To Leslie Beirne, a daily workout doesn’t necessarily need to be “Insanity.”
Which is why this local trainer has decided to take on something called “Bellyfit” — a new workout for women focused on your core that is a gentler version of something like the “Insanity” DVD system that is all the rage on informercials these days.
“Bellyfit is not the bootcamp, go-go-go type workout like ‘Insanity’ or any of these other intense dance-based programs, where everything has to be tight-tight-tight,” said Beirne. “Bellyfit allows women of any shape and size to just feel the body and just embrace themselves. No one cares what you look like and no one judges you. Not to say that it’s easy, though.”
Beirne, a 44-year-old former Wall Street executive who opened in Mattituck in 2004, introduced Bellyfit to her line of fitness programs this past December after having been inspired by Bellyfit’s founder, Alice Bracegirdle. She decided to train with Bracegirdle in Ontario, Canada and add Bellyfit to her existing programs like traditional Pilates and TRX training — and she is now the 14th certified person to teach Bellyfit in the U.S., she said.
“We were looking for a different approach to TRX, and my sister found Bellyfit online,” Beirne said. “It’s a lot of core work and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”
Bellyfit classes are a combination of cardio dance, core strengthening and stretching. To the soundtrack of Egyptian-style music, Bellyfit encourages women to embrace their bodies and allows them the freedom to move and get fit in a nurturing environment. The dance is taken from Bellydance, African dance, Bollywood and Bhangra. Pike Street Pilates is the first fitness studio to offer Bellyfit on the East Coast.
Beirne said that she gave up the corporate world after having lost a job at an IT outsourcing firm in Boston in 1998 and decided to follow her dream of being a massage therapist. She said she was always interested in Pilates in particular and soon realized that she “absolutely adored it.”
“Pilates is very dynamic,” she said. “It can be adapted to any ability or disability. I’ve worked with people who have Polio, who’ve just had hip operations and who are recovering from strokes. It’s wonderful to work with someone to get them moving again — and I’ve also worked with professional dancers. Either way, it’s quite restorative.”
No membership is required at Pike Street Pilates — Beirne charges per class in order to create an environment where “people love to come to class instead of feeling like they have to come,” she said.
“It lets me focus on the people who are here, so that they can get their maximum benefit out of their hour with me,” she said. “I’ve met pretty amazing people from all walks of like, and we’ve become friends.”
Jackie Gullo, 35, of Riverhead, said she thinks that Beirne is a fabulous instructor and comes to her Mattituck classes at least five times a week.
“I feel comfortable here,” she said. “It’s not like everyone is a teeny little thing. We’re all laidback. We tease each other. It’s fun.”
Go to Pike Street Pilates’ website for class rates, schedules and general information.