Hunting for Pilates
The moment I find out we are moving to San Diego I start researching Pilates and Barre studios in our new city. I am bombarded with google results. Now, in the back of my head I know I will be starting at Equinox as soon as they open their doors, so my research is less about finding a studio to teach at and more about finding a studio to work out at.
Disclaimer: Most studios will remain nameless.
My first class was terrifying. There, I said it. First of all, I google this Pilates “chain” as I have been hearing so much about it. Being new to the area, I have no idea where anything is, but assume it can’t be that far. This studio has several locations all over San Diego and I pick the one closest to me. Still a 20 minute drive, I arrive to the studio and am a bit put off. An office park, literally off the highway. Hmmm, interesting. I go in, and feel as though I’m arriving for a dentist appointment or to see my dad for lunch. I take the elevator up and stroll down the halls, looking for the suite number. It’s a door; a wooden door. I have no idea whether or not to go in, if there was a class going on, or if I should just wait out in the hallway. Luckily the instructor shows up and opens the door to showcase a freezing cold room full of 15-20 Reformers. I would count, but I am so cold and confused I forget. There are about 10 of us in the class, with several open Reformers. The instructor never introduces herself, never asks about prior Pilates experience and never asks if anyone has any injuries. I do have an injury, so it would be nice to know that the instructor is aware of this.
We spend 25 minutes doing footwork on medium to heavy springs. Then we stay on our backs and do work with our hands in the straps, on a heavy spring. I have a neck injury that would have probably been getting worse if I didn’t know how to modify to lighter springs. Could you imagine if someone else in the class had an injury and had no idea how to modify? I’m scared for the other 9 students. OK, it’s now 35 minutes into class and I still haven’t felt my abs. We finally get up and grab the box for short box. There are 10 people in class and maybe 2 people are in correct positions. We are hanging off the box, one leg out kicking up and down, really working 100% in the hip flexors. Great. Never once correcting anyone. How could she? She is on the reformer doing the workout with us. After some planks and finishing with feet in straps our class is over.
I go back for a second class because I have a 2 class pass. It is the same exact class. Word for word, cue for cue. I haven’t been back. My biggest concern was honestly for the safety of the students in the class. When done incorrectly Pilates can be dangerous. Not to mention ineffective.
Next, I try a studio I haven’t heard of before but came recommended by a local. Like the other studio, they offer an incredible first time client deal so I go for it. They offer several different locations so I pick one that is close to my husband’s office so I can go after I drop him off in the morning. Located in a run down shopping plaza with neighbors that include 24 hour fitness, Buffalo Wild Wings, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and Famous Footwear just to name a few, I finally find the studio. I open the doors and I just see Reformers. Endless Reformers. I count 25. This studio caps the classes at 25! How in the world is one to get an effective and safe Pilates workout when there are so many students in the class? After starting the workout which is very similar to the prior studio I had tried, I notice the instructor’s voice is constant. Meaning, I hear her somewhere in the distance, but she never seems to get closer or further away. I realize it is because she is doing the workout with us! How am I supposed to know that I am straight, aligned, and in the correct position to engage the proper muscles? As a Pilates instructor I know that I need eyes on me, let alone the 24 other people who probably are not instructors and need those eyes even more. Again, I was terrified for the other students.
I try a few other studios and have similar experiences. I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that the market is saturated with studios that have lost the roots, authenticity and basic principles that Pilates was founded on, and should have. Now I’m questioning what I should be doing over the next several months before Equinox opens. All I have to say is that my Pilates team at Equinox is going to bring that strong presence of classical Pilates back to the San Diego area and blow everyone away.
Now, I do find that there are classical instructors in San Diego; they are just hard to find. But I find them. I came across Jessica Janae through an Amazon deal, where she was offering an introductory rate for a package of private sessions. When I see this I look into her and her background and am springing out of my chair when I see that she is trained and certified through Power Pilates! Janae Luxe Pilates Studio is a small one woman (Jessica) shop with stylish decor and PEAK Pilates equipment. She doesn’t strive to compete with all these big franchise studios by offering big classes with dozens of people to drive the cost down for the students. She doesn’t have to. The method speaks for itself. She honors this, and teaches true to Joe; in a private, one on one environment.
With my detailed google search I find another classical instructor who has worked with and trained under proteges of Ron Fletcher and Romana Kryzanowska. I quickly realize she is the owner and founder of Armone’s Core Connection right in my neighborhood. I decide to contact Armone to see if maybe she wanted to talk about potential teaching opportunities. I mean, it’s been a month and I’m itching to start teaching again. Being able to walk there in 15 minutes is an added bonus. I arrive to the studio and instantly think to myself, “this is going to be good.” With only 6 Reformers, 1 Cadillac and a Chair, Armone keeps classes small and focuses on private training, as a Pilates studio should. She invites me in for the week to take class and get a feel for the clients and classes. After my first class I was sold. With class sizes capped at 6 and clear distinctions between level 1, 2 and 3 classes I can tell that I’m going to enjoy teaching the incredibly strong clientele.
Starting now I am available for private sessions at Armone’s Core Connection! A single session is $75, or you can buy a package of 10 for $700. Not a bad deal for private sessions! Stay tuned for a class schedule!
Starting in Spring 2016 I will be back at Equinox, in the studio, as the Pilates Coordinator. Equinox La Costa will be the club’s first San Diego club. I will also be back in the group fitness studio teaching barre, Pilates Mat, and fusion classes.
Armone’s Core Connection is located at 7438 Girard Avenue in the Village of La Jolla.
Equinox La Costa is located at 7710 El Camino Real, Carlsbad, CA 92009. Memberships now available. 760.268.9657.