Kim Paxton Fitness Craze Resolutions Lead To More Harm Than Good Interview
With fat loss winning as the most popular New Year's Resolution again this year, US-trained Authentic Pilates instructor and ex-professional ballerina, Kim Paxton, warns women who focus on losing weight, could be putting their physical and mental health at risk.
Aussie women are more negative about their bodies more than ever before, with 4 in 5 women having low self-esteem, and a staggering 89 per cent of Australian women are opting to cancel plans, job interviews or other important engagements simply because of how they look.
In a body-conscious world, fueled by Instagram fitness models, where body image has become one of the main motivators of fitness, rather than strength and mental health, Paxton is making it her mission to change that through her Authentic Pilates (AP) training.
Loved by Cameron Diaz and Megan Fox, AP does not focus on weight loss, instead focusing on strengthening, toning and reinvigorating your mind and body. With over 500 varied and progressive exercises, AP benefits include increased vitality and energy to cope with stress, improved body tone, flexibility, strength and control, as well as improving posture to help deal with aches and pains.
With an extensive background in dance and ballet, Paxton has had her fair share of body issues.
'As an ex-dancer I know how prelevant eating disorders are and I had stints during my teens where I was starving myself…
'Discovering pilates ten years ago has been extremely therapeutic for me, and I'm passionate about sharing that with others through my teaching."
'My motto is that we don't need to create fear around our bodies and make people feel like they need to change themselves.
'It's about enjoying the process of getting stronger and feeling really great after a session."
Paxton and her The Pilates Studio Blackwood, where she bans the -F' word (fat!), is a part of a new wave of body positive fitness studios offering -anti- body shaming' gyms and fitness facilities.
Interview with Kim Paxton
Originally from New Zealand, Kim's early training began in ballet and modern dance. Moving to Melbourne at age 16, she continued to study Ballet full-time, eventually leading to a contract dancing with the Guangzhou Ballet Company, China. After her time here, Kim relocated to Canada where she attained her Teacher's Certificate through the Royal Academy of Dance, teaching dance to children.
Kim decided to pursue Pilates teacher training, after her retiring from dance. Initially training with Tracy Friesen of Integration Pilates (Edmonton, Canada) she has since continued her education with some of the finest Pilates schools in the industry such as the Pilates Center in Boulder, Colorado, Pilates from the Center, Vancouver (under Matilda Christensen) and Simply Pilates in Melbourne.
She has also attained a certification in Pre and Post Natal Pilates from the Center of Women's Fitness (US) and has a very special interest in the health and well-being of women in pregnancy and beyond. She has also undertaken training in Myofascial release, trigger point therapy and other complementary modalities in Adelaide.
Kim is also certified as an Xtend Barre teacher and is excited to be the only studio in the Adelaide Hills to offer this challenging and graceful workout. Kim is currently completing her Health Coaching Certification with the highly regarded Institute of Integrative Nutrition, based in New York.
Question: What are your new year's resolutions?
Kim Paxton: After a crazy two years, which has been all about starting up my Pilates studio, I've resolved this year to take more breaks! This means having a bit more of a divide between work and home as well as schedule in holidays. Being exhausted isn't conducive to health or creativity, so it's easy to work, work, work but be much less productive.
Question: Why do you believe fitness craze resolutions lead to more harm than good?
Kim Paxton: I think its human nature to want change to happen right away, which means many people want to see the results before the body has really adapted to the increased demands placed on it with heavy exercise. I am all for setting goals, but I also believe that to make real changes, the mind and body have to work at the same pace, crazy exercise resolutions often end in injuries, which sets you back further than before you started.
Question: What advice do you have for women who have low self-esteem?
Kim Paxton: In terms of exercise, find something that makes you feel good, instead of approaching exercise as punishment. Find a place to work out where you enjoy the atmosphere and the trainers. Mind-body exercise such as Pilates is great for calming the mind and is designed to make you feel good afterwards. If you are exercising for weight loss, try shifting your perspective to one of gaining strength and not of being a certain number on the scales.
Question: Why Pilates?
Kim Paxton: Pilates is intelligent exercise. It is an all-in-one solution for keeping your body healthy throughout your entire life. It is incredibly adaptable but it isn't easy! One huge misconception I come across a lot is that Pilates just lying on the floor doing some stretches, but if you give it a try and you are in a good studio with small classes and educated teachers, you will feel it I promise! What's more, with the variety of apparatus and the hundreds of exercises that are available to learn at different levels, you won't get bored.
Question: What is Authentic Pilates (AP) training?
Kim Paxton: Authentic Pilates is close to the original intentions of its founder Joseph Pilates. It is invigorating, challenging and gives you a complete mind-body workout. It's also able to be adapted for everyone, for new mums, office workers, athletes etc. We use the authentic Pilates apparatus, such as the Reformer, Cadillac and Chair (among others) I get a lot of comments when people walk into my studio that it looks like a torture chamber - But it's actually lots of fun and very effective! We differ from gyms because of the size of the classes and physio clinics as we look at the entire body and work on strengthening and stretching the entire body, not just rehabbing a specific area.
Classical Pilates instructors are some of the best trained in the Pilates industry, with understanding of how to adapt the work to suit particular bodies and limitations. Given the scope of the work, Classical Pilates requires personal proficiency, dedication and an in depth understanding of the human body.
Question: What benefits will we see from Authentic Pilates (AP) training?
Kim Paxton: You will tone the muscles without adding bulk. You'll also gain strength and mastery of your body. Your posture will change which affects your mood and the way you look in your clothes. You will have more energy and fewer aches and pains. You will deal with stress better, improve your sports performance, the list is endless really.
Question: Why is attending regular Pilates classes better for women than a marathon resolution, this year?
Kim Paxton: Pilates is designed to help you live well, with more vitality and to age well. Punishing the body with excessive hard exercise regimes can really fatigue the body, and even possibly affect your hormone balance. Let's face it, we all want to look and more importantly feel good as we get older, Pilates really helps you with this.
Question: Who do you follow on Instagram for motivation?
Kim Paxton: @exhalepilateslondon
Interview by Brooke Hunter