SHEX Workout Reviews: Body Concept Pilates

SHEX Workout Reviews: Body Concept Pilates

By Sonia Su

Whether you’re seeking to eliminate back pain or to correct your bad posture from sitting in front of a computer all day, Pilates may be a worthwhile form of exercise.

Unlike what you typically associate with a workout—such as the occasional blood, sweat and tears—Pilates for beginners involves slow, repetitive exercises targeting specific muscle groups, such as in the abdomen, back and hips.

With two fully equipped studio locations in Shanghai, Body Concept Studio provides classes for every fitness level and rehabilitation services through Pilates-trained professional physiotherapists. Body Concept opened its Hongmei studio in 2011 and its Qinghai studio just last year, with its one-year anniversary on April 27.

First-timers have the option of taking a reformer trial class, which is 125 RMB or free with a package subscription. Having had no prior experience with Pilates, I booked the reformer trial class with instructor Dee Rawlins for a Sunday class at 10 a.m. at its Qinghai studio.

The entire class was conducted on a piece of equipment called a reformer, consisting of a bed frame 'with a sliding carriage and adjustable springs to regulate tension and resistance,’ according to Gaiam Life.

You can either book online or call your preferred location, especially if you’re not sure in which class level you belong. Located within a 10-minute walk from the West Nanjing Road metro station on the fifth floor, the mostly sunlit studio feels comfortably spacious.

As soon as I walked into reception, I was told to take off my sneakers. Since the receptionist was retrieving a locker key for the rest of my things, I figured I would wait. Upon repeating herself, I quickly took off my sneakers and placed them in the cubby under the coat rack before following her to the locker room in the back of the studio.

Wearing comfortable clothing and socks, I made my way to the lounge area to fill out a client information form, consisting of questions including medical history. Although the form itself does not take long to fill out, I recommend arriving at least 15 minutes early to complete the form and have time to get settled.

To my surprise, I would be the only one in this ‘class.’ Dee, who has been teaching Pilates for six years, told me that reformer classes are capped at three people, and for beginners, it is suggested that we take three private classes to learn the basic Pilates movements before joining others in a faster-paced class.

Throughout the hour-long class, Dee patiently and carefully walked me through each movement on the reformer. Trained by Polestar, the global provider of rehabilitation-based Pilates education, Dee was able to catch my slight scoliosis and tendency to lock my right knee before my left (my left knee encountered sudden pain whenever I walked a few years back—the reason is still unknown—so I underwent some physical therapy to try to strengthen my left thigh).