Though located in a sidewalk-level studio near the corner of Fullerton and Southport, Core Connection feels worlds away from the bustle just beyond its front doors. The large, long room boasts a tidy line of reformer equipment, the plank-like sliding pieces used to perfect pilates moves, as well as a bounty of exercise balls, mats, bosus and bicycles. The atmosphere here is relaxed and comfortable; you'll find carpeting and camaraderie rather than sterile smiles and competitive gym-mates.
As the name implies, expect to focus mainly on your core muscles, either through pilates, spinning classes or gyrokinesis, an exercise system that uses circular and spiraling motion to boost coordination, strength and flexibility. You may feel a bit silly spinning and twirling, but gyrokinesis is said to deliver serious results; it's also a great counterbalance to the linear movements of most pilates exercises.
Classes: Core Connection offers private, semi-private (two student) and group exercise classes in pilates, spinning and gyrokinesis. Even without the five-student limit on pilates mat classes, the studio is rarely crowded and instructors emphasize their willingness to answer questions or discuss routines. Sixty-minute private pilates lessons cost $70, and 45-minute group mat classes are $18. Classes are held Monday through Saturday, generally once or twice a day, and require advance registration.
Extras: Print off the coupon on Core Connection's website for a free spinning or pilates mat class (for first-time clients only). Or, buy in bulk to get significant savings in return for your significant commitment. A 20-session pilates mat class card will set you back $240, saving you $100 in total.
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Rockwood