• Elise Hofer Shaw


Updated: Apr 3, 2020

Not all pre-wedding workouts are created equal. With hardcore circuit and weight training, you run the risk of injury and adding too much bulk. And without an expensive personal trainer watching over your every move, gym workouts can be an exercise in futility—especially if you’re paying more attention to the smoothies than your squats. Pilates, on the other hand, checks all of the boxes for a big-day, lead-up routine that’ll leave you slimmed down, toned up and wearing that dress (instead of it wearing you).

Just ask Page Barker, owner and lead instructor at Page One Pilates in the West Loop. Over the last four years, her tony timber-loft studio has become a go-to for clients who take their Pilates seriously—and who want the one-on-one attention only a boutique workout can provide. “Our classes are eight people max,” says Barker. “At this size, we’re able to easily walk the room while we’re teaching to make sure everyone’s posture is correct, that you’re using the equipment correctly, and to make adjustments to everyone’s movements to ensure you’re hitting the right muscle groups.”

“Pilates, when performed correctly and consistently, can have long-term, positive effects on your posture, muscle elongation, strength and balance,” adds Barker. “But it should also be fun! We change up our move-your-body playlists and our instructors always bring the energy to put you in the zone.” Below are the three Page One Pilates workouts she recommends for brides—three classes a week, ideally starting at four months before the wedding—for optimal results.


THE CLASS: A 50-minute, core-shaking, peach-building, dynamic low-impact reformer workout. (Note for first-timers: A reformer is a bed-like frame with a flat platform on it, called the carriage, which rolls back and forth on wheels and gets its resistance from a set of springs.) THE BENEFITS: A Page One Pilates reformer class hits all the right spots. Lighter-resistance springs tone the abs and arms, while heavier springs are used to sculpt the butt and both the inner and outer thighs—all while engaging your core to the max.


THE CLASS: A high-intensity, low-impact reformer class that incorporates a pilates jump board at the base of the reformer (and sometimes ankle weights) to add cardio to Page One Pilates’ full-body sculpt class. THE BENEFITS: Via a series of highly choreographed jump, bounce and press moves, you’ll get your heart rate up while still getting a full body arm, ab and butt-sculpting workout. Expect ankle weights to be thrown in for an added ass-kicking.


THE CLASS: A mat-based sculpt class with meticulously choreographed sequences that will tone your body from the ground up. Zero machinery involved—just you, the mat and oftentimes a pilates box and hand weights. THE BENEFITS: Because it’s so high-paced, and because there’s no reformer guiding your movements, expect to sweat. This class layers in beaucoup balance challenges, holding patterns and transitions that will level-up your glutes work, core stability, posture and coordination.

Page One Pilates’s Bridal Package is $645 for 3 months of unlimited classes.

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