Meet Ally & Max Castran - Joyful Pilates

An insight into the journey of Ally and Max Castran; founders of Joyful Pilates - the vibrant studio location behind our 2023 Pride campaign shoot.

Tell us about your Pilates journey so far?

Ally – I started doing Pilates in 2013 to help rehab an ankle injury I sustained whilst teaching aerobics classes. After seeing the benefits of Pilates on my body, I decided to do a Pilates course and began teaching reformer classes at some local gyms and studios. I enjoyed Pilates because it was a great compliment to the high intensity workouts I loved doing and I noticed my body got stronger, I got less injuries and it challenged me creatively to explore interesting class plans and try new movements. I went on to study many other Pilates courses to up-skill whilst teaching and as my knowledge grew I became even more fascinated by the practice. This lead to opening Joyful Pilates in 2020 with my husband Max.

Max – I started in the fitness industry working in sales and as a personal trainer before completing my Pilates training. Pilates was the perfect compliment to my skillset and I’ve enjoyed creating my own style of teaching in my classes at Joyful. My signature class is Joyful Sweat which is a circuit style workout using the Pilates reformer.

Joyful is such a fun, vibrant and inviting space, where did your inspiration for Joyful come from?

We were inspired by that joyful endorphin rush you feel after doing an invigorating movement session. We wanted to create a space which made people feel joyful, happy and better than before they entered. Working with architect Chris Connell we created a space where all the design elements have been specifically chosen to spark joy. We have bright colours, curved lines, smooth textures and bespoke furniture. The bright colours in our studios reflect each of our class types and change in intensity to convey the feel of each class style (eg we use a hot red for our advanced class and a peaceful green for our stretch class etc.) All of this creates the unique experience of Joyful Pilates.

What’s your favourite form of movement and why?

Ally – I love reformer Pilates – especially a dynamic class which gets your heartrate lifted and muscles shaking! I also still enjoy teaching aerobics. The perfect combination!

Max – I grew up playing tennis and still love playing as an adult. I enjoy strength work (such as lifting weights or doing Pilates) to keep my body strong and agile.

Tell us about a day in your life.

Every day for us is different – which is something we love! We currently have a 6 month old so every day is a juggling act between running Joyfuland Mum/Dad duties. 

What inspires you?

Ally – I’m inspired by our members. All our clients have their own goals/reasons for doing Pilates and nothing inspires me more than watching their journeys (both on and off the reformer). I’m also very inspired by colour – so the LED lights in our studio make me really happy!

Max – I love good music! A strong pumping playlist always makes me feel inspired and gets me going!

Why should people start doing Pilates?

Pilates is such a great compliment to any other form of movement you love to do. It strengthens muscles that are often missed in other types of exercise, is able to be modified for all ages/abilities and can help prevent injuries from occurring. Pilates is also a really lovely mental release – it’s difficult to think about anything else whilst doing a class which likens it to a form of moving meditation. We aim to ensure everyone who does a class at Joyful leaves feeling better than when they entered!