Written by 8:12 pm Fitness and Sports Views: [tptn_views]

I Worked Out With Hailey Bieber’s Trainer, Who Teaches the Most Exclusive Fitness Class in Hollywood

Sometimes the bars, restaurants, and social clubs that require you to leap through hoops to get into could be a letdown when you’ve actually experienced them. But the exclusivity of Forma Pilates, the LA- and NY-based Pilates studio led by Liana Levi that requires a referral from a current client to participate IRL, might actually be well worth the effort.

Full disclosure, I used to be amongst a lucky bunch of media folks who attended a recent event—placed on by beauty brand EVA-NYC for the launch of two latest hair masks, Mane Magic and Lift Off—where Levi took us through a series of workouts. So I didn’t should jump through said hoops. That said, if anyone reading this has the Forma referral hook-up, LMK.

Among those frequenting Forma for Levi’s workouts are Hailey Bieber, Bella Hadid, and Kendall Jenner simply to name a few star clients. The three Forma studios in Los Angeles cap classes at two to 4 students, and charge $100 a pop; in New York, it’s eight students for $75 each. (FWIW, you may access an online membership and not using a referral for $49.99 a month.)

Since, I haven’t experienced the in-person studio classes myself, I can’t say of course what happens behind closed doors to maintain such A-list clientele. But the sheer difficulty of getting in and the mystery of the best way to get on the guest list appear to be what makes this sort of exclusive fitness style work in a moment when most other fitness spaces try to change into more inclusive. While Levi’s referral-only rule could have begun as a pandemic precaution, this next-level, VIP-only eliteness has generated major intrigue.

What this exclusive workout is like

I recently got back into Pilates after a number of years of only doing split-style strength training, and I’m so glad I rekindled the connection. I practice totally on the reformer, which I find to be the right complement to heavily lifting days because it offers the prospect to concentrate on slow and controlled resistance training, stretching, and deep core activation.

But despite a familiarity with the workout methodology, after just a number of short minutes in Levi’s class, I already noticed my muscles quivering.

The celeb instructor introduced herself and explained that the 20-minute session can be broken up into 4 mini-workouts that were roughly five minutes each. While those that attend in-studio Forma classes typically use the reformer, this workout was entirely on the mat.

First was a series dedicated to core work—a staple of any Pilates routine. Levi’s moves got my abs fired up quickly, but she made sure to also goal the obliques, which, in my experience, differentiates Pilates from many other workouts: You expect to hit your core from all angles. I used to be also comfortable to shut out this primary series with a set of exercises that focused on small movements to strengthen the pelvic floor, which could be an often forgotten element of your core.

Next, we focused on the glutes with multiple variations on exercises like fire hydrants, clamshells, and glute kickbacks. Oh, and the way could I forget the set of glute bridges (single-leg and pulses included) that looked as if it would go on endlessly? Pilates devotees, and clearly Levi, know that strong glutes are the solid foundation to lots of the other movements you’ll do in school—not to say, life.

Then, we moved up the body to work the arms, shoulders, and back. What you may accomplish in five minutes—frankly, what number of push-ups you may be asked to perform in five minutes—is surprisingly so much. With no equipment at our disposal, Levi got creative with reverse planks, triceps dips, push-up variations, and more. My upper body was toasted by the tip of this section.

Last up was a little bit of a cardio burnout to take the entire routine home. Mountain climbers, bird dogs, oblique crunches, and plank pikes were all on the menu. After doing so many micro-movements, working my body with a bit more range of motion felt like a pleasant balance. But make no mistake: I used to be breathless by the tip of it.

Reminder: Pilates class is hard AF

One common misconception I find about Pilates is that it’s “easy” or not going to be a difficult workout. While sure, some classes focus more on stretching than others, most Pilates classes I’ve taken, including Levi’s, are tough AF. Smaller, controlled movements don’t have a big margin of error relating to form. You should stay focused and in your body (not your head) to push through these long sets.

And Levi brought the warmth along with her ability to make something which may look easy at first glance feel like death (aka total muscle fatigue) by a thousand reps. Levi has described her workouts as “athletic Pilates,” and he or she seems to mainly accomplish that through seemingly infinite reps. While I can’t say that I’ll find a way to realize access to the celeb-status studio anytime soon, I do know that taking Levi’s intense, fast-paced class solidified my love for Pilates even further.

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