Almost every time I hear a celebrity talk about their favorite workout, it’s Pilates. These days, you’re bound to see candid photos on social media of celebrities leaving the Reformer studio or photos of them going through a strenuous workout—and that seems to be the key to their endless energy, which I could definitely use more of. About Me.
Although Pilates has been around for decades, it has officially become the go-to workout for anyone who wants a complete workout that’s easy on the body. Not only have we collectively realized that it works every muscle, but it also improves your flexibility, corrects your posture and leaves you feeling fresh and renewed. Olivia Rodrigo, Chrissy Teigen, Shay Mitchell, Elle Fanning and Zooey Deschanel are all fans of Speir Pilates in particular, so I wanted to find out what secrets it holds.
According to Andrea Spear, co-founder of the studio, people are moving away from aesthetic-focused workouts and toward what she calls “wellness workouts”—that is, exercise that makes you feel good physically and mentally, which is what she means. when developing her daily routine.
I decided to give her classes a try for a week – keep reading for my honest review of celebrity favorite Speir Pilates workouts.
Speir Pilates workouts
Spear founded her eponymous Pilates studio in 2015 with Liz Polk. They currently have two locations in Los Angeles where they offer fun, musical workouts with Pilates Reformers as well as Power Pilates options. If you’re not in the area, there’s also an on-demand platform that features over 350 workouts you can do at home using a mat, your own Reformer, or Pilates. Unlike a studio, a digital membership gives you access to Reformer workouts, mat Pilates, barre, and strength training to ensure a balanced regimen.
Spear initially trained in classical Pilates and then began earning other certifications in dance cardio, ballet barre, personal training and spin. When it came time to create her own studio, she took all of her favorite elements from each training style and combined them together. Think muscle-isolating barre exercises, high-energy training styles, and dumbbell-based strength exercises.
While personal workouts last 50 minutes, on-demand classes last between five and 60 minutes. Spare says the online platform features a variety of exercises with specific goals, so there are videos to help you strengthen your core or glutes, improve flexibility or increase energy, with new workouts released every Sunday.
The program can be streamed online or via an app on your iPhone, Android, Apple TV or Roku. The on-demand platform costs $30 per month, and if you want to include some equipment, you can purchase some Pilates tools on the Speir website, including kettlebells, bands, and bungees.
Since I’m not in Los Angeles, I decided to try on-demand classes from the comfort of my apartment and was very surprised at how many they offered me. I looked at a variety of workout options, such as the 11-minute Dumbbell Arm Sculpting video and the 45-minute Pilates and Barre video, until my eyes landed on a 20-minute glute workout—my favorite muscles to target.
This class was one butt-burning stripe move after another. We started with glute bridge exercises, which in true Pilates style involved lots of quick up and down pulses. After performing a classic bridge, I adjusted my legs to target my other glutes and continued to pulse—all without stopping. I was then instructed to get into table position and do lots and lots of kicks, leg circles, and even more pulses. I felt enough burn.
Throughout the workout, Spare reminded me that I needed to quickly check my body to make sure my posture was correct and I could get the most out of each movement. I slouched a lot most of the time, so it was nice to be reminded of proper form.
She also gave helpful tips, such as raising my hand high to the ceiling whenever I needed to pull myself out of that slump to restore my energy and posture.
For my next workout, I chose the 50-minute Band Tone, which was a full-body workout using a resistance loop. Spare led me through a series of crab walks and other lower body movements, as well as rowing and other upper body exercises. Using the band was a good way to simulate the deep stretching and muscle activation that occurs on the reformer.
If you’ve ever wondered if mat Pilates is worth it, here’s the thing: According to Spare, doing Pilates exercises on the floor compared to a reformer is actually harder. “(On the mat) you don’t have a Reformer to guide and distract your mind from burning, so you really feel the work,” she says.
On another day, I wanted to try a non-Pilates class, so I settled on a barre-inspired dance workout taught by three other instructors at Speir. We pumped our arms and bounced in a way that got my heart rate up, and it was challenging but fun at the same time—and offered a nice change from the glute- and abs-burning work I was doing on the mat.
If I’m ever in Los Angeles, I’ll definitely stop by Speir Studios. But with online training, I don’t even need that. I can totally see why everyone is drawn to these classes – they’re fun and effective, and Spear herself is a very welcoming instructor.
I also love how you can feel all the tiny muscles in your body working, which is ultimately what makes Pilates practitioners so strong. Whether you’re on a mat or a reformer, consistency is important in Pilates; once you stick with it, you start to understand the hype.
Links to studies:
Kim, B.I. (2014). Analysis of muscle activity in healthy women during Pilates exercises in a supine position. J Phys Ther Sci. doi: 10.1589/jpts.26.77.
Lopez, J.S.S. (2019). Effects of elastic versus conventional resistance training on muscle strength: A systematic review and meta-analysis. SAGE Open Med. doi: 10.1177/2050312119831116.
Metz, VR. (2021). The effects of Pilates on physical and functional performance, quality of life and mood in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. J. Body Mov Ter. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2021.06.005.