One of my new favorite workouts is the Pilates Pro Method on the FitFormer at Pilates ProWorks. I was so happy to discover Pilates ProWorks after reading about it on wellandgoodnyc.com. I was super intrigued; and I am always up for expanding my knowledge in my field. I love innovation and I think if Joe Pilates was still alive today, he’d be happy to see all of the ways his method and equipment has evolved.
Jeanette Simon, who runs the studio, discovered it in San Francisco while she was living there. She fell in love with the cardio element that the ProMethod incorporates. You don’t get as much cardio or strength work in a traditional Pilates mat class or Reformer private. With the FitFormer, the carriage is longer and the machine allows for much more vertical movement. I love standing up and using my powerhouse while lunging on the machine and bicep curling hand weights all at the same time. It’s very functional movement and it brings everything together, allowing the Pilates method to be experienced in various positions. Typically a majority of Pilates is done lying down, with PilatesPro Works we are standing a good portion of the workout. In between sets on the equipment, cardio bursts on the floor are incorporated.
A typical class may start out with a cardio warm up and then head straight to planks on the FitFormer followed by arm work using the hand straps, then lunges standing on the machine while lifting weights, then butt work looping a leg strap around one ankle, back to more ab work–planks, tucks, side kneeling twists, back to cardio, more lunges or side lunges or plie squats, back to more arm work, possibly incorporating the magic circle for ab work and finally finishing up with more traditional pilates moves such as the hundreds and leg circles.
Jenn Seracuse, head of the Pilates program at PilatesPro Works, is an absolute fabulous teacher (as are all the teachers) and her energy, instruction and attention to alignment is fantastic. Even though the classes are fast paced (vinyasa style Pilates), there is still plenty of cueing and focus on detail and form.
Classes are done in socks (toe sox or grippy ones recommended); but I absolutely love my Blake Brody in studio shoes for this type of class especially. And of course, my Fila Toning, is my favorite outfit to wear for this type of workout as well since it completely reminds me to stay drawn in and naturally cinches my core region (like Joe’s analogy to the inner girdle). If you live in Manhattan or San Francisco, you should definitely check out some classes. If you like the idea of incorporating cardio in to your Pilates workout and can’t make it to a Pilates ProWorks studio, you can always try my Weight Loss Pilates DVD.
Keep on moving and discovering new classes and workouts as much as you can. Your body will thank you for the variety; and you will appreciate your original methods more when you do them too!
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!