When one enters Valerie Lucas’ Pilates VIP studio in Northeast Fort Worth, it is easy to be intimidated by the various Pilates machines set up in the room if you have no experience.

Lucas is quick to make her clients at ease, however, showing them how to use the equipment while highlighting the benefits.

“We’re always going back to trying to define what [Pilates] is for people, because it’s a safe yet effective exercise that both strengthens you and builds flexibility,” she said.

At Pilates VIP, Lucas’ philosophy is to help people feel good about their workout while becoming stronger and more flexible. And the key to achieving this goal is to focus on the fundamentals of Pilates before advancing in technique and introducing more difficult exercises.

At its core, Pilates started out as a rehabilitation exercise before it evolved over time to its modern form.

“We’re more, ‘Let’s keep the class sizes smaller. Let’s give people a little bit more individualized attention,” the studio owner said.

Lucas spent 18 years as an accountant before she decided to switch to teaching Pilates in 2012. She first taught at two studios in Fort Worth. Finally, Lucas opened her own studio in 2018.

“My degree is in accounting, [and it] wasn’t ever a passion, but it was a necessity,” she said. “It really met our family’s needs but after having kids, I wanted to find something that I could do more part-time and hopefully doing something more than I loved.”

With already two years as owner of her own studio, Lucas said she hopes to double her membership in the coming months before considering expanding or relocating to a larger space. For now, she is focused on offering classes to students of all levels.

“We just want to make sure everybody is leaving feeling better than when they came in,” she said.

Pilates VIP - 5700 Kroger Drive, Ste. 8, Fort Worth. 817-706-1391. www.pilatesvip.net Classes available by appointment