Kim Costanza and her daughters

My Pure Pilates Story: Kim Costanza on returning to what you love and not giving up

Kim Costanza had practiced Pilates before moving with her family to northern Michigan—she’d taken a mat class for many years in Florida—and for a while even kept up with it after relocating to Traverse City by following along with an instructional video at home.

But over time, life got especially busy for Costanza, 56, a real estate agent who is married with four daughters.

“I had stopped exercising, which is not something I had ever done in my life,” she said. “I was a dancer as a younger person—up until our fourth daughter was born I danced—and I was always exercising, rollerblading 50-60 miles a week in Florida.”

“But when we moved up here, I started working full time as a realtor—lots and lots of working and not much time taking care of myself. I kind of lost my way and just sunk into working all the time.”

Two years ago this winter, Costanza decided something needed to change. She missed her regular exercise routine and thought about getting back into Pilates.

“I didn’t even recognize myself and felt like I was dying my slow death when I was doing nothing beside taking care of everyone else,” she said, adding that going through menopause had led to unwanted weight gain,

Still, she was intimidated thinking about going into a studio all these years later. She worried about using the Pilates reformer.

“I had never been on the reformer and I just felt like it might be out of my league. And also, when you don’t feel good about yourself physically … it’s hard to do something you have never done before,” she said. “I was strong and great with mat Pilates when I was doing it, but I was not the same person that I was back then. It took me probably a few years of fighting with myself to get up the courage. I am not a huge social person and it’s always easy to make excuses—the kids are home, there’s laundry to be done—and I was always finding a reason to put everything in front of taking care of myself. But that December I was fed up and thought, ‘I am so done with this.’”

She heard about Pure Pilates and decided to not only sign on to begin classes, but also to commit to multiple sessions each week.

“Right out of the gate, I started six days a week, Monday through Saturday. They always say it takes a week or two weeks to notice strength gains and to mentally feel better. I was in it. I told myself, ‘I am going to do this and I am in for the change.’”

She acknowledges that coming into the studio throughout the week is a big commitment—Costanza continues to take classes at least five days a week—but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I work a lot, and my husband is in building and remodeling so I work with him as well. The 50 minutes a day I give myself, though, I would rather do that than give myself a lunch hour or do anything else. It’s a break I give myself in my workday,” she said.

Costanza quickly began experiencing the benefits of her dedication to Pilates.

“It didn’t take long to start to see strength gains—that was a pretty quick response,” she said, adding that the studio’s welcoming vibe and instructors’ attention to detail and personal approach to each client impressed her. “It feels supportive and so helpful. I was instantly addicted.” 

Costanza says she is feeling stronger and has lost weight. Aging has changed her body, but she remains committed to living as healthy as possible and enjoying life to the fullest.