Get to Know your Instructor at Pilates of Charleston

If you loved learning more about our girl Hanna, you’ll be psyched to hear that next up on our “Get to Know Team Pilates of Charleston,” we interviewed instructor and owner, Katie Sovenyhazy! You’re probably familiar with Katie while she’s rocking her Lulu Lemons and counting out that it’s time to get into Pilates V for 100s! However, this week you’ll get to have an inside look at Katie’s history with Pilates and her favorite activities from fried foods to walks on the Charleston bridge. We hope you learn something new and get to know Katie aside from her duties as your Pilates instructor at Pilates of Charleston.

How did you get involved in Pilates? 

The short story is….through years of ballet! Pilates mat classes were always part of our training and curriculum as young dancers and ballet studios/schools typically brought in Pilates instructors to teach their students inside the ballet studio. Pilates is ideal for a dancer’s body, as it develops core strength and helps to improve and strengthen flexibility. It also is a means to stay conditioned when dealing with dance related injuries. So, I have been doing Pilates mat classes since I was about 9 years old! Now, as a young dancer, I did not love mat classes because all I really wanted to be doing was dancing and rehearsing. So needless to say, I was not very enthusiastic about lying on a mat doing the hundreds at 8 AM on a Saturday morning…hahaha! However, as I matured I grew to appreciate the benefits of Pilates and I started to seek out Pilates classes outside of the dance studio, where I was finally introduced to the reformer. 

How long have you been teaching Pilates?

I have been teaching Pilates for 14 years.

What is your favorite thing about being a Pilates instructor? 

Contrary to what the majority of the public thinks, teaching Pilates is hard….and teaching a GOOD class is even harder! In a group class for example, you have to not only choreograph the flow of exercises, but you have to have enough knowledge of human anatomy to know what muscle groups are working and which positions or movements might contraindicate a specific person’s injuries. Not to mention, you need one hell of a personality to entertain people during a class and a large dose of enthusiasm to keep people motivated when the class turns hard! You also need to have good cueing, be hands on, and be available to spot when necessary. The challenge of executing all those things together perfectly, is an art. And that is what I love about teaching! I love striving for perfection, to constantly create the perfect class that inspires every single person in the room.  I love choreographing classes that leave people feeling challenged, yet not defeated. And I love pushing and encouraging my students to believe that they CAN do more than they think they can.

How would others describe your classes?

Well, I do believe I have a reputation for teaching tough classes! I think most people would describe my Pilates classes as challenging and creative. They tend to be challenging mostly because it’s nonstop. I try to make every minute count and keep transitions to a minimum.  Pilates is not “a walk in the park” and I think my classes reflect that. Now, even though my classes are tough, I never leave people stranded and always offer help and modifications should you not be able to do a particular exercise. I think because of that, everyone is accommodated no matter what their level of fitness is and EVERYONE leaves feeling like they conquered!    

What other things do you do to live a healthy lifestyle?

I try to take at least two to three of Elizel’s classes a week and I also try to get a quick run in–although it’s more like a jog than a run! I also try and walk our doggie, Austin, and go for bike rides with my two boys, as much as possible around the neighborhood, so he can get his energy out and I can get my steps in. I think cross training is important, so I will throw in a yoga class or some free weights with our girl, Megan Hamilton of Bodywise. I drink healthy, veggie/fruit packed smoothies or açaí bowls for lunch in-between sessions and I make sure I get in a massage as often as my schedule allows to keep my muscles happy. 

Favorite “splurge” meal?

Fried Fish with tons of malt vinegar! There’s an off the beaten path restaurant in North Charleston called The Codfather that has the best fish and chips!

Favorite Way to spend a weekend in Charleston?

I teach so much during the week, that when I get to the weekend, I look forward to chilling out and spending time with my husband and two boys. I enjoy going for evening beach walks on Sullivan’s island with my hubby and two sons, perhaps after a nice dinner out. Being able to walk the bridge (not run) always makes for a good weekend as well! And then of course, I’m a girl that loves mani’s, pedi’s, and blow out’s! So, treating myself to getting my nails done or my hair blown out, would be top on my list for a good weekend. 

Favorite and least favorite Pilates exercise? 

My favorite Pilates exercise is side bends on the box! I know, I know…people are probably rolling their eyes at me because there is nothing pleasant about side bends. However, I love that they tap into your obliques and QL in a way that’s hard to replicate with other traditional abdominal exercises. My least favorite? Humm….. maybe the classical rowing series. Just not a fan! Hahaha!   

If you haven’t taken one of Katie’s classes yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. From a cardio blasting jump board class to a classic yet challenging reformer class, Katie will have you hooked on Pilates in no time. Schedule a class with Katie today and try out her famous side bends and chat about a dish of fish n chips.

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