Hanging in There

alycea-ungaro-real-pilates-by-tribeca-citizenrebecca-sadek-resizeAbout the author: Rebecca Sadek (left) is a Tribeca-based health and wellness coach (eatrightnyc.com) who received her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She believes that being healthy is not about restraint or isolation and works with her clients to help them find a balance that works for them and their lifestyle.

With all the different kinds of gyms and exercise studios in Tribeca, it’s hard to know where to go, which classes to try, and which teachers are best. My strategy is to try as many different options as possible until you find what makes you sweat—and puts a smile on your face while doing it. What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll get a workout that you didn’t enjoy. On the other hand, you might get hooked on something new.

Alycea Ungaro’s Real Pilates has just introduced two new suspension training classes, Pure STS and Pilates STS. Even though I live on Duane Street, I’ve passed by the studio half a million times but never been inside. I’ve never tried Pilates, and I must admit that part of me was scared to. Flexibility isn’t my strong point: Yoga is very difficult for me and I always imagined that Pilates was a more complicated version of yoga. And yet I found it hard to resist when Real Pilates announced it was giving away free STS classes so that people could try them out.

The last thing I wanted to do on yet another rainy morning in March was get up and work out, let alone try something new, but I was pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome. Real Pilates is a very small studio that clearly prides itself on personal attention. Even the owner, Alycea Ungaro, is there to answer questions as you walk in.

alycea-ungaro-real-pilates2-by-tribeca-citizen2I was led downstairs to a room with about 12 mats, over which hung straps attached to metal poles. The class was full and each of us had our own mat and suspension system. I was signed up for the Pure STS class, which I learned was very different from Pilates. The class is a unique combination of strength training, flexibility, and balance. You hold the straps in your hands or your feet, moving them in different directions and angles to target various muscle groups, all while engaging your core. The instructor, Jessie, took it slow at first, walking us through how to use the straps and where to stand while doing the various movements. Once we got the hang of things, she turned it up and notch and I really started to sweat. You could control the difficulty by where you stood or how far into the poses you pushed your body. I enjoyed doing squats because the system allowed me to go much deeper than I am normally able to. I was able to get through the entire workout, but there were moments where my entire body was shaking. This is an advanced workout, but like anything you can do it at your own speed and your own level.

Alycea Ungaro decided to incorporate suspension training classes into her studio because “Pilates is all about the core,” she said. “It was clear that this was a great way to compliment the classic Pilates training and offer a simpler training system for people who might be afraid of Pilates but desperately need core training.”  As someone who is admittedly scared of Pilates, I have to agree that the Pure STS class was a challenging and fun core workout that I would definitely like to fit into my regular workout routine.

Previous articles by Rebecca Sadek:
The Tracy Anderson Way


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