Michelle Gallarelli, owner of the new Club Pilates in Oviedo, became interested in Reformer Pilates while she was struggling with an autoimmune disease after nearly eight years of treatments.
“My entire life changed,” Michelle says of her illness. “I went from one extreme – raising three small kids and being physically active – to trying to just function daily.”
Michelle’s sister-in-law encouraged her to try Pilates, but she was skeptical.
“I tried a half-hour intro class,” Michelle remembers. “I did the class and thought, ‘Wow, I actually did a half-hour of exercise,’ which I hadn’t done in five years without pain.”
Within two years, Michelle started her 500-hour comprehensive Pilates certification and sought to open her own studio.
Essential to the workout model at Club Pilates is the Reformer, a versatile piece of equipment which makes hundreds of stretching and strengthening exercises possible through resistance and assistance.
“It allows your body to go into a spine-neutral position and engage your core, which is a safe way to protect your back and your neck,” says Michelle. “It puts everything in functional alignment, aligning your spine, hips, knees, ankles... right down the line. It’s very safe, very controlled.”
The Reformer was designed by Joseph Pilates, himself, as rehabilitative equipment. It helps to correct any inequalities in your muscle strength so you can vary workout intensity and resistance depending on your ability. It makes the exercise accessible to anyone.
“No matter where you’re at in your life and what your body is able to do, you can do this,” says Michelle. “This completely changed my life and gave me back something that I had lost.”
After seeing the change in her own body, Michelle knew she wanted to share her passion with others.
“For me, it was definitely a passion, and I felt so strongly about bringing it to other people.”
Club Pilates is a small boutique studio, not a big-box gym. Comprehensively certified instructors teach 12-person classes and know their members by name.
“Instructors know what’s going on with each member and make individualized modifications based on their bodies, allowing the member to exercise in a way that is safe for their body while maintaining the flow and camaraderie of the group class,” says Michelle.
The studio offers 80 classes, 7 days a week. There are 9 different class formats, which also utilize TRX, barre, springboard, exo chair, and weights as well as other apparatus.
“We’ve had an incredible response in this community,” says Michelle. “I love Club Pilates and what it represents. It’s feel-good exercise. When I leave class, I feel like I’m an inch taller, my waist an inch smaller, and everything just feels looser, lengthened, and strengthened.”