Pilates People offers top trainers and a variety of classes for all levels


By Kelley Carlson


Husband and wife David and Doreen Hall form the core of Pilates People in Carmel Valley.

The couple have been in business for 10 years, offering a variety of services that include Pilates training for all skill levels, physical therapy and acupuncture.

Pilates is a system of exercises developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates in Germany. The method is designed to strengthen and build control of muscles, especially those used for posture; it requires precise control of movements and awareness of breathing.

It’s recommended that clients new to this discipline enroll in one-on-one classes “to get familiar with the concept of Pilates and the equipment,” Doreen said. “You will have a better outcome.”

In addition to private lessons, duet classes are available by appointment, in which two people work with one instructor for a lower fee.

Several group classes are offered daily, and because the class sizes are small — there’s an average of five to six people per session — sign-ups are required. The offerings cover the spectrum — on the gentler end, there’s I Love My Back, which emphasizes core strengthening without stress on the spine; yet there are also faster-paced, more intense classes with a “boot camp-inspired style,” Doreen said. And, of course, there are options at the intermediate level, as well. Some of the classes incorporate functional fitness training, in which people use their own body weight in upright positions through exercises that carry over into everyday life.

New on the schedule is the Tone Teen and Core workout class, which is “designed from head to toe to work on common posture, strength and flexibility issues with teens, presented with fun music and in a light and friendly environment,” Doreen said.

Along with these sessions, all of the trainers at Pilates People have the ability to work with women who are pregnant or in the post-partum stage, Doreen said. Class availability depends on the number of participants.

There is a stigma in regards to men participating in the Pilates program, David acknowledged, but he added that a lot of professional athletes perform the exercises.

“I work with a lot of high-level, athletic men; they gain huge benefits,” David said.

The Halls also incorporate Pilates and its principles through Carmel Valley Physical Therapy, located in the same office as Pilates People.

“We don’t use physical therapy aids, and therapists spend the whole time with the patient,” Doreen said.

Between Pilates People and Carmel Valley Physical Therapy, there are 12 employees.

“We have extremely high-caliber trainers,” David said. “We do a lot of additional education with them.”

Doreen added that all of the physical therapists have more than 10 years of experience. She herself has been in the field for more than 20 years, having graduated from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy. After trying Pilates, Doreen said she realized “that it provided a forum for exactly what I was trying to do with my back stabilization patients, and I decided to incorporate it into my treatments. The results were so great that I eventually designed my whole practice around it (Pilates).”

David’s experience with Pilates began about 15 years ago, as a graduate student studying exercise physiology at San Diego State University. He attended a sports medicine conference in Colorado with a professor and had an opportunity to tour a new Pilates studio in Denver.

“The bells and whistles went off,” David said.

Inspired by what he saw, David and Doreen decided to undergo training through Polestar Pilates. The Halls soon began teaching the exercises; Doreen worked in North County, while Dave was employed in La Jolla.

When they finally decided to go into business together, the couple selected Carmel Valley as their ideal site: “We figured if it was a central location, our clients would come with,” Doreen said.

Initially, they set up Pilates People on Carmel Country Road in 2001, but five years later, they expanded their services with Carmel Valley Physical Therapy and moved to the current location, at 4765 Carmel Mountain Road, Suite 202.

“It’s a state-of-the-art facility and a beautiful space,” David said. “We have strong dedication. ... We bring new research, and we’re applying it to what we do.”

Pilates People is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. Go to www.pilatespeople.com or call (858) 847-0055.

Carmel Valley Physical Therapy’s hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. Go to www.carmelvalleyphysicaltherapy.com or call (858) 847-0044.