A small fitness studio opened in South Barrington 11 years ago, teaching the Joseph Pilates method of physical fitness—one which focuses on controlled movements that build a strong core and improve coordination and balance. Since it opened, a number of fitness competitors have come to Barrington offering all kinds of exercise programs, but Pilates Studio 6 is still going strong.
“It’s not a fad,” says Chris Girard, owner of Pilates Studio 6 and a certified instructor. Girard took a class on a whim after seeing an ad for it, and in just six lessons, she knew she wanted to be a teacher. “Nothing had ever made me feel like this.”
Her studio first opened in 2007 with only two instructors; now it has five teachers and offers one-on-one instruction six days and three nights a week. “Everyone is in a rush, and at every corner, there’s a new fitness place. People try new things and push themselves, but they’re doing things that aren’t realistic for people their age,” she says. “Pilates is tried and true.”
The Pilates method uses your own body weight as opposition. Pilates Studio 6 features equipment from Gratz, the original manufacturer of Pilates apparatus and the industry’s best. Pilates classes work a lot of smaller muscles, which in turn, help build and strengthen larger muscles.
“We use a lot of smaller muscles during everyday activities—picking up kids, carrying groceries, climbing stairs—and Pilates makes all those movements feel easier. Your body almost becomes addicted to it. You feel really good and strong,” Girard says. Plus, you look better. Clothes fit better. In fact, one of the most common questions Girard gets is how she has developed such strong arms. One word: Pilates.
A big part of the Pilates method is also mental. You have to think about each movement and focus on how your muscles are working. That’s why focused, personalized classes are so beneficial. For someone new to Pilates, Girard recommends calling to set up an appointment where an instructor can learn about your body and understand your goals. Then, she recommends attending classes at least twice a week. Each session helps you stretch, strengthen, and gain more control—of the entire body. “It’s sort of magic,” Girard says. “What other exercise does that?”
“We’ve been around for 11 years. We’re a little studio, and we’re not in town,” Girard says. “We’ve grown our studio by word of mouth, and that says a lot. But it’s not because of us; it’s because of Joseph Pilates. His method is amazing; it’s genius. And the reason we’re successful is because we’re sticking to it.”
Pilates Studio 6 is located at 6 Pembury Way in South Barrington, 847-602-8001, pilatesstudio6.com.