May 24, 2017
Amanda Tamis in her Pilates studio
Consider it a Noah’s Ark of healing: Amanda Tamis’s P2 Pilates, which opened in August inside Miami Beach’s U-Fit Health and Performance gym, fits exactly two of everything: two Reformer machines, two Cadillac Converters, two Polestar-trained instructors, and a practice that artfully combines both traditional Pilates and physical therapy exercises. “My partner and I joke sometimes that it takes two of us to teach an exercise,” says Tamis, who shares the space with Karen Schachter, a vinyasa yoga and Pilates instructor who, like herself, trained at Polestar Physical Therapy & Pilates Center.
“I was overweight as a kid, and in high school I got into working out,” says Tamis. She eventually went to Cornell University as a sculpture major, but fitness remained a part of her life. Tamis discovered Pilates while working in a gym in Santa Barbara, California, after college. In those days she was a step instructor and personal trainer, but Pilates helped her regain her core strength and get back into shape following the birth of her now 11-year-old twins. “I feel all lined up, like everything is in place. I don’t have pain,” she says. “I feel like I should, like my joints are aligned.”
That experience led her to use Pilates in a therapeutic setting. For two years, she helped patients with spinal, hip, knee, or shoulder injuries as a Pilates instructor at South Florida Spine Institute’s Pilates rehabilitation program at Mount Sinai Medical Center. “My background is physical therapy, so I felt as though I had a lot to give,” she says.
Tamis realized that although most of her patients had improved physically, they still needed a place where they could work out safely—from seniors who have specific needs addressed in a custom exercise regimen to people who have been discharged from a hospital but still have medical conditions to look out for. “The way I teach makes a 65-year-old woman feel like she can come in for an hour of exercise and not have issues,” she says of her style.
With a clientele ranging in age from 20 to 80 years old, Tamis finds it crucial to modify workouts carefully. Using different pieces of equipment, including the Cadillac, Reformer, Wunda chair, ladder barrel, and spine corrector, she is able to precisely control the client’s efforts, benefits, and risks. “Everything starts to hurt after 40, and you just can’t work out the way you used to,” she says with a laugh.
Tamis herself is showing no signs of slowing down. She teaches anywhere up to eight hours a day, five days a week, and still makes time to run, spin, and lift weights. She follows a Paleo diet, and is teaching her three young children and husband (local Mark Tamis, senior vice president of guest operations at Carnival Cruise Lines) to eat healthier, too. “I got into working out years ago,” she says. “It’s a lifestyle for me.”