In a world filled with terrible “gym Pilates” mat classes it is so easy to forget how amazing Pilates can be – when taught by someone who is really well trained and in the classical method. I HATE mat classes with a passion, largely from one too many bad experiences. Since equipment classes are always too expensive for me, it is a very rare treat that I get to take one. It is easy to forget just how amazing it is to have access to the best of the best in NYC, but once in a while, it is awesome to be reminded.  This is how I feel when I get to take a class with Alycea Ungaro, the founder of Real Pilates in Tribeca. She wrote the first Pilates book I ever bought, which I got because the way she described movements really helped me in the classes I was taking at the time. Being around Alycea almost always makes me a little star-struck but because she is so immensely down to earth and friendly, thankfully, that usually subsides for the class.

Recently, Daily Candy had a deal for a class at Real Pilates and of course I had to snap it up. The great thing about the studio is that all of the group classes are small and in some part, use the Pilates tower, an apparatus that basically uses attached springs with handles that you loop on your feet or hold in your hands for resistance. While you might not think it, getting those damn springs to move can be a huge challenge at times, and the class I took called Springtone – mostly forgoes any regular mat moves and just works with the springs for the entire 45 minutes of the class. Exactly what I was looking for: a Pilates challenge.

                   

The thing about the use of resistance in the subtle movements of Pilates is that it works muscles in such a unique and intense way, it is so easy to see why people get obsessed with it. I was obsessed – when I could afford the equipment classes. The amazing thing about Springtone is that it makes the resistance aspect of Pilates accessible in a group class. YAY! The only part of the class I didn’t love was the beginning 3-pound weight section that thankfully, was really brief and transitioned into challenging abs, arms and leg sections with the springs. Of all of the great parts of the class, the leg section was easily my favorite. Those straps and springs target your inner and outer thighs like nothing else I have ever done. Man, I would love to be able to add this class into the mix of classes I get to take regularly! I love the mix of the exercises and pace of the class, which, while methodical and precise, kept a good, consistent clip.  I never once thought, “Oh, when will this end?” – although, I did burst out laughing at one point when, while laying on my stomach, I couldn’t both move the springs toward my ass and lift my thighs off the mat. I mean seriously, there would have to be a LOT more of these classes before that move even seems like it might be remotely possible! The other ladies in class were not amused at how funny I thought it was but thankfully, Alycea did, or else that might have been a little embarrassing…