5 Ways To Sleep Better (and Make It To Your Morning Class Awake and On Time)


Dear Readers:

If you have ever found yourself hitting the snooze button several times in a row only to finally pull yourself out of bed and attempt to gather up enough motivation to get your booty into your barre class, you know the importance of getting a solid night’s sleep. While there are some who can place their heads to their pillows and drift away without much effort, many others struggle with sleep issues. Bottom line: on a scale from 1-insomnia, most of us are tossing and turning in the middle. If you’re a part of our sometimes sleep-deprived pack, here are five ways to sleep better (and have a better morning workout, hint hint).

Put Your Electronics To Bed. Late night Instagramming (is that a word?) and texting might be loads of fun, but they can wreak havoc on your sleeping patterns. Numerous studies have shown the blue light emitted by electronics inhibits the production of melatonin which is needed to become sleepy.

Try This: Say goodnight to your iPhone, TV and computer an hour before bed. Take a hot bath or shower and crawl into bed and write in a diary or read a good book (as in a real book, or a magazine if you rely on an e-reader) before bed.

Monitor Your Caffeine Intake (and Not Just Coffee). Most of us know not to down a cup of caffeinated tea or coffee before bed, but how many times have you had a bit of chocolate or enjoyed a sip of soda only to lay wide awake in bed?  Caffeine, even in small doses, is a stimulant, so it’s best to enjoy it no less than four hours before bedtime.

Try This: Enjoy your mid-afternoon coffee, but try not to enjoy it past 1:00PM.  Caffeine has a half-life of 3-5 hours (the time it takes for ½ of the drug to be out of your system) and can stay in the body up to 18 hours.  See why that 3:00PM cup may not be such a great idea?

Watch Your Wine-Down’s. Titles aside, all alcohol impairs your sleep by reducing your REM which is why those who drink often wake up seriously groggy, even without being hungover.

Try This: Cut yourself off by 7:00PM, if possible.  Enjoy a glass of red or white with your dinner and then move onto seltzer.

Be Grateful For Winter: Well, cooler temps aren’t all bad. As it turns out, people tend to sleep better in cooler weather.

Try this: If possible keep your home in the 16-22 Celsius range as it is noted as the most beneficial for a good night’s sleep.

Schedule a Morning Workout: Ah, and we come full circle.  Studies have shown that physical activity too late in the evening can stimulate the body, making it harder to sleep.

Try This: Well, this seems obvious, but how about we do everything in the post, and if we notice a difference, we make a morning class a priority?

What is your best “sleep better” tip?  

Much Love,


Learning To Love From The Inside Out


Dear Readers:

As Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, a lot of people are thinking about the love (or lack of love) in their romantic lives.

While V-Day isn’t as popular here in Oz as it is in places like America, I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk a little bit about the importance of showing love, not only to others, but to ourselves. I know, it sounds a little corny, but think about it; we cannot teach another how to fish if we do not know ourselves. When we take the time to really get to know and love ourselves, our lives begin to blossom in ways we never thought possible. Our relationships change, our workouts change, our bodies change–and not just in terms of what they look like.

We begin to actually feel the love inside of us.

When we love someone, we care for them as we would our dearest family members and friends.  We protect ourselves, forgive ourselves, trust ourselves and truly nurture ourselves.  As a result we find that those tense muscles begin to loosen, the short stressful gasps are replaced with deep, healing breaths and the fatigue-filled mornings make way for a renewed spirit that looks forward to seizing the day. Whether it be a diet, ending an unhealthy friendship or going after a tough fitness goal, positive change is so much easier when we feel we are worth the efforts, sacrifices and rewards that will follow the actions that can sometimes seem too scary to take.

This week, I want all of you to really think about the ways you treat and talk to yourselves. Think about the space you allow (or even force) yourself to live in.  If you were to treat someone else the way you treat yourself, how do you think they would feel about you?

Much love,


On Holiday: The One Menu Item That Motivates Me To Workout Harder


Celebrity Fitness Instructor Johanna May Irwin of Johanna May Pilates in Sydney Australia.


This holiday season, I have found myself in Lennox head, northern NSW.

I’ve been on holiday for four days now,and (so far) it has all been very leisurely.  Days and evenings have consisted of swims, lunches, walks, dinners, and yes, post detox wine; most of my favourite things. The Boxing Day test match has commenced, and that it the only sound that fills the house.

Earlier, as I was working out on the reformer, Peace sat on the couch, drinking a beer. Halfway through my work out his dad sent us a text to let us know that we will be going to a fancy restaurant for dinner, and I was thrilled as that is yet another one of my favourite things.

Being the supportive partner he is, Peace decided that he should read the entire menu out loud for me to give me more motivation to work out.   He only needed to say spanner crab linguini and my workout pace doubled!

The holidays can be an interesting time for most of us and I am so thrilled to have been able to enjoy myself and relax after a challenging, rewarding and fulfilling year.   I hope all of you are enjoying yours as well and getting ready to start a healthy and happy 2015!

Much love,




Merry Christmas All!


I just wanted to take a moment to  extend a big thank you to all of my friends, family and clients.

As may of you know, this has been a huge year for me. Your patience, support and encouragement has been truly incredible and I couldn’t have done it without all of you.  We have some great things planned for the new year (well, I hope you find them great) and I’m looking forward to an even more exciting 2015!

In the meantime, enjoy your holidays with your family and friends.

Merry Christmas all.

Much love,


12 Must-Have Songs In Your Summer Playlist

road trip



‘Tis the season of summer road trips and I’m heading off bright and early tomorrow morning. My bags are packed, and I have my playlist ready to go. These are the songs that will be getting me through my 10- hour drive tomorrow. What songs will be driving you?

Beast of Burden.

The Rolling Stones

Marvin Gaye
Syl Johnson
Bobby Womack
The Rolling Stones
Ariel Pink
Roberts flack
Elvis Presley
Roy Orbison
Fleetwood Mac
Fontella Bass
Aretha Flankin
Much love,

C’Mon, Guys, Get With The Program: A Day Teaching The Boys


Dear Readers:

Many of you may not know that I hosted a special male-only class a couple of weeks ago.  Speaking candidly,  teaching the boys was fun, interesting and a little challenging, but mostly fun.  As they are all family, they definitely try things on a bit more, but for the most part, they were respectful.

In general, men who have not practiced Pilates before assume you lay on the floor and stretch. James, my brother-in-law, does Crossfit, Peace, my partner, is a kitesurfer, and John, AKA Dad,  is a golfer (and sometimes Pilates student). I am pleased to say that the boys picked up the idea of the class quite quickly. Even though the movements are small, they are definitely not understated. The class was really just a taste of Pilates but I feel like I’ve curbed their idea of Pilates to a more positive one. Read on for our post-class interview.


JM: When you were invited into the class, what was the first thing you thought?

James: “Uh, why am I doing this?”

Peace: “A few days before. I hope she doesn’t hurt me.”

John: “This is going to hurt.”


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JM: How did you view Pilates before the class?  Did you see it as Manly? Feminine?

James: “I never gave it a good thought. Maybe targeted for old women

Peace: “Neither. I had heard about it from girls and guys before.”

John: “Yep.”


JM: What did you expect the class to look, smell, feel like?

James: “A big open clean space for stretching and shit.”

Peace: “A clean room with strange looking machines. No smell.”

John: “Felt just dandy.”

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What surprised you the most?

James: “The actual burn in my muscles.”

Peace: “How hard it was to isolate certain muscles correctly.”

John: “How much it hurt.”


JM: Did anything funny happen while you were in the class?

James: “I couldn’t quite master the jump on the surfboard. And Johns moans and groans.”

Peace: “A lot of lost balance, which requires concentration, which is pretty hard when laughing.”

John: “Rutty and Peace.”


JM: Did you experience any “why did I sign up for this” moments?

James: “No actually enjoyed it.”

Peace: “Yes, about 9 years ago…”

John: “No way I was too busy trying not to think of how bad I was hurting.”

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JM: How did you feel post-class? Were you euphoric? Sore?

James: “I felt pretty good. Nice and limber.”

Peace: “Energised, not sore, but feeling a little burn.”

John: It hurt.


JM: What would be your best advice for men looking into Pilates?

James: “Get involved.”

Peace: “If you are getting repeat injuries doing the thing/s you love. Definitely give pilates a shot.”

John: Come with a heap of pain killers!


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JM: Did you feel competitive with the other men in the class?
James: “Not at all. I was clearly the athlete in the class.”

Peace: “Not really, Jo is the least competitive person in the world, not allowed. Plus we do different things a lot of the time.”

John: “No other way round.”


JM: Finally, Would you do it again?

James: “ Yes, For sure.”

Peace: “Do I have a choice?”

John: Absolutely.


Detox Blog: Wine: 1; Detox: 0

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Dear Readers,

So, as you know, I told myself that I would go 30 days sans alcohol. Apparently, I told myself a slight white lie (about white wine). The good news is that I am going longer without it than ever before. The bad news is that I still haven’t gone a full week…yet. Read below for the weekly round-up (no judgements).


Day #8

Monday is a great day for me. As I only teach a half day, I actually have the place to myself on the evenings. This usually involves a tub, a trashy TV show and a glass of wine. I’m doing all of that minus the wine. Starting the week off fresh feels good and I am feeling motivated!


Day #9

I went out to dinner with friends, all of them intent on knocking back a few during the meal. I am pleased to report that I had no real desire to join in. Could it possibly have been the $5 bottle of “chilled red” wine that turned me right off? Perhaps. I also found out that half of the dinner party guests were restricted to their bed and feeling horrible for most of the next day. There may just be something yet to this non drinking thing…


Day #10

Ah, The vicious Hump Day desire. So far so good (although it is only 9.30am).  I feel like this process is getting easier. I even booked a private Pilates class for myself to help keep my focus. Feeling good!

Update: I went out to dinner this evening and am sitting here, at a bar, with no desire to drink…yet.


Day #12

Ok, the jig is up. I want a glass of wine. In fact, I would love one. I am, however, getting into the whole not drinking during the week”. I feel like that is a healthy habit to continue. Having a glass of wine is like a treat for me. I’m missing my treat. No, seriously, I want my treat.


Day #13

So, as you probably guessed based on the last diary entry, I slipped once again. I went away to my parents holiday house and had  a nice cold glass of white wine placed in front of me. What can I say? I caved. I did, however, last two days longer this week round! That counts for something, right? As I am aiming for 30 days with no booze, i might be adding a few extra days onto this detox.


How do you feel about my progress? Are any of you keen to do this with me?


The Detox Blog: Can I Go 30 Days Without Alcohol? No. 29? Maybe.

Johanna May Pilates, JMP, Pilates Sydney, Best Pilates Studio, Health and Fitness, Yoga and Pilates,  Johanna May Irwin, Flowers, Bath and flowers,

So, I have decided to do the impossible, folks. I have decided to make an attempt to stop drinking for an entire month.  As in thirty days.  As in 730.484 hours. As in no alcohol.  Since I feel a public proclamation will aid in my success in this venture, I have decided to blog about my journey. Please find the entries for week one below (and check in every Tuesday to read about my progress).



Day #1

My family and I celebrated early Christmas and my partner had a work function which meant my weekend went something like this: Roast Pork, potatoes, Christmas ham, wine, champagne, more wine, bread and more wine. My body feels. well, truly dusty. It’s only November, and well, silly season is truly upon us. With the endless Christmas parties and end-of-the-year celebrations, its easy to let things creep up on you. I have never taken an extended break from alcohol but I am feeling determined.  My partners family is coming over for dinner tonight. This should get interesting.

Day #3

Hump Day nearly killed me. After one hell of a day, I would have loved (loved) a glass of wine. Instead, I went to sleep at 9PM. Fortunately, a nice glass of wine and sleep are pretty much on the same desirable level for me.


Day #5

I have to say, I am feeling pretty fresh over here (if I do say so myself).  Again, I enjoyed lots of sleep and and didn’t have to teach until 9AM which is quite a late start for me. I woke up at 5:30AM still feeling well-rested.  I am feeling pretty confident. Later Update:  It all happened so fast, I swear. I met a friend at a cocktail bar before a movie on a very hot day and well, I failed. So many bad choices. I have to say that I did love that ice cold glass of riesling. Let’s see how the weekend goes…

Day #6 & 7

Ah (AKA Augh), my first booze-free weekend in quite some time. It’s not easy, but I’ve got an early morning Booty Barre class booked for 8am Sunday morning’s for the next month. Hopefully, that will steer me away from trouble.   We shall see…


Have you ever done a month-long detox? Could you ever do one?



The Importance of Hydration

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 12.55.47 PM

You may not sweat as much in Pilates as you do in Bikram, but it is still important to hydrate!  Just as it is a fallacy that we don’t need SPF on cloudy days, so is the notion that we don’t need as much water if we’re not sweating.  Hydrate to flush out toxins, keep your energy level up and plump up your skin. ! Follow up with a cup of old-fashioned water and slip in slices of fresh fruit–such as pineapple, a natural diuretic– for added flavor!

Be honest with yourself, are you getting enough fluids?

(Photo Courtesy of Pinterest)