Mary Beth Young may have recently relocated her business, The Pilates Advantage, to an antique barn in Cannondale but there’s nothing rustic at all about her exercise studio. It’s bright and airy, and filled with several Pilates machines, including Reformers, Cadillacs, Chair and Barrels.
There’s also a smaller studio on the first floor where instructors teach a variety of floor classes, including Pilates mat, Pilates barre, non-impact cardio formats and body sculpting. The Pilates Advantage offers both group and private lessons.
A Wilton resident of 28 years, Young has been teaching fitness for even longer. Along the way she became certified in several different fitness modalities including ACE Group Fitness Instructor Certification, AFAA Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor, Mad Dogg Spinning Instructor Certification, and YogaFit.
“I started teaching aerobics in basements before they had gyms, before they had studios, I was teaching aerobics and I taught in Wilton in one of the Churches for a while and as the industry grew I kept getting more certified. As I kept going through the industry, one of my big goals was to become certified in yoga, then I started Pilates and realized this is whats going to keep me going in my old age,” Young says.
Pilates became her primary passion and commitment. She has achieved several certifications in Pilates and continues to study it.
“When I started studying Pilates, I realized it’s all about correct form and movement and I always had the sharp eye for that, but I never had the tools as a personal trainer, they never really teach you to fix certain things like that. Pilates changes the quality of a person’s movement,” Young explains.
Pilates is a form of fitness involving stretching and engaging different muscle groups through fluid, continuous movement. Created by Joseph Pilates shortly after the start of the first World War, the method focuses on toning, lengthening and strengthening muscles as well as promoting proper body alignment.
“It involves stretching but also a really good workout. Joseph Pilates whole idea was to have people move without putting a whole lot of pressure on their joints,” says Young, adding, “We move the body in all motions; flexion, extension, rotation, and lateral movement, through the exercises.”
Whether using the apparatus or doing Pilates on a mat on the studio floor, every exercise is performed with that movement technique as the goal.
Young says Pilates is a good compliment to other forms of exercise that are popular with Wilton residents, including spin classes and yoga.
“This is the smartest form of exercise because it helps prevent injury in other exercises as well as in the class,” she says.
There are group classes in both floor pilates and on the machines. Young offers private lessons as well. “Privates are ideal, but we offer less expensive lessons on the machines in a class, because I try to make it affordable for everyone who can come, my prices are less then the surrounding area because I want people to come more than once a week. A private is ideal because you come in, we take a look at the way you move.”
She also has an incentive for first-time visitors.
“Any person who comes to the studio, we offer them introductory and a private class downstairs so that they can get a feel because it’s very different from all other exercises.”
Moving her business from Georgetown to Wilton has also been something Young says she is very pleased about.
“I’ve taught all over the place—Norwalk, Redding, Bethel, Ridgefield, and then I opened my own studio in 2007 in Georgetown and then we grew out of our space. So I was looking for a new space and this popped up and it was great, it was so smooth so easy, and its been a really great transition for us, I love being back in Wilton.”
This fall Young says she plans to start new beginner group lessons on the Pilates machines. Beginner classes will be held on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:30 p.m.. There will also be a Basic Mat Class for beginners, which covers the five basic principles of Pilates.
For more information on class schedules and class prices, visit the Pilates Advantage website. Pilates Advantage is located at 444 Danbury Rd..