Club Pilates North Park
Day 5: Introductory Class
Background: Club Pilates originated in our very own San Diego in 2007. Since then, they have grown to 400 studios with another 600 on the way. Club Pilates sessions are grounded in Joseph Pilates’ original Reformer-based Contrology Method, but modernized with group practice and expanded state-of-the-art equipment. With seven signature class formats and four unique levels of classes, Club Pilates North Park has a workout that will work for you. Check out Club Pilates here.
Pilates was something I had always heard about but couldn’t quite wrap my mind around.
I thought it was a stretch exercise for seniors.
But I also kept seeing Victoria’s Secret models reforming on Instagram’s popular page.
Well it turns out Pilates is both! It can be a low-intensity workout or a cardio-laden sweat session. There are endless exercises and equipment to incorporate, keeping each workout interesting.
But as great as I know it is now — I would be remiss not to share our concerns going in. Let’s be honest, I’m still gearing my way into this whole fitness thing and I am completely out of shape. After reading blog posts about Pilates, it seemed like a tough workout; I wasn’t sure if I’d be up for the task. Dylan was on the opposite side of spectrum. He wanted a tough workout, and questioned whether Pilates would deliver — he was also concerned about being the only boy in the class.
All of our fears evaporated once class began. We each loved it and had completely different reasons why. I liked that I could go at my own pace and change the exercises as needed. Dylan realized he could use different muscles than usual and get a great workout doing it.
Now where did our glorious discovery take place? Club Pilates in North Park.
This studio is one of several Club Pilates in San Diego. It is right on the main drag in North Park, which can make parking a bit tricky. But not to worry — you can get free parking in the back. Club Pilates even provides placards for your car (and laminated ones if you get a membership)! We signed up to take the introductory class with their lead instructor, Gina. The class was small enough for individualized attention and big enough to create a buzz.
When we first arrived at the studio we met the studio manager, Tonya. After checking us in, she directed us to a wall full of socks and shared with us more about the class we were about to take. It turns out you must have specific socks to take a Pilates class — the ones with sticky grips on the bottom.
After 15 minutes of browsing (and indecision) we chose our socks and were ready to go. Plaid for him, ballet slipper-style ribbons for me.
Our instructor Gina asked if we had any injuries and brought us up to speed on the structure of the class. This is one of the great things about being early and taking an introductory session. It gives you an opportunity to learn the fundamentals and prepare.
Once our class was full, the workout began. We started with small bounces off the foot bar as we slid our reformer up and down against the springs. It was like a fun ride at first — reminiscent of the UFO at county fairs. But then the burn started to happen. By the end my legs were on fire and I was praying the next exercise would start.
We moved like this throughout the session working our legs, abs, arms, and chest. It was hard work, but it felt fantastic. When Gina spotted one of us with improper form she was quick to help us correct it. It was crazy to realize how a pointed toe could make a complete difference in how the move felt. She also would tell us where in our muscle group we should be feeling the impact of the exercise.
We used the reformer, arm bands, balls, mats, trapeze bar, and much more. The quick pace kept the entire session interesting. As an introductory class, it is shorter than a usual class. Even though the workout left my legs shaking and Dylan dripping in sweat, we can’t wait to try one with the extra 15 minutes.
Club Pilates offers such an awesome introduction to this space. Once you get your bearings with the fundamentals, they have a variety of classes such as TRX and cardio to enjoy. We both left excited about making Pilates a core part of our routine once we complete our 100 day challenge and will definitely be back, plaid and ballet slipper socks in tow!
Meet the Instructor
Gina Mcferran: @thegeeners
How did you get started with Pilates?
I got into Pilates while training for a half marathon. I noticed the movements were becoming very repetitive, and I wasn’t getting a whole body workout. A friend of mine actually got me into it. He recommended I try it out and I immediately realized how challenging it is and how much of a full body workout it is. When I started, it was hard. It was super hard for me. But I found my body changing so quickly. Not necessarily weight dropping, but the way I carried myself, and the ways my clothes fit me. People noticed it. Without knowing what I was doing, they would comment that I looked taller, and that there was something different about me. It was things I hadn’t noticed initially, but I knew that I felt different. That was pretty cool.
What I loved about Pilates was that it was ever-evolving, fun, and challenging — all things that made it easy to continue on with.
What do you tell people who are reluctant to try Pilates?
To try something different. A lot of people come in thinking it’s an easy relaxation-based movement. I try to emphasize the full body benefits and inner-deeper muscle connection.
I also find if I share my story people are more excited to try it. That’s because when you have a passion about something, a real true love for it, it creates an exciting feeling to try something new.
What is your favorite Pilates equipment?
I love the EXO Chair! It’s a challenging piece and it focuses on slowing things down. For me it took it up a notch. I had learned balance, focus, and concentration on the reformer. But I had to humble myself with this piece. It was hard. I had to step back, slow down, and focus. The reformer is awesome and it does a million things, but this, this is what humbled me.
Share your experience with the hashtag #100VizerDays or meet us at the studio to join in on the fun! Up next is Encinitas Karate!