Source: Sherman Publications

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Clarkston exercises on the edge

by Mary Keck

May 23, 2012

Shar Saffold’s Pilates studio is ready for work outs. Photo by Mary Keck
When you want to get fit, do you look to NASA or the Navy Seals for inspiration? Shar Saffold, owner of Encore Pilates does. "We offer things to residents they can't get anywhere else," she said. "Everything we do is cutting edge."

Saffold's studio is the only one in North Oakland County with Pilates equipment, including a machine called a Power Plate that was developed by NASA to help astronauts regain bone density after being in space.

She said it also "diminishes cellulite and offers a good workout for your core" by using multi-dimensional vibrations to activate your muscles.

"One half hour of working out on a Power Plate is equal to a one hour weight-training workout," according to Saffold.

If you're interested in exercising like a Navy Seal instead of an astronaut, you can hang from straps attached to Encore's ceiling and do TRX Suspension Training.

It is "different because you do a lot of stuff suspended in air" from the straps, Duke Taylor explained. "It works different muscle groups because you're in positions that you aren't normally in. It gave me a good work out."

Taylor started doing Pilates about two and a half years after hurting his back. Since training at Encore, his "back is probably as strong as it's ever been."

Saffold said Pilates "can be done for an athletic workout or for rehabilitation." She's worked with clients with scoliosis, osteoporosis, and even pregnant women.

The difference between Pilates and other exercises like aerobics is that Pilates is low impact, which makes it easier on the joints and good for mobility, Saffold said.

Although some clients use Pilates to renew their bodies, most who walk through Saffold's door want to "tone up, lose a little weight, strengthen their core, and feel flexible again." Of his training at Encore Pilates, Duke Taylor said, "I'm in as good a shape as I've ever been."

Like Taylor, Saffold's love of Pilates grew from her personal experience. After taking classes in Birmingham, she started training in Miami, Florida at Core Dynamics and has been doing Pilates for the past eight years.

You can find out more about Shar Saffold and Encore Pilates at