Reforming the Pilates form

Pilates instructor Kate strikes a power pose. 347289_02 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Sahar Foladi

Genesis Health and Fitness Dandenong have given residents the opportunity to get back in shape with the revival of Reformer Pilates.

Invented first in 1920, this form of Pilates had phased out but is now being introduced for the first time in Dandenong.

“We have young people doing it, their mothers, athletes and beginners – there aren’t many forms of exercise that have appeal to such a wide range of people and that’s why we wanted to bring it to Dandenong,” Genesis studio owner Sudesh Mudaliar said.

“Due to the unique nature of the reformer machine, it can be both challenging for those who want that and supportive for those who need it.”

Mr Mudaliar took over the ownership of the health club and kicked off works in maintenance and membership with a vision for the club to be inclusive to all.

“The membership was really low, the gym and equipment were very old and looked very tired.

“I spent well over half a million dollars in gym equipment and maintenance. I wanted to change the profile of the typical person coming to the gym.”

He made the shift from Caulfield where Reformer Pilates is more popular.

“For me to bring Reformer Pilates to Dandenong was a huge question mark but I thought there’s definitely a need.

“We’ve had a really good uptake from locals and especially young people, so far it’s great.”

Men in their 70’s, elderly and middle aged women to young girls from 18 years of age and up have shown keen interest in reformers.

Since Covid there has been a shift in people’s priorities when it comes to their health and fitness.

According to a survey of Genesis members, 54 per cent have changed their approach to fitness and health as a result of the pandemic, with 64 per cent focused more on wellness and how exercise makes them feel mentally as well as physically.

Kate Tham is a Genesis instructor of 10 years now and is literally addicted to reformer Pilates when she was trained six months ago.

“I got into Pilates because I’ve been doing a lot of sports and wanted to do where it won’t cause injuries and that I could carry on with for the rest of my life.

“Reformer Pilates is growing and has boomed this year. I think people are starting to try it and become addicted like me,” she said.

“It wasn’t a thing when we had Covid, F45 and HIIT was in at that time but people are catching onto Reformer now. I think once people try reformer they’ll absolutely be gobsmacked on how awesome it is.”

Ms Tham has been a sports instructor her whole life in different fields and has also taught taekwondo.

“Mr Mudaliar’s vision to include people who were scared of joining the gym or have never joined the gym through reformer has been the best ever.

“It has definitely brought a whole new group of people that were never interested in joining a gym,” she said.

With only 14 Reformer Pilates machines in the Genesis studio, the small classes cater to all ages and fitness levels.

Naomi June Bliss has been a member of Genesis for around nine years now.

While she initially joined to build her strength exposure to new initiatives such as this has also shifted her mind on fitness.

“When Reformer came around I figured I want to improve more than just my strength, I wanted to improve my flexibility and well-being of my mind.

“The great thing about reformer is that anyone can join and work on the machine in their pace.”

The introduction of Reformer Pilates at Genesis Dandenong is part of a large-scale upgrade that will also see the introduction of a small group personal training space, Coaching Zone, before the end of the year.

The club also offers group fitness classes such as Yoga, BodyPump and BodyAttack along with 24/7 access, cardio, ladies only gym, heated swimming pool and sauna.