At Club Pilates in Dr. Phillips, owner Claudia Caratolli and her staff are bringing Pilates to a diverse audience.
The first thing most notice when they walk into Club Pilates in Dr. Phillips is the machine.
It’s a strange looking contraption and the physical device that defines the Pilates system.
For those who have participated in classes, it’s a beacon of fitness. In the case of others who stroll through the doors for the first time, it’s their first real experience with the machine.
“Most people haven’t done Pilates, or if they have they have done mat Pilates, and it’s more comparable to a yoga exercise,” said Claudia Caratolli, owner of Club Pilates in Dr. Phillips. “The (Reformer) … looks kind of like a bed with some pulleys and springs. Those springs are used for resistance and you do exercise lying down, so it’s a comfortable form of exercise.”
Located at 7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Suite 86, in the Dr. Phillips community, Club Pilates has been helping locals get in shape with its numerous classes — which are done mostly in groups, though private sessions also are offered.
From 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, Caratolli and her instructors put on a total of nine different classes — all of which focus on one or more of the four levels. The higher the level, the more challenging and complex the workout.
“Level 1 is ‘Foundation’ — it’s strengthening, it’s toning, it’s learning to balance the body and learn the correct form, but it’s also very challenging,” Caratolli said. “Then 1.5 is increasing those challenges.
“A Level 2 is a challenge to balance, it’s a challenge to very unique types of exercises … it doesn’t mean that it’s harder, it just takes more technique and it’s a little bit more intense, so you may do fewer exercises in a Level 2, but the exercises are bigger,” she said. “So don’t worry too much about the levels — some people never leave Level 1, and that’s perfectly fine.”
As far as classes go, there’s the usual intro class — which is free — that incorporates solely Level 1 aspects. From there, students can progress to more complicated classes, such as the Reformer Flow — which includes techniques and skills that are from all four levels (1, 1.5, 2 and 2.5).
The technicalities of Pilates can sound intimidating for people who have never done it, but Caratolli said that shouldn’t stop anyone from trying it.
“It’s functional Pilates, meaning it’s for everybody,” Caratolli said. “It’s not just for the dancers and the professional athletes. It’s for everyone — from a 14-year-old dancer (who) does Pilates in my studio to an 83-year-old (who) does Pilates. Functional movement means that you’re exercising in a way that is going to make your life better by reducing pain and increasing mobility.”
Such an exercise can be perfect for those dealing with injuries or the wear and tear that comes with getting older. In fact, Caratolli was first introduced to Pilates after an injury sidelined her from the sport she loved.
“I was a runner, and I injured myself, so they recommended Pilates,” Caratolli said. “I was doing a lot of mat Pilates, because Reformer Pilates was out of my price range — one-on-one, you’re talking about $100 a session, while at Club Pilates it’s $70.”
The organization’s affordable nature — compared to others — was one of the key driving factors to Caratolli joining the franchise and dedicating her life to the fitness platform. For Caratolli, the journey has been fruitful in many ways — especially as it relates to being able to help other people find health and happiness in their lives.
“It is something that you can do for the rest of your life,” Caratolli said. “It’s good for your health, while being careful to keep you safe and free from injury.
“People really stick to it when they find it, because they feel good,” she said. “They get stronger and lose weight and all that stuff, but it is really more about being free from pain and being able to move and enjoy life.”