Donna McKenna, founder of Pilates Fit Life, teaches her classes with such finesse that it’s hard to envision her ever doing anything else. But building a successful brand is no small feat, and for Donna it’s been a fifteen year journey that involved a career change and a passion for the ‘fit life’ that helped her to realize her dream of owning a boutique fitness studio.
The studio is an expansive, newly refurbished waterfront space located at 66 New York Avenue - right in the heart of the community where Donna and her husband, Michael, have lived with their family for over thirty years. A hands-on leader, she’s not just the sole proprietor of Pilates Fit Life, but also its lead instructor and teacher trainer who personally certifies all in her employ using the methodology of the Physical Mind Institute, where she herself completed her training. Once a niche “of the moment” workout, Pilates has grown increasingly mainstream and continues to gain traction thanks to its lean, sculpted aesthetic and rehabilitative character. In fact, Donna credits Pilates for helping to heal her own knee injury, which she rehabbed in the studio using the Pilates Reformer, Tower and Chair. “It’s an exercise program that everyone should participate in due to its benefits of stability, posture improvement, flexibility, mobility and joint strength. Pilates allows our population to move and keep moving in a way that is safe and can become a way of life quite easily - many of my members attend a session daily!” she explains.
Group classes are tailored to a spectrum of fitness goals, ages and abilities, with progressions and regressions offered throughout the workout. ”Each of our sessions are different since we adjust to the needs, strengths and limitations of each individual member. We do not follow a canned or memorized format that is common in the fitness industry. All of our instructors on staff have the skills and knowledge to create programming in real time, allowing us to customize and provide the utmost in personal attention - this is what sets us apart from the rest,” says Donna. “My longtime clients tell me that they have never seen the same session twice!” Semi-private and private sessions are also available for those wishing to complement their “practically private” group practices.
After studying business and psychology as an undergraduate student, Donna continued her graduate studies in human resources and went on to enjoy an extensive career as a staffing leader for Pfizer and Arrow Electronics. It was around this time that she also discovered the joy of exercise and became intrigued by the culture of health and wellness. This peaked an interest in wanting to help others achieve their fitness goals, so she became a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor. She then shifted her career focus from HR to corporate and commercial fitness for companies such OPTUM and New York Sports Clubs, all while continuing to earn additional certifications in specialty areas such as Spinning, TRX, and Les Mills BODYPUMP.
A longtime member of the Huntington Chamber of Commerce, Donna enjoys giving back to the community by supporting local charities such as Pink Aid, Huntington Moms, St. Patrick’s Church, Long Island Cares and The Townwide Fund. When she’s not teaching at her new locale, she enjoys boating and kayaking here in our harbors with Michael and their three grown children. ”I’m very proud to have hung my shingle here in Huntington,” she says. “ I want my members to enjoy all the benefits of a ‘fit life’ where they can feel good at any age and continue to do whatever they love!”
Pilates Fit Life will be celebrating their new location with an open house and ribbon cutting on Thursday evening, 9/21. The event will include demos as well as introductory specials for new members.