Fitness and conditioning drive Body Balance centre trainer Maria torcia

Long white sheets generously drape the ceilings and run down the walls of a lightly lit studio in the heart of Honolulu. As the linens sway in the air-conditioned breeze, a slender blonde walks softly between two rows of complicated-looking machines. Quite effortlessly, she jumps on one and lengthens herself into a tortuous pose. But rather than wince with pain, Maria Torcia simply looks up and smiles.

Maria is right at home on the Pilates Reformer in the Body Balance Centre.

And well she should be – Maria founded the Pilates Conditioning and Wellness Studio 10 years ago while she was training for a triathlon. At the time, she says there was only one other studio catering to Pilates clients … with a two-year waiting list! Maria decided to open a small studio (in a different location) and incorporate her own fitness philosophies with those developed by Pilates founder, Joseph Pilates.

Now, through the help of co-owner and husband, accomplished athlete Rick Burke, Maria helps others achieve their optimal best at their 1115 Young St. studio.

“This has helped me so much, and I can see it helping so many people,” she says. “They feel wonderful when they leave – sometimes it doesn’t happen instantly, but they come in with a lot of pain and they feel wonderful after a short amount of time. It doesn’t take a lot of sessions to see results.”

Some of the most prominent movers and shakers in the Islands frequent Body Balance Centre. And while they do cater toward a high-end clientele, Maria says they work with people who fall into all categories, from children to Baby Boomers, from professional athletes to rehabilitation patients.

With the help of Maria, Rick or one of several other certified trainers, clients receive routines for mat and machine work depending upon their specific needs.

“Women who’ve had babies, it’s a great way to get back in shape after giving birth,” says Maria of one of the many body benefits Pilates practicers experience. “It’s great for prenatal, keeping strong before giving birth. Men come in for toning and stretching. We’ve had people come in who’ve had herniated discs, knee issues or back issues. It’s good for a lot of issues – and we all have issues. ”

Other services include massage therapy, Hawaiian lomi lomi (deep tissue massage), nutritional consultation and acupuncture. In addition, several product lines are hand-selected by Maria and Rick to offer their clients a harmonizing mind and body experience. Erbe Dermocosmetica, Unicity and Malie are available for purchase at the Body Balance Boutique.

An exciting change planned for this year, Maria says, is that they are contemplating moving to a larger studio space. Until that decision is finalized, there will be other additions, such as yoga, that keep with the movement center’s philosophy.

“I think we just offer the best service in town,” Maria says through a beaming smile. “It’s not about the money, it’s about servicing the client and making them feel their best.”

Visit www.bodyhawaii.com to view a full list of classes, prices and other amenities. Private sessions tend to get booked quickly, so be sure to call well ahead to reserve a time. For group or semi-private classes, Maria says a client can call in the morning and get in that evening, if there’s availability. Call (808)596-TONE (8663) or (808)497-7967.