Business News

Local woman starts new fitness center

KARRIE SINKS, A longtime fitness enthusiast, has just opened her new business, 802 Pilates Health & Fitness, in The Centre shopping plaza off Court Street in Middlebury.
Independent photo/John Flowers

MIDDLEBURY — Fitness has always been important to Karrie Sinks. The Middlebury native and current Weybridge resident got into sports at an early age, displaying her varsity soccer, basketball and softball skills for Middlebury Union High School before graduating in 1998.

Exercise has remained a big part of her life into adulthood, a joy she’s shared with her three children and legions of others who participate in Middlebury’s Parks & Recreation Department programming. Sinks has spent many years with the department coaching kids’ sports and leading dance/Pilates for children, contributions for which in 2022 she was honored with the town’s Robert E. Collins Award.

“I love sports and the way they make me feel,” she said during a recent interview.

Sinks flirted with the idea of buying a gym at age 23, but the time wasn’t right. Now in her early 40s, with her children firmly ensconced in school, an introduction to “Inferno Hot Pilates (IHP)” reignited her interest in running her own fitness hub.

Two months ago, she opened one — “802 Pilates Health & Fitness,” in The Centre shopping plaza at 260 Court St., in a space previously occupied by H&R Block, and then Middlebury Sew-N-Vac.

“You don’t get rich doing this. It’s more for the love of doing it and the community you build,” she explained. “It’s always better together, and you always challenge yourself.”

Sinks is certified as a personal trainer and in Pilates — including Level 1&2 IHP. She explained IHP involves a high-intensity Pilates workout in a room heated to 95 degrees, with 40% humidity.

“You get in there and it’s hot, right off the bat. It’s fast-paced and helps you build long, lean muscle,” she said, adding the high temperature helps IHP practitioners get into the workout “zone” quicker while promoting perspiration — which is intended to help the body detox.

But 802 Pilates isn’t a one-trick pony. It offers a variety of other workouts for folks of all ages, including “barre” — not to be confused with the Vermont city — which employs ballet-like movement to engage and tone muscles.

The new enterprise also has several yoga offerings, including hot yoga, yoga dance and restorative yoga.

There’s “kids’ dance,” along with Hip Hop for children aged 9-12. 

“This class fosters creativity, coordination, and confidence in a supportive environment,” reads a description of the Hip Hop sessions. “Get ready to bust a move, make new friends, and unleash your inner superstar on the dance floor.”

But Sinks stressed you don’t have to be a fitness superstar to benefit from 802 Pilates. She’s all about the self-improvement journey that people take upon launching their personal fitness regimen.

Her motto: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

She wants to cater to people of all abilities and is committed to getting seniors into the action. Sinks is planning what she calls “Silver Sessions,” consisting of “gentle exercises focusing on enhancing mobility, flexibility, and overall well-being.” 

It’s been a busy couple of months, and that’s fine with Sinks. She currently teaches 16 classes during a typical week, which includes sessions with private clients. She’s a versatile teacher, but also has a great supporting cast. Her roster of instructors includes Neon Crystal and Bobbie Hutchins (both for kids’ dance), Vanessa Dunleavy (yoga/dance), Deb Orosz (yoga) and Lily Hunt (group fitness and barre).

“My idea was to bring strong, knowledgeable people from this community to part of the team,” she said. “I might be the owner, but I’m not ‘the boss.’ I think you’re always stronger as a team than working as a boss with people underneath you.”

802 Pilates offers monthly membership rates and a drop-in option for $35 per class. It also currently offers passes for eight or 12 classes. Sinks is developing a new promotional package that will allow clients to sample a variety of different classes to see which ones they like best.

Rather than drop in and take your chances, Sinks advises folks to pre-register. Complete details about 802 Pilates, including classes, their start times, rates, package deals and online registration, can be found at 802pilates.com.

Sinks’ future plans include marrying 802 Pilates offerings with other services, including acupuncture, presentations from nutritionists, and meditation.

The best service her new business provides?

“It makes people feel good,” Sinks said.

Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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