Ten London Pilates

As managing director of Ten Health and Fitness, Joanne Mathews is working on opening their ninth London studio in late 2017, which marks the company’s first decade. The former Habitat marketing executive discusses Dynamic Pilates, pre-dawn workouts and city living.

Can you tell us about the story behind Ten?
I was in a car accident in October 2005, and suffered a number of injures, including severe whiplash and a fractured coccyx. I found recovery very difficult – I was visiting different specialists, GPs, physios and sport massage therapists. I became frustrated by the lack of consistency and joined a local rehab gym where I met my original business partner, David, a personal trainer who specialised in a dynamic form of Pilates. We identified a gap in the market for a boutique Pilates studio that could offer both rehabilitation and more functional exercise.

What do you enjoy about being managing director?
I like not having a boss and having flexibility on how I work. I also find mentoring really rewarding – when you’re able to help people step up, not just in terms of the role they have at Ten but also to help them develop and understand more about their own skills and potential.

You opened a Hatton Garden studio in 2014. Are you a regular?
Architecturally it’s my favourite – even though it’s a basement, it has lots of natural light and I love the high ceilings and exposed brickwork. I’ll often jump into a class at Hatton Garden because it’s so handy for home. If I can summon up the willpower I’ve been known to join the 6.45am HiiT [circuit based workout] class, and I often finish the week with a Friday night massage to set me up for the weekend.

Who are your clients at Hatton Garden?
We pioneered the pay-as-you-go model, so we don’t have members, which gives our clients great flexibility. Many of them are in advertising, PR or media; we also get quite a lot of lawyers from Lincoln’s Inn. We have a good mix of local residents too, which means that we are open at weekends even though Clerkenwell can be a lot quieter.

How would you describe Ten’s Dynamic Pilates workout?
Like traditional Pilates, Dynamic Pilate is designed to readdress the body’s natural balance through a series of exact, controlled movements. It focuses on the core muscles in the waist and lower back area, to improve strength, flexibility and posture, keeping the body mobile and helping prevent or reduce injury. But Dynamic Pilates goes a step further. As the name suggests, it’s a more intense and dynamic programme, designed to slim figures, improve posture and build lean, toned muscle.

How do people first react to the Reformer exercise machine?
It can be a bit intimidating at first sight – someone once described it as a cross between a sun lounger and a piece of torture equipment. But it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it – and it’s one of the most flexible and effective pieces of exercise equipment you can find anywhere.

Who is suited to Pilates?
Pilates is suitable for anyone of all ages and capabilities – we have different levels of classes for just that reason. And it’s particularly suitable for anyone who works at a desk. It’s a great workout in its own right, but it a great complement to other forms of exercise. Pilates is most definitely not just for girls.

Are there popular post-Pilates places for clients?
For tea and coffee, Prufrock, the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs and the Good & Proper Tea Co in Leather Lane are all popular. Post-workout on a weekend, Caravan in Exmouth market is great for brunch.

How long have you lived in the area?
We have lived in Clerkenwell, just off the Green, for about two and a half years. We lived in north London, but wanted to be more connected to city living. One of the many things I love about living in Clerkenwell is how it has ‘shrunk’ London – so much of it is now an easy walk from the house, including our City, Hatton Garden and West End studios.

Where do you like to relax?
A late night cocktail at the Zetter Townhouse or the Wilmington for Sunday lunch. If you don’t mind queuing, Berber & Q has great food, or for something a tad more fancy I love Granger & Co. It’s just at the end of my road so I am probably there more often than I should be.

Where should people visit in Clerkenwell?
I would simply recommend walking around. Soak up the history of Lincoln’s Inn Fields and Bleeding Heart Yard, turn down Jerusalem Passage or walk back from Exmouth Market at nightfall and wonder at the juxtaposition of the Shard and St Paul’s as the light fades. Clerkenwell reminds you that you really are living in London – you couldn’t be anywhere else.

Ten Health & Fitness
Lower Ground Floor, 36-38 Hatton Garden, EC1N 8EB