Image: Jay Yeo
June 21 2011
Spa Junkie is sampling three London centres that offer classes in Dynamic Pilates. Second stop: Vita Pilates in Chelsea.
The 10am advanced cardio at Vita Pilates, in Chelsea. I’m with a gaggle of my more stylish friends, all spilling onto the pavement just off Draycott Avenue – the epicentre of all things Euro-bling in London. The entrance of the new Pilates centre is tiny, so a couple of bad girls hide around the corner sucking on a quick fag while the rest, dressed head-to-toe in soft grey and fawn-coloured cashmere workout gear, talk at each other, starting and finishing sentences in different languages. Very different to the super-cool rock’n’roll vibe of TenPilates in Kensal Rise.
“Have you trained with Matt before?” asks a distant acquaintance. No, I have not, I say. “Get ready – he is amazing! The best here by far.” “I only come to his classes,” says another.
It’s a new studio, snug but with nice modern finishes and high ceilings that give a sense of space. Class is full; eight of us mount our reformers. “Please find the rubber ring under your bed, put your left foot in and gently push the carriage away with your right leg. Now take the ring and place it in between your legs and squeeze.”
Hmm; sounds familiar. We are doing virtually the exact same routine. And yes, it’s just as painful. There is very little interaction, actually – unlike spinning, where you often get at least a yee-haw or a bit of a whoop-whoop. Here all you can hear is huffing and puffing and a few muffled squeals as we near the end of the sequence, legs giving way. I steal a quick glance in the mirror and see pain clearly etched on many of the girls’ faces. Thank God I’m not the only one struggling.
This is advanced cardio, and it’s not for the faint-hearted. Loud pumping music as before, arms and legs in straps pulling and pushing, sliding and crunching.
I grab Matt after class. So, what makes Vita’s classes different to those at TenPilates? “We use the same machines, but there are hundreds of sequences so we always try and change it up. We offer different programmes like advanced cardio-duet, which means you can get a private lesson with a friend at the same price of an hour on your own. We also offer bespoke sessions, where you can determine what area of your body you want to work on, the music you want to listen to, and the instructor you’d like.”
They currently have 10 instructors and are open seven days a week. “We are absolutely packed. Some classes have over a week- long waiting list.”
What’s the secret? “It’s just a really results-driven and fun way to get a full body workout. We are transforming bodies of all shapes, sizes and ages, because it’s an incredible workout but it puts very little strain on the joints. It improves flexibility and posture, and creates a long and lean limb – which is what everyone wants.”
Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, treatments and accommodation.