Popular Lewiston fitness studio opens at new location
by Ralph Schwarz
After a lengthy hiatus, Lewiston fitness expert Kelly Mac has returned with a new studio and new programs. What has not changed, however, is her enthusiasm to help other people stay in shape and live a healthier life.
A fitness instructor for more than 20 years, Mac recently relocated her studio from 748 Center St., to a new, 1,000-square-foot location at 779 Cayuga St. The name has changed, too. What used to be known as Lewiston Fitness Studio is now MAC Pilates Studio One - the first of many MAC studios to come.
"It's the first of eight studios," Mac said. "Eight is my goal."
When asked why this number, the native of Vietnam comes up quick with her answer.
"Because we are Asian, and the number eight stands for prosperity," she said. "So I think that this is an appropriate number."
Ideally, Mac would like to see her fitness studios migrate west across the United States to California, where she became involved in fitness instruction at the age of 16. But for now, she will look into opening up another location in the Buffalo area, most likely in Williamsville, she said.
Still, Lewiston will always be a special place for her.
"It's called MAC Pilates Studio One because it is Lewiston's first Pilates studio," she said. "This community received my business so well, and without my customers I would not be where I'm now. I'm definitely honored to be here in Lewiston, and now I'm returning this honor by naming this studio here 'Studio One.' "
So far, Mac has specialized in Pilates, yoga, aerobics, strength and cardiovascular training for individuals and small groups. But this is all going to change next month when she will add pole Pilates and Pilates machine workouts to her list of programs.
"I'm very excited," Mac said. "There has been a lot of positive response from my customers regarding these two new programs."
Both programs provide a complete workout for the body's core muscles, in particular abdominal muscles, buttocks and spine muscles. Unlike the original Pilates, which is done on the floor with no equipment, both Pilates machine and pole Pilates require the use of tools.
"Pilates machine takes the classic Pilates workout from the mats on the floor to machines that are similar to a total-gym workout bench," Mac said. "The mat and machine workouts complement each other so you get a complete workout. Everything is initiated from the core of your body and extended from the center to the upper and lower body, which are your extremities."
Pole Pilates focuses on the same muscles with a stronger emphasis on upper and lower body, legs and abdomen, but instead of a machine or floor mat, the workout centers on a free-standing pole.
"Technically, it's your basic pole dancing," Mac said with a chuckle. "Except we're not stripping here. We focus on the fitness aspect."
Approved By Oprah
Like many current fitness trends, pole Pilates originated in California about 15 years ago. Because it requires the use of a pole similar to the ones found in the adult entertainment industry, the workout routine had carried somewhat of a stigma. This, however, changed about a year ago when "Desperate Housewives" star Terri Hatcher introduced pole Pilates to a national television audience on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
"It got Oprah's approval, which really helped putting the stigma away," Mac said.
Through her California connection, Mac knew about pole Pilates and its fitness benefits for some time. Still, she remained hesitant to introduce this form of workout to her clientele because of the close association with adult entertainment.
"I wanted my customers to be receptive, that's why I waited so long," she said. "It's a great workout regiment. Too bad that most people still associate it with the wrong side of town."
Pole Pilates exercises will emphasize the strengthening of the upper and lower body as well as flexibility.
Since class sizes are limited, Mac encourages those interested in participating in her programs to sign up early, especially for Pilates machine and pole Pilates.
Grand Opening Dec. 2
In addition, she welcomes anyone interested in her studio in general or in the two new programs in particular to stop by for the grand opening of MAC Pilates Studio One during Christmas Walk weekend Friday, Dec. 2, from 5 to 8 p.m. Lions dancers from the University at Buffalo Chinese Club will perform from 6 to 7 p.m., starting near the intersection of Center and Eighth streets, from where they will lead their audience to Mac's studio.
Mac will also give a sneak-peak of the new programs on her regular segment on "Crossroads with Pete Anderson," which airs live on Adelphia Cable Channel 13 from 3 to 4 p.m. and re-broadcast at 6:30 and 10 p.m. every second Tuesday of the month.
"I'm definitely planning to introduce Pilates pole on the show," she said, noting her segment enjoys a great popularity among the show's viewers. "Believe it or not, we have regular viewers who just turn in to see my segment."
Mac's popularity among her customers also remains unchanged. CiCi Soluri, wife of Village of Lewiston Mayor Richard Soluri, calls her "phenomenal" and "the best," while Claire Gee, wife of Lewiston Town Justice Hugh Gee, refers to Mac's workouts an "extreme makeover." And Lori Caso of CWM, who recently joined the studio, now calls herself "a believer" because of Mac's enthusiasm and dedication to every one of her customers, who include JoAnne Zucco-Paonessa, Sharon Dyster, Adeline Candella and Susan Violante, to name a few.
Having her customers come to a brighter and larger new studio is another way for Mac to thank them for their support.
"This upgrade is dedicated to my loyal following," she said. "Without them, I would not be here. They truly deserve this plush upgrade."
MAC Pilates Studio One is located at 779 Cayuga St., Lewiston. For more information, call 716-754-1911.