Los Alamos Clients Get Fit At TopNotch Pilates

TopNotch Pilates owner Sabrina Svard, right, works with a client. Courtesy photo
Los Alamos Daily Post

Sabrina  Svard opened her Los Alamos facility, TopNotch Pilates, in April 2016 and tripled its size  June 1. The studio now occupies a spacious suite on the second floor at 127 East Gate Dr.

Svard also teaches Pilates in Santa Fe and has taught in Los Alamos prior to opening TopNotch.

“My clients in Los Alamos urged me to open a studio here,” Svard said.

Prior to moving to Santa Fe three years ago, Svard owned a studio in New England. She has been teaching exercise and fitness for more than 31

years, around the U.S. and abroad. Svard holds a number of impressive credentials. She is a Balanced Body Pilates and Barre Master Instructor, NETA Master Trainer, former AFAA Certification Specialist for over twenty years, is certified in Classical Pilates through Peak Pilates Systems, PhysicalMind Institute, and is trained in Essential and Intermediate Stott Pilates. She is a certified NSCA strength and conditioning specialist, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, 200 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher, ACE & AFAA Group Exercise Certified and a black belt in TaeKwon Do.


Side Sit-ups on the Ladder Barrel. Courtesy photo


Svard began her Pilates training about 10 years ago. “I first trained in Pilates because I wanted to learn about it for my work training fitness instructors,” Svard said.  The first exposure I had was just mats, then I discovered the equipment used in Pilates and I really got hooked.”
“Of all the exercises I’ve done, Pilates is what makes the most sense for people’s bodies,” she said. “Pilates works the body as a whole unit. Even though the focus might be on one muscle group, it is an integrated system. Anyone age 9 to 90 can do it. I’ve never injured myself doing Pilates, as I have with other exercise activities.”

Pilates revolves around the core of the body—what Joseph Pilates, who invented the system called “the powerhouse”.

“Pilates improves whatever you do, from extreme sports to living your daily life,” Svard said. “It focuses on proper alignment of the spine. It creates body awareness. All your movements become fluid. Your body becomes more resilient. It eases back pain and helps clients to tone and streamline as well as offering other health benefits. Pilates offers alignment plus cardio and strength training without the wear and tear on your body of some exercise systems,” she said.

Principles of Pilates:

  • Concentration
  • Control
  • Centering
  • Precision
  • Breath
  • Flow

Improving posture is one of the goals of Pilates, Svard said. “You start to realize that you have habits that are causing you problems and Pilates helps to correct them.”

TopNotch Pilates is a fully equipped Pilates and personal training facility.  The studio offers both Classical Pilates and Contemporary Pilates private and semi-private sessions as well personal training sessions and classes for fitness instructors, as well as  eclectic small group trainings. Svard has an array of state-of-the-art Pilates equipment in her studio.

Svard recommends clients take at least five private sessions before joining a small group class in order to learn the method effectively.


 Los Alamos resident Kay Newnam does side splits on the CoreAlign Courtesy photo

“I tell people that my Pilates sessions with Sabrina gave me my life back,” client Kay Newnam said. “This may sound extreme, but years of chronic, debilitating hip pain was eroding my health and compromising my quality of life. Thanks to Sabrina’s creative and meticulous style of working, the pain is in the past, and I am continually gaining in strength and overall fitness.  Pilates sessions are an essential part of my health regimen.”

“I feel like I’m getting stronger,” another client said. “My balance and core strength have imporved. You get a sense of well-being from doing something for yourself, to improve your life.”

Call Svard at 505.331.4910 to schedule an appointment or learn more.  Visit the website at www.topnotchpilates.com to learn more and explore the full range of classes and services offered.


Joseph Pilates, left, and his staff in his studio. Courtesy photo


“Pilates,” is named after Joseph Pilates Pilates (1883-1967) who created The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning (also called Contrology) in the 1920s.

As a child he  was sickly and taunted by the other children. He began experimenting with different physical training regimes and by the time he was 14 he was posing for anatomy charts. He went on to become a boxer and gymnast.

During World War I, Pilates started to fashion rehabilitation devices out of the hospital furnishings to rehabilitate the soldiers. The Pilates Apparatus (Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, Ladder Barrel, Spine Corrector, etc.) are the modern day versions of his inventions that he used during the war as almost physical therapy devices.

Pilates envisioned his method as a Mind-Body-Spirit form of exercise–physical movement with a profound, inwardly directed awareness or focus in which the orientation is towards process, not competition. It stimulates cognitive and physical development.

Regarding the method, he wrote, “It was conceived to limber and stretch muscles…so the body will be as limber as that of a cat.”

According to Joseph Pilates,

  • In 10 sessions you will feel the difference
  • In 20 sessions you will see the difference
  • In 30 sessions you will have a new body