By all accounts, 2018 was a rough year. From political and international strife to personal trials and tribulations, many people are simply thrilled to welcome a new year.
Reed Flanagan concurs. The 29-year-old entrepreneur has seen his fair share of challenges since opening his fitness studio in the summer of 2017. His initial studio, St. Simons Pilates and Yoga, was destroyed by Hurricane Irma. Undeterred, he opened a new space and later rebranded under a more fitting moniker — Atlantis Fitness & Pilates.
The new name and logo, which features an octopus, draws on Plato’s famous account of an ancient civilization. In line with that theme, Flanagan devised a full fitness system that includes eight limbs that lead to one’s personal transformation.
“I really wanted it to be something that was more in line with what we do, which is total body wellness. I really liked the nautical theme, as we are by the ocean,” he said. “Our goal is to become a one-stop shop for everything from fitness to relaxation and rest.”
There was more change on the horizon, as the location he was renting was sold, and he was forced to find a new home. Amidst the transition, his father, Albert Flanagan, passed away unexpectedly.
Through it all, however, he never lost his focus, and instead, persevered. Supported by a dedicated group of clients turned family, he renovated and opened a permanent location at 2481 Demere Road, Suite 101, St. Simons Island.
“The people who come to my studio are my family. We get to know one another on a personal level, with some joking that I’m their therapist. I’ve been to their family reunions, birthdays, gone to their houses and run obstacle course races with them. We support each other’s businesses, charities and other interests,” he said.
“It’s what I enjoy about my job the most, I get to see my friends daily. I couldn’t ask for a better family group, they have given me so much encouragement and support that I feel I could never truly pay them back.”
Flanagan and his fitness fam are looking forward to a fresh start in 2019. And he is excited to help to help them start with a clean slate, moving toward their fitness goals. Flanagan promotes positive physical and mental change, utilizing his expertise in Pilates, anatomy and personal training to chart a course to total transformation.
His primary tool — the Pilates reformer — offers clients unparalleled results. The machine, developed by Joseph Pilates, uses springs and handles for full-body resistance training that can be adapted for each individual.
Originally, Pilates developed the system for hospital beds that enabled weakened patients to build strength while lying down. It later morphed into a training system that became a hit with ballet dancers. Today, it is touted by some of the world’s greatest athletes as a key component of their fitness regime.
The machine offers fitness enthusiasts the chance to get a workout in the most efficient manner by working several muscle groups at once. This allows clients to see results much faster than in other forms of exercise.
“It’s a resistance training, but it’s low-impact and can work every muscle group in the body. Even if you are isolating muscles, in the biceps for instance, using the machine also makes you engage your core and other muscles to stabilize the body in the movement,” he said.
Flanagan takes a contemporary or clinical approach to Pilates training, which means he can easily tailor the workout to whatever goal a client wants to obtain. The workout routine has become incredibly popular with both golfers and tennis players. He also offers cardio classes to burn major calories while strengthening the entire body.
“I have several professional and amateur athletes who come to take classes or private lessons with me. Currently, I’m working with a professional golfer through her off season,” Flanagan said.
“She’s taught me a lot about what her specific needs are to improve her game. We work on things like strength, mobility and flexibility.”
But it’s not just top-tier athletes who benefit from the work outs. Individuals of all ages and fitness levels can reach their goals through the program. Jean Tennin, 66, had faced a number of injuries and surgeries. Since starting work with Flanagan, she has seen countless improvements both physically and mentally.
“His approach to Pilates has literally changed my life and given me more strength and vitality. I went to him to turn that trend around and he delivered … my posture improved in a week — a week,” she said.
“Pilates is a very efficient full body strengthening program from the inside out. Reed will take you at your level and increase your physical potential. And you’ll never feel out of your league in his classes.”
While the classes offer clients a fast track to fitness, there is also an upbeat atmosphere that makes the workouts feel less like a chore and more like a party. And he enjoys a little light-hearted banter as well.
“I make it clear when people start that I’m a bit of a heckler and that I expect them to heckle me back. There’s nothing worse than a class where everyone is too nervous to talk,” he said.
Flanagan enjoys offering twists on traditional classes. For instance, he offers Pilates and Prosecco, a group class on Wednesday evenings which always draws a big crowd. After working up a sweat, those who are of age receive a complimentary glass of sparkling wine.
“For me, it is much more fun to create relationships with others in class and it keeps you coming back,” Flanagan said.
Pilates is also incredibly beneficial for those who are looking to bounce back from surgeries or injuries. The exercise offers minimal stress and impact for those who are looking to rebuild strength and flexibility.
“I can pretty much figure out a program for anything anyone needs to work on from knee to hip surgeries. I even worked with someone who was recovering from a stroke where half of their body was paralyzed,” he said.
The arrival of a new year provides the perfect opportunity for change. Not only is it a time to start fresh with fitness goals, it’s a time to reset the body and mind after a busy holiday season. To help, Flanagan is adding more classes to the schedule to help everyone become the best they can be in 2019.
“I know it’s kind of cliché to start a fitness routine in January but there is something great to the madness besides the whole, ‘new year, new me.’ We’ve just past what for most is the gluttonous time of year. Going forward toward the summer time, holidays are more spaced out and less food-heavy,” he said.
“So if you are looking to start and succeed this is the ideal time.”