Turns out the people of Preston love a booty workout. Of the 10 different classes offered at Pilates studio Core+, owner Louise St Leger says the most popular is Core Booty Reformer, a high-intensity leg and glute training session held on a reformer Pilates machine that’ll have you feeling the burn in minutes.
Core+ isn’t a traditional Pilates studio. While you might not break a sweat in a textbook reformer or mat Pilates class, you likely will here. After teaching yoga for 13 years, founder Amy King developed a fusion of yoga, Pilates and high-intensity gym workouts and opened her first studio in Malvern East in 2015. Now there are Core+ studios in Richmond, Port Melbourne and Hawthorn East. St Leger and her husband Arthur co-own the Preston studio – the first north side location, which they opened last year.
“It’s uplifting, motivating music, super energetic instructors, and fast-paced, dynamic classes,” St Leger says. “It’s an incredible workout. You’ll sweat buckets and really know you’ve had a great workout. As soon as you walk in you can feel the motivation and energy in the room.”
More often than not, gyms and Pilates studios are separate – though some high-end gyms such as Virgin Active offer Pilates classes, indicative of a growing demand for the low-impact fitness system. “We’re getting a lot of feedback that [members] like having all the elements under one roof,” St Leger says.
There are 70 weekly classes on offer. Reformer sessions include cardio, booty and athletic variations, all performed on Allegro 2 reformer beds. As you move the beds in and out, springs create added resistance for exercises that target specific muscles.
The mat Pilates room is kitted out with Manduka yoga mats and kept at around 32 degrees. “The heat causes your heart rate to go up, so you’re burning more energy,” says St Leger. That adds another level of intensity to classes such as Sweat and Flow Yoga. “[It’s] a vinyasa session flipped on its head, injected with a whole lot of energy,” St Leger says. “It's fun, but it’s still really powerful.”
The space is welcoming, comfortable and filled with natural light. A lounge area, largely grey and white with pops of red, sports a neon sign that gives you a good idea of what you’re in for: Do Sweat It. There’s also a “refuel station” where you can pick up kombucha and paleo bars post-workout.
Though most of the classes are intense, they’re all beginner-friendly, run by teachers trained to modify exercises as needed. It’s not an intimidating gym. “There’s a sense of community, with people making friends,” says St Leger.
You can sign up for an optional towel service, and change rooms are more hotel-like than gym-like, with hairdryers and complimentary deodorant, dry shampoo, micellar water, and even hair ties (for when you inevitably forget your own).
A single mat class is $25, a single reformer class is $30 and memberships start at $40 per week for unlimited mat classes. Introductory offers are also available.
Level 1, 555 High Street, Preston
(03) 9471 2376
Mon to Fri 6am–1pm, 4pm–9pm
This article was updated on April 15, 2019.