I arrived to the lower-level storefront studio 20 minutes early to scope things out. There was a class in session with nothing but an open doorway separating the lobby; I was stunned by a sea of red floors, dimmed-down lighting, and a hoarse male voice shouting commands like a drill sergeant over a killer hip-hop playlist. This was nothing like I’d imagined a pilates class to be. Google Image Search lied to me and I was scared. Nervously, I checked in with the woman at the desk who kindly welcomed me and asked me to sign into the old-fashioned guestbook. That was all.
Class started with myself and three young ladies as our trainer personally introduced himself to each of us. He had no sales pitch, but just seemed to genuinely enjoy sharing his knowledge and training of the form. He joked with us, pushed us, and encouraged each of us with a firm and steady smile, demoing each new motion with the excitement of a show dolphin.
Treating all of us equally, he also warned me as the only guy in the class most straightforwardly that when we were done, I would be sore in some very weird ways. And he didn’t lie -- the workout was a tough balance of strength and endurance with a lot of focus on the groin and hips. Every exercise, a resistance challenge. Each new position and motion, a surprise: pikes and planks, reverse windmills with asymmetrical tensions, sliding rear lunges. There was a struggle, for sure, but not so much that I ever had to give up. My crotch was sore for days.