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Núcleo Fitness: Pilates & Rowing in Perfect Harmony

We recently had the chance to take one of the R.P.M. classes at Núcleo Fitness and absolutely loved the mix of rowing and pilates.  Our instructor guided us through several rounds of intervals on the rower, followed by a series of pilates moves, from abs to glute work.  Núcleo Fitness offers something truly unique…plus in an adorable, bright space!  Keep reading for our conversation with Marlene Kadin, owner and innovator behind Núcleo Fitness.

Well TO Do: What was the inspiration for starting Núcleo Fitness?

Marlene Kadin: Exercise itself is the inspiration. As I age, feeling good in my body and having the strength and endurance to lead an active life is very high on the priority list!! I fell in love with pilates because of how good I feel inside my body every time I do it and when I discovered that you could add a really fun cardio activity that would augment the benefits of pilates, I was inspired to nurture the idea, give it some shape, and put it out there. The name “núcleo” was easy – it’s the Spanish word for “core” and that is what we are doing – targeting the nucleus of our body – our core, and our heart.

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WTD: How and why did you come up with the ingenious (we think) combination of rowing and pilates?

MK: I was in a Reformer class one day, and the instructor said – “engage your glutes, and push through your heels” to cue us to push off the foot bar while lying on our backs on the carriage. Then, I went to an Indo-ROW class and the instructor said “engage your glutes and push through your heels”, and I said to myself – this is the same movement we do in Pilates – rowing is like pilates in motion – and at that moment – the idea was born. Furthermore, the hinge movement required in rowing entirely mimics basic pilates movements. Rowing offers a total body workout that engages nine major muscle groups, and rapidly builds core strength. Core strength is required for good rowing form, technique, and stroke efficiency. Pilates targets the deep abdominal muscles and builds that core strength – to me, it is an obvious combination that offers the client an amazing way to build truly lasting strength and conditioning, with no impact or risk to joints.

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WTD: What is your background? Background in pilates and rowing?

MK: I have been practicing pilates for 5 years, and am certified by Power Pilates (out of New York) in Mat Pilates – Level 1 and Level 2. I have also been doing indoor rowing for almost two years, and became a certified Indo-ROW instructor last summer. And I love kayaking, which, of course, is not the same thing as rowing, but does get me out on the water in the summer.

WTD: Tell us about the various class offerings at Núcleo Fitness. How do you make the class schedule?

MK: The studio’s primary focus is on core strength, and conditioning. The classes offered are intended to provide variety in the ways that clients can work on their core, as well as their conditioning, so that a broad range of people can find something that works for them. For those who want more cardio, we have straight Indo-ROW and Endurance Row; for those who want straight Pilates, we have that too, and if people are looking to mix it up a little, we offer fusion classes that mix pilates and rowing, and also include some circuit training with small weights, agility ladders, equalizer bars, etc. And finally, because everyone needs to take the stress out of their bodies, we offer an awesome Restorative Yoga class – after which, you’ll have the best night’s sleep ever!!

WTD: If you could give WTD readers one fitness tip, what would it be?

MK: MIX IT UP!!! If you’re into group fitness classes, take different kinds of classes; if you exercise on your own, focus on more than just one activity. Training your body and your brain to learn and do different movements all the time is so important for muscle development, building stamina, and improving cognitive function.

WTD: What’s next for Núcleo Fitness?

MK: In the short term – we will be adding some new classes in the spring, as well as some short distance running coaching – look for a class called 5 by 5 – 5 kilometres of indoor rowing and 5 kilometres of outdoor running with an experienced running coach. In the longer term, hopefully a second location in a year.

WTD: What’s exciting you most right now about the Toronto wellness scene?

MK: Two things I love – one – all the boutique studios – it’s so in keeping with Toronto’s personality – a city of eclectic neighborhoods, having the multitude and variety of boutique studios that we have speaks to Toronto’s heart and soul and I think it is great that people can benefit from so much variety and personalized attention. And then, honestly – I am so so excited about making indoor group rowing classes a trend in 2017 and seeing it grow in this city – watching the L.A. rowing scene take over Toronto is exciting.

Click here to explore the various class offerings at Núcleo Fitness!