Ever since I met Mariska Breland at my first Fuse Pilates class at Flow Yoga Center, I’ve really admired her. The petite, adorable Breland is toned to perfection and is the creator of Fuse Pilates, an intense variation on traditional Pilates where each class begins with the question “What body part would you like to target today?”
Mariska left Flow Yoga to open up her own Fuse Pilates studio just off Connecticut Avenue in Dupont Circle. The studio opened last month, and she invited me to come take a class.
Upon investigation, I was surprised to know that Mariska is not only older than 30, but she also has multiple sclerosis. This is surprising because she looks to be about 22 years old and is in phenomenal shape. If this—combating a degenerative disease and aging (and winning)—isn’t a testament to what a good health and exercise regime can do I than I don’t know what is.
In addition to being the owner and main instructor, Mariska, who has an artistic background, is the creative director of the studio. I am extremely impressed by the creative direction of the Web site: Fuse Pilates is branded as “redefining playtime,” and treats everything it does as such (just check out the photos). The classes are filled with upbeat music, the instructors are friendly and engaging, and the studio is filled with all sorts of toys. Best of all, the classes really are fun.
The studio, built into a historic Dupont Circle mansion, is breathtaking. It’s three floors of bright, high-ceiling rooms with cheerful blue walls and ornate filigree molding that adds a lovely detail to the space. It’s luxurious, lovely, and immaculately clean.
The studio offers a comfortable lounge, changing area, four bathrooms, two group apparatus studios, a group mat studio, and a private studio. Better yet, mats are complimentary, so you don’t have to lug your Pilates mat (which is thicker than a yoga mat) around town.
The space is equipped with all the latest Pilates gadgetry, most of which I had never seen in my life. These machines and tools include: reformers, towers, Cadillac, barrels, special Pilates chairs, jump boards (a horizontal trampoline), rings and more.
I attended a traditional mat class, which was extremely challenging. It worked by glutes so that it hurt to walk the next day. It worked my abs so well I felt I was going to be sick in class because my stomach muscles hurt so badly.
The studio offers more than a dozen types of classes, including a prenatal prep and a fuse for runners that I will definitely try soon. With options like fuse jump and fuse toys, you’ll never get bored working out—and playing with toys and on trampolines in a lovely space doesn’t seem like working out to me. They offer loads of packages and introductory offers, check it out if you’re looking to get that bod back in shape.
2008 Hillyer Place