. It opens your side body, lengthening the muscles between the ribs and pelvis. This can aid in being able to fully expand your chest in breathing. It prepares you for moves that call for twisting and bending and keeps your low back supple too!

How to do the pilates mermaid stretch:

Sit on the floor with both legs folded to the right side in an 90/90 position – one shin is parallel to your front, one parallel to your side, in line with your hip. Make sure the back foot is flat to the floor to protect your knee. Make a connection between your pelvis and your ribs so that you are flat as if your torso was between two sheets of glass. Both arms are lengthened by your side providing some light support as you sit upright. Like most pilates exercises, the real support for the move comes from the abdominals.

Follow along in the video:

  1. Extend your left arm straight up above your head. Keep your left shoulder down, away from your ear. Bring the inside of the arm as close to your ear as you can without hiking up the shoulder.
  2. Keep your left hip grounded as you lengthen your spine and the stretch moves up through the center of your body. Grow tall through the crown of your head as your spine lengthens and extends up and when you have nowhere left to go with the stretch, take it over to the side. Keep both sides of your waist long.
  3. Do not let your ribs pop forward as you curve to the side – connect them to the pelvis.
  4. Your support hand moves further away from your body to increase the stretch.
  5. Keep your shoulders down and your scapula settled in your back, even at the farthest point of your reach.
  6. To initiate your return, send your left sit bone down toward the mat. Then use your abs to begin to bring your torso up.
  7. Now begin the reach to the other side, again lengthening up through the crown of your head and side bending to your right. You can walk your supporting arm (left arm), out and bend at the elbow to take your forearm to the floor to increase the stretch. Continue to focus on keeping the right side bone grounded now as your stretch extends up and over toward the left.
  8. Aim to keep your left shoulder down and the scapula settled in the back.
  9. Repeat two to three times each side.

How to tell if you’re doing it wrong:

Arched Back

Raised Shoulders

Craned Neck

Need a Modification?

If you can’t sit in the Z leg position without discomfort, you can do this stretch in standing or cross your legs in front of you if that’s more comfortable.

Take your time with this and be sure to breath fully into the side of your body when you’re in the stretch to really open it up. Stretch only as far as you can with good form and no discomfort. The more and more you do this stretch, the further you’ll be able to go. It’s a great beginners exercise.

And don’t forget to smile :-)

Leave me a comment to let me know if i should start calling you Arial :-)

Julie x

P.S. Be sure to read my blog post on pilates breathing tips to make sure you get the most of that side opening! I’ve linked it above for you.