The Pilates Class Creator Jacqui Kingswell’s Workout & Wellness Routine

By Ashleigh Austen

While you might not know her name, you’ve no doubt seen her face pop-up on your Instagram feed.

Since co-founding online fitness platform, The Pilates Class, in May 2020 with swimwear designer Natasha Oakley, Kingswell’s workouts have become a viral hit, amassing 192,000 followers including a number of high-profile devotees. 

As part of our 30 Days To GLOW challenge this month, we sat down with the trainer to find out exactly what it is about Pilates that makes it the perfect movement to incorporate into your day.

Can you tell us a little bit about your journey?

“Before launching The Pilates Class I was a professional dancer for nine years travelling the world and touring with artists. After I felt like I’d fulfilled my performing arts career I decided to transition into teaching Pilates in studios as it was something I’d practised since I was 12 years old as part of my dance training. I’m lucky to have been taught by the most inspiring mentors and teachers from all around the world from such a young age. I’ve applied what I learnt from their teaching over the years, paired with traditional Pilates methods and have created now The Pilates Class method. Pilates is such a strong element because it completely transformed my strength, control and connection to my body and mind. It's a sustainable practice that’s kind to the body and one that serves you. It completely changed my life and I wanted to share my experience and knowledge with others.” 

What was the catalyst behind launching The Pilates Class?

“Before we created The Pilates Class, I was working as an in-person Pilates instructor and had been for quite a few years. When Covid hit and everything went online I began offering online sessions to my usual clients through Instagram Live sessions. Natasha Oakley, my now business partner, was one of my clients at the time and after one of the live sessions, she called me to tell me how amazing she felt after the session and suggested I set up a simple site and private Instagram to offer my classes to a wider audience. Overnight I set up an account and noticed how quickly it was growing alongside the demand for online fitness. A few days later we were sitting at my kitchen bench planning and strategising ways to expand into a global platform; this is when The Pilates Class was born.” 

What is it about Pilates that originally drew you to it?

“Pilates is truly an incredible and transformative type of movement and as a professional dancer, I really experienced the restorative benefits of Pilates and how it made my mind and body feel. For me, Pilates is really a mind-body practice and when I step onto my mat, it signifies a time for myself to be present and listen to my body. Pilates really is something you can do for the rest of your life and you learn to apply the principles into your everyday life.” 

If someone has fallen off the bandwagon with exercise, why is Pilates a good way to get back into movement?

“Firstly, it is totally normal to fall out of your routine whether that be because of low motivation, a busy schedule or anything else, it’s all part of the process. What I think is so incredible about Pilates is that you can begin to incorporate short classes into your routine to get back into a habit and you will notice how different your body and mind feel afterwards. This feeling will help to get back into a regular exercise routine because you will be doing something that makes you feel happy, energised and connected.” 

It’s a common misconception that exercise needs to involve running or high-intensity movement. How does Pilates dispel that theory?

“This is a great question. What I love about Pilates and our classes is that you can choose whatever class is going to serve you on that day and you will feel so amazing afterwards. Whether it is a slow and deep burn class or a booty burn, you will feel every muscle activate and feel it lengthen. Of course, if you feel like sweating it out, you can take a Pilates HIIT class but whichever class you decide to choose, you will feel that deep connection and learn to love movement.” 

A key marker of your approach to Pilates is that it will have you feeling not just stronger, longer, and leaner but also relieved of tension and mental stress. Why is this so important?

“This is so important and this is what I am referring to when I say Pilates is a mind-body practice. I hear our members say that by taking the time to get on the mat, even if it is just for 10 minutes, their mind feels calmer and they can take that entire time to connect to themselves. The combination of movement and breath work really makes it a holistic practice that will leave your mind feeling open.”

What lifestyle and nutrition practices do you incorporate to complement your movement routine?

“I absolutely love my wellness routine and it is something I really prioritise in my life because I know when I am following it closely, I feel my best. In terms of lifestyle, my morning routine is: wake up, journal or write down 3 things I'm grateful for, have a big glass of water, get on my mat for a Pilates class, shower and continue with my day! For my nighttime routine, I’ll put my blue light glasses on from 7pm, switch off from technology an hour before bed, have a sleep tea, and either read or stretch before bed to wind down. For my nutrition, I love going to the farmers market on the weekend and sourcing fresh produce. I will then try to eat whole foods and foods that fuel my body throughout the week and cook my favourite recipes from our Nourish Me recipe guide. This routine doesn’t happen all year round, I definitely fall out of routine from time to time but for me, this routine is what serves me.” 

In your opinion, what are the top three benefits of Pilates?

“Strength, flexibility and connection.” 

And what is the most valuable learning someone can take from this kind of training?

“In Pilates, you learn to understand your body on a deeper level. You learn how your body works, functions, mobility and stability. You discover habits that you’ve picked up along the way and get to correct and retrain your body to sit in alignment with the correct posture which is sustainable and long-lasting changes.” 

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