Club Pilates brings healthy exercise program to Sugar Land

By Joe Southern

(Photo by Joe Southern)
Bret Gowens opened Club Pilates last month in Sugar Land and is seeing steady growth in the new business.

Club Pilates has come to Sugar Land.

Located at 3157 Highway 6 in a strip center between Half Price Books and Firehouse Subs, the new fitness center offers more than 60 classes a week to meet the needs of everyone from curious beginners to the ultra-fit.

“The benefit of Pilates is it uses lots of different types of exercise to bring together a full-body workout that’s easy on the joints,” said owner Bret Gowens.

Although Pilates may sound like it’s a trendy, new form of fitness favored by celebrities and the yoga studio crowd, it is actually an exercise regimen that has its roots as far back as World War I in Germany. Joseph Pilates was a sickly youth who learned to train and tone his body to excel in bodybuilding, gymnastics and martial arts.

During the war, Pilates added resistance tools and springs to the hospital beds of wounded soldiers to aid in their recovery. Pilates immigrated to the United States in 1926 and improved his methods by incorporating techniques from other sports, including diving, boxing, yoga and dance. He opened a studio in New York City that he ran until his passing in 1967. Although he has been gone 50 years, the method that he created and that bears his name lives on and is growing in popularity.

It is the proven results of Pilates that led Gowens and his wife Jennifer to open the Club Pilates franchise in Sugar Land. Gowens is a former marathon runner and endurance athlete who is now the executive minister for First Colony Church of Christ.

“I was looking for a way to go from unfit to fit,” he said.

After trying many different types of exercise, Gowens narrowed his focus on Pilates. He did further research and liked what he saw in Club Pilates.

“They have amazingly good support,” he said.

He opened the facility on June 4 and held a grand opening June 24-25. The business has been steadily growing.

“Everybody benefits from it,” he said. “We have everyone from my 70-year-old father to 14-year-old cheerleaders.”

Gowens said that although Pilates has a reputation as being primarily for women, it is designed for everyone.

“We have members of all ages, male and female,” he said.

Members work out in one of more than 60 Pilates classes at Club Pilates in Sugar Land. (Photo by Joe Southern)

Gowens said that Pilates involves a variety of conditioning methods. The Reformer classes range from beginner to intermediate and advanced. Club Pilates offers a free demo class for people to come and learn what it is all about. Members can arrive dressed to work out or change there.

Nicolette Murdaugh is the general manager and used to be a gym rat but is now an ardent convert to Pilates.

“I’ve noticed a difference in about 10 classes,” she said, noting that she has lost 10 pounds since they opened.

She said the resistance training not only helps tone the body, but it also helps prevent disease.

“Pilates is very good on the body. You’re not overworking one area of the body and not another,” she said.

She also noted that the classes bring a level of accountability that most people don’t find in a typical gym.

Gowens said that in addition to offering the exercise classes that they also have personal trainers and teacher training classes where people can learn to become Pilates instructors. They also have a small retail shop where people can buy workout clothes, grip socks and other merchandise.

There are many different membership levels, so cost varies depending on how often a member wants to come and whether or not they do just a class or use a personal trainer. To learn more, visit

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