Rick Williamson, owner of the Fitness Institute and Pilates Studio, has been involved in the fitness and rehabilitation industry for over 30 years. Rick got his start in fitness and rehabilitation after being involved in a serious head-on collision in 1980. Rick sustained severe whiplash and nerve damage. After undergoing numerous forms of rehabilitation, and after seeing many different physicians about his constant neck and back pain over the following 3 years, Rick began an educational journey developing advanced methods of self rehabilitation. In the process, he developed and built a rehabilitation facility in his home, and over the next five years, was able to rehabilitate himself.
Rick is a certified Pilates Rehabilitation Practitioner through Polestar Pilates Education. He was trained in Pilates Rehabilitation at the University of Miami and Long Island University by Brent Anderson, PT O.C.S., President and co-founder of Polestar Pilates Education and Elizabeth Larkam. He is also certified by the American Council on Exercise, Senior Fitness Association, and is an active member of the American College of Sports Medicine and The Pilates Method Alliance (PMA). He then earned his Bachelor of Science in Biomechanics from The Alternative Medicine Research Institute (Canada).
For the last 28 years, Rick has owned and operated The Fitness Institute where he has performed individual assessment and program development in the Pilates environment for a wide range of clientele. He instructed Pilates for persons with spine and extremity injuries, neurological diseases, postural deformities, and general de-conditioning while designing new and innovative Pilates based movements for special rehabilitation needs.
Rick has had the opportunity in working with and designing specialized rehabilitation programs for professional and recreational dancers and athletes. He has had the opportunity of working with Ron Fletcher, a master teacher, and one of Joseph Pilates personal students. Rick has trained and mentored many Pilates teachers that use Pilates Rehabilitation techniques from fitness professionals, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and medical doctors.
Rick served on the Board of Alternative Therapies at the Erie County Medical Center, and was also a steering committee member of the 50-plus fitness campaign at Degraff Memorial Hospital. In 1995, he was a guest speaker and presenter at the first Alternative and Complimentary Therapies conference Held at the state university of New York at Buffalo and a regular speaker at the Buffalo Mitochondrial disease foundation.
Rick is a frequent author of dental articles on dental ergonomics, and is being published in the dental products report, inside dentistry, Dentisty Today and has done video presentations for Dentristy IQ.
Julie Williamson, MS PT
Julie Williamson is a licensed physical therapist, co-owner of the Fitness Institute and Pilates Studio, and Director of Rehabilitation. She has been involved in the Fitness and Rehabilitation industry for 20 years. Julie earned her Masters in Physical Therapy from Ithaca College. She is a certified Pilates Rehabilitation Practitioner who specializes in spine, orthopedic, and chronic pain rehabilitation.
Her background includes treating patients with neurological, pulmonary, cardiac, and orthopedic diagnosis. She has worked with elite athletes participating in the development of injury prevention programming. She has worked at the Fitness Institute and Pilates Studio where she has performed individual assessment and program development in the Pilates environment for a wide range of clientele.
She instructed Pilates for persons with spine and extremity injuries, neurological diseases, postural deformities, muscle imbalances, and general de-conditioning while designing new and innovative Pilates based movements for special rehabilitation needs.
Coach Alton Kenner
Coach Alton Kenner is a graduate from Ouachita Baptist University with his BA in Physical Education. An accomplished track and field star, Coach Kenner had to honor of being a four year indoor/outdoor all American Athlete. From 1976-1980 He was named All American by the National Athletic Intercollegiate Association for finishing in the top five of all his track and field events in the NAIA indoor/outdoor Finals at Abilene Christian University. At just 17 Coach Kenner was part of the group that created the Buffalo Speed Merchants, whom opened a path to track and field for college students.
Coach Kenner has coached boys and girls youth sports, high school and collegiate athletes in Basketball, Football, and Track and Field he included proper training techniques, forms and exercises needed to achieve sustainable results. Coach Kenner coached little league football in the Erie County Junior Football league, was head coach of the JFK Invaders, coached boys high school basketball in the PAL and Gloria Parks Basketball Leagues and girls basketball at Catholic Central.
Coach Kenner also coached for the Buffalo Pioneers Track and Field Club where he optimized the physical abilities of college students from Buffalo State College, Canisus College, Erie Community College, Gannon, and Indiana University. His personal experience as a former athlete combined with 31 years of coaching, personal training and being a recreation therapist has given him a unique understanding of the human body and an ability to develop therapeutic workout plans for clients to maximize their improvement in strength, performance and quality of life.
Pat Onifer was introduced to Pilates at a ballet conditioning class she has attended for over 20 years. Experiencing positive results from routine repetition of the movements, she sought further Pilates education in order to develop additional strength and flexibility for dance. Earning certification in Mat Pilates enabled her to teach classes at a local Senior Center. In 2006 Pat continued her studies With Rick Williamson a nationally recognized PMA Pilates expert, in his rigorous 600 hour comprehensive Pilates intensive. The two-year program requires observation, self-practice, student teaching and becoming proficient on all apparatus.
Pat's Great satisfaction today is seeing clients achieve goals they did not think possible due to injury; she enjoys teaching multi-level Pilates classes as well as individual private sessions at the studio and continues regular attendance ay ballet classes.
A BFA degree from Daemen College combined with 35 years of dance training from world-class instructors have served to enrich her knowledge and application of Pilates form and function.