Meet BEYOND Studios founder Brandi Marino. You may have already sweat it out with Brandi in one of her killer Pilates classes, but did you know her BEYOND alias is The Assassin? Read below and find out what motivated Brandi to go above and beyond to bring a new kind of killer and effective workout to Dallas.
BEYONDblog: What was your motivation behind starting the first BEYOND Studios location?
Brandi: The motivation behind BEYOND was finding a way to help people incorporate fitness into their life daily. I founded BEYOND with the idea that traditional fitness needed to be turned upside down. The inspiration has always been to focus on our clients. I knew if I could provide ENERGY in a studio, clients would be more likely to BELIEVE it is possible to go beyond their LIMITS and be EMPOWERED to make positive changes in their lives. These four words are what you see every day when you walk into a BEYOND Studio. I try to tell clients, you must love what you’re doing 80 percent of the time for your workout or otherwise you won’t do it. This is my 80/20 rule.
BEYONDblog: How did that evolve into the unique concept of BEYOND500?
Brandi: The market in Dallas was screaming for MORE FITNESS. It’s not hard to see what’s happening in this city. When you listen, amazing things happen which is why BEYOND will always teach mindful movements. It requires that clients listen and so does life.
BEYONDblog: How did you start your fitness journey?
Brandi: My fitness career started in Los Angeles after leaving the medical industry. I worked for many years at UCLA, USC, and Cedars-Sinai in spine orthopedics. I traded my scrubs for spandex and started training a group of neurosurgeons at Cedars-Sinai in Beverly Hills. It’s funny to think about years later that I started my training career with MDs in Los Angeles.
BEYONDblog: What jams can clients expect when taking your BEYOND classes?
Brandi: Hey now, you have to bring back that old school music! Let’s just say I’m 40 years old and love me some 80s and 90s beats.
BEYONDblog: What’s your favorite BEYOND Pilates exercise?
Brandi: I love spinal extension and hip opening exercises! Semi-circle, High Bridge and Breaststroke on the reformer are among the few my body is currently loving. I also adore a booty work, but who doesn’t?!
BEYONDblog: Some people are scared of ‘Pilates’ and the cryptic verbal alignment cues that make us scratch our heads and go “huh?” Can you help decode a few of them for us?
Brandi: Absolutely. In fact, three come to mind: 1) Close your ribcage. Most people have no idea that their ribs actually move. They do, and they are an attachment point for many important abdominal muscles. Your ribs also connect to your spine and their position will have a huge effect on your posture. Abdominals and posture… Pretty important stuff! If you’re having trouble feeling this, try putting your hands onto your ribcage and cough. Can you feel them moving? Good! Now try to recreate this movement during an exhale and you’ll start to better understand ribcage connect.
2) Activate your shoulder girdle. ‘Huh? I have a girdle on my shoulders.’ No, not really but it’s the image we want you to have when stabilizing your shoulder blades onto your ribcage to help eliminate neck tension and promote stability of the torso. Your arms are an extension of your torso and need to move from a place of strength.
3) Breath east to west. Correct Pilates breathing is deep, lateral, and posterior versus shallow and into the chest. Throughout your Pilates class, your breath should be traveling into the lower lobes of the lungs and your ribcage should expand horizontally. Place your hands around the wider part of your ribs and take a deep breath in. Feel how your ribs press out into your hands? Ta-da! That’s east to west breathing.
BEYONDblog: When not leading a BEYOND class you are…
Brandi: Who knows!? I mean there are probably a few dogs around, laptop computers, and an iced coffee.
BEYONDblog: What days can clients book your classes?
Brandi: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. I’ve worked almost every single holiday for five years, so you’ll definitely catch me with a costume or bells on if you book me on a holiday.
BEYONDblog: What motivates you to live an active and healthy lifestyle?
Brandi: YOU… those of you reading this!
BEYONDblog: What’s your favorite go-to training gear/ apparel?
Brandi: I’ll keep that to myself. It’s gotten very political these days (wink wink), but let’s just say I don’t have any one brand in my closet. Plus, I am not afraid to shop at Target for fitness gear.
BEYONDblog: What’s your idea of going BEYOND?
Brandi: Stretching my limits and testing myself.