The Best of the Valley: Health & Beauty

by Kate Evans, Carolyn Jung, Anh-Minh Le, and Lydia Lee   |  January 9, 2017

Approaching the RockSalt Pilates studio in downtown San Mateo, the faint murmur of music can be heard. It’s full on, pulsating, once you open the door and step inside to encounter the eight reformers situated next to a small retail area with RockSalt-branded wares. As student after student walks in, owner Adrian Ramirez warmly greets each by name. Ramirez launched the business four years ago, with only a handful of clients in a tiny room in San Carlos; he now has a customer base of more than a thousand. “In 2013, we moved into a bigger space [in San Carlos], and when that took off, we started San Mateo,” he says of the outpost that opened last April. He’s now scouting for another spot in Palo Alto or San Francisco.

Ramirez employs 10 instructors across the two RockSalts and splits his time between them as well. “I fell into Pilates after I got injured doing a triathlon. I loved it, but I got so bored teaching it,” he recalls, noting the often quiet and serene nature of the practice. He yearned for a fun and upbeat atmosphere where there was a sense of community too. “In a traditional Pilates class, you do one set and then you rest,” he says. “Here, it’s: ‘Okay, you’re done with that first set? On to the next!’ We do sets of three or four, and you go to the beat of the music. It’s kind of like a dance party—on a reformer.” The RockSalt program consists of three types of classes, each 50 minutes: RockReform Stretch, which focuses on flexibility, with light cardio, and is ideal for newcomers; RockReform Strength, a combination of reformer and mat Pilates that aims to tone and sculpt the body; and RockReform Sweat, the studio’s signature offering that mixes a cardio workout, strength resistance training, reformer exercises and coordination techniques. From $37 for a single group session to $450 for a 15-pack, private and semi-private instruction available; 837-A Industrial Road, San Carlos; 306 E. Fifth Ave., San Mateo; 650.394.7771