For more than a decade, physical therapist Amy Fischer helped clients recover from a range of orthopedic and sport injuries. These days, she blends her knowledge of the body with her passion for Pilates at her two Pure Pilates studios—one in Laguna Niguel and the other in Ladera Ranch—each of which host regular classes alongside specialized sessions for golfers, breast cancer survivors, and moms-to-be.
Surrounded by tranquil Asian-inspired décor, Amy and her team of instructors guide students of all levels through private and group Pilates classes, which aim to strengthen core muscles while improving flexibility and posture. After being divvied up into Level 1 or Level 2–3 sections, students learn a variety of exercises on a reformer machine built from adjustable ropes, pulleys, and springboards reclaimed from the days of vaudeville. Amy and her team also offer slower-paced courses for seniors as well as physical therapy sessions that speed healing with modified Pilates exercises paired with a personalized at-home exercise program.
Watching some of the lithe women coming out of Pure Barre classes, it's easy to believe that they've been ballet dancers their whole lives. But that's not necessarily the case. Pure Barre's instructors stress that the workout requires zero dance experience, and they say that as long as you can hold onto the bar and quote Center Stage verbatim, you can participate in the classes.
Because small isometric movements are performed in the classes, women of all shapes, sizes, and ages can take a Pure Barre class. These small movements work each muscle to fatigue, and then stretch it back out, which creates the lean lines dancers are known for. The movements also work areas of the body many women struggle with, including the abs, butts, thighs, and arms, and they burn fat?all without putting excessive stress on the joints.
Fit Pilates classes at here have a lot in common with traditional Pilates classes?but they're more intense, as you might guess from the high-octane soundtrack. Based on the fitness principles of celebrity trainer Sebastien Lagree, these sessions build core strength with moves on a Megaformer?Lagree's take on the Pilates reformer?but they also incorporate interval training, strength training, and cardio elements.
Other butt-kicking fusion sessions abound at the studio, too. Fit Booty Blast does so pretty literally, with Pilates-style moves geared towards toning the glutes, thighs, and abs. Fit Barre, on the other hand, mixes a ballet barre workout and Megaformer, toning participants' physiques into a dancer's form more effectively than an hour of the Macarena.
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TriYoga's classes guide students through traditional poses supported by rhythmic breathing and a deep, centered focus. The practice’s founder, Yogini Kaliji, travels the world to teach her signature style, with occasional stops into TriYoga Center of Santa Cruz to lead master classes. Yogini Kaliji designed her method and classes to shuttle beginners and experts alike toward deep relaxation, attainable elsewhere only by convincing a sea breeze to sing you "Happy Birthday." As students graduate through levels and master TriYoga’s wavelike movements, they often note boosted strength, flexibility, endurance, and breath control.
The instructors of Pilates Power help clients stay in shape with mat and reformer Pilates sessions as well as Pilates boot camp. The workout sessions, suitable for guests of all fitness levels, help develop core strength and cardiovascular health.
Dim red lights cast a glow over the women’s only pole-dancing studios at Unveiled Fitness. Periodically, the shadows of pirouetting bodies flicker against the wooden floor and reflections streak along the metal of 16-foot stationary and spinning poles. Within this environment, owner Kristin Mason and her team of instructors lead their students through pole-dancing classes. Combining the battle-tested fitness techniques of strength training, yoga, pilates, dance, cardio, and pickle-jar-opening, Kristin and her team aim to make every woman they work with feel confident in her body. The supportive staff also offers personal training, private parties, and foam-roller classes, which use a cylindrical piece of foam to boost flexibility and reduce muscle soreness.