Leah Marsh discovered Pilates in college, but she never though it's where her career path would end up. After working at a luxury magazine and then for an eco-fashion designer, however, she found her way back to Pilates and opened a studio in her hometown of Long Beach. Marsh now operates two Pilates X studios, each of which hosts a diverse array of Pilates, yoga, and cardio classes. For all of their differences, these classes share an emphasis on toning muscles with Pilates techniques. Marsh has even put to use her background in eco-conscious fashion, stocking her studios with boutique sportswear and encouraging her students to only deadlift renewable trees.
Stepping into Ja Yoga feels almost like stepping into a jungle paradise, with plants spilling from their pots and energizing sunshine streaming in from a floor-to-ceiling window. It is within this relaxing space that Ja Yoga’s seven instructors, led by owner Mic Ja, teach three levels of classes: relaxing beginning classes, strengthening intermediate classes, and rigorous advanced classes. To offer their client's a range of options and class times, they hold classes 27 times per week in the bamboo-floored studios.
Sunlight floods through the floor-to-ceiling windows of The Studio by Bridget, beaming across the sparkling canals of Long Beach to illuminate 1,900 square feet of space. Lined against the walls, Pilates equipment ranges from Reformers to more unusual gear used in private training, such as the ladder barrel and the stability chair, ideal for seated workouts that give students a more rigorous exercise than cranking a recliner footrest up and down. On this equipment—or on simple Pilates mats—the studio’s team hosts classes that lengthen and strengthen muscles, balancing physiques and enhancing flexibility through regimens involving stretching, breathing, resistance training, pulleys, and cables. The staff complements its Pilates offerings with spinning classes and TRX sessions, whose Reformer workouts were designed by a Navy SEAL.
With a career that has spanned three decades⎯including a starring role in more than 60 fitness DVDs, lectures in more 14 countries, and work published in Men’s Fitness, Shape, and the LA Times⎯John Garey, founder of John Garey Fitness & Pilates, has certainly left an indelible mark on the fitness industry. The studio that bears his name upholds the philosophy that fitness should be fun. Its group fitness studio hosts equipment for TRX-suspension and trampoline-fitness classes, as well as rows of heavy bags and dumbbells for boxing and boot camps. The Pilates room features Stott Pilates Reformers, and nearby, 26 Spinner Pro cycles sit waiting to hum under the command of certified Spinning instructors. In addition to group classes, John's team of trainers conducts private training sessions in the personal-training room and provide teacher-training programs to initiate others into their elite group.