Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 6, 2011

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — Pilates has come to Salisbury. Karen Brehob’s new downtown studio offers not only mat Pilates classes, which are available elsewhere in town, but the famous Pilates apparatus designed to tone and strengthen muscles while helping you develop the body of a dancer.
Or something close to it.
“I love people. I love teaching them things that they never really knew about themselves,” said Brehob, a certified instructor. “And I love having the satisfaction of making people feel better about themselves.”
Pilates of Salisbury is the only full-equipped studio dedicated to the Pilates method between Winston-Salem and Charlotte. It features equipment like the reformer, Cadillac, Wunda chair, ladder barrel and spine corrector.
Open since May at 110 E. Council St., Pilates of Salisbury has grown by word-of-mouth and gained about one new client per week. Most are lawyers who work nearby, and Brehob would like to expand her client base to include people outside of downtown Salisbury.
Clients must take four individual, 55-minute sessions (they’re on sale this month for $100 total) before they can advance to semi-private sessions, which cost less.
“To do it correctly, it’s really hard,” client Andrea Anders said.
Anders, who also enjoys yoga, said she was excited to discover a full-fledged Pilates studio in Salisbury.
“It’s a really nice complement, if you’re doing cardio already, to strengthen the core,” she said.
Brehob’s instruction is thorough and skillful, Anders said.
A native of Indianapolis, Brehob became an entrepreneur at age 21 when she opened a nail salon and massage therapy studio.
She moved to Salisbury in 2007 to work as the office manager for a local construction company, which went out of business. She took advantage of the misfortune to follow her dream and open a Pilates studio.
“I found out that I really have to be my own boss,” said Brehob, now 28.
She said she enjoys the flexibility and satisfaction of running her own business.
She lives in a loft apartment over the former Legal Street Cafe, which backs up to East Council Street. One day, she noticed a computer business moving out of the space next door to Wong’s Chinese Restaurant and inquired.
Brehob had been searching for a place to open a studio but was discouraged by high rent and interior walls. However, Tiffany and John Wong’s space offered an open floor plan and reasonable rent, Brehob said.
Soon, she and her boyfriend, Heith Kluttz of Concord, were sanding, painting and unpacking equipment. Brehob estimates she’s spent close to $20,000 on renovations and apparatus.
Natural light floods the studio, and the color scheme of bight sage green, ocean blue and yellow soothes yet invigorates. A member of the Looking Glass Artist Collective, Brehob painted most of the artwork in the studio, including her logo.
Pilates is unlike any other workout, she said.
“You become extremely aware of your body, of your strengths and weaknesses,” she said.
Because Pilates has no impact, anyone can do it, she said. And because every movement involves the abdominal muscles, men often find it surprisingly challenging.
“Men use their upper body for everything, so when they come to me and I tell them they can’t use their upper body, they find out they’re not as strong as they thought they were,” Brehob said.
What Pilates does
• Develops a strong core, or body center
• Builds strong muscles without “bulking up”
• Heightens body awareness and coordination
• Promotes flexibility and agility
• Teaches good posture and graceful movement
Pilates of Salisbury
110 E. Council St.
Open Monday-Saturday by appointment only
Mat sessions start at $15
Equipment sessions start at $50
Specials offered every month
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.