TopNotch Pilates Expands With New Location And Equipment

Bill and Lynn Godwin on the reformer. TopNotch Pilates specializes in duet sessions as well as private one-on-one sessions. Courtesy photo
Scott Backhaus demonstrating the beginning of a hanging pull-up on the Cadillac Trapeze Table. Courtesy photo
Los Alamos Daily Post

TopNotch Pilates has a new home at 166 East Gate Dr. in Los Alamos. The new space is three times the size of the old in order to accommodate new equipment and growing clientele, owner and teacher Sabrina Svard said.

Svard has a loyal following of clients.

“Pilates breaks the connection between exercise and suffering,” client Susan Coleman said. “For me, exercise has always involved long suffering afterwards (lingering, horrid suffering) but Pilates does not do this. After doing a Pilates session with Sabrina you don’t feel pain. You feel better, more energized, more aligned and in tune with your body.”

Prior to moving to Santa Fe five years ago, Svard owned a studio in New England. She has been teaching exercise and fitness for more than 33 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 20 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.

Svard got hooked on Pilates around 18 years ago.

“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. Don’t be scared. Most people who start Pilates have never done an exercise system. It’s truly for every “body”.

Client Lynn Godwin agrees.  

“I am a woman who has exercised for decades,” she said. “After experiencing a number of pain responses to my exercise programs I decided to try Pilates primarily because I knew I could get careful personal attention. I felt better after the first session. What I have found after a year and a half is that I am much better aligned, I have better posture, I am stronger, and I am moving easily and well. In fact Pilates has improved my overall sense of well being to the point that I don’t like the thought of doing without it!”

Godwin and her husband Bill do “couples duet” sessions at TopNotch.

“There is no question that 18 months of Pilates has significantly improved my posture and addressed a number of age-related weaknesses in my body since I’m almost 80.,” Bill said.

Svard teaches both classical Pilates and contemporary Pilates and her studio has both types of equipment. Classical Pilates is the work of  Pilates originator, Joseph Pilates (1883-1967) who created The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning (also called Contrology) in the 1920s to help rehabilitate wounded servicemen.

“Classical equipment is smaller and relies on spring-loaded resistance and works the body both pushing out and pulling in,” Svard said. “Contemporary equipment uses lighter springs and works the body only when pulling out. Classical methods are very effective, but contemporary methods allow for more modifications to deal with medical concerns and specific problems. I’m happy to work with your medical professional to help you become pain free and heal your body.”

Svard explained that Pilates improves whatever a person does, from extreme sports to living one’s daily life.

“It focuses on proper alignment of the spine. It creates body awareness. All your movements become fluid. Your body becomes more resilient,” she said. “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.”

Svard offers small classes, couples Pilates duets and individual sessions. She even has a class specifically for preparing for the golf season. Classes for equestrians and skiers also have been offered. She can tailor specialty classes to meet a groups’ needs.
Classes and individual sessions or duets are offered Monday through Thursday in Los Alamos. Svard also has a studio in Santa Fe.

Visit TopNotch Pilates website at to learn more about Pilates, the studio and class offerings. Call Svard at 505.331.4910 to learn more or set up a consultation.

TopNotch Pilates owner and instructor Sabrina Svard demonstrates a piece of equipment in her studio. Courtesy photo