By Megan Reece
She called it the “teaser,” but if I could have named this Pilates move myself, it would have been the “trembler.” As Pilates instructor Stacy Hepp offered form corrections and compliments, I felt my abdominal muscles and legs shaking terribly. At last, sweet relief, Hepp released the class participants and finally let us stretch out completely on the floor.
Hepp teaches serial Pilates sessions through United Country and Gateway Natural Medicine. Ruth Gassner with United Country real estate said that Hepp is a business partner in the real estate office building and had expressed desire to teach a Pilates class to employees and members of the community. United Country and Gateway Natural Medicine sponsor the room for the class in order to keep costs low for the participants.
Hepp teaches her Pilates classes in month-long sessions. The new series picks up on Jan 5. The classes take place on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., upstairs in the United Country building, 1211 Lake Ave., in Gateway Park at the west end of town. Holding the class twice a week lets participants learn the moves well enough to begin perfecting them, and finally improving their performances.
Hepp charges a flat fee for each series, and so the number of participants ultimately determines how much each month will cost for each individual; the more people, the cheaper the price.
So here I am, shaking up a storm and sweating at the end of the class. Pilates is a core-strengthening workout. The core includes abdominal and back muscles, as well as the hip flexors, upper and inner thighs, the oblique muscles and some muscles in the rear end. When you have a strong core, you will be less likely to suffer from injuries anywhere on your body. And, despite the couple of moments when you might feel your legs detaching from your body, it’s an awful lot of fun.
Hepp is a fantastic instructor. She speaks clearly and is remarkably good at pinpointing areas where each individual participant needs work, and then correcting that area in a discrete manner. She also offers different difficulty levels for her participants. No one is expected to do everything exactly the same as anyone else; Hepp clarifies that Pilates is an individual workout. The different difficulty levels ensure that Pilates will not get boring, no matter how often you do it.
Before Hepp’s class started, I was feeling run-down and stretched thin from my long day. When Hepp walked in, she immediately brightened the room with her smile and her voice. She was cheery without being irritating; exactly what I look for in an exercise instructor. After the class, I felt re-energized and relaxed. My abdominal muscles were sore from all those “teasers,” but it was well worth it.
If you are looking to try Pilates for the first time, or are a long-time participant who wants a new challenge, join Hepp’s new session on Jan 5. Just show up in comfortable clothes. Bring a mat or two, as well as a beach towel for padding, and get ready for the core workout of your life.
<p><span style=”font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;”>Pilates instructor Stacy Hepp helps participant Cindi Fiechtner with her form.</span></p>