Love Athletica studios are becoming known around Melbourne for remixing the typical reformer Pilates formula with elements of strength training, cardio and yoga, and an upbeat soundtrack of R’n’B and house.
“It’s all rolled into one to give [people the] option of not going to multiple studios to get all that,” says co-owner Caroline Knipe of the classes she and her partner Mat Knipe created together.
They opened their original Hawthorn East studio in May 2018, followed by a second studio in Malvern East in early 2019, and a third studio in Windsor in November 2019. An inner-city studio is on the way for mid-2020.
Prior to opening the first studio, the pair weren’t in the fitness game – but you can see glimmers of their previous lives at Love Athletica.
Mat worked in the music industry and is behind the rotating playlists that back up the studios’ workouts. He’s been known to drop tracks by Cardi B, Frank Ocean, Beyoncé, Kanye, and even the occasional Mariah classic (the trainers wear mics to be heard).
Caroline has been the co-owner of interior-design business Most Wanted for 15 years. Each of the studios started as new concrete shells with plenty of natural light underneath apartment blocks. The exposed ceilings, polished concrete floors and white tongue-and-groove panelled walls are offset by peach-coloured perforated metal screens, furniture and merchandise, including LA-branded sweaters (for Love Athletica).
“It’s inspired by the California lifestyle – a bit of Palm Springs,” Caroline says. “[All our studios] have a consistent aesthetic [as well as] their own flavour.”
At the Windsor studio, which is the largest yet, a neon LA sign is artfully framed by dried palm fronds, and behind the oak reception desk there’s a digitally printed wallpaper by Melbourne artist Georgie Wilson.
Windsor has 20 Allegro 2 reformer beds (five more than at Malvern East) in the 230-square-metre space. There are velvet-curtained change rooms, keypad lockers with phone chargers and two toilets (but no showers).
There are three class styles, but workouts will vary slightly depending on the trainer. The standard LA class includes five minutes of yoga at the end to “stretch out those muscles we worked throughout the session”, according to head trainer Abby Smith. LA Lite is similar, but shorter and aimed at beginners, and LA Hour is the last class of the day, combining 45 minutes of reformer Pilates with an extended 15 minutes of yoga.
“We have two bouts of cardio in each class, which over time we’ve had to ramp up as our clients have gotten stronger,” Smith says. “We make sure we target every single part of the body in each class so clients can leave feeling long, strong and centred.”
Casual classes cost $30; class packs of five cost from $135; and monthly class passes range from $160 (for eight) to $280 (for 20). A $50 introduction pack includes five classes and is valid for 14 days.
Love Athletica Windsor
5 Victoria Street, Windsor
(03) 8060 6725