UNABLE TO FIND A PILATES STUDIO IN HER NEW NJ HOME, THIS NEW YORK CITY EXPAT ELECTED TO STRETCH HER ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT
BY JESSICA JONES GORMAN PHOTOS BY AMANDA DOMENECH
After having her son via cesarean section 16 years ago, Susan Markowitz struggled to find her way back to fitness.
“I was always an athlete, very active; but this was a challenge for me,” she said. “I searched for a trainer who could help me focus on healing what my body had been through, but it was difficult to find someone who specialized in postpartum clients. No one really understood how to restore my core muscles, which had been stretched and pulled for nine months and then cut and stitched during surgery.”
Then Markowitz, who hails from New York City, walked into a Pilates studio and finally found her match.
“That’s where I first learned about what my core even was,” she said. “Pilates helped me put myself back together again with intelligence, and taught me how to work on my own personal fitness from the inside out.”
After practicing the controlled movements based fitness method for several years, Markowitz moved to New Jersey and searched for a studio close to her new home. When that proved unsuccessful, she opened her own.
“I lived in Manhattan for 30 years, and in the city the whole world comes to you,” she said. “If you want to practice Pilates, there’s a dozen or more studios to choose from. But in this small town, I found myself searching…looking for a trainer who understood my body. So I decided to compile all that I had learned and built a practice to share with others.”
Markowitz achieved her full Pilates certification and went on to complete three other international certifications in the methodology. She searched for an inviting space and found one on Route 34, then splashed Matawan based Pivotal Pilates in calming colors and dim lighting and hanging billowy curtains throughout.
“When clients first walk in, they say ‘What is this studio doing here?’—are surprised there’s such a tranquil space in the middle of a busy highway. But our windows face the woods, not the traffic, and we focus on making the interior completely tranquil, with no distractions.”
Markowitz built the business through word of mouth, and quickly earned enough clients to pay the rent. Ten years in, she credits her staff and quality of instruction with keeping Pivotal Pilates successful.
“Sadly these kinds of businesses open and shut pretty quickly; I think we’ve been around so long because we listen to the needs of clients and truly care about the unique fitness situation of everyone who walks through the door.”
The practice of Pilates itself has changed over the past 10 years, and so has her studio.
“When I first moved here, people only knew about mat Pilates,” Markowitz said. “But as the industry gravitated towards machine work, so did we. Now group equipment has become very hot, and we’ve expanded to meet that change,” adding that this past year, she’s added another suite, including a barre studio, along with a room for yoga and TRX equipment. The studio will also host an open house on February 23; group equipment classes and private instruction will be available throughout the day.
“My focus has always been offering an intimate setting with private instruction, and that’s what I’m continuing to do,” she said. In the process, she’s created a foundational series of classes in which beginners can learn proper form and help recover from spine and hip issues. Markowitz also certifies Pilates instructors from all over the state.
“We’ve added an education department in which we teach anatomy workshops and certify instructors in hip health and shoulder and joint programming,” she said. “I love that aspect of the business, because it has introduced a whole new way of helping people.”
952 Route 34, Suite 206, Matawan
732.256.3898 / pivotalpilates.com