Bryony Deery on the real power of Pilates, infrared saunas and cold plunges

bryony deery interview
Bryony Deery on the real power of PilatesKate Davis-Macleod

In our new series, Bazaar’s multiplatform beauty director speaks to inspirers in the wellness world about the rituals and routines that work for them. Here, Bridget March meets Bryony Deery – who discovered Pilates as a form of rehabilitation after a serious road accident left her living in chronic pain. Inspired by its healing powers, she chose to dedicate her career to Pilates, becoming a renowned teacher of the discipline and founding Pilates By Bryony ­– a burgeoning health and fitness app.

As the Benjamin Franklin quote goes, ‘out of adversity comes opportunity’ – something that Bryony Deery didn’t consider when she was living in chronic pain caused by a serious car accident 13 years ago, a situation made worse by her progressive rheumatoid arthritis. But the trauma was how she discovered her art. “I was introduced to the idea of Pilates by my doctor as a type of rehab,” she tells me, recalling how amazed she was by its therapeutic benefits. “I completely healed all my injuries through Pilates, which was something I thought would never happen.” After years of enjoying its “physical and mental benefits” whenever needed, she chose to train as a teacher. When the 2020 pandemic lockdowns presented a reason to digitise her services (perhaps then recognising that hardship can hone your strengths) she launched her app, Pilates By Bryony – which now has a growing video library of 400-plus workouts as well as sound, breathwork and mindfulness classes, recipes and wellness tips.

As someone driven by the desire to feel her best “from the inside out”, Deery is truly committed to her self-care – the routines and rituals of which she shares with me below.

bryony deery pilates by bryony
Kate Davis-Macleod

On the best investments for her health…

“I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis soon after my car accident. At one point, my fingers were double the size and so painful – I couldn't tie my hair up or grip a pull-down light switch. I was recommended two injections a month to keep my symptoms at bay, but I just didn't want to do that, and so I tried to heal the natural way.

“Daily Pilates and hot and cold therapy have completely changed my life. Now I do infrared saunas and ice baths most mornings. That's obviously a big investment in a gym membership that gives me access to that every day, but it has taken my symptoms away. I now don't notice the arthritis at all.”

On her morning routine…

“On a weekday when I'm at home and going to work into the office I wake up between 5:45-to-6am. For me, it's important to have an hour at least to myself before I do my live Pilates class or anything else. I know not everyone's a morning person, but I feel so much power and calm in the mornings.

“First, I take my Symprove probiotic, and then I make my Cloudcha matcha, which is a big ritual for me; I don't use any kind of electrical whisks or anything like that. And then I will sit and either journal or meditate. The headspace is a bit of a strategy session for the day ahead, I get really clear on everything while no one is trying to reach me and everything's calm.

“Then I ice roll my face. I am obsessed with The Skinny Confidential ice roller; I use it every single day. I used to suffer badly with acne and in the last nine months it seems to have gone away and I'm sure it's something to do the Ice rolling. It also changes the shape of my face. It's amazing.

“I also check my Oura ring score, it's really helped my sleep improve because I'm more aware and more accountable.

“Then I teach my morning class and go for a walk. I love getting fresh air and sunlight in the morning. After the walk, I will do my infrared sauna and ice bath before I get ready for the office.”

On finding ways to be active…

“I love walking; I think it's so meditative. I try to do 10,000 steps a day, but sometimes life gets in the way. The easiest way I find to manage it is to bookend your working day with walks. Splitting them up doesn't seem so overwhelming – because 10,000 steps mean walking for about an hour and 40 minutes which seems a lot to do in one go.

“Padel [tennis] is my other real passion alongside Pilates. It’s the fastest growing sport and I'm completely hooked. For me it kind of goes hand-in-hand with Pilates, because it requires so much balance and core strength, and it really works your obliques. I would say that Pilates is a really complimentary practice for everything, though.

“Me and my friends have built this accountability group on WhatsApp together, posting our workouts and walks, which really helps me stay on track. I also find ways of being sociable that that feel a little more active and more conducive to wellness rather than always thinking ‘let's go for a drink’.

Habit stacking is good. For example, I'll call my assistant and have a brainstorm while I'm walking. Or when I'm in the sauna, I have my legs up the wall which really drains the fluid from them. I'm trying to always make my time as efficient as possible.”

On fuelling her body with food…

“I don't purposefully intermittent fast, but I generally don't get hungry until about 10:30am when I will make either a smoothie bowl with spirulina or a protein shake using Form Nutrition protein powder. It’s delicious!

“I use coconut water instead of milk for a natural boost of electrolytes and add half an avocado, a frozen banana and psyllium husk for some fibre. After researching the benefits of creatine, I've also been adding that to my shakes for about six weeks and have really noticed a difference. Creatine is great for brain function, energy levels, building muscle mass and performance in workouts. People associate it with bodybuilders and bloating and puffiness but I've not experienced that at all.

“In the office my go-to lunch order is from Atis, I have a salad with tofu, lettuce, broccoli, cucumber, edamame beans and a miso dressing. A focus of mine is upping my protein and fibre.

“For dinner, I have something like fish with vegetables and rice, sweet potato, quinoa or pasta. I love pasta – it would definitely feature in my last meal!

“My favourite dark chocolate is the Hu Kitchen one – it’s so, so, so good. I'm also a big fan of red wine and Margaritas, ­which I order without salt and sugar. I don't crave refined sugar; but I might make some sweet potato brownies or some protein balls or something for snacks. I noticed that my cravings really went down when increasing my protein intake – it has a direct effect for sure.

“Essentially, I just want foods that nourish and fuel my body. I see it kind of almost like a mechanical system; you have to put in good to get out good.”

On her evening routine…

“I don't have any children, so this is a very luxury evening!

“I will get back from work about five or six and go for a walk while listening to a podcast.

“I love dry brushing and I use my body brush from Rains Wellbeing before I get in an Epsom salt bath; I think they're incredibly healing and anti-inflammatory. I sit in the bath for a minimum of 20 minutes, and I'll put on a guided a breathwork or sound bath class from my app and just lie there making the use of that time. Honestly, doing a sound bath whilst in the bath is incredible!

“When I'm out of the bath, I cover myself in CBD oil, and to further unwind I lower the lights and light some candles. A big thing for me is trying to switch off all kind of technology as early as possible. I generally go to sleep at 10pm, so if I can be in bed reading my Kindle by 9:15pm that's me feeling like I'm winning! I put my phone away from arm's reach, so if my alarm goes off in the morning, I physically have to get out of bed to turn it off, which stops me snoozing.”

On beauty treatments for self-care...

“Facial massage is just the best.

“I also love lymphatic drainage massage. I created a treatment with Ruuby and Elaine is my favourite therapist; she does dry brushing all over your body to begin, and then tailors a lymphatic drainage massage to you using my CBD oil, followed by a deep head, neck and shoulder massage as well. It’s just beyond!

“I feel so good when I have fresh hair but I’m terrible at styling it myself! I either go to Fox & Vamp in Chelsea, or have a blow-dry at home with a hairstylist like Gabby (@GabrielleHair_) or James or Katie via Ruuby. A tip for hair is to have a cold shower on hair wash days; it makes it so shiny.”

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