Anyone who’s met me knows that I don’t mind grinding out the miles. My morning regimen is two hours of cycling, swimming, running, suspension strap work and burning out on a pull-up bar.
And I’ll try just about anything—summiting a mountain 24 times to cover the same vertical distance as Mount Everest and more or a Spartan Double Beast race. But Pilates is a discipline that’s quite different from my daily routine, and there’s no guarantee that the strength and stamina I’ve built from my own regimen would get me through a class.
Fitness celebrity and POP Pilates creator Cassey Ho is renowned for legions of fans who line up out the door when she makes a personal appearance to teach at our clubs or anywhere else. She got her start as a group exercise instructor at 24 Hour Fitness, and when she graduated from college and moved away for a corporate job, she made a Pilates video for her class participants as a parting gift.
That passion for her community is what propelled Cassey from a great Pilates instructor to stardom—and it remains authentically part of POP Pilates. Equal parts hard work and fun, the opportunity to try POP Pilates seemed less like a dare and more like an invitation, so of course I accepted the challenge.
The fundamentals of a great workout don’t change. And there are plenty of famous people who’ve put their names to workouts. But I knew I was in the presence of something created by a true fitness celebrity when I experienced the energy in the room. A POP Pilates class has an inclusive vibe that’s electric, as the instructor encourages participants and the participants’ enthusiasm invigorates the instructor.
Is everyone looking at you?
Sometimes I take classes incognito, but many times the instructor and participants know the CEO of 24 Hour Fitness is in the room. That doesn’t make me a celebrity, but I’m not anonymous—and it’s been a joy to learn that a studio class puts all of us on the level of working hard and having fun. The star power is at the front of the room—and all around you.
POP Pilates taught me that endurance is just the half of it. Flexibility work is demanding and made me sweat! Some of the movements will be familiar, or variations on the familiar, even for people who have never done functional training.
Don’t miss a workout that’s an experience. If you’re fit, don’t assume the class will be too easy. Feeling self-conscious? There’s nothing like a studio class welcome. But most of all, there’s a reason that some people rise above great instructor to industry influencer, and you can sense that in the workout. Next time you have the chance, accept the invitation from a POP (Pilates) star.
Photo credit: 24 Hour Fitness; Chris Roussos