Tone up your body ... while relaxing
Caroline Bartlett moved to Bermuda looking for a place to swim. She was used to paddling in Ilfracombe, a small coastal fishing town in her native Devon.
Icy dips in the local pool were bracing, but laps soon became her workout of choice.
“We had a seawater swimming pool where the water was filtered in but not heated,” she recalled.
“I remember shivering with blue lips to get in and then kicking with all my might to get warm. This is where we learnt to swim even in winter.”
Ms Bartlett has found a way to bring the joint-friendly exercise to dry land at her Feel Good Studio on Front Street.
The Powertone Pilates machines make up much of the loft space, which opened in September.
“As we turn a certain age, we no longer need to do the hardcore things that are stressing our joints and hurting ourselves,” said Ms Bartlett, who turned 50 this year.
“I love any fitness that mobilises, elongates, makes a person healthier and move better. That's where swimming and the Pilates do both.”
She moved to the island 20 years ago, brought in as a fitness instructor and beauty therapist at Sonesta Beach Hotel. She first heard of her soon-to-be-home when collecting seashells at Barican beach, a “smuggler's cove in Woolacombe where it is said the beautiful seashells come washing in from Bermuda”.
At the start of her career, she taught kick boxing and disco aerobics at Sonesta and St Anne's Church hall as well as Pilates and callanetics. From there she moved to Coral Beach and then on to The Reefs where she set up its spa and managed it for seven years.
She learnt LaStone therapy in Canada, an art discovered by Native Americans. “When the rocks would heat in the sun all day they would use them after bathing in the river to unwind the tension knots of their daily labour,” she said.
“In Devon I would go down to the cove and collect these large black pebbles which are gently curved by the washing over of the rivers running down to the ocean. We use them today after heating them in a hot water for several hours to keep their intensity.”
Hot rock massage, which she described as “90 minutes of muscle melting bliss”, is one of many therapies on offer at her studio. Therapeutic massage and facials, back relaxation, waxing, mesotherapy to firm, microcurrent to lift, light therapy for blemishes and microdermabrasion are also available.
The beauty therapist said facials and massages remain her favourite thing to do. “As the spa [at The Reefs] got bigger I moved back to Coral Beach, preferring an intimate setting,” she said. As soon as she was able she created her own studio with her husband, personal chef Otto Kummer.
She started her business because she felt there was a need for it.
“Clients today are becoming more stressed. There is less time for them to get things done and this is such a smart way to exercise.
“This a lovely location in the heart of the city. We offer a light space overlooking the park where they can relax as the machines do the movements. They can close their minds to relax and tone without messing their hair or appearance and enjoy a nice cup of herbal tea.
“I love doing facials and I love doing massages and I think it's nice to combine that with fitness.
“Men have noticed improved mobility and reduction in their tummies. It's helped to improve their golf swing. Women notice improvement in their arms; massive inch loss, great toning.
“There's so much overhead that it shapes and tones the arm and torso with muscle definition because it's working all the muscles, including the obliques, but it does it so gently that you don't even realise it's happening. Your neck and back are in total support. You have the effect of a perfect crunch but without the stress of joint and back pain.
“They complement other exercises very well. People in Bermuda love to run, to cycle, but these are all exercises that can pound on the joints, impact the muscles, but these, like yoga and stretching, are going to elongate and stretch.”
• www.feelgoodbermuda.com, 27 Front Street, (441) 292-5201