A few weeks ago I worked my butt off with Lee Melamed, a certified Pilates instructor at Fine Tune Pilates – located in Toronto’s Roncesvalles Village and probably one of the cutest boutique pilates studios I’ve ever been to. The studio is a bright room with a reformer, a bunch of pilates equipment and lots of mirrors – perfect for checking form. Brittany Murphy is the lovely owner of the studio and is one of the city’s foremost authorities in the Pilates industry. She opened the studio in 2014 and has been teaching since ’09. When I first learned about Fine Tune, I was immediately drawn to their mission: small movements for big change and that Pilates is for everyone at any stage of their journey in life and embodiment. I love that Fine Tune is all about ‘feeling your finest’, which doesn’t just include physical body work, but increasing self love, putting a smile on your face, improving quality of life and strengthening the mind. It’s totally a mind-body workout. LOVE it!
During my workout I was dressed from head to toe in JUJA Active – amazing active wear that aims to empower women to feel confident in their skin, which is something I love! I felt so awesome in my gear and I love how their workout clothing is fashionable enough to wear from the gym to the grocery store. Check out their website and receive 15% by entering MM15 at checkout.
Although I didn’t take my private session with Brittany, I did get to chat with her to learn more about her studio and what keeps her balanced in life.
Megan: Where did you become certified as a Pilates instructor?
Brittany: Body Harmonics
M: How did you get into Pilates?
B: I was always very active – I went to the gym, ran, and tried lots of fitness classes. I was in my undergrad in Music at the time, and my professor suggested I try Pilates for my breathing when singing. I connected with Pilates after my first class. I never looked back, I made music my hobby and made Pilates my career!
M: What is your favourite benefit of Pilates?
B: There are so many, but for me I feel better coordinated, more in control of my body, and self-aware when I’m doing Pilates consistently.
M: Pilates seems to use the mind, just as much as the body – can you explain that mind-body connection?
B: I think we’re all so busy, and there are so many distractions that take us out of our bodies. Setting aside time – sans phone – to tune into what your body is telling you is what Pilates is all about. Yes, your body needs exercise, but when you focus on what you need in your workout it becomes much more efficient. That’s why Pilates works!
M: And it’s SO true. When I was taking my class with Lee she would have me do an exercise and then repeat it but have me focus on a specific part of my body. Once I focused all my attention on that one part of my body, the movement totally changed, I could feel different muscles and my technique improved ten-fold.
M: In your studio, do you just use the reformer? Or do you also use the mat?
A. We really use a mix of the reformer, and the Wunda chair – which are both resistance based machines, and mat work exercises. Even the most basic mat work exercise uses the idea of resistance to work muscles as they contract and lengthen. That’s where the long lean Pilates body comes from!
M: What’s the benefit of having a one-on-one class as opposed to a group class?
B: In a solo session we can focus on what your unique body needs that day. Group classes are great too, they really help with general fitness and flexibility. Solo sessions you can really learn about your own body, and make major moves toward your personal goals.
M: It was my first solo class and I loved how Lee focused on just me the whole time. She made sure my ribs, pelvis, legs, stomach, chest, etc. were in the perfect position for every exercise and she ensured my breathing was harmonious with my movements. If I was doing something wrong or was out alignment, she would correct me immediately. I loved it!
M: How do you balance work and life with owning your own business?
B: Anyone who owns a business will probably agree, sometimes the work/life balance is on point, and sometimes not so much. It really depends on busy months at the studio, typically the slower months are predictable and that’s when I plan to get away with my man, or do something for myself.
M: What do you do to de-stress?
B: I find going for walks in High Park relaxing, or getting a massage. Sometimes I de-stress by drinking too many glasses of wine with girlfriends and dancing until 3am.
M: How do you stay organized while running your own business? Do you have any tips?
B: Ha! A lot of to-do lists!
M: I love how your clients can pick which music to listen to during their class. What’s your favourite workout music?
A. I really think music can add a lot to a workout or distract you if it’s not the right music. I like a lot of different types of music, so when I workout I usually pick the music based on my mood. Right now I listen to Ralph a lot in the studio.
M: I chose jazz while I worked out. It was the perfect background music and it made the session feel so relaxing.
M: What is one beauty product you can’t live without?
B: Dry shampoo. To be able to fluff my hair and go after a workout is key.
After my 60-minute session with Lee, my legs were shaky, my abs felt strong and my mood was brighter. It was such an awesome workout and one that I actually felt for a couple days after. I activated muscles I didn’t even know I had. It truly was one of the best workouts I’ve ever had.
If you want to try out Fine Tune Pilates to ‘feel you finest’, check out Brittany’s website and book a class. I highly recommend!