I’m happy to announce that I’ve joined forces with Andrea Speir, a talented and seasoned Pilates instructor, to bring you The Pilates Fix.  We know Pilates can be expensive, so we wanted to make it accessible to everyone. The workouts will be available on our Youtube channel, either with Andrea or myself.

Every week we will bring you classical Pilates workouts with a modern twist. Together we have almost 20 years of teaching experience, have worked in top Los Angeles gyms, and hold 600-hour classical Pilates certifications.  We will give you well rounded workouts and exercise tips to help you feel good and look good.

If you enjoy the workouts, please forward them on to your friends. And let us know what you would like to see on The Pilates Fix in the future.  Enjoy!



FALL 2015 CLASS SCHEDULE at UpRise Classical Pilates


1:30-2:25 Tower class level 2

6:30-7:25 Tower class open level


8:30-9:25 Reformer/Barre

UpRise Classical Pilates is located at 929 Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. You can call Kristen to schedule at 917-887-3836 or book online.


kristen4pilates-resized-251“I AM a purist. I swear.” I’m quoting my good friend Michelle Fama, co-owner of Core Pilates NYC, as those were pretty much the exact words I was thinking of using to start this post. I swear! Great minds think alike I guess.

While I can’t speak for Michelle, my reason for swearing I’m a purist is because when it comes to Pilates, that’s how I’ve always seen myself. So when Michelle recently asked me to consult with her on the topic of a new class they offer at their studio, Core 30/30 (similar to a class I teach, Combo Class), I started thinking about the evolution of my teaching and the future of Pilates.

Someone once told me when you are learning something new you first memorize, then imitate those you admire, and finally come into your own. I think I stayed in the imitating world for a while doing everything exactly how I learned it and not really critically thinking. I was worried the Pilates Police (not real in case you were wondering) would come after me if I left out an exercise, or started with leg springs instead of footwork on the reformer.

In time, I began to loosen up a bit. I tend to live in such a black and white world but learned over the years that Pilates is far from black and white. I realized that the Pilates Police weren’t coming after me, and that it’s okay to step out of the box while staying true to the Pilates principles. In reality, in order to survive in this industry, stepping out of the box has become necessary. It’s still something I fight. But we live in a society with lots of choices, constant change, and innovation.

One change I’ve noticed since getting certified in 2003, is the growing number of group apparatus classes being offered. One contribution to this was most likely the economy taking a nose dive in 2007. People needed to come up with creative ways to get and maintain business . There are so many types of classes to choose from whether they be pure Pilates classes or a hybrid of some kind. They range from more classical reformer and tower classes, to jump-board classes that offer cardio, to Pilates Plus type classes.

Is this just a phase or the beginning of something new? Most likely these classes are here to stay. And in another 10 years, I’m sure there will be new trends to talk about in the Pilates world. My guess is even then I’ll still consider myself a purist. While I’m all for making Pilates accessible to people, because at the end of the day I want everyone exercising, I will never compromise myself as a teacher just to be competitive. A bold statement I know, especially considering what I’ve been talking about. But at my core I believe in the classical method.

Trends come and go, but solid teachers are hard to find. So I will continue to do what I can to make my classes fresh and fun, just don’t expect to be jumping from a trampoline onto the reformer and back.



The Pilates Cadillac is one of Joseph Pilates many inventions. I often hear from new clients that it looks like something that would be in a torture chamber, and I have to admit I thought that the first time I saw one. It’s a bed shaped apparatus surrounded by a metal frame, with springs, a trapeze, and leg straps hanging from it. Some of my most favorite Pilates exercises like monkey, leg springs, and airplane to name a few, are done on the Cadillac. There are over 500 exercises in the Pilates repertoire, which makes the workouts always fun and exciting. And many of those 500 can be done on the Cadillac.

Now let me explain how Volkswagens came into this conversation. At some point someone realized they could take the Cadillac, minus the top, bottom, and one side of the frame, and put it up against the wall (the tower is also known as a wall unit). It takes up less space, which allows studio owners to line a bunch up and offer a tower class. In turn the studio is able to offer a more affordable option besides privates. The trapeze and leg straps are the two things missing from the tower as they were attached to the top part of the frame that was removed. You may not be able to hang, do the flying monkey, or the candlestick in a class, but there is no lack of challenging and fun exercises. Wondering what those exercises are? Stop in a studio and maybe you’ll see one of the teachers or advanced clients playing around.

So what exactly is a Tower class and why would you want to go to one? A class incorporates Pilates mat work and Cadillac exercises on the tower apparatus. Mat work as far as I’m concerned is the hardest of the Pilates work. The apparatus helps you find your muscles and support your body so that you are able to get the greatest benefit from the Pilates Method. Tower class was not something that Joe did, so there is no specific order. A class could start with mat work and move on to the tower work, or a teacher might choose to mix them together. Either way a workout includes strengthening the core, increasing strength and flexibility, while also working on balance and control. You will utilize leg springs, arm springs, the push through bar, and the roll back bar to work all parts of your body, most importantly the powerhouse. This is great for anyone. For those of you who have taken a mat class but found it boring or found it hard to “feel” you muscles, this is a great option. Try one class and you’ll be hooked!

UpRise Classical Pilates, located at 929 Montana Ave in Santa Monica, CA, has a number of tower classes each week, as well as reformer/tower combo classes. Each teacher has his/her own style, and there is something to learn from everyone. I personally teach a tower class on Mondays at 1:30, a combo class on Wednesdays at noon as well as Fridays at 11:00 am. Stay tuned for a possible Saturday 10:00 am class starting mid-June. I hope to see you soon at a class so you can experience this exciting workout!



I recently took a workshop on “The Science of Pilates.” We discussed the parallels and differences between Personal training and Pilates, and how we (Pilates instructors) fit into the gym world. Pilates has been around for many years, but it’s really only been the past few that it’s become more mainstream. With that being said, it can sometimes be a challenge making gym members see the benefits of Pilates. My goal is to help people realize that Pilates can be an important foundation to any type of physical activity. Both Pilates and PT take clients through workouts that are based on their level from beginner up to advanced. And in both you work on hypertrophy (changing the muscle), muscular endurance, and muscular strength. The goal in any type of exercise is to change your body and variety in your workouts will help to reach that goal.

Personal training focuses mostly on concentric motion, which occurs when a muscle shortens in length and develops tension. An example of this is the upward movement in a bicep curl. In a training session you typically tear muscle fibers, which creates muscle soreness, lactic acid build-up, and degrades flexibility. On the other hand, Pilates focuses mostly on eccentric motion. This is the development of tension while the muscle is being lengthened. Picture the lowering of the arm in a bicep curl. Pilates typically stretches muscle fibers because of the focus on eccentric motion and the goal is to find symmetry between strength and flexibility. Pilates will restructure your body from the inside out, starting at your core. It’s an all over workout, with many muscle groups working for each exercise.

When putting together your own workout schedule, think about how you can vary it. As much as I love doing Pilates I’d get bored pretty fast if that was the only type of physical activity that I was doing. I mix it up by going to yoga classes, hiking with friends, and working with my Personal trainer, Laura Hebert of Santa Monica Sweat. In every one of those activities I am engaging my core. My yoga is stronger because of my Pilates practice. The training I’m doing with Laura is helping me see weaknesses that I wasn’t noticing when doing Pilates. And hiking is a way to get my cardio in and spend time with friends. Who said working out should be boring! Remember that the more you do something, the faster you will see results. If you’re thinking of adding Personal training or Pilates to your routine, aim for doing each two times a week. You can even start with doing Pilates two times a week and training one day a week or vice versa. Your body will thank you and so will your health.



Enjoy a stimulating workout, good company, and beautiful ocean views in my weekly group Pilates classes.  From Pilates first-timer to expert, all levels are welcome!



Location: Palisades Park in Santa Monica.  Ocean Avenue at Palisades Avenue (just north of Montana)

Cost: $10/class (a steal!)

Details: If you don’t have your own mat, please let me know.  Wear layers (especially socks) for any evening class as it can get chilly.

To sign up for class announcements, please contact me.

Please feel free to bring friends!

Giving Back: A few times a year I choose an organization to donate either a portion or all of the money I make during a class.  Thanks to my wonderful clients, I’ve been able to donate to Stand Up 2 Cancer and the Red Cross.


Kristen and Johnna long stretch

For those of you out there who have been hit by the recession but still want your workouts, I have a great solution.  My Introductory Special:  3 private lessons for $180.  This allows you the ability to get the one-on-one attention that is so needed when learning Pilates.  If Pilates isn’t new to you but you are new to me, this is a great deal for a private lesson.

With this special, you are able to work out on the apparatus and see if you like Pilates and/or me.  You have nothing to lose, and your body will thank you.  Feel free to call me with any questions especially if you aren’t sure exactly what Pilates can do for you.

Phone #: 917-887-3836