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From Cross Fit, to Yoga, to Jane Fonda’s aerobics videos, people have been looking for new and creative ways to get fit for a long time. Well one fitness studio in town is taking a new tactic and using science as their guide.
“Everything we do is based in science, and we develop our programs with that in mind” explained Dawn Chenault, pilates instructor and co-owner of THE STUDIO in Huntsville, Alabama.
Tucked away in the back corner of an office complex on Airport Road and Balmoral Dr, you may not have heard of the THE STUDIO before, but this small space is offering up some big ideas in the world of fitness.
“We had a reformer pilates product that we knew was different than anything else in the Huntsville market,” said Dawn on how the studio got its start.
Unlike traditional pilates, which generally consists of mat work on the floor and can often be difficult to do well and hard to control, THE STUDIO uses a machine called a “reformer.” A bed-like frame with a flat moving platform which rolls back and forth on wheels within the frame, The reformer is THE STUDIO’s magic ingredient, helping support the user throughout their exercise.
“A lot of the time people think of pilates as stretching, and that’s not what we do here, it’s more of an athletic program. It builds and tones muscle to give you this long, lean-looking body, but it’s safe. So everybody can do what they can do safely.”
And while rolling back and forth on wheeled platform may not sound like much of a workout, 5 seconds in one of THE STUDIOS targeted classes will have you changing your mind pretty quickly.
But let’s get back to the science for a moment.
Unlike other studios that focus on reps, or weight, or time, THE STUDIO focuses on intentional movement and building their clients’ body awareness. “I think people don’t realize how much of a difference it makes when you really move more intentionally, choosing the exact muscle you want to engage,” said THE STUDIO instructor Lindsay Newlin. “Unless you’re engaging the correct muscles and holding your body in the correct alignment, it doesn’t matter how many reps you’re doing because your movement isn’t connected to your body in a way that is going to maximize its full potential impact.”
And it’s this focus on intentional movement that allows THE STUDIO to cater to a wide variety of clientele. “We have people in here that are young and fit and we have women who are in their 80s, and we can all work together,” said Dawn. “Within every class we can modify whatever exercise is being taught for just about anybody.”
JMP_9722Which is important, explained Dawn, since many of their clients come to them with some sort of brokeness to begin with. “We had one gal who came in here on her way to the neurosugeon because her hips were in so much pain. Come to find out after working with her on the reformer, that her body alignment was simply incorrect.” She went on to explain that, “Our instructors go through an intensive training program and apprenticeship that teaches them how to modify for anything. So if a client says, ‘this exercise hurts my shoulders’, my instructors know how to change whatever they are doing to keep that shoulder from hurting.” Usually she says, “teaching them to keep their bodies in the right place is everything.”
And with a maximum of 10 students per class, THE STUDIO prides itself on that sort of personal engagement with its clients. From giving each participant personal attention in class, to helping them create goals for themselves and checking in with them on those goals along the way, to connecting them with their on-staff nutritionist who can provide grocery lists, meal plans and recipes. “We’re a small studio, so it’s like having personal training in a group setting,” said Dawn.
“The work here, it changes your body,” says Dawn. “It puts you in the best shape and the best form. I know personally I look better now than I ever have, I’m more fit, I feel better and I hold myself better. Knowing how to use your whole body changes every aspect of your life. It’s really a full encompassing, life changing workout.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the studio and getting a jump start on your own personal fitness goals this year, visit their website at:
THE STUDIO is located at 4240 Balmoral Drive, Huntsville AL 35801, you can find the entrance to their space on the right side of the Johnson & Hayes building.  A variety of classes are offered every day of the week except Sunday.
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