Core Studio

By on April 9, 2011

I moved into a new Toronto neighborhood this past winter and decided to start exploring my local fitness options. I stumbled upon a few great yoga deals in the city from those daily deal sites and quickly took advantage of them with a couple of my close girl friends. Hot-yoga became a new favorite Thursday evening pastime of ours. What could be better than getting your fitness on with good friends and finishing the evening off feeling long, lean, stretched and relaxed?

This was, and still is, enjoyable to me but I felt like I needed a bit more. In a previous article I had mentioned how I use to train quite frequently at a boutique studio called “The Body Temple” and the trainers there would kick my butt into shape and because of this I am use to workouts that leave me in that good pain the next day where you can barely sit down. Hot-yoga is challenging in a certain aspect but not completely satisfying as a whole for me. So I decided to do a bit of research on this pilates trend I kept hearing so much about.

“Pilates (pronounced: puh-lah-teez) improves mental and physical well being, increases flexibility, and strengthens muscles through controlled movements done as mat exercises or with equipment to tone and strengthen the body (Wikipedia).” In addition, pilates increases circulation and helps to sculpt the body and strengthen the body’s “core” or “powerhouse” (torso.) People who do pilates regularly feel they have better posture, are less prone to injury, and experience better overall health.

During one of the warmer weeks in March I found myself walking along Queen Street West one day doing a bit of window shopping while sipping on my usual unsweetened, iced green tea from Starbucks when I noticed a circular street sign with the words “Core Studio” in green and blue letters. I took a quick mental note of it and kept on walking. When I returned home that day, finding a pilates studio was still on my mind so I did a quick Google search for “pilates in Toronto.” I browsed through the first few listings and halfway down I saw “Best Pilates in Toronto” and below it was the listing for Core Studio.

I clicked on the first link, which obviously lead me to an entry from BlogTO and found that Core Studio took the number two spot for best pilates studio in the city. This brought me much excitement, as I am an avid “Best of Toronto” reader from BlogTO and also someone who enjoys the best of the best. So far this was working out well.

Completely disregarding the “number one” spot on the blog for whatever reason, I clicked the back button on my firefox and went straight to the Core Studio website (it was obvious I had already made an unconscious decision.) To my surprise I see an offer for two weeks unlimited for $40. My excitement continued to enhance! I found the website easy to navigate, organized, simple and straight to the point. The site offered me the exact information that I was seeking – who, what, when, where, and why… (This gave the studio bonus points in my nerdy opinion.)

I noticed that they offered a full schedule of pilates (which was my main focus anyway) and also a selection of yoga classes that mainly took place in the evening. I prefer to workout earlier in the day so the pilates schedule worked out perfectly. I decided that my first class would be at noon the following day.

As I approach the familiar round street sign, I open the door to find a flight of stairs I have to travel up. Yippy!  As I finally reach the top I notice a sign saying something along the lines of “please take off your shoes” – don’t quote me. This slightly irritates me but I’m use to it from the yoga studio I attend so I slip my shoes off and forget about the irritation quickly as I walk through the door and see I’m instantly greeted by an extremely friendly receptionist wearing a big smile.

I was relieved to know that I was not in some stuck-up atmosphere (which I despise.) I mention to the woman that I am a new customer; I was referred to through the website and am interested in signing up for the two week unlimited option to see if the studio is a good fit for me. She explained to me that the deal includes all of the yoga classes and some of the pilates mat and reformer classes and I could find all of the exact information on the website if I had any more questions. Good enough for me!
As I sat down to complete my paperwork I took quick notice of my surroundings and I was very happy to find that the place was not only neat and tidy but also extremely clean. There was a cozy feeling about the place that made you feel at home. The exposed brick walls give it that unique, rustic old city feeling. I signed a few forms and I was ready to get back into the hallway to conquer another two sets of stairs heading to the second floor studio. I was feeling a bit lost, (after all it was my first time,) but the other people who were going to be taking the class with me were more than helpful. They guided me into the walk-in closet where all of the equipment is stored and helped me pick out which pieces we would be using during the class.

To my surprise, the class was small; an intimate class of about six of us. The instructor, Alice, waltzed into the room with a big smile on her face, cracking a few jokes to her regulars and asking everyone if they had any specific area that they wanted to focus on that day. She brought into the room with her this feeling of an almost immediate form of comfort. She looked at me, smiled, and asked me my name. As we laid down on the mats to begin our workout I noticed that the silliness in Alice’s voice quickly disappeared and she became much more serious about her practice. Her voice was very soothing, yet confident and firm. I immediately recognized that she was an expert and I was in good hands.

During the class one of the first things I noticed was that she knew every single person’s name and continued to repeat mine to become better acquainted with me. I couldn’t believe how personal she was with everyone! Not only did she know their names but she also knew what each individual’s strengths and weaknesses were for improvement and motivation – very impressive customer service.

It was obvious that it was my first time as I kept glancing over at every one else for guidance to see what move was coming next. However, just because I was a newbie didn’t mean that I received any less attention than those who were regulars. If anything I received more attention so that I wasn’t doing anything improperly that would possibly result in hurting myself. Alice came over and pinpointed what I was doing wrong and then when I did something right she acknowledged it. It was highly motivating and definitely built my confidence in whichever area I excelled.

The class was so fun and interactive. I was immediately in love with pilates! I felt as if I had a quick and efficient workout that briefly touched upon each body part. I love full body workouts. Needless to say, I was excited for my next class! I planned on taking full advantage of my unlimited two weeks.

As the class ended, I returned to the change room  (which I will note is a tad small with no place to put your valuables but I quickly learned that the instructors don’t make a fuss if you bring your wallet/phone into the class with you as long as it’s on silent of course,) grabbed my coat and headed towards the receptionist to inquire about how to book another class. She informed me that the website is updated regularly and that I could book, cancel and even eventually pay online all through the website. Being the Internet nerd that I am I was thrilled hearing this helpful piece of information.

Since it was my first time she was more than wiling to discuss my options with me and book my next class. I chose to do a mat/reformer class seeing as how I was so interested in the machines I saw in the room adjacent to the waiting room. Within a few clicks of the mouse I was booked for a Thursday afternoon mat/reformer class and I couldn’t have been more excited!

Thursday came and I arrived early in case I had to fill out any more paperwork for this specific class considering the machines themselves looked like some form of torturing device or sexual contraption (haha.) I waited patiently to begin the class that Keri was teaching. I noticed on this day the women in this particular class were older than the one I had previously taken with Alice.  Again, Keri also came in with a smile on her face asking all of us what we would prefer to work on that day. She quickly noticed a new face and asked me my name.

As we performed the extremely unique exercises on these fascinating machines I began to realize an obvious objective of this studio was all about being on personal levels with the students. Also, Keri was extremely professional and made sure to bring awareness to what your body shouldn’t be doing during the exercises that might lead to discomfort and pain later on. This was probably the coolest machine I have ever been on – you can do so much with it! You can tone different parts of the body at the same time and even use it for stretching and cardio.

The next day I definitely felt it in my body and I was so happy. I couldn’t stop bragging about this place –especially those fantastic reformer machines– to my roommate. Throughout the two weeks I had tried a few different classes but felt partial to my existing yoga studio so I didn’t return for any of the yoga classes. The coreflow class was one I would return to and obviously the two classes I mentioned that I couldn’t get enough of.

My two-week pass quickly adjourned and I still couldn’t get enough. I decided to inquire on how to become a regular member of this fabulous studio. I went through the ‘core rates’ with the receptionist and noted to her that I am more of a daytime person when it comes to working out. Then she offered me a piece of information that sold me. Corestudio offers unlimited memberships to classes up until 4:30pm daily (and separate unlimited memberships for the entire day of course.) This is perfect for someone like me! And, if you need to put the membership on hold for whatever reason they honor the days you would lose – they don’t want you paying for something you aren’t using. How fabulous! I was sold and immediately I signed up.

It has been almost a month since I joined Core Studio. Paired with cardio on my own as often as I can and a minimum of two pilates classes per week, I have definitely seen a difference. My body is quickly shaping up exactly how I pictured it would for summer– I’m definitely on the right track. I cannot wait to see the results in months to come, as I know I will be sticking with this studio for as long as I live in this neighborhood. The class times are perfect for me, I can schedule and cancel as I need to and the classes are so intimate it feels as if I am working one-on-one with the instructors with the added motivation of others. Each instructor presents a different flair, and the continued variety keeps the classes exciting and challenging. Bravo to Monica for training her staff the way she has.

Corestudio’s rates are extremely reasonable in comparison to others in the city – and believe me, I have done my research. They offer yoga mat rentals for $1.00 and water bottle purchases under the honor system – how sweet! The instructors are highly skilled individuals. Prior to writing this article I did a bit of research on other reviews and it seems as if the majority of them are five stars positive – bravo Core I’m addicted!

A little more about Core:
– Core is a boutique style studio that offers smaller class sizes to ensure individualized attention and high-quality instruction. Featuring 20-foot ceilings and exposed brick.
– Get into shape with Pilates Bootcamp, increase flexibility with Yin Yoga, sweat it out with heated Detox Flow, relax deeply with Restorative Yoga or tone your core with Pilates Mat. There are classes for everyone from beginners to experienced students.
– Core also offers one-on-one private session, duet sessions and off-site sessions. This studio is really all about catering to the satisfaction of their customer.

If you do end up going, I’d love to hear about your experience. Feel free to email me at natashaj@torontocitygossip.com
Enjoy!
xoxo

www.corestudio.ca

About Natasha Nicole

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