Off Duty Pilates review: Project Acai founders launch a new studio of hybrid pilates workouts in Tanjong Pagar
It's a movement
Pilates has long been known as a rehabilitative activity. But what happens when a hybrid version of it is brought to its full potential – by wellness industry pros, no less? The founders behind Project Acai, Deborah and Melissa Ng, are stepping back and letting their superfood bowls flourish (they're easy to love, after all) and expanding their business venture into the realm of exercise – because it's tried and tested that eating well isn't all there is to healthy living. Their new baby, Off Duty Pilates ropes in accomplished instructors Betsy Chen and Julie Jang — who are set to redefine what you can expect from a pilates session. No longer will restoration be the sole goal of the practice – with the options of cardio-focused classes or their signature TRXHIIT training, body sculpting is definitely on the table for those who want to achieve that strong and lean form.
For the first time ever, a pilates class didn't only entail working out on the classic reformer, although we did spend a good amount of quality time with them during the session. It was an intimate class of seven, which is the maximum size a class can be at Off Duty – a guarantee that each student will be given ample attention. That means an acute focus from the dedicated instructor, who would fix our individual positionings, tell us to squeeze our glutes more times than we can count, and ensure we all work up a sweat. But the workout wasn't just challenging because the reformer enforced weighted tension to our stretches, motions and poses (weights that can, by the way, be adjusted flexibly according to how much you can handle). The addition of TRX suspension ropes – now that was a layer to the class that added an extra bittersweet punch. Everything from squats to planks are brought to the next level with this one contraption, and with each new exercise introduced, we could feel both the targeted and obscure muscle groups in our body being worked to their limits. It was a game of balance, core strength, and stability – clearly the roots of pilates transcended into an adrenaline pumping workout.
Your body's needs are the first and foremost concern in each session, no matter what you sign up for. Beginners can take on BASIC10, so you can go forth to more difficult classes equipped with a strong foundation of the ten principals they teach. You'll have plenty of motivation to want to progress, too: the advanced classes cater to all sorts of fitness goals, which is only a possibility because of the multifaceted benefits offered by Off Duty's novel hybrid format. And if that's not enough, you can get even more personalised; their private studio features an impressive repertoire of mixed pilates equipment including a cadillac trapeze table, a ladder barrel and a pair of reformers, so duos can get special attention together.
Other than the necessary hydration liquids, you only need to show up with socks for the workout. If you happen to be wearing heels that day, though, they do have socks for sale in their retail area, so they've got you covered there. And don't worry about towels – they have a fully-stocked unisex and female bathroom. PSA for the ladies: the latter is the bigger of the two, replete with vanities and more.
To see the full list of their class types and book a session, visit their website.