Crash Course: The Pilates Loft is a brand new pilates studio in Arlington’s Virginia Square neighborhood that follows “The Authentic Pilates” method, originated by the man himself- Joseph Pilates. The owner, Alia Staples, recently moved to the area from Orlando, Florida where she taught at the original The Pilates Loft studio for several years. The Arlington studio is their second location.[line] [left]where: 3444 Fairfax Drive, Arlington (1 block from Virginia Square Metro)
bring: water bottle
perks: free garage parking, water fountain, spacious bathrooms
sweat score: 7 out of 10[/left][right]wear: spandex bottoms, sticky socks if you prefer
class: private session
cost: $30 for single group class/$85 private session/$55 per person for duet (discounts available on class packages)[/right][line]
I’ve only taken one pilates reformer class before, so I jumped at the chance to get some one-on-one time with Alia Staples, the owner of the brand spanking new studio, The Pilates Loft in Arlington. I had seen the studio pop up on ClassPass and was thrilled to have another option in my neighborhood. So, when Alia reached out to The Fit Crasher asking someone to come “crash” the new digs, I was more than happy to volunteer.
The Pilates Loft is just one block away from the Virginia Square metro stop, and across the street from George Mason University’s Arlington campus. Everything is new and fresh – even the building itself. One of the best perks, especially in this area, is four free spots for clients in the adjoining parking garage. Can’t beat that!
The Pilates Loft is bright and airy, with beautiful new equipment from Gratz Pilates, the original manufacturer of Pilates equipment. Yes, everything about The Pilates Loft is the real deal. In addition to their regular classes, they are also a training center for the New York Pilates Studio Teacher Certification Program, which sounds pretty intense and legit. That said, the Arlington location is currently looking for some apprentices to join the program, in case you have far more grace and flexibility than I.
For my private session, Alia gave me a sampling of what clients can expect from both private and group classes. We started on the reformer, which turned out to be much less scary than it looks. Alia walked me through a series of movements designed to work my legs, glutes, arms, and most of all, core. She even incorporated a bit of cardio with a jumping series that had me winded and breaking a sweat – a first in a pilates class.
Alia was incredibly patient and helpful as I acclimated to the Pilates apparatus, offering adjustments and tips to make sure I was getting the most out of it. Since she’s not actually doing the exercises, you have her full attention the whole time- particularly helpful for newbies like myself. Throughout the class, she provided direction on technique and form, all while enlightening me on the philosophical aspects of The Authentic Pilates method of teaching.
After the reformer, we moved over to the mat and tower which is used in all the group sessions. Using the tower, Alia guided me through another series of exercises that emphasized strength and flexibility.
Since I might be a contender for the the tightest hamstrings in the world, this part was especially tough for me. As an avid runner/indoor cyclist, flexibility has never been my strong suit. However, as hard as it was, I can definitely see how pilates sessions would be a great complement to my cardio workouts.
Alia is a runner too, so she shared a bit about how her pilates practice has positively impacted her running. I’m definitely inspired to work on it!
The group classes are limited to five participants, which guarantees you’ll get almost as much attention as I got in my private session. Can you tell I’m needy? Still, I think the private or duet classes are great for first timers and takes a lot of the intimidation out of joining the group. So, find a buddy and sign up! I left the one hour session feeling stronger, longer, leaner and like I had found my next fitness addiction.
Thank you for inviting me to experience the studio, The Pilates Loft! And, welcome to the neighborhood – SO glad to have you!