I tried my first Pilates class a few years ago. The reformer, movements, and grippy socks were completely foreign to me. I think it took me five minutes to figure out the toes 🙂 Back then, I was used to swinging heavy weights, running on a treadmill, and punching a boxing bag. A friend recommended I give Pilates a try as a way to integrate low-impact exercises into my routine, and I’m so glad I did.
I quickly learned pilates was not only challenging, it worked muscles I didn’t even know I had. Some fitness trends make it seem like you have to push yourself to exhaustion every workout to accomplish your goals—false! Not only are rest days crucial for recovery, but taking it down a notch can actually challenge your body and mind in new ways. Yoga and pilates have improved my joint strength, flexibility, and balance tremendously.
Pilates comes in many forms, but I feel most at home in a group reformer class. It’s all about the flow (similar to yoga), with a series of exercises performed on the machine and resistance springs increasing or decreasing difficulty (bring on the booty burn).
Luckily in San Diego there are dozens of fabulous Pilates studios offering classes for every fitness level, price point, and neighborhood. One such adorable spot is Studio Reform Pilates in Hillcrest. The “small studio with a BIG heart” is owned by Amy McCabe, known by many for her years teaching yoga at CorePower. She is warm, welcoming, and hands down one of the nicest instructors I’ve ever met.
I love the intimacy of the studio. With only eight machines I can see and hear the instructor. In large classes I often get lost (newbie over here), especially when specific moves or poses are yelled from across the room. But at Studio Reform I receive support with alignment and form throughout class.
Studio Reform keeps it pretty simple with only three types of classes to choose from:
- Reformer Flow 1: Foundation Class and great for beginners!
- Reformer Flow 2: A step up in intensity from the Level 1 class. Build off the foundational exercises of a Level 1 class and perform a more challenging sequence utilizing a variety of props.
- Reformer Jump: Pump up the energy. This class utilizes the jumpboard for an added cardio element to traditional Pilates reformer work and focuses on keeping your heart rate high.
Classes are designed to flow from one exercise to the other with minimal rest periods, spring changes, and prop interruptions. In my experience, the instructor typically walks around to help with props to keep you moving and enjoying ALL of those 50 minutes. Another plus, the Balanced Body Reformers very easy to maneuver, and I’ve never had to ask for help with the machine (win!).
Every class at Studio Reform is different. Instructors are constantly changing up sequences and routines so you stay engaged and challenged. Expect exercises to fire up the core, legs, booty, and upper body. So, pretty much everything 🙂
The instructors at Studio Reform Pilates are energetic, experienced, and positive. I have had the pleasure of taking a class with Betsy and Amy, and both ladies were wonderful. Each brings their own personality and twist to the workout.
I’m relatively new to Pilates and have a habit of looking around the room to peek at what others are doing. At Studio Reform I’ve found that I receive direction clearly and quickly, leaving little time for me to get confused. An instructor is always at my side making me feel comfortable and supported. Warning: This powerhouse team of strong women may turn you into a Pilates addict 🙂
Why Studio Reform is a Fit Fave
Pilates is FUN! I never really took the time to experience it with an open mind. I felt intimidated by the reformer, class size, and grippy socks, and I convinced myself it wasn’t “challenging enough.” But, this cute and bright studio flipped my perspective.
Pilates has not replaced my current fitness routine, but it has become a fantastic complement. I find that Studio Reform incorporates a lot of the elements I love about yoga: challenging sequences, a natural flow from one exercise to the other, props, fun music, and an upbeat and calming instructor.
Studio Reform is affordable and accessible to the community. I’ve seen drop in pricing as high as $40 per class in San Diego (wowza), but at Amy’s studio you can choose from a variety of packages or a monthly membership that comes to about $10 class.
Amy’s passion is one of the biggest selling points for me. I challenge you to come to class and not leave with a big smile on your face. The fresh colors, the artwork, and the love are truly something special.
Images courtesy of Studio Reform Pilates and Ash and Arrow Photography