Saturday, April 16, 2016

Paris Places: Pilates Privé

I’m on a quest to find the most effective workout ever. That’s a challenge in Paris, where fitness trends arrive from the West with a 10-year lag.

I was a long-time member of Club Med, then I switched to Fitness First (now Health City). It was OK. But I felt like a number. The classes were uninspiring, and not the quality I enjoyed in New York or in Pittsburgh.

Then I tried some of the city’s many smaller outfits, like The Daily Method and Paris Fitness, and found my groove. (Both offer an American approach, and classes in English.)

But then my office moved, and we moved house. Location is everything! I was looking for a new exercise home. So was my friend Stephanie. About a year ago, she invited to me Pilates Privé, close enough to work that I could squeeze in a session over my lunch hour.

Erin (right), owner of  Pilates Privé in Paris, with Rose
I struck gold! Small classes—solos, duos, and trios only—and individual attention by former dancers with serious Pilates credentials.

While I usually take the trio classes, every so often I take a solo class for my ills: “sitting disease” and “text neck.” My job as an editor has me glued to the screen for hours on end, and my body is paying for it.

Yesterday, Erin, the owner of Pilates Privé, showed me exercises I can do at home with my roller, and then put me on the “Half Cadillac,” which adds resistance to Pilates moves. The equipment looks like a modern version of the rack. It hurt … but in a good way!

Are these boutiques more expensive? They can be. I figure that over the space of a year, once a week at Pilates Privé costs me about the same as a Club Med membership.

It’s not something I can afford several times a week. I fill in my weekly Pilates class with at-home workouts, usually a 20-minute variation of the 7-Minute workout, and inexpensive, weekly cardio-strength classes at work.

Talking about Pittsburgh, when I’m there, I catch a workout at one of the city’s best fitness boutiques, Forma Personal Training of Sewickley. Truth be told, the co-owner is my brother!

I blame him for my becoming such a fitness snob. Or maybe it’s his loving way of pinching my underarm to measure my body fat. … No, actually it went way back to my school days, to tumbling classes with the Shade Sisters, who still have studios around town.
The Pilates teaser

In the end, I've found out for myself that small classes or personal sessions are a great value because they yield results. (I can hear my brother telling me, "I told you so.") You can’t hide in the back of the class. And the instructors care. Right bro?

I don’t think I’ll ever again be able to do a handstand. But I can slug my 40-pound suitcase around via the Metro to the airport, do 50 abdominal crunches without neck pain, and the Pilates “teaser.” Something I couldn’t do last year!

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Rose Marie Burke, an editor and journalist, writes a blog about her personal insights into life in Paris. After 20 years in the City of Light, she still calls her native Pittsburgh "home." Want to follow this blog? Find me on LinkedIn, email me at rose.burke89 "at" yahoo.fr, or follow me on Google+.