So here I am 10 years into my professional fitness career, and 15 or so into my actual fitness practice of taking endless Pilates (Classical and the more contemporary High-Intersity), Barre, Bootcamp, Cross-Fit, Yoga (Hot and Power), Booty-Ballet, Boxing, Rowing, Dance and Coordinated Step classes, that I’ve come to the realization that the Best Fitness Class out there these days should be just that, all encompassing Fitness.
It’s not one or the other. It’s not a man vs woman, the ‘I only do this kind of workout’. But rather, it’s an everything all at once to keep it interesting, kind of workout. Gone are the days that men shy away from the so-called “easy” Pilates classes and populate a power lifting class.
We are heading towards classes that remove gender specificity and weave various methodologies into one single class that will both accept and challenge one and all.
I myself started out as an athletic yet uncoordinated and unfitness-y kind of girl who ate my way though my adolescence, only to be rudely awakened in my early 20’s by a pair of unforgiving chinos that ripped down the middle as I attempted a swift exit of my car. True Story. Kicked into high gear, I struggled to find a class that would address my cardio needs while putting a magnifying glass to the areas that needed it – i.e. strength training my core, upper and lower body. And it also needed to be fun. Like ‘how did that hours fly by so fast!’ kind of fun.
I wasn’t able to find that kind of thing until many years later when I actually created it. And now my body is better for it. I myself come from the Pilates world and although I loved certain elements of your typical group class I always left Pilates classes wanting more. I also love boxing, whether it was working on the mits with my trainer or hitting the heavy bag until my knuckles were sore. I loved the intensity it brought. But I also love weight training. And barre. And too, running is a passion of mine.
It wasn’t until I opened my first studio in 2011 that I was able to successfully combine work on the Pilates Reformer and Springboard with work at the barre and on the mat. Lucky for me, clients were drawn in. They loved the frenetic but always specific work that we did in so many different ways. It wasn’t until this past June, that I was able to open my 2nd studio and with it, bring together not only the Pilates work with my love for boxing – heavy bags – my love for cardio – the water rowers. My philosophy has always been let it be hard – it already is. Let’s not deny that what we are doing is tough but rather, let’s embrace that this is hard and we are stronger and better for it.
I completely see the merit in a class that addresses a particular want or need. However, in the last few years, with the increasing popularity of the boutique studio, our fitness options have expanded away from big box gyms. I feel as though we as clients now have the luxury to fine-tune our wants and desires for our workout. And as clients, I see us wanting a little bit of everything all of the time. A class that peppers in the methodical and precise cueing of Pilates, with the benefits that come from cardio, with the toughness of a bootcamp and with the power from the boxing ring.
Let’s face it, we’re all busy but we also want what we want. I love a class that offers clear instruction alongside the rough and tumble that eliminates the need to do any other fitness to fill in the gaps.
Label it whatever you like but it’s got a whole lot of everything just the way I like it.
- Sara Lewis loves intense. She is a Juliard-trained classical pianist and former high ranking music industry executive (she even gave birth to her awesome daughter, Lennon, at home). Sara opened her first studio in 2011 which combined high-inentisity Pilates with barre and mat work. After a successful 5 year run, she reopened an even larger studio in June 2016 and diversified the format even more by adding a boxing and cardio component. Sara is certified in both Classical and West-Coast Style Pilates on all apparatuses and is a ACE/NASM CPT.