Stop by the Balanced Body studio, and you'll see people on contraptions called the Reformer, the Wunda Chair, and the Cadillac (because it's the largest of the machines) -- machines with weights, springs, pulleys, and leather straps that make you think of a medieval torture chamber -- or worse. But the people are actually doing the Pilates (pronounced Puh-LAH-teez) Method of Body Conditioning, and Cecil Ybanez is one of the only certified Pilates Method instructors in South Florida. (Most others are certified in Pilates-"style" methods.) Like the students of Joseph Pilates, who came up with the method in the 1920s, Ybanez's students feel better in 10 sessions, look better in 20 sessions, and have a "completely new" body in 30 sessions. The reason: strengthening and stretching muscles (especially the deep abdominals, lower back, buttocks, and inner and outer thighs) through very precise and controlled movements that are so low impact, you won't even work up a sweat. Private lessons can get pricey, but group mat exercise classes for beginning and intermediate levels are available for $15.
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