For years, Carmen Salvaterra would go to gyms in the area just before New Year’s Day as part of her yearly resolutions. She would get a tour, talk to a trainer and then never return.
“These big places just seemed so impersonal,” says Salvaterra, 60, of Catonsville. “I just couldn’t bring myself to sign up.”
But then one day her daughter got her a personal yoga class with an instructor at Coreworks as a gift, and her attitude on exercise changed completely.
“It’s very personal, and the instructors are wonderful and make me want to keep coming back,” says Salvaterra, who now has a yearlong unlimited membership to take classes there.
Coreworks started with a Pilates studio in 2004 that founder and owner Fran Berndt opened in Columbia. She later opened a gym in one of the office buildings in downtown Maple Lawn and expanded to a Laurel facility in May.
The newest studio at the Cherry Tree Shopping Center in Laurel features more than two-dozen classes each week.
“One of the main things that we encourage is a sense of community,” says Berndt. “I really wanted a place for people to go where they can learn to move their bodies correctly and learn in a communal environment.”
When she opened her first studio in Columbia, Berndt was a full-time treasurer of an international banking company. She couldn’t find a place in the area that just focused on Pilates.
“I really opened up Coreworks because I found the exercise so beneficial to my body, and I was working very hard, and I had osteoarthritis and couldn’t find the right exercise until I found Pilates,” Berndt says.
At Coreworks in Laurel, Pilates exercises — which focus on controlled movements to improve flexibility, strength and balance — can include an apparatus called a reformer, of which the studio has eight. The equipment uses straps, bars and a pulley and spring system to extend stretches by regulating tension and resistance. Berndt says that the equipment provides for a full-body workout.
“You can work on breathing and mind-body movement while strengthening your muscles and working on your core,” Berndt says. “It’s really great to feel yourself stretch and lengthen your spine.”
For Christine Pollock, 48, of Laurel, finding the motivation to work out was difficult before she discovered Pilates and the reformer class at Coreworks.
“If it feels like work to me, I haven’t enjoyed it,” Pollock says. “With the reformer class it doesn’t feel like I’m working out, yet I’ve seen incredible results. It really has toned my body.”
Today, Coreworks is a family affair. Berndt’s daughter, Sara Raymond, started her career as a kindergarten teacher but is now a co-owner and program director.
“A lot of people can’t imagine working with their mother, but I think it’s brought us closer,” she says. “It’s fascinating learning the methods behind Pilates and how to grow through movement.”
Coreworks Laurel studio
11200 Scaggsville Road, Laurel