The Dailey Method vs. Burn vs. Mighty Pilates: A Toning Trifecta


Just when I thought I had the perfect sculpting workout regime, I get Burned. Burn, the city's newest pilates-fusion workout brings cardio into San Francisco's search for the ultimate toning workout. And when a workout is called Burn, how can a fitness junkie not try it?

And now I sit on my handy heating pad, nursing burned muscles. Here is the backstory...I began doing The Dailey Method two years ago in preparation for a surf trip. I needed to strengthen and tone — fast. After doing pilates to help nurture a neck injury, I became addicted to the subtle targeted strengthening of pilates-based workouts. I have been a Dailey devotee since.

Thanks to one of those irresistible city deal sites, I was finally able to try Mighty Pilates a couple months ago. It was fun to get back on a real pilates machine and the instructors were stellar — fear of pinching a finger in a spring quickly faded.

I like them all, but, like the workouts, they're slightly different. Interested in trimming off a layer in two shakes? Try any, or all, of these 2-3 times a week. They're around the same pricing, most with unlimited first month trials.

1) The Dailey Method. Still my number one. Why? It appeals to my inner-dancer and it targets tough-to-tone areas. Every class has a different flow, avoiding boredom, and it's interactive with inventive uses of a ballet bar, weights, bands, and balls. Upbeat music and a laid back vibe make for an unintimidating atmosphere. Target areas: arms, abs, posterior, thighs.  

2) Burn. The cardio element is the draw here. I cracked a sweat and had a dizzy moment, which says I was working it. Every five minutes I was doing something different — and that includes my arch enemy: Squats. No pain no gain right? I want more. There was one man in my class; the other two workouts are majority female. Target areas: thighs, abs, back, posterior.

3) Mighty Pilates. Maybe it's all the machinery, but Mighty feels like the most serious of the trifecta. It's also the slowest moving. But if you're looking for something more technical and posture improving, this one's for you. I woke up with post-Mighty all-over soreness, rather than specific spots. Target areas: abs, legs, all-over strengthening.

Fitness fun sans scary's go time.

Samantha Durbin ( is a lifestyle writer who honed her blogging skills as Editor of Samantha graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology, also writes for San Francisco magazine and Gilt City, and shares her musings via her poly-blog network, led by SFonFire.

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