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Burbank Scene: Working out with Michelle Wilson

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Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G -- Exercise guru Michelle Wilson in Pilates class at the Verdugo Park Recreation Center Burbank August 6, 2014

Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G — Exercise guru Michelle Wilson in Pilates class at the Verdugo Park Recreation Center Burbank August 6, 2014

In a city dotted with movie studios, film, television, and media production companies, getting into and staying in shape is big business. The Media City has an ample supply of various gyms, workout studios, and exercise venues. Over the years, I have taken exercise classes at a variety of places, from professional studios to the YMCA.  By far one of the best workout classes in Burbank is at the Verdugo Park Recreation Center 3201 West Verdugo Avenue. It’s a Pilates class taught by veteran fitness instructor Michelle Wilson.

Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G -- Working the abs in Pilates class at the Verdugo Park Recreation Center August 6, 2014

Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G — Working the abs in Pilates class at the Verdugo Park Recreation Center August 6, 2014

Fitness has been a huge part of Wilson’s life for a long time. At 18 she was hired as an instructor for the NCA,  National Cheerleading Association. “I traveled up and down the West coast teaching at colleges. While I was in college myself, I was dancing and taking physical education classes. Went through certification and started working for the City of Lakewood. After working for them for 17 years, I started with (City of) Burbank,” Wilson explained.

Wilson is a tall attractive blonde with curves and muscles. No stranger to vigorous exercise, still there came a point when she felt she needed to do more: “I started teaching Pilates in January 2003. I had just had my 3rd child at 41 and knew even though I taught until the day she was born, I needed to step up my fitness to get things ‘back in place. ‘ ”

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Michelle Wilson made a correction to a client in the Pilates class at the Verdugo Park Recreation Center in Burbank July 2, 2014

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G — Michelle Wilson made a correction to a client in the Pilates class at the Verdugo Park Recreation Center in Burbank July 2, 2014

Pilates is a gentle efficient way to strengthen, stretch, tone, and shape the body. Most of the exercises are performed on a floor mat; sometimes with machines, resistance bands or weights. The program can be modified for all ages and skill levels. It’s popular with performers, actors, athletes and even seniors. Wilson’s class is described in the City of Burbank Recreation Guide as  “… a unique blend of traditional Pilates core work and new innovative exercises to produce dramatic results.”

Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G -- Pilates class performed a side plank move  at the Verdugo Recreation Center in Burbank July 2, 2014

Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G — Pilates class performed a side plank move at the Verdugo Recreation Center in Burbank July 2, 2014

Wilson’s class works the entire body with emphasis on the core, arms, legs, and buttocks. Also, some of the exercises strengthen the spine, improve posture, and balance.”I teach all levels in my classes. Sometimes it feels like I’m spinning 10 plates at once but that’s what makes it fun and fulfilling, ” Wilson said.

Photo: FLLewis / Media City G -- Participant performed balance exercise with weight during Pilates class at the Verdugo Park Recreation Center in Burbank August 27, 2014

Photo: FLLewis / Media City G — Participant performed balance exercise with weight during Pilates class at the Verdugo Park Recreation Center in Burbank August 27, 2014

Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G -- Weights are used for some exercises in the Pilates class at Verdugo Recreation Center in Burbank August 6, 2014

Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G — Weights are used for some exercises in the Pilates class at Verdugo Recreation Center in Burbank August 6, 2014

Hand weights are used in the class. Wilson counts down the exercise series and shouts out instructions like “hold in the stomach,” “keep the natural curve of the head and neck,” “burn those buns,” and “breathe!” Wilson is a stickler for form and stresses its importance all the time. A mantra of hers: “Don’t sacrifice form for range of motion.”

Photo: FLLewis / Media City G -- Participant demonstrated proper form for an exercise to work the sides during Pilates class at the Verdugo Recreation Center in Burbank August 6, 2014

Photo: FLLewis / Media City G — Participant demonstrated proper form for an exercise to work the sides during Pilates class at the Verdugo Recreation Center in Burbank August 6, 2014

Wilson’s class has a number of regulars (me included). The age range in the class is 20s and up: “I know we have people over 70 that are in amazing shape. Seriously, there are women in class that are in better shape than many teenagers.”

Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G -- Exercise guru Michelle Wilson leads the cool down in Pilates class at Verdugo Park Recreation Center August 6, 2014

Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G — Exercise guru Michelle Wilson leads the cool down in Pilates class at Verdugo Park Recreation Center August 6, 2014

A series of stretching moves wrap up the one hour class. Wilson believes in light stretching at the beginning and during class. Deep stretching at the end. Frequently, Wilson offers healthy advice on food and other types of exercise, such as walking and running. Also, she encourages everyone to pursue their dreams and work endeavors: “I believe exercise can improve your professional life in many ways by helping reduce stress, increasing our physical strength and endurance, as well as building confidence,” she said.

Also, Wilson teaches Zumba, aerobics, cardio, and stretch classes. The fall season begin the week of September 8, 2014 at the recreational facilities in Burbank. For details on classes, prices, and registration go here.

 

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6 Responses to Burbank Scene: Working out with Michelle Wilson

  1. Barbara Recko-Kasliwal Friday, August 29, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    You did justice to beloved Pilates class and the amazing instructor, Michelle, Fronnie.

  2. Tree Lockie Friday, August 29, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

    Years after starting Pilates with Michelle to deal with a broken back, I am healed, stronger, now sculpted and well armed with an inventory of exercises I can use during travel or anywhere outside of class. Michelle takes time to adjust Pilates positions to accommodate for personal injuries. Not wanting to sound too dramatic, by attending on a regular basis, one can be guaranteed a leaner, stronger body and great posture.

  3. Fronnie Lewis Friday, August 29, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

    Barbara,

    Thanks for posting. You’re showing great form working out with those weights in the photo above.

  4. Fronnie Lewis Friday, August 29, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

    Tree,

    The form and flexibility you demonstrate in class would never suggest you had suffered such a serious injury. Very inspiring.

  5. Teresa Monday, September 1, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    Amazing class!! Michelle’s constant high level of energy and enthusiasm is contagious. No class is alike keeping us, and our bodies, aware and interested at all times.

  6. Fronnie Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 12:55 am #

    Teresa,

    You’re right. Michelle is always pumped. Great energy. Also I agree, the way she varies the workout routine keeps it from becoming boring and makes sure we work as many muscles as possible.

Comments are closed.