Feel the Burn: Fuse Pilates

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Crash Course: The Fuse Pilates class is a 55-minute mat pilates course. No toys, no chairs, no reformers. Just the bodyweight basics set to music. But that doesn’t mean you won’t feel the burn. Each class starts with students picking three body areas to focus on. Depending on the request du jour, the instructors make sure you get what you and your glutes, arms, and obliques asked for. Ouch. This isn’t a cardio-based class and you won’t get sweaty, so it’s a great option for those who want to workout during business hours or before heading out on the town. Click here to check the schedule.

[line] [left]where? 2008 Hillyer Place, red line/Dupont Circle

bring? yourself

perks? changing room, lounge

sweat score? 3 out of 10 [/left][right]wear? loose or tight clothes, just make sure you can move

how much? drop-in rate is $18

instructor? Jocelyn [/right][line]

The Fuse Pilates studio is located in a renovated Dupont Circle town house. It offers five stories of beautiful studio space for students to sweat and tone to their hearts content. Not sure mat pilates is for you? There are ten other workout options to choose from and truly something for everyone.

From the studio’s website:

Each class concentrates on developing functional and balanced strength and flexibility, shaping beautifully toned physiques in the process.

Studio Space

The Dupont Circle “pilates playground” is beautiful. The building maintains its old-world elegance, with big bay windows and sweeping staircases. But the place has obviously been whipped into tip-top shape by the Fuse folks, and every room is bright, clean, and looks brand new. 

The Fuse Pilates class was held on the third floor. The space took a fun twist on the typical fitness studio “wall of mirrors,” and the funky mish-mash of frame locations made it easy to find a blind spot to work in. I liked this because my focus was on keeping up with the instructor instead of watching the pained look on my face. Win!

There are large and bright bathrooms on every floor (no shower) and a changing room in the basement.

The first floor is where you’ll sign in for class at the front desk. It opens into a great lounge area, the perfect spot for hanging out before or after class. Also, how cool is that flower burst light fixture?

Class

After hurling boulders at a strongman gym and doing buddy-carries in the dark at a SEAL-style bootcamp, I had my doubts that pilates would ring my bell. I’m all about the promises of toning and leaning, but could 55 minutes of micro movements really do the trick? At least the barre class I went to had us pumping iron and tucking abs till I could tuck no more.

I felt more at ease when I walked into the lounge and saw this:

Work their asses off? Sounds like my kind of workout. I’m in! I ditched my bag in a cubby, grabbed a plush mat, and headed into the studio. The instructor leads from the middle of the room, so pick a side and make sure your mat faces him/her.

Little did I know, a derriere demolishing workout was literally on the schedule for tonight’s class. When the instructor asked for requests, the ladies around me came up with three target areas: arms, obliques, and glutes. We started with a few simple up-and-down leg motions to engage the rump. My fears returned…could this really be all we do for 55 minutes? 5 reps, 6 reps, 7 reps…

And then the burn started.

The instructor asked us to go to our “happy places” and I knew I was in for a ride. I never thought doing firehydrants or mini mule kicks could cause such a sensation. Holy smokes. If I had any doubts pilates was a “real workout,” they quickly ran screaming out of the window. While I didn’t sweat like I would in a power yoga class, the burn was enough to do me in.

The music was not as loud as I would have hoped. When the website states that the class will be choreographed to music, I have visions of bumping bass and jazz hands. This was not the case, and I could have done with a little bit more volume…if only to drown out the voice in my head asking me politely to cease and desist.

Overall, the class environment was fun and upbeat. There was no pressure to do more than you were able to, and the instructor was good about giving variations. As a pilates newbie, I felt very comfortable with the pace of the class and style of instruction. I took many of the “easier” variations but still felt challenged and left feeling recharged.

Instructor

Jocelyn’s class was legit. We asked to target three body areas, and she delivered…with a smile. One of the things I appreciated most is that Jocelyn was very up front about her own limitations and challenges. When you’re shaking like a leaf in plank pose, counting down the seconds until it’s over, it’s refreshing to hear that the instructor is having a hard time too.

She was great about offering alternatives if you felt the moves were beyond your reach, and moved the class along at a smooth pace. I never once looked at the clock during a transition

According to her profile on the Fuse website, Jocelyn has a background in yoga and fell in love with pilates because of the “constantly changing, fully body workout.” Here’s her photo from the website:

Also, can we take a moment to please talk about how cute her socks are? They had no-slip silicone dots on the bottom and snapped around the ankle like mary jane shoes. For those who are interested, she mentioned they were by made Lucy. I may have to snag a pair of these for upcoming winter classes before my toes freeze.

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What do you think? Pilates: burn or bust?

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