Lose 10 Inches in 10 Hours
- by Emma Robertson
You probably thought callanetics was a thing of the past, but this simple course of exercises still has a large following. Callanetics promises to lift muscles, tone skin, resculpt the body and blast cellulite - and its creator claims that one hour of the routine is equal to 24 hours of aerobics. Too good to be true? We sent Emma Robertson to find out.
Over the past year my figure has gone to rack and ruin. Why? because I'm fed up with the gym. This is bad news for a woman cursed with the opposite genes and metabolism of Kate Moss. Going through the circuit training motions feels like a road to nowhere and it takes months to drop a notch in my belt. I need to see and feel fast results to keep my figure on the straight and narrow. So what's a gal to do?
I heard on the office grapevine that it's possible to drop around 10 inches in ten hours with no nip/tuck, shrink-wrap, sweating or bizarre dieting required, which is the stuff every woman's dreams are made of. And what's more, this miracle make-over isn't yet another flash-in-the-pan fad, but a forgotten exercise technique called callanetics, which is over 30 years old.
Could this be the no-sweat miracle I've been waiting for? With only muffin-tops to lose, I decided to put Callanetics to the test to find out if my body can change before my eyes.
Callanetics surfaced in the seventies and was originally developed as a form of pain-relief for its creator Callan Pinckney. Through trial and error, she discovered a winning combination of delicate micro-movements which could instantly relieve her body aches.
Then she noticed the powerful sculpting effect the same exercises had on her entire figure, almost within the blink of an eye. Think taut arms, tight legs, thin waist, flattened tummy, pert bottom and reduced hips - all in less time than it takes to decode the control panel of a treadmill. In her book, Callanetics, Pinckney claims one hour of her exercise regime equals 24 hours of aerobic dance in terms of visible results.
"Callanetics isolates specific muscles through tiny pulse movements of the arms, legs, waist and tummy. These contractions penetrate deep down to the core to deliver fast results," says Karin Mackenzie, who has taught callanetics for 10 years at her studio in Edinburgh. "Weights usually shorten and bulk muscle. Callanetics produces the opposite effect and creates a more feminine overall shape. The intensity and precision of each movement condenses muscle to make them strong, narrow, dense and long - like a dancer."
The effects of each class will usually last around three to four days before the muscles slacken again. All it takes is another session to top it up'" she adds.
Testimonials on the Callanetics Edinburgh Studio's website (www.edinburgh-callanetics.co.uk) include "I've lost over 15 inches in 10 classes," while another devotee raves about her regained flexibility and improved posture after practising the technique. "Every one is measured after ten classes. Dropping at least one dress size (around six inches) within that time is almost a guarantee. Some women lose even more," says Mackenzie.
But there's more to Callanetics than weight-loss. According to Mackenzie, it is suitable for almost every age and because it is low-impact it is safe for people with back and joint problems. "Callanetics also gets blood pumping deep into the muscles which helps to reduce cellulite and improve skin texture," she promises. "Posture picks-up which adds to the overall slimming effect too."
With the thought of a brand-new figure just hours away, I made my way to the studio in Edinburgh. Before starting, I was measured around each problem hot spot: the upper arm, bust, midriff, waist, tummy, hips, thighs and just above the knee. To monitor the success of the exercise, I ate normally and my only other form of exercise was the five minute walk to the bus stop.
On average, there are no more than 10 people in each class. This number allows the teacher to get hands-on with everyone so they can tweak everyone's positions and ensure we're working to the max. Multi-tasking isn't my strong point so the mission of counting pulses, activating my pelvic floor and holding the right position all at the same time was a hurdle. Eventually, my body's alignment came naturally. I was reminded that although body alignment and activating the pelvic floor muscles are crucial, I'd still change shape. Even if the technique took time to master. Phew!
While other forms of exercise tend to get easier over time, each callanetics session was as tough as the last. No two classes are the same which helps to confuse the muscle and stop them from becoming lazy.
On paper, callanetics sounds too good to be true, but is it all hype? I thought so - to begin with. But after four classes I found that random people would comment on my changing figure. First to grab my friends' attention was my narrowed hips, then my 'slimmer' arms. Hallelujah! Plus someone said my legs looked longer because my bum had lifted.
The results were fantastic - an instant body-lift before my eyes. For example, if I exercised one side of my bottom - the other half looked lower. My arms became smooth enough to chance short-sleeves and cellulite disappeared. Who needs plastic surgery?
When it came to the crunch, the final measurements don't lie. After 10 one-hour sessions over four weeks I'd lost nine and a half inches from my 'problem parts'. This is the perfect way to shape-up before a holiday or special occasion. Since then, I've added walking and swimming to add to the toning effect of Callanetics. The gym membership is permanently on ice and I'm eagerly waiting for the first new Callanetics program in 30 years (called CardioCallanetics) to hit the UK. Bring it on.