For years, the gym has been my sanctuary. At university, so interwoven was my personal life with the aforementioned gym, that I was crowned “Gym Rep” for my college. We were enjoying a happy, committed, 10-year-plus relationship. Then, lockdown hit. My beloved shut up shop with no sign of reopening, rendering me gym-less for the first time in my adult life.
Home workouts have exploded since the pandemic forced fitness to rethink its medium, but I knew I needed something… different. Something structured, preferably with equipment, and where I could get real results to support my 100-mile-a-month running habit.
Enter P.volve. If you haven’t heard of the method before, no one puts it better than its co-founder, Stephen Pasterino. “P.volve is a full-body, intensely purposeful, three-dimensional movement workout,” says the mega trainer. “In every workout we use functional movement to clear out and move all of our joints and to challenge balance and stability.” There are hundreds of workouts on the app, ready and waiting to be streamed whenever the moment takes you. Some are as short as 10 minutes, others last up to an hour, but most hover around the 40-minute mark – which feels right if you’re used to a city pilates class.
What makes P.volve different, though, is its patented and incredibly well targeted equipment range. There are around eight pieces in total, but there’s no need to splurge on the whole package – perfect for home workout commitment-phobes. The ones to know, though, are the P.ball (a heavy thigh-resistance band with a small inflated ball that sits between your legs), the P.band (two weight-lifting gloves connected with a thin resistance band, and the P.3 (ankle straps, resistance bands, and a weighted ball).
The P.ball is a personal favourite. “There is no piece of equipment on the market that targets [body mass] in the way the P.ball does,” adds Pasterino. “We spent hundreds of hours getting the band right, perfecting the size of the ball and its density and exactly where it should be positioned on the body. It can create such definition on the outer and inner thighs, work your lower glutes and help target your core. We typically say, ‘It’s the ball that started it all.’”
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sceptical about the effects this would have on my body, and on my fitness levels. Used to deadlifting well over my body weight and bicep-curling dumbbells at least three times a week, surely a resistance band and a glider weren’t going to cut it? How wrong I was. Within a month of four weekly workouts, the joint pain I had taken as a marathoner’s badge of honour was easing. After three months, the flexibility of my teenaged ballet-honed body had returned. Amazingly, I had developed the ab crack I’d desired for so long, but believed impossible without endless weighted crunches. Perhaps most importantly, I counted down the hours until I could spend an hour lengthening and sculpting with trainers Stephen, Celestine and Zack.
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Of course, the way I was feeling was what Pasterino had been masterminding all along. “It was important to me to help change the unhealthy mindset that you had to completely break your body down to be strong,” he explains. “I wanted to create a practice that was counterintuitive of what all the ads and the hashtags said – you shouldn’t be experiencing pain during a workout or barely be able to move when you are done.” It makes sense. If we’re paying for a 45-minute class, we want bang for our buck. But, the bang doesn’t necessarily need to be millilitres of sweat pouring from your ravaged body: the bang can be quieter, but still strengthening and beneficial for long-term health.
Six months later and with gyms reopened (for now), I have over 100 hours of P.volve under my belt. Have I returned to the weights room? Yes, but my mindset is different. Rather than constantly striving for heavier, faster, longer, I’m viewing fitness from a more rounded perspective. A four-month break from a decade of iron-pumping has, as Pasterino advocates, shown me that working out smarter and at a lower impact can do wonders for my body. My days of brutalising my body are over, and I can’t see myself giving up my thrice-weekly P.volve streamed workouts anytime soon.
To find out more and to subscribe to P.volve, visit pvolve.com.
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