On Fire At Pilates ProWorks & GapFit’s Awesome Event: TRX With Will Arrufat

6A few weeks ago, I received an email from Pilates ProWorks about an awesome event, two days of free classes sponsored by GapFit. It got even better though, since not only were they sponsoring the classes but everyone who attended got a pair of free pants too! Seriously? The first time I read the email, I assumed I’d read that part wrong but immediately shot over to their site to sign myself up for some of the fun! I mean really, I LOVED Jenn’s class the first time I took it and have been dying to go back. So I immediately booked a class with her but then I also booked a TRX class with Will Arrufat, since I friend whose opinion I totally respect recently raved about him. I knew the free classes would fill up in a second….

For this event, we checked in, then talked to the GapFit Girls, who offered us one of three styles of pants. I chose the slim boot cut version since I have a lot of capris and really need some longer pants. I figured they’d be fine, but I was stunned by just how flattering they were! Seriously, the GapFit pants are slightly compressing and made me look really long & sleek. SCORE on the cute free pants!

The TRX classes take place in the smaller of the two Pilates Pro Works studios, so after slipping on my new pants to wear, I made my way into class. When I walked in, Will was already explaining how to use the TRX to two other students and asked me if I’d used TRX before. My answer “Yes, but not enough to know how to actually move the straps!” A true and slightly pathetic description, because in every TRX class I’ve done, I’m always the one fiddling with the straps for far too long. He just laughed and then after the entire class assembled, went over how to adjust the straps. It was easily the clearest and most helpful, concise description I’ve ever heard in a TRX class, which immediately made me like him.

Will

Will is a Personal Trainer, TRX STC Instructor and a 2012 Nike Ambassador from NYC and just all around fun. I mean, how can you not love a trainer who bounces around the room for the entire class, yelling encouragement (and occasionally bad 90’s phrases like “show me the money!”) all the while leading you through a ridiculously challenging class. We would do three rounds of an exercise with a break for mountain climbers or jumping jacks. The hardest part by far though was the ab section at the end. It was ridiculously brutal. With our feet in the straps, the crunches, pikes and oblique twists made me want to cry…. and come back constantly until it didn’t. We ended with a killer set challenge of 20 each of crunches, oblique twists, shoulder shrug/ pikes and then finished off with weighted burpees. Brutal! I finished third of the group, shockingly….

By the end, the windows had steamed up and Will bellowed “WELL DONE! THAT IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! I get to write my saying now…” And on the steamed windows he proceeded to write…EN FUEGO and truthfully, by the end, I did feel like I was on fire. It was a well planned class, where Will left me in a whimpering puddle by the end, but not so that I was so sore the next day that I couldn’t move… an almost impossible balance!

I think I can
Main images from Pilates ProWorks website. End quote just a little internet goodness…

A Little Tinkering is a Good Thing: Pilates ProMethod with Jenn Seracuse

On Tuesday afternoon, I finally made it over to Pilates ProWorks to take their signature “Pilates ProMethod” class with Jenn Seracuse, the head of their Pilates program. I had met Jenn briefly when I had gone to Steven Little’s TRX class and had immediately liked her, so I knew I would be in good hands. Plus, I have been SO curious about what their take is on the new trend to use “amped-up” versions of the classic Pilates’ Reformer. There was a time in my life when I was totally obsessed with Reformer classes and for about a year, I took at least 3 a week. Those classes were my gateway into working out at all, changed what I thought I was capable of and because of that, I am hard pressed to think that a great reformer class needs much tinkering with. Of course, those original classes were taken over 10 years ago and really, sometimes things need a little tinkering!

Pilates ProWorks’ take on the classic is called the FitFormer and damn, is it a pretty machine! According to their website, it is made from stainless steel, titanium and bamboo but it is also just an elegant, sturdy machine, with super cushy pads and basically just super swanky. Jenn went over the machine with me before class so I wouldn’t be lost, since really, the class was filled with a group of super strong regulars. I was immediately sorry that I hadn’t at least worn a pair of regular grippy socks since everyone had on special toe-socks – grippy on the bottom but open toes. It totally didn’t occur to me that we would wear socks during the class! It was also at that moment that I realized my socks that morning didn’t even match. Sigh… at least I remembered a towel! It is worth noting again, they don’t stock towels here, so if you are sweaty like I am, remember to bring your own.

The class started with a quick warm up, which I always miss when a class just launches straight into the workout. The music pumped in the room but Jenn was great about giving clear, helpful instructions on what we where supposed to be doing on each exercise. She roamed the room, demonstrating on different machines, so we were always able to see what the move was meant to look like and she was able to keep a keen eye on everyone’s form. The moves we did felt like Pilates moves, sometimes tweaked a little bit but always feeling grounded in that original practice.  We also got to do the Frog, a classic Reformer move that I swear hits a part of your inner thigh that no other exercise targets quite as effectively. It was always my favorite move and it was all l could do not to clap when she announced it.  Thankfully, I managed to not make a total ass of myself by doing that!  I was absolutely the worst in the room, so I got a lot of physical corrections (always ok with me!) but her cues to the whole class were really helpful and precise. They were very much Pilates cues, but for this kind of workout, that is really what you need. It was a class filled with regulars who were all so strong and graceful…I might have been the worst but I kept up and was totally inspired.

I always think the best sign of a Pilates based class is when it is challenging but never hurts as you are doing it, yet still makes you feel like someone sucker punched you in the stomach the next day. The day after my first Pilates ProMethod class, I winced every time I laughed – making every funny thing I heard just seem really mean. In my book, the sign of a great Pilates class…or perhaps just that I really need to do more of them!

 

Top image from Pilates ProWorks NYC’s Facebook page, image of Jenn from her Twitter profile @leanbodypilates