Fitness Friday: Body Precision Pilates
By LNapolitanoPsyD on March 26, 2014
Body Precision is a Pilates studio in Bryn Mawr. Beth Downey, the owner of Body Precision, opened this studio in 1995, well before Pilates was a well-known exercise. Body Precision offers private sessions, Reformer classes, mat classes, pole/tower classes, mixed equipment classes, pilates/yoga fusion classes and massage.
There are two primary reasons why people start doing Pilates. The first is a wish to be stronger and more physically fit. The second reason people start Pilates is due to injury (back pain is a frequent impetus to start Pilates). The instructors at Body Precision do a thorough physical assessment of your body’s strengths, weaknesses and injuries so that they can tailor your Pilates work to your particular needs. Beth states that while some people start Pilates to increase flexibility and decrease pain, most people continue doing Pilates because their pain diminishes and they find that their strength has increased. Pilates helps to ensure that your body stays uniformly developed (which prevents injuries), enhances the flexibility of your spine, and offers an ever-changing workout. Pilates, more than virtually any other type of exercise, has the capacity to grow with your body as you get stronger. At the Body Precision studio, there are offerings for the physically fit individual craving a challenging workout, the individual recovering from an injury, and the older adult who is maintaining his/her flexibility and strength.
My Introduction to Body Precision Pilates
I knew of Body Precision Pilates for years before I finally opened the front door. I never quite understood Pilates. Was it like physical therapy? Why are there so many machines? Doesn’t anyone else think that it looks like a dungeon torture chamber? I took a few mat Pilates classes at Main Line Health & Fitness a few years ago with Susan Gore (who also works at Body Precision) and while I liked them, I felt like it wasn’t hard-driving enough for me. Unless I could break my foot while doing it, I wasn’t interested.
Fast forward to this past summer. I (finally) broke my foot while running and I was totally out of commission. While I sat on my couch with a bag of frozen peas on my foot, it occurred to me that I should try Pilates in order to stay fit.
I took several private sessions and one mat Pilates class at Body Precision. The learning curve felt steep initially. I felt like I was unlearning all of my weight training experience. Pilates involves very slow, controlled movements with an emphasis on proper breathing. I was floored by how clueless I felt at the beginning. I was exhaling when I should have been inhaling. I was arching my back and not tucking my torso. It was a scene. As I progressed, however, I could better sync my breathing with my movements and I started to really enjoy the work.
The icing on the cake for me was having a private session with Beth Downey, the owner of Body Precision. Getting a private session with her is like getting a table at Le Cirque for a Saturday night. I found her to be warm and genuinely invested in her clients’ ability to progress in their fitness at her studio. She demonstrated an incredibly sophisticated understanding of back pain and how to rehabilitate her clients. She took me through a variety of Pilates exercises and even showed me very advanced moves that I might someday execute with ease. It was incredibly inspirational.
Curious to Check It Out? Here’s What You Need to Know
- Start with private sessions to get an assessment of your body and to learn the basic breathing and foundational exercises.
- There is a locker room (with locks provided) for your personal belongings.
- You need to purchase ‘Pilates socks’ – basically they are socks with sticky pads on them so that you don’t slip on the equipment. They sell these socks at the studio. I bought them in canary yellow so that they are easy to find in my sock drawer.
Typical person at this gym:
- 75% women/25% men.
- Age range runs the gamut. The man next to me at my last session was 91 years old. He was funny, too.
What You Should Wear:
- Wear something functional for flexible movement.
- Bring your Pilates socks.
Anything Else You Should Know:
- Booking classes can be done online. It’s very efficient.
- There is ample parking at the building.
- Pilates sessions can be tailored to your physical needs as well as your social needs: couples often schedule sessions together and there are small groups of friends that schedule semi-private classes together. I think this is an incredible feature of this studio. How fun!
About Body Precision Pilates
28 Garrett Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Lauren Napolitano, Psy.D.
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