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Allan Menezes

1. The Pilates website
2. Personal Biography
3. Profile from Business Review Weekly (Australia)
4. Book by Allan Menezes
5. DVDs
6. Videos (PAL and NTSC)

The Pilates website is at:

Personal Biography
Allan Menezes, ( was born in Harare, Zimbabwe. He attended St George's College, Harare, Zimbabwe and Albion High School, New York (exchange student for one year).

This was followed by a course in Travel and Tourism at Thurrock Technical College, Grays, Essex, UK where he was also Captain of the College Volleyball and Basketball teams. Then to Canada for the BAdmin degree at Brock University, St Catherines, Ontario where he was Captain of the University 1st XV Rugby Team. He returned to the UK where he obtained a MSc in Tourism Planning and Development at the University of Surrey. He also holds a Diploma in British Inst of Marketing.

Allan lives in Sydney and has two daughters Analiese and Monique. He lists his hobbies as: “My job! Squash, running, 'fixing' people who have physical challenges such as back pain and improving the performance of athletes, spending time with my family” His favourite holiday haunts: “Quiet beaches (as long as there is a gym nearby!)”

Profile from
Business Review Weekly (Australia), 7 August 2003.
Mister Pilates.
by Lucinda Schmidt

Allan Menezes knows all about back pain. During a university rugby match in Canada in the early 1980s, the then super-fit 25-year-old was kicked in the back and could not shake the injury for two years. After moving to London to complete a master of tourism degree, he stumbled on to one of only three studios in England offering Pilates lessons, mainly to ballet dancers.

"Six weeks after my first session, the back pain was gone and I was playing squash again - and better than before," Menezes says. He practised Pilates two hours every day for two years, then moved to Australia, investing $3000 to open the country's first Pilates studio in 1986, in a warehouse space on the corner of King and George Streets in Sydney.

Menezes, the founder and director of the Pilates Institute of Australia, says: "No one, apart from a handful of dancers, had even heard of Pilates. I also surveyed 50 physiotherapists about rehabilitation for people with back injuries. They all said just swimming and walking."

The early days were tough. Menezes would hand out leaflets at the railway station, then run back to the studio to answer inquiries. By 1989, however, he was so busy he moved to bigger premises in Bondi Junction. Initially, the move was a disaster because city workers could no longer drop in on their way home from work. The business took off again only after publicity about some prominent clients, including the actress Greta Scacchi, politician Bob Carr, surfer Mark Warren and the broadcasting figure Bruce Gyngell.

Nowadays, Menezes' business has expanded well beyond just teaching Pilates. In 1998, he published a book, “The Complete Guide to the Pilates Method” and he has also produced 17 videos and manufactures Pilates equipment. His two studios, in North Sydney and Bondi Junction, have a four-month waiting list for memberships, and train about 100 people a year to be Pilates instructors.

Is Pilates just a passing fad? Menezes believes it has another four or five years of big growth in the gym environment, and then in a more targeted fashion than at present. "In the gyms, with 40 or 50 people in a mat class, people will get sick of it," he says. "And big, group equipment classes will also die." He says the growth will be in the smaller studios, giving more personal attention, with perhaps three or four people, each paying $40 an hour. Another growth area will be Pilates for "special populations" such as children, pregnant women and the elderly.

What is Pilates?

Exercises, on mats or purpose-built machines, that focus on the core muscles of the abdomen, for strength, flexibility and improved posture. The discipline is based on exercises devised by German-born Joseph Pilates during World War I, when he was confined in an internment camp in England.

Who does it?

Allan Menezes, the director of the Pilates Institute of Australia, estimates that about 10 million people worldwide do Pilates, including "tens of thousands" in Australia. It appeals to people in their late 30s and 40s, who no longer go to the gym but want to do more than swimming, walking and yoga. Menezes says membership at his studios is split evenly between men and women. "Men think it will be easy, and it's not. And it can give them a six-pack [stomach] when they're 50 years old."

What does it cost for a one-hour class?

$15-20 for mat; $20-35 for equipment.

Book by Allan Menezes
Check publication details and sample pages at


Check availability at:

For Videos (PAL and NTSC) and other aids visit the Online shop at

18 May 1996.
Allan Menezes runs Sydney's celebrity-infested Body Control studios, where he and other deadly serious types practise a puritanical, eat-up-your-choko-it's-good-for-you form of exercise based on the Pilates method.

19 August 1997.
Think of yoga, but throw in some springs, levers, straps and weights, and you have the Pilates Method, a puritanical form of exercise practised by the likes of Greta Scacchi, newsreader Mary Kostakidis and Premier Bob Carr. Allan Menezes, who runs the Body Control studios in Sydney, says the method is beloved of dancers, excellent for rehabilitation and relaxation, and achieves, similarly to yoga, long-term health benefits and the "leaner, longer look".

"You'd drop a jeans size in a couple of months if you came in three or four times a week," says Menezes. "But the aim is more to strengthen and stretch the body, without adding bulk."

(Sydney, Australia).
18 October 1998.
The Pilates exercise method has captured the imagination of thousands.

Says leading Australian practitioner Allan Menezes: "You can still have a great backside in your 70s, because Pilates will give it to you."

23 November 1999.

Pilates first came to Australia with Allan Menezes in 1986. He now runs the largest Pilates company in the world, with three studios in Sydney and two franchises.

"We've had at least an eight-week waiting list for the past six years," Menezes says. "It's going through a popular phase now. From what I've heard, it's extremely popular in America and Europe, and when you look in virtually any magazine like Tatler and Harpers, there's an article on it. People used to say, 'oh, you're a ballet dancer', or 'you must have a back injury' when they heard you were doing Pilates. Now people do it more for fitness."

24 November 1999.
Its Hollywood devotees are said to include Courtney Cox, Madonna, Vanessa Williams and Sharon Stone. The man who brought pilates Down Under 20 years ago, Allan Menezes, also has a client list that reads like Who's Who.

Past and present clients include comedian Barry Humphries, actresses Greta Scacchi, Georgie Parker and Peta Toppano, SBS's Mary Kostakidis, triathlete Marc Dragan, musician Suze DeMarchi, politician Bob Carr and former New South Wales first lady Jill Wran.

(Sydney). 17 December 2000.
The biggest fitness craze sweeping Australia is Pilates. Developed in the 1900s as a system of strengthening, stretching and flexibility by physical therapist Joseph Pilates, Madonna, Sharon Stone and Uma Thurman are giving it 21st-century appeal. Allan Menezes, owner of Pilates Body Control Studios in Sydney, counts Greta Scacchi and Bob Carr among his followers, with up to a five-month waiting list for the rest of us. "It's gone absolutely berserk," he says, currently training 80 instructors to keep up with demand. New Yorkers are taking it a step further with a trend called Yogilates - hatha yoga meets Pilates.

(Sydney, Australia). 29 September 2002.
So, you've got sloped shoulders, a tummy that hangs out and a butt that sticks way, way out... You're in good company. "Everyone's got bad posture," says Allan Menezes, creator of Athletic Pilates. And he says the culprit is computers and television. "People are not getting out enough, they're getting exceptionally lazy, and so are their kids. Simply by having better posture you'll feel more stretched, and one of the key benefits is abdominal control," he says. "If your abdominals aren't in control your back will take a beating."

(Queensland, Australia). 6 October 2002.
"A few well-designed movements properly performed in a balanced sequence are worth hours of doing sloppy callisthenics or forced contortions," says Menezes, who has taught Bob Carr, Greta Scacchi and Georgie Parker, and athletes such as Nicole Hackett. Menezes promises the technique will get rid of the lower stomach bulge "that is the bane of many women".

(Sydney, Australia). 11 May 2003.
A few years ago nobody had even heard of Pilates; now it's everywhere. This DVD is part of a series created by Allan Menezes, managing director of Pilates Institute of Australia. It will leave you aching, but it's fun and Menezes says you will see changes in your body after just 10 sessions. Available from or call 1300 369 348

(Queensland, Australia). 25 May 2003.
The founder of the Pilates Institute of Australasia is Allan Menezes. He has produced a best-selling 58-minute video entitled Pilates for Beginners. With 25 easy-to-follow exercises, it is a great way to learn in your own home.

"Actors like Sharon Stone, Courtney Cox, Patrick Swayze, Madonna and Julia Roberts use Pilates for their on-going fitness regime, " he says.

(Melbourne). 11 June 2003.
An exercise program that began in a World War One internment camp is taking Australia by storm

It's fashionable and it's good for you. Throughout Australia, the boom in the Pilates exercise program shows no sign of slacking off.

Allan Menezes, who opened Australia's first Pilates studio in 1986, attributes its popularity to Hollywood.

"It's huge now. It has surged in the past three or four years in Australia, and five to six years ago in America," Allan says.

(Sydney, Australia) 29 June 2003.
Aussie Pilates Pre-Natal (VHS - $34.95)
This video workout by Allan Menezes is a good way of combating the pain and discomfort of pregnancy. It includes a basic pilates routine to help flexibility and breathing, maintain muscle tone and best

(Sydney, Australia). 13 July 2003.
Aussie Pilates Pre-Natal (VHS - $34.95)

Pregnancy can be uncomfortable and even painful. This video includes a basic Pilates routine that will help flexibility and breathing, maintain muscle tone and reduce back pain. It should also help improve posture, so you're not hunched over with the weight of the baby. Menezes is gentle and encouraging. He's the managing director of the Pilates Institute of Australasia so he knows what's what when it comes to Pilates.

1 November 2003.
FITNESS: Deskercise
By: Kelly Baker
So you're stuck at a desk all day. This doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your fitness. Kelly Baker explains how to use your desk-bound time to stay in shape

There's no doubt having a job has its positives, but if it's a desk-bound position, there's also a downside. Sitting at a desk all day can be bad for your waistline. Worse still, it can be bad for your muscles, tendons and nerves. And in extreme cases it can cause deep vein thrombosis (the life-threatening blood-clot condition that can develop on planes) and repetitive-strain injury, caused by overusing one set of muscles, tendons or nerves. Think typing or holding a phone.

A good way to avoid these conditions is to take regular breaks. So make sure you get out of your chair for five minutes roughly every half an hour. During your break, do a quick lap of the office, or knock out a few squats or stretches. If you really want to stay in good shape, you can even do a mini-workout right at your desk.

Don't know where to start? Well don't worry. Hayden Ozcan, a sport physiologist and podiatrist, and Allan Menezes, the founder of the Pilates Institute of Australasia, have put together this in-office routine. It's easy to follow, and effective.


Aim - To maintain ankle mobility, and promote blood flow to the legs and thighs.

Position - Sit upright on your chair, making sure the backs of your thighs, your bottom and your back are all well supported.

Description - With your feet close together, raise both heels off the floor. Tap your toes, and let your feet slowly creep forward. Return your feet to the same position by toe-tapping backwards.

Technique tip - Tap the floor in short, sharp moves. Try not to rock in the seat, and don't over-stretch and force the movement.

Frequency - Complete exercise (that's out and back) 10 times. Do this three times a day. If you're sitting in the one position for hours on end, try and toe tap at least every 90 minutes.


Aim - To maintain ankle mobility, work the shin and calf muscles, and promote blood flow in the lower body.

Position - Sit upright on your chair, making sure the backs of your thighs, your bottom and your back are all well supported.

Description - Raise the toes of your left foot up off the floor. Raise them as far as you can while keeping your heels flat. Then slowly let your toes drop back to the floor. Repeat for the right leg.

Technique tip - Maintain upright posture, relax and control your breathing. Don't force the toes - past a comfortable position, and don't rock in the chair.

Frequency - It can be done fast or slow. If you can, do 10 slow toe lifts (two seconds up, two seconds down) on each leg, and then 10 speedy ones (up and down in one second). Repeat this exercise every one to two hours of constant sitting.


Aim - To maintain knee mobility, work the quadriceps (front thigh muscles) and hip muscles. Also, to work your stomach muscles, and promote blood flow.

Position - Sit upright on your chair, with the backs of your thighs, your bottom and back well supported.

Description - First raise your feet up off the floor - try for 10cm. Hold this position for two seconds. Stretch your left leg as far as you can. Hold this position for two full seconds. Return your left foot to its starting position. Hold here for two seconds, and then rest both feet on the floor. Repeat for your right leg. If you find it difficult to stretch your legs out, perform the first step only.

Technique tip - Use slow and steady movements. Keep your upper body steady.

Frequency - Do five leg raises on the left, and five on the right. Do this exercise at least once a day, but preferably two to three times a day.


Aim - To stretch your upper back and sides.

Position - Sit upright in your chair with hands resting on your thighs.

Description - Place your right hand slightly below your navel. Reach towards the ceiling with your left hand and then, bending your elbow, bring your hand to rest on your left shoulder blade. Take a breath in, breathe out and then stretch the left elbow over to the right-hand side while pressing your left hip into the chair. Hold for 10 seconds, or as long as is comfortable, take a deep breath in, breathe out and return to your starting position. Swap sides, and then repeat.

Technique tip - Breathe steadily and deeply. Correct breathing will enable you to stretch further and for longer.

Frequency - Perform this stretch three times on each side. Do this three times a day if possible.


Aim - To stretch out any kinks in the quadriceps, and increase the blood flow.

Position - Stand to the side of your desk with knees slightly relaxed.

Description - Rest your right hand on your desk for balance. Lift your left foot off the ground, pull your heel to your bottom, and hold it there with your left hand. Press your left knee towards the floor (this will stretch the front of your thigh). Keep the pelvis tucked in. This will alleviate strain on the joints. Hold for 10 seconds, and then swap sides.

Technique tip - Keep the leg you're standing on slightly bent. This will help you stay upright. Ensure the knee of the leg you're stretching is pointing towards the ground, and not out in front of you.

Frequency - Stretch each thigh three to five times. Do this exercise at least once a day.


Aim - To create gorgeous upper thighs, to increase blood flow, and to save time by sneaking in a workout during office hours.

Position - Sit upright in your chair with both feet resting on the ground, with your knees together.

Description - Take a tennis ball, and place it between your knees. Once it's secure, squeeze the tennis ball as hard as you can. Keep the pressure on for 10 seconds, and then release. Repeat, repeat, repeat!

Technique tip - If you don't have a tennis ball handy, use your fist. It's just as effective.

Frequency - This exercise seems deceptively simple but, in fact, it will give your inner thighs an excellent workout. You can do this exercise as often as you like.

17th October 2004
Get long lean muscles Firm, flat abs, long, lean muscles - all achievable at home? I'd like to see that
By Linda Drummond.

Even though it was developed over 80 years ago, Pilates is an exercise for this millennium. We've seen it on TV, heard celebs rave about it... but what exactly is it? Based on a series of exercises that precisely and concisely exercise the key muscles in your body, Pilates builds long, lean muscles and a strong core.

The basis of Pilates relies on the strengthening of your core muscles, the area from the bottom of the rib cage to the pelvic floor. By strengthening your core you'll find that you'll stand taller, have fewer back problems and as a rather delightful side effect - you'll develop a flatter tummy and a leaner waist. That's because with Pilates, your body is in motion and your mind engages with your muscles to make it a Complete body and mind workout.

Allan Menezes is the founder and managing director of the Pilates Institute of Australasia and combines his knowledge of physiology with a love of Pilates. Menezes stresses the benefits of Pilates spilling over into life and says that it's about more than just an hour-long class, "The main benefit of Pilates is to your spine," he says. "As Joseph Pilates said, "You're only as old as your spine"."

walk this way
Menezes says that the awareness of your body that Pilates brings can have an abundance of benefits such as helping you to sit better at your desk, walk better and look better. "Even the simple manner of walking can be improved. Many people walk and lock their knees before their feet hit the ground," Menezes says. "But if they keep their knees slightly bent and have a bit of a spring to their step they'll find they're working their buttocks as they walk - and it's much better for their backs as well."

take a deep breath
Because Pilates is all about control and paying attention to what your body's doing, one of the first steps is getting your breathing right. So give this a try. Stand up straight and lengthen your torso. Hold your hands flat against your ribcage underneath your chest and take a deep breath through your nose. Feel your ribcage and lungs expanding - your abdomen should feel like it's filling with air. Now breathe slowly, making sure that you completely empty your lungs - even those pockets down in the corners. That's controlled breathing the Pilates way.

Megan Lawrence, 26, from Fitzroy in Victoria, took up Pilates at the urging of a friend who'd used Pilates during and after her pregnancy. "I've always had lower back problems and sitting in front of a computer every day just made it worse," Lawrence says. "Pilates really made my spine more flexible and after the first class I felt a huge difference - the pain decreased dramatically. Now I've been doing Pilates for nearly two years the pain is gone, and can't imagine missing a class."

Menezes agrees, "I took up Pilates because I had a back injury from playing rugby and nothing seemed to work. After six weeks of Pilates classes the pain disappeared." If ever his workouts slip, Menezes says the pain can start to return so he's constantly studying new methods to strengthen the spine and prevent back problems. Menezes stresses the importance of good technique - and finding a qualified instructor too.


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