Fitness Success Story: Pat Holmes


Pat Holmes is a testament to the adage that health is timeless. After all, it’s never too early or too late to invest in your health and well-being. At 76 years young, Pat is thriving after discovering ToLife! Yoga and Pilates studio four years ago. “When I walked into the large, open, and beautifully appointed ToLife! studio, I had no idea what a life-changing experience it was going to be for me,” she says. Located in downtown Buford, ToLife! is a boutique fitness studio opened in 2017 by mother-daughter team Marilyn Hildebrandt and Kari Dees. There, they offer intimate and specialized classes to help members “attain health and balance for the mind, body, and spirit, resulting in a greater overall well-being.”

Pat’s weekly Pilates classes at ToLife! have not only improved her overall health, but she also saw dramatic changes in her body composition. “During the first year of Pilates, some friends kept commenting on how great I looked,” she says. “I felt great, and seemed to have more energy than ever. Back problems disappeared, my core muscles strengthened, and my body alignment improved. The dowager’s hump, which had plagued my mother, was not going to plague me, due to constant instruction in shoulder and neck alignment throughout all of the Pilates moves.”

While the classes helped her energy and strength, the improvements to how her body felt and its overall alignment are what she considers the biggest changes she’s noticed since starting Pilates. “When Pat started taking Pilates, she had chronic back and neck pain,” says Dees. “For the first couple of months, she couldn’t lift her head off the mat without neck pain, and her thoracic spine was very kyphotic (exaggerated thoracic curve). Pat no longer has neck or back pain, and the kyphosis in her thoracic spine has reversed substantially. She is actually one of our most advanced Pilates clients! She is very strong, and has much better posture and body awareness. It just goes to show that anyone can do Pilates and benefit from it, regardless of age, gender, size, or fitness level!”

While ToLife’s Pilates classes may have drastically changed her body, the true testament to Pat’s success is her commitment to attending the classes weekly, plus the effort and dedication she has put behind overhauling her health. Pilates may be the driving force behind her improved fitness, but her consistency in showing up and putting in the effort is the key to her success.

“The private class I attend once a week, in addition to the mat and tower classes, have kept me in great physical condition. Pilates is a physical and mental workout, requiring concentration on body alignment and muscle awareness,” Pat says. “The Pilates instructors at ToLife! are knowledgeable, well- trained and personable. I try to attend three classes each week, and intend to practice Pilates at ToLife! for as long as possible. I am 76 years young and with the help of the instructors at this studio, I hope to be practicing Pilates here when I am 86!”


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