Maureen Barnett

July 19, 2017

1. How did you get interested in Pilates?
I was always active from a pretty early age. I started riding horses competitively at age 4 which taught me so much about discipline and control (which is all Pilates). Additionally, my Dad, whom I am very close to, is very much into health and wellness and from about the age of 12, I would go to the local body building gym with him and it was there I received a great foundation in functional and strength training. It was a fun time to hang out with my Dad that certainly set the tone for making exercise a part of my daily routine. As such, I basically grew up in the gym and tried every form of fitness I could.  In 2005, I happened to see a Pilates studio in my neighborhood and tried it and I was hooked. It was the first form of exercise that I did not get bored with. It was both mentally and physically challenging which incited in me a need to learn as much about Pilates and human movement that I could. As an aside, Pilates has been so beneficial for protecting my spine against further progression of my scoliosis and has helped control my hyper-mobile joints giving me true strength and control. It truly is a lifestyle!

2. Tell us about Stott Pilates, how does it differ from Pilates?
Stott Pilates is a contemporary method of Pilates, as opposed to the classical schools of thought, which means that that we modify the exercise and equipment to fit the body, not the other way around. Contemporary methods do not believe that Pilates should be taught exactly as Jospeh Pilates taught in the 1930s as we have so much more knowledge from the human movement sciences that should be applied when making exercise recommendations to specific individuals. Stott is constantly updating their continuing education program based on the most current research and they have strict continuing education guidelines to keep instructors certified, which I think is fantastic. Stott Pilates is, in my opinion, the most robust Pilates education and highest quality equipment manufacturer in the Pilates realm.

3. You opened the Pilates Studio in Newport Beach in 2010, how did that come about/your vision?
After practicing Pilates on a personal level for a few years, I knew that I had to learn more. I knew that Stott Pilates was the route that I wanted to take for my certification and so I did the Full Certification at John Garey Pilates in Long Beach. I knew that I always wanted to have my own studio, but I wanted to work in the field first. I trained under a wonderful Stott instructor and physical therapist at a studio in Irvine for two years before opening The Pilates Studio in 2010.

4. How does the Pilates Studio differ from other studios in the area?
We do not compete on price, but rather we compete on service and quality. All of our instructors are Stott certified and the studio offers the highest level of instruction and professionalism available.

5. What type of clients inspire you and challenge you?
Inspiring clients are dedicated to improving their health and wellness and put in the effort to make it to their sessions and religiously complete any home exercise programs we may give. We are used to clients with very challenging biomechanical issues, but if I had to select one group that can be particularly challenging it is Post-Natal. Women who are post-natal have to be very careful about the type and intensity of work they do to regain abdominal connection, improve pelvic floor condition, and of course get their body back. It takes a lot of client education to help women understand what is going on anatomically with the abdomen, pelvic floor, upper back, etc. and why patience and being gentle with themselves is so important.

6. Do you have a favorite Pilates exercise?
Anything with lateral flexion! Mermaid on the reformer for a great stretch but also on the long box for great oblique work.

7. Who inspires you?
First, my client Jane who is 83, comes twice a week, takes herself to Tuscany every year for her birthday, and truly sets an example of how to live the good life. She does not let her age or knee replacement become an excuse to not be active or get an incredible, appropriate workout, and neither do we. And second, of course, the Notorious RBG.

8. Your favorite food and drink?
Favorite drink besides water is Champagne! Preferably organic and rose Vincent Bliard from Hautvillers, France.
Favorite food is difficult because there are so many. I have been a vegan for over 20 years and a lifelong vegetarian so I am used to eating a variety of plants. When you eat a plant based diet you are forced to cook and experiment with spices and herbs and all of these different combinations of whole foods that taste wonderful. Just like Pilates, it becomes a lifestyle and just something that is a part of me.  My passion for creating plant based recipes and wanting to give my clients a resource for the tools, ingredients, and recipes that I use lead to my fledgeling blog It is a work in progress that will hopefully give readers a glimpse of how my husband, new baby and I lead a very healthy vegan lifestyle.

9. What are some of your favorite restaurants in OC?
For vegan specific restaurants it is Seabirds, hands down. I also love Gulfstream which has the most amazing veggie plate and amazing salads that are very easily modified vegan.

10. What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to cook, read, plan travel, and of course do Pilates.

11. What's your favorite vacation spot?
I love Asia, the cities and beaches cannot be beat. Next on my list is Con Dao in Vietnam.

12. Your dream day in OC?
I am so grateful for the healthy, beautiful life that I have with my husband and new baby, I feel like each normal day is my dream day!

Greer's OC
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Since 1993, Greer has been writing about fashion, dining and trends in Orange County, as a popular columnist for the Los Angeles Time Community Newspapers (Daily Pilot, Coastline Pilot and HB Independent) and now as founder of Greer’s OC.

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