From HIIT classes to boot camps, boxing workouts to cross-training sessions, I love an intense workout sesh. In fact, the louder the coach screams and the more I find myself gasping for air, the better. Some would call me crazy, but I call myself crazy AF.

I’ve found that whenever I try to take a Pilates, yoga or barre class, I walk out unsatisfied and feel as though I need to hit the gym again.

It also takes a lot for me to sweat – yes, I’m lucky in some ways, but not so lucky when trainers make you do more reps than everyone else because it looks like you’re not working hard enough. *rolls eyes*

However, I take back everything I’ve just told you because I have officially found the hardest Pilates class in the country, which made me question everything I’ve ever learnt about exercise.

No I’m not talking about modern Pilates like Reformer or mat. Hell, I’m not even talking about Pilates that was invented in this century. I’m taking it way back to the very ripe beginnings and the man who invented the whole phenomenon: Joseph Hubertus Pilates.

Okay, he’s not technically still alive, but Founder and Principal Trainer of Authentic Pilates Education and Director of Authentic Pilates Studio, Olga Tamara, has adopted his technique and brought it right back into the 21st century.

Let’s just set the record straight: when it comes to the art of Pilates, no one knows technique better than Olga. Why? She first experienced Pilates during her years as a professional classical dancer with the Australian Ballet Company back in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until she tried ‘classical Pilates’ in which she truly experienced the true essence of the method developed by Joseph Pilates.

She then decided to open her own studio in Lilyfield, Authentic Pilates Studio, and teach others where Pilates all started from.

“Most people are aware of the Pilates ‘mat’ or ‘Reformer’ Class, but what about the other treasured pieces of equipment that Joseph Pilates invented? They all have a place in the true traditional method of Pilates,” Tamara tells myBody+Soul.

“Apart from the commonly known reformer, you will find a treasure trove of apparatus and gadgets at Authentic Pilates Studio.” And by “treasure” she really means “torture”.

Her studio might look beautiful and neat upon entering, but once inspecting closely you’ll see the equipment that fills the white space looks like they’ve been taken straight from a WWI war camp.

“It’s packed with every piece of functional Pilates equipment that Joseph invented – wall units, the Guillotine (Gym in a Door), Electric Chair (High Chair), Toe and Foot Correctors, Neck Tenser-metres, Airplane Boards, Wunda chairs, and arm chairs which are not the resting kind!”

Yep, you read all those correctly… and using them were as hard as they sound.

A one-on-one session with Olga made me realise exactly why she lives by the adage “we don’t change the work, the work changes us.”

As her soft, yet powerful voice guided me into each exercise, all I was trying to think about was sunshine, rainbows, and all the happy memories in any attempt to distract me from crying out with pain.

I left sore, tired, breathless, and even with a few beads of sweat on my temple. I used muscles I didn’t even know existed. I stretched ligaments I was unaware could be stretched. My core felt like it was on fire, and my legs and glutes felt like they had endured 10,000 squats.

All I could think was ‘if this is what I felt after one session, imagine what a few months of classical Pilates could do.’

“Joseph always professed that ‘in 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see a difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body’”, Tamara adds.

“At the Authentic Pilates Studio we teach the method as Joseph devised it so there is evidence from experience with our clients that this is indeed the case. However, it takes time and commitment in one on one sessions – it’s just not going to happen by turning up to a couple of group Pilates Classes.”

Along with that “time and commitment” you’ll not only find your fitness level increase, but you’ll notice a significant change in your “strength, flexibility, control and precision.”

HIIT? Pfft, that’s so last year. Classical Pilates is the new black, and it’s back for good.

To find out more about Authentic Pilates Studio, head to their site here or follow them on Instagram @authenticpilatesstudiosydney.

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