Not Your Mama’s Workout: Reformer Pilates at Studio E


Just outside of town in the sweet space bringing city and country together is a private studio you wouldn’t expect. Designed from scratch to perfectly suit her needs, Studio E founder Erin Hatlestad has created an oasis. Huge windows let in both the light and the landscape, while individual fans for each participant personalize the experience for all. The Pilates studio is calm, organized, and peaceful. 

The Pilates Reformer experience is like nothing I’ve ever tried. Carriage, frame, tower, platform. Sounds medieval, but it’s anything but. The control, pace, and strength of this workout made me feel simultaneously elegant and powerful. 

As a brand new beginner, Erin took me step by step through each move, explaining not just the appropriate form, but also the reasoning for the form. Did you know you’re not fully engaging your triceps if your pinkie fingers aren’t engaged? Neither did I. Are you flexing your pinkie fingers now? Me, too. Pilates isolates the small muscle groups as well as the large, meaning you will feel the burn in places you’ve possibly never felt it before. At the same time, it is low-impact and focuses on quality over quantity. 

In the course of the hour, Erin took me through twelve exercises that worked every part of my body. During her instruction, she also corrected my form, complimented my flexibility, and generally made me feel like a goddess. Classes for reformer are limited to the number of machines, which is only five. So you are always going to receive individual attention. You can’t try this class by staying in the back and hoping not to get noticed. This class is a commitment, but the very best kind. The tagline for Studio E is “Discover your strongest, leanest, best self.” The emphasis on strength and empowerment over weight loss and calorie-burn makes it super friendly for moms feeling the need for self-care, not pressured body image. 

What: Reformer Class

Where: Studio E, Mankato

When: Class times vary, but you must reserve your spot and show up! See for schedule. 

Who is this For: Anyone who wants to try something new, feel like a goddess, and enjoy their workout.


Find other great local fitness ideas on our Guide to Fitness & Wellness.


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Emily is a former communication teacher and speech coach. She earned her BST and MA in Communication Studies, both from MSU, Mankato. When her first child was born (Olivia, now 9), she took an extended maternity leave that turned resignation. When her second child (Nathan, 6) started kindergarten, she returned to work to teach Oula Dance Fitness at the Y and serve her church as their Congregational Services Coordinator. In her spare time, Emily enjoys drinking wine in the bathtub, painting and writing lovely things, and trying not to swear in front of her kids.