Georgetown Pilates: The Best High-End Sweat Yet

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Crash Course:  Georgetown Pilates is a small, boutique, classical Pilates studio focused on quality instruction and attention to detail. They offer private reformer sessions, group mat classes, tower classes, massage, acupuncture, and muscle activation techniques. A private Pilates apperatus session will deliver a tailor-made workout integrating breath work, stretching, and various strength-building exercises. It’s not cheap, but the level of care and personalized approach were truly second to none. The experience was luxury fitness at its best. For a full list of services and prices, check out the Georgetown Pilates website. [line] [left]where: 1230 1/2 31 Street NW

bring: yourself

perks: filtered water, one-on-one instruction

sweat score: 4 out of 10 [/left][right]wear: comfortable clothes

instructor: Lissette Valdes

cost: single private apparatus session is $103* [/right] [line]

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The Georgetown Pilates studio is really tucked away, located in a gated collection of offices called Hamilton Court. If you’re having a hard time finding it, it’s almost directly across from the Georgetown Post Office on 31st Street. The gate should be open during normal business hours, but if not, there’s a call box to buzz in.

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Walk all the way to the back of the courtyard and head to the the right, where you’ll find a small pathway that leads to the front door. The entrance is hidden from the main area – I had to be directed via hand signal by one of the instructors already inside.

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Ta-da! Found it. You’ll be greeted at the front desk by one of the trainers, who will walk you through new client paperwork and give you a little tour of the studio. From the first moment I arrived, I knew this place was special. Everyone was extremely warm and welcoming, and the entire space gave off a calm, serene, spa-like vibe. There were no loud noises, there was no smell of sweat, there was plenty of space to move around in, it was well lit, and a member of the team was always available to answer questions. And the entire studio from top to bottom was gleaming with clean. Be still my heart.

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I tucked around the corner to the small bathroom to change into my workout gear. There is no changing room, but the bright, cheerful purple bathroom does the trick in a pinch. It’s stocked with a few essential toiletries should you need to freshen up after class. There’s also a hallway with a row of hooks and hangars for your coat or clothes. I’m so used to rolling up my work clothes and smushing them into my backpack, being able to hang them nicely was a total luxury.

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I almost forgot to mention this handsome fellow – the rescue pup who serves as chief-greeter, frazzled-nerves-corrector, and mayor of the studio. I’m sorry the photo is blurry, but the little guy was wagging his tail so hard it was difficult to catch him in stillness. Can you could see his amazing mustache collar? So fashionable! As an animal lover, it was a delight to be able to chill and de-stress with this dude before class. I know studies show animals in the workplace make for happier employees, but I think the same goes for customers too. Love!

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The session I had with Lissette was unlike any other Pilates class I had ever been to. I’ve tried the reformer at Reformation Fitness, and done mat classes at Fuse in Dupont and other places. But this was something else entirely. From start to finish, the entire class was tailored for my specific needs, whether I knew what those were or not. I mentioned a few target areas I’d like to work on, but as the session progressed, I realized that often times we would work on muscle imbalances or weaknesses I didn’t even knew I had (until I was hanging over the cadillac machine, shaking like a leaf, wondering where my core strength went).

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Every move, every breath was carefully guided and closely watched. I couldn’t get away with cheating if I tried. Lissette was right there to make sure every inhale and vertebrae was exactly where it needed to be. We worked on stretching, strength, and everything in between. I was pleasantly uncomfortable the entire time and sweating within 5 minutes, and it was wonderful – I knew I was in professional hands and trusted in the technique. After the warm up, I blurted out, “wow, I didn’t know Pilates was hard,” and got a few approving smiles and laughs. But really, I have never been to a class or session so focused or so challenging. It was absolutely wonderful.

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This smile is fake – the chair machine torture device was absolutely my least favorite part, probably because it so clearly highlighted my biggest weakness: my knees. A few reps on this thing and I was toast. My thighs were burning, my core was shaking, and I was looking at Lissette with an “are you serious” face of panic.  It was an eye-opener for sure, and made me realize how much work I still have to do to make sure my muscles are balanced. She calmly guided me through the exercise and encouraged me to do just a few more reps than I thought possible. That said, I was happy to leave this machine behind!

Here was my initial reaction after walking out the door:

It truly was mind blowing in every way. The studio was beautiful. The class was the most carefully constructed yet challenging Pilates session I had ever been to. It was completely customized and I never had any doubt that I was in the best, most professional hands available. I was greeted by name and spoken to genuinely. My clothes hung neatly on a hanger. The floor and equipment was sparkling clean. I got to pet an adorable dog.

Now, let’s get one thing straight – I’m a federal employee paying grad school loans and live within very real budgetary boundaries. At $103 per session, it should be this mind blowing and you pay for what you get. The honest truth is that I could not afford to come to this studio regularly, no matter how much I would love to. It’s just not in my budget at this point in my life. But if it is in your budget and you are looking for an incredible, one-of-a-kind Pilates studio to get you into tip top shape…this is the place for you. I wholeheartedly recommended the awesome work they do.

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What’s your favorite high-end exercise indulgence?

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*Georgetown Pilates generously waived the fee for this session. This review, including all of my opinions, are my own.

4 Comments

  1. mary @ minutes per mile March 20, 2013 / 12:51 pm

    Pilates sure can be pricy (especially in Georgetown! ha!) — my latest wallet-sucking fitness activity has been CrossFit. I go to a “cheaper” studio in Columbia Heights and it is still definitely high-end and high-cost compared to going on a (free!) run in rock creek park 😉

    • DC Fit Crasher March 21, 2013 / 7:54 am

      Mary – what CrossFit gym do you go to in Columbia Heights? I’m trying to keep tabs on all of them but so many new ones keep popping up I’m having a hard time! And hey, in my opinion the $$ is worth it to feel great and be healthy. So look at it as a worthy investment : )

  2. Logan @ Mountains and Miles March 20, 2013 / 2:02 pm

    My high end indulgence is yoga. Lucky for me, a studio (Core Power Yoga) that we had in the last place I lived (Colorado) just opened up two studios in the DC area and they have a “yoga for trade” program. So you sign up to be a “cleaner” and you clean the studio for two hours each week at at a specific day/time and you get free unlimited yoga! It’s the best deal ever because, like you, I’ve got grad school loans and I work at a non-profit, so I don’t really have an extra $120 or so lying around each month to pay for such luxuries.

    The Core Power Yoga studio in Georgetown opens up on March 29th – you should try it out! They are having a family and friends open house on the Thursday prior at 6:00pm, but you get a week free if you are a first-time student there! Their other studio is in Bethesda.

    • DC Fit Crasher March 21, 2013 / 7:52 am

      I have heard about the Core Power Yoga coming to Georgetown, so glad you reminded me. Thanks for the good tip! Hopefully I’ll see you there : )

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