Ultimate Fitness, a spacious gym hidden away on a small street in Port Moody, is a place where you’ll find all kinds of people training. There are serious bodybuilders and pro athletes sweating hard and fine-tuning their impressive bodies; there are also lots of old guys trying to keep their joints moving and young moms taking an hour of “me-time” to get back their pre-pregnancy bodies.
It’s practically a secret that every Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m., any Ultimate Fitness member can take part in Marina Filatova’s relaxing yet demanding Pilates class in a large upstairs studio. Non-members can join the class on a drop-in basis for $10.00.
In October, the last of the evening’s golden light illuminates the studio as Marina leads her small group through stretching, yoga poses, and muscle-burning routines on the mats. Her music CDs include both soothing and upbeat sections to establish rhythms for our moves and our breathing. Her voice, giving us instructions about our body positions, becomes part of the familiar rhythm of the class, as does her constant reminder, “Remember to breathe.”
I first joined Marina’s class three years ago, following the lead of a fellow gym member and running teammate. At that time, I was still a competitive runner at the Masters (40+) level. As a top-ranked distance runner for my age group, I thought I was pretty fit: but my first Pilates class was a humbling experience! I realized that my back muscles were weak, my balance was poor and my flexibility was pitiful.
I became an immediate convert to Pilates.
What benefits does Pilates offer?
- It develops strength in virtually every muscle of the body
- It increases flexibility
- It improves posture, balance and gracefulness
- It is not just a physical exercise, but a kind of meditation during which you become in tune with your body
I look forward to Marina’s class as a time of disciplined relaxation. Her love of Pilates is reflected in her radiant face as she leads her class. Her voice conveys a mixture of compassion and steely encouragement. Like any great teacher, she is able to teach to a range of abilities; she welcomes beginners with careful instructions and encouragement, but she pushes advanced participants with new and challenging exercises.
Pilates is now an essential part of my fitness schedule. Soon after I started doing Pilates, I tore a ligament and cartilage in my right knee. Two surgeries could not cure the damage, and I can no longer run. Pilates sped up my recovery from knee surgery. More importantly, it has enabled me to accept the loss of running; I’ve found joy in a new way of
expressing myself physically. I now have better flexibility, balance and overall body strength than when I was an elite runner.
When you walk out of Marina’s Pilates class, you’ll feel great for the rest of the evening–I promise!
Marina Filatova is a BCPRA Certified Instructor. She is also certified as a Pilates teacher.
Ultimate Fitness is located at 3082 Spring Street in Port Moody. Phone 604-461-1521 for gym information.