Pilates Fusion Class Review: Equinox Chestnut Hill

This post is part of my 2017 New Year’s Resolution to try every group fitness class offered at my gym, The Equinox in Chestnut Hill.

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Class: Pilates Fusion

Description from the Equinox: Series of exercises performed on a mat to complement different elements of Pilates work focusing on core strengthening exercises and increasing flexibility.

Class length: 1 hour

What Class Was Like

The first part of the class was some cardio and then a weight routine using light weights. Similar feel to an aerobics class. I had an elevated heart rate and could feel the individual muscle groups we were working using the weights. Then the class moved to mat work closer to traditional pilates with core strengthening and leg work.

The second half of class was pilates style mat work focusing on core strengthening and leg work.

There were a lot of older people in the class, and exercises seemed great for maintaining range of motion and muscle strength as we age. But don’t let that fool you; I got a wonderful workout despite being in my thirties. Just because a class is gentle enough for us as we age doesn’t mean it’s not appropriate for multiple generations, especially as we modify by extending further during a rep or increasing weight.

Verdict

A great all-in-one fitness class that combines light strength work with a little cardio and numerous flexibility and range of movement exercises. A wonderful anti-aging class; gentle and effective. I felt the muscles I’d worked the next day, but in a “just right” muscle soreness type of way. I was still able to enjoy attending The Pursuit indoor cycling class the next morning. There was room to grow within the class; I used 3 pound weights and 5 pound weights were available. I could also have extended more on many of the weights exercises.

Will I be back?

Yes, I would. It was gentle enough so I could exercise the next day, and it worked a lot of different muscles in the arms, back and legs. It also helps work on my range of motion in ways that I think would really benefit my swimming, such as extending the legs behind the body in a way that would assist with kicking in the water.

Know before you go

Arrive with time to set up your mat and get items set up.

Props this week were a ball, a hoop, free weights and a cork brick. The instructor announced several times before class what we would need, and it also helps to look around and see what other people are piling next to their mat.

Amazing instructor

This Pilates Fusion class was taught by Cheryl Bentsen who was phenomenal. She provided clear directions, helpful guidance and re-direction during exercises, information on how to modify, and  how to tell if the weight was too much for you.

I loved the way she explained which muscle groups we were working with different exercises, where we should feel the exercise, and which muscle we should be using the most.

It’s not easy to explain correct form and trouble-shoot an entire class of individuals by describing what we’ll feel if we’re doing it right, what we’ll feel if we’re doing it wrong, and how to modify it if it feels like there’s too much strain.

She was naming back muscles I’d never heard of but could feel working, explaining the difference between isomentric and isotonic weight training movements, and constantly scanning the mirrors for errors in form that she could correct with a gentle reminder to the class.

I was so impressed that I later googled her and discovered she was a journalist for 25 years before becoming a Yoga, Pilates, Core Synergy and Barre instructor. She has professional ballet training (I was so not surprised) and has published a book about her experience as a journalist in the Maasai village in Kenya.

You can be in the room with the most amazing people and have no idea.

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