This Crazy Painful Pilates Class Is Kicking L.A. Girls' Butts (in a Good Way)


Fashion to Figure

Having experienced my first Pilates class about a month ago, I believe I am officially the last human in Los Angeles to hop on a reformer. It's no secret that group fitness is not my thing (proof), so when team Byrdie scheduled a private class at L.A.'s cool new Pilates locale, Studio Elevate, I didn't know what to expect. To be honest, I was never sure what Pilates even entailed: Was it like yoga? Like weight lifting? And what were those giant contraptions on wheels?

A colleague or two kindly explained that Pilates is a little like yoga, but more focused on strengthening the body's core muscles for increased flexibility, better posture, and the look of long toned muscles. You can do Pilates on a yoga mat (aka, floor Pilates) or on an exercise machine (aka, reformer Pilates), they explained. By the time we showed up to Elevate's minimal, white-and-blue studio, I felt slightly more confident about what was to come. (Plus, we'd all been gifted some very cute Varley activewear, which always helps get me in the mood for fitness.)

However, all of this certainty was shattered when the brand's founder, Leah Kitching, immediately told us to unthink everything we thought we knew about Pilates. Studio Elevate was different, she promised—of course, the physical studio was chicer and moodier than most Pilates classes, but she guaranteed that the workout would also be harder. "You probably won't be able to walk for a few days," she warned us with a sinister smile. That's why clients of Studio Elevate are the most badass.

Mostly terrified but partially intrigued, I head into the dimly lit studio…