by Susan Post
“Movement heals,” says Lisa Hunsaker of Turning Point Fitness. Hunsaker is the founder of this Westerville studio where she offers traditional Pilates practices seven days a week to clients in Central Ohio.
Hunsaker and her fellow instructors strive to create a space where all are welcome to explore Pilates with the goal of making exercise fun. Turning Point Fitness fosters an environment where members feel welcome and have personal attention, instead of just being another member at a gym.
“All of the modalities we offer root around using your core,” Hunsaker says. Pilates movements are centered on developing core strength. Many people focus on toning their arms or legs, but as Hunsaker asks, “What about the core?”
Hunsaker describes the benefits of Pilates as organizing the body and mind to be more aware of how we carry ourselves, including how we sit and stand. Strengthening the core also has many additional benefits, including better performance during a host of different exercise modalities.
“Pilates is very beneficial in that it has a lot of strength and stretch involved in the method,” Hunsaker continues.
The practice can also help with back pain. A strong core supports the spine, allowing a straighter posture and removing spinal decompression. Turning Point Fitness follows the adage coined by Pilates’ founders, “You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.”
While spine flexibility may indicate youth, Turning Point Fitness says you can never be too young or too old to practice Pilates. The studio sees everyone from young gymnasts and dancers who practice to build control, to seniors who focus on flexibility and endurance.
“It can be modified or enhanced for every fitness level,” Hunsaker says. “Everybody can feel successful doing it.”
Turning Point Fitness offers two types of Pilates classes: Pilates Mat and Power Pilates. Pilates Mat focuses on traditional movements performed on the back, side or stomach. Class sizes are small with about 8 to 12 people for more personal attention. Turning Point Fitness also offers private and semi-private classes.
Power Pilates classes combine traditional mat movements with exercises performed on Pilates equipment. The equipment is designed to help people find and use their muscle groups correctly. Some members prefer to practice with equipment then move into mat classes, or use a combination of both.
The studio also offers Xtend Barre, TRX and spinning classes. Xtend Barre integrates Pilates concepts into dance with many of the same core-strengthening benefits. TRX is a suspension training system. Members use suspension and their own body weight to strengthen and tone muscles from head to toe. Finally, the studio also offers certified spinning classes.
Hunsaker was always interested in movement before she opened the studio. A dancer throughout college, she was looking for a way to incorporate movement into her life after school. She then turned to group fitness classes, first earning her group fitness, then personal training and Pilates certifications.
Teaching Pilates started as more of a hobby. She was always teaching classes on the side on a part-time basis, first in Chicago, then in Columbus after a move back to the area.
When Hunsaker brought Pilates to Columbus, the modality in its most classical form was new to the area.
“It’s still kind of a hidden gem, especially in Ohio,” she says.
Hunsaker started renting the space that would become Turning Point Fitness in 2007. The following year, she took it over.
“It wasn’t like I planned to open up my own business but my parents were self-employed so I knew what kind of work it was,” she says.
For a business not originally being in the plans, “It’s more than I ever thought it would be,” Hunsaker continues. Since its inception, the space has doubled in size, leaving Hunsaker optimistic for the future and not knowing what it will bring.
However, with a now firmly-established studio, Turning Point Fitness plans to focus on consistency and education around the Pilates experience.
For more information, call 614-895-1433 or visit TurningPointFit.com.
Susan Post is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus. She enjoys writing about her city and the people and places that make it special. Contact her at Susan.Post.email@example.com.