Bryony Deery Shares The Fitness Rules She Lives By
Bryony Deery Shares The Fitness Rules She Lives By

Bryony Deery Shares The Fitness Rules She Lives By

Since discovering Pilates after a car accident 13 years ago, Bryony Deery hasn’t looked back and her online platform, Pilates By Bryony, is now the go-to for those looking to build a leaner, stronger body. From why the reformer is overrated to the benefits of breathwork and nutrition, here are her top fitness rules…
By Tor West


Get On The Mat

“Reformer Pilates is great, but for me, the mat is where the magic happens. A high-tech piece of kit, the reformer may look like it’ll provide a more challenging workout, but it’s all too easy to hide behind the springs. A mat Pilates class can be deceptively hard and when done consistently, you’ll see results quicker. The reformer can help you build flexibility, but the mat is where you’ll see results when it comes to toning and sculpting.”

Focus On The Long Term

“In the fitness world, HIIT and cardio are still regarded as essential for a leaner body, but the benefits of Pilates show it’s a far more sustainable and holistic way to sculpt the body. The mind-to-muscle connection you get from Pilates is like nothing else, and, over time, you end up moving and holding your body in a completely different way. Pilates not only builds incredible strength but also creates good posture and future-proofs your body. If you love strength training and running, adding a couple of Pilates classes in per week will complement your training as it hones your form and precision, making you an all-round stronger athlete.”

Prioritise Consistency Over Intensity

“Pilates is the only workout you can do every single day, and just 15 minutes a day is enough to see results. Unlike strength training, which creates micro tears in the muscles that make a rest day necessary, Pilates aligns and lengthens while it strengthens, which makes it gentle enough to do daily. Pilates was created in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates as a form of rehabilitation for soldiers returning from war – there’s nothing like it when it comes to healing, rehabilitation and strengthening. Pilates works the body to ease pain and aid overall strength and balance – it’ll never put the body under excessive strain.”

Keep It Short & Sharp

“Getting fit doesn’t need to mean spending hours in the gym. In fact, ‘short, sharp and effective’ is my fitness mantra. If you work out in the gym, how much work are you actually getting done? In between rest time, filling up your water bottle, chatting to your trainer and messaging friends, it’s easy to waste time. Instead, change your narrative, and aim for shorter, results-driven workouts. Plus, when you can do it at home, you’re more likely to stick with it – and consistency will lead to results. In a 30-minute Pilates session, your body is working for every second of that half hour, engaging small muscle groups and building strength from the inside out. Use your time wisely and you will see results.”


Think About Your Form

“Form is everything in Pilates, and it’s worth mastering the basics. It’s all well and good doing Pilates daily, but if your technique is off, you won’t be reaping the benefits and are more likely to improve flexibility rather than strength. One of the most common mistakes I see beginners making is not grasping the concept that their body is connected as one. For example, if you’re lying on your side and lifting your leg up, you need to get into the habit of thinking your leg starts in your ribcage, and then moving your leg with control from your upper abs. When you grasp this, you’ll move in a completely different, more effective way. Keeping your hips square so you don’t overwork your lower back is also key.”

Move With Control

“Another common mistake I see beginners making is relying on momentum to do an exercise. In Pilates, control is key. If a move you’re doing feels sloppy and out of control, try slowing it down and concentrating on what you’re trying to do and the muscles you’re trying to activate. At the same time, can you feel or are you aware of your core muscles engaging and working? If the answer is no, you’re likely relying too much on momentum.”

Use Your Breath

“All my classes start with a few breathwork exercises. The breath is an underrated tool in fitness, especially when it comes to connecting to your core. Practice inhaling deeply, expanding into your ribcage, and then on the exhale, pull your belly back in towards the spine. A few rounds of this will fire up the connection to your muscles and enable you to be more engaged in your workout. If you have that connection, the results will follow. Breathwork is also my go-to for recovery. When you breathe deeply and properly, you can quickly send your body into a recovery state.”


Don’t Overlook Smaller Equipment

“Forget heavy dumbbells and fancy kit – when it comes to mat Pilates, simple equipment will challenge the body just as effectively. I can’t be without a Pilates ring – the spring-like resistance provides a tough workout for both the upper and lower body – and use resistance bands in most of my workouts. Sliders are also great – they encourage you to go deeper into a move and help to strengthen and lengthen muscles. They’ll also improve stability and help you build core strength.”

Recover Well

“Physiologically speaking, you don’t necessarily need to take a rest day with Pilates, but I take one day out a week to reset, even if it’s just for my mind. I slow things down and take the opportunity to be mindful without any pressure. Nothing beats a long walk on a rest day, followed by an Epsom salt bath, and a monthly lymphatic drainage massage. I recently started taking creatine and have seen great results – it’s been shown to enhance strength, increase lean muscle mass and improve exercise performance.”

Fuel Your Body

“You can’t out-train a bad diet. Nourishing your body with food that makes you feel good goes hand-in-hand with Pilates. I avoid dairy, meat and eggs, which trigger inflammation and cause my arthritis to flare up, but otherwise I eat a balanced diet with plenty of complex carbs, healthy fats, fibre and protein. When it comes to fuelling the body before exercise, we’re all different. Some of us thrive on exercising on an empty stomach, whereas others need more fuel to get going. Don’t compare yourself to others and tune into what your body needs. Nutrition is so individual and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.”

Exercise With A Friend

“If you struggle with motivation, find a friend who can be your accountability partner. Commit to doing a certain number of workouts per week and check in with each other daily – studies have shown this can help keep you on track with your goals. To help you on the way, we’re giving every Pilates by Bryony subscriber a monthly gift membership to give to a friend in January. You’ll also find a new class on the app every day throughout January as well as new challenges and printables to keep you on track.”

For more from Bryony, or to sign up to her January challenge, visit & follow @BryonyDeery on Instagram.


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