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Photos By Tim Valentino.

Club Pilates in St. Matthew Opens

Katie Ryser has a keen knack for identifying needs and developing solutions. As a new mom living in New York’s Upper East Side, she no longer had the time to train for triathalons as she had previously enjoyed as a means to fitness. “I started working out with a very dynamic private trainer, but like many moms,” Ryser recalls, “I felt guilty when I was in the gym away from my kids and then I felt guilty when I didn’t make it to the gym because of the demands of home.” A prominent member of the Central Park Conservancy Women’s Committee, Katie knew Central Park backwards and forwards, so, with the guidance of her trainer, she developed Tots in Tow, a targeted workout program that allowed moms to workout with their children by using what Central Park naturally had to offer.

When Ryser and her husband made the decision to relocate to Louisville in order to raise their young children among family and friends, she capitalized on her passion for fitness, her business degree and entrepreneurial spirit, along with her past work experience as an event planner to open the highly successful CycleBar after identifying a need for a spinning studio in the city. The indoor franchise-based cycling studio debuted in Shelbyville Road Plaza in November 2016 and was immediately identified as the number one CycleBar in the country in terms of revenue and riders. Beyond that instantaneous success, Ryser has utilized the platform as a way to raise money for worthy causes close to her heart, and to date, has raised more than $15,000 for organizations like Family Scholar House and Primrose Schools Foundation through her “Cyclegiving” rides.

While overseeing CycleBar, Ryser identified another fitness opportunity in the city—an easily accessible and affordable Pilates studio. This week, on August 10, she will open her second venture in Shelbyville Road Plaza called Club Pilates. “Pilates is such a staple in other cities and I noticed that it lacked a real presence in Louisville,” she observed. “Pilates is such an important method of fitness because in other routines, like running, lifting or cycling, we overtrain our large muscle groups. Pilates focuses on the underutilized, opposing muscle groups to achieve greater stability, a stronger core and injury prevention. This is why I believe in the Pilates method.”

The completely renovated 2,400 square foot studio space houses an unprecedented 14 Pilates reformers. “Reformer machines don’t let you cheat,” Ryder teases when sharing the core basis of the classes. And with an upscale casual and coastal interior vibe, you will recognize right away that you are in for a majorly revamped Pilates experience.

Classes are designed to hold 12 people to create “an intimate exercise experience where we can focus on control and form,” Ryser explains. The incorporation of music and energy as well as stations that include TRX straps, ballet barre, a Bosu ball, an EXO-chair, a springboard and Triggerpoint roller balls will offer a variation of the traditional Pilates experience some have come to expect, and appeals to both men, women, athletes and sports enthusiasts.

Affordability was also important to Ryser when planning the studio, an act that she says, “democratizes Pilates and makes it accessible to more people.” Prices range from $79 for 4 classes per month to $169 for a monthly unlimited pass with a $22 class drop-in rate. A regular frequency of class options makes this an easy workout option for even the busiest of schedules. Club Pilates opened this week with 28 classes per week but will quickly ramp up to more than 60 per week offered at all hours throughout the day. As part of the opening, 22 free demo classes will be offered with an additional 14 offered August 14 through September 10. Due to popular demand and the nearly immediate full booking of those classes, more are being added to accommodate those interested in giving it a try. Visit their website or drop in at their new location to learn more.

Club Pilates

600 Shelbyville Rd. #116


Snapshot OF The Club Pilates instructors —
their diverse backgrounds and interests may surprise you

Christy O’Connell

Years of experience:

She is in her fifth year teaching, but has been practicing Pilates for a decade. “My friend suggested I try Pilates and I ended up finding a mentor in my instructor, and loved what was happening to my body,” said O’Connell. “After years of doing it, she convinced me to take the plunge and get certified.” In addition, she is certified in pregnancy Pilates.

Favorite thing about Pilates:

“Breath and control. It centers you in a way that other workouts don’t. You can’t just fake through the moves, you have to be present in your body. It also forces you to do that in your other workouts or sports.”

Outside the Club Pilates studio:

“I am a flower farmer! I own a small flower farming and floral business called Pure Pollen Flowers. I grow and sell flowers at markets, and I do weddings and events. I’m also a musician in several local bands. The trifecta of flower, Pilates and music make for a pretty good life, and it’s very rewarding.”

Favorite quote:

“Everyone is the architect of their own happiness.” —Joseph Pilates

“Every little bit of this is true. Exercise is often overlooked as a method for treating depression and motivating change in life. Often, all a person needs to get themselves out of a funk is some body movement. The clarity and power that comes to your brain from exercising your body can be life changing,” said O’Connell.

Haylee Sullivan-Stamper

Years of experience:

She has been teaching Pilates for 16 years, and has been practicing Pilates since age 12, as a part of her training as a competitive figure skater and ice dancer.  “I was a figure skater and I started taking Pilates from a professional ballet dancer from New York. I fell in love with how it felt to my body, how much stronger I became as an athlete and it balanced my body strength so I didn’t have as many injuries,” said Sullivan-Stamper.

Favorite thing about Pilates:

“I love the flow of Pilates. The breath with the movement feels almost like a dance. And it makes it challenging to not have to stop between each exercise. I always leave with more energy after my workout than when I started.”

Outside the Club Pilates studio:

“My husband and I have four children and a shih-poo puppy that keep us on our toes. I love anything creative – interior design and crafts – and I seem to always have my hands in a fun project.”

Favorite quote:

“Pilates is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace and skill that will be unmistakably reflected in the way you walk, the way you play and the way you work.” —Joseph Pilates

“I like this quote because Pilates connects your mind and body and you become aware of how you move not just in your sessions, but in your life. It will change how you carry yourself – in the body’s mechanics while doing your chores. You learn how to align your spine properly, giving you more energy and vitality for life.”

Amanda Pilgrim

Years of experience:

She has five years of experience as a Pilates instructor and has been practicing for a decade. A former high school competitive soccer player, she became interested in Pilates because it improved her flexibility and core strength.

Favorite thing about Pilates:

“I love Pilates for its fun yet functional approach to exercise. It is adaptable to all fitness levels and privides a full-body workout in every session.”

Outside the Club Pilates studio:

You can find this outdoor enthusiast hiking, trying new restaurants, and playing with her English & French bulldogs.

Favorite quote:

“Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.” —Joseph Pilates