Stacey Vargas

Ten years in the South Bay and going strong, this respected fitness guru believes the key to a healthier body starts with an open mind.

When Stacey Vargas opened the Pilates Institute of Southern California (PISC) in Manhattan Beach in 2001, the total body workout was on the rise, not to mention the need for a new studio in the South Bay. Vargas, along with two other graduates of The Pilates Center of Boulder and one from the Physical Mind Institute, wanted to provide high quality, personalized exercise training for those in our beach communities. While building her business, Vargas never forgot the words of her instructor Rachel Seagal: “Never stop the desire to learn.” A trained dancer in the entertainment industry, Vargas briefly moved to Connecticut, where she found herself at the steps of a Pilates studio. In less than a year of observing classes, she became inspired to become an instructor herself. So when she returned to the LA area, she opened a studio in her home until the influx of clientele created a need for a bigger space. Today the thriving studio is also a certification facility and has trained more than 100 instructors. “For an active, non-injured person, it can be about starting a new type of workout and learning all the exercises,” says Vargas of her training. “Then there is the mental part of Pilates—breaking every exercise apart and allowing your mind to make your body move, like thinking before you speak.” Vargas said there are also benefits for injured people, who can rehabilitate the muscles and balance through the uniform development of muscle groups. Plus, there’s the spiritual aspect that gets people seriously hooked. ­ Vargas encourages those who want to try Pilates for the first time to give it a fair chance, because the first workout can be frustrating. “It’s like learning a foreign language,” shares Vargas. “It takes time before you can speak it fluently. So enjoy the journey, not the destination.” Stacey’s Tips for Starting 2011 Off Right Never diet. Eat your favorite foods in moderation so you don’t crave them by removing them completely. Don’t give up what you already like to do for a workout, but see if you can make one addition to change it up. The body and mind desire change. Don’t let someone convince you that his or her workout routine is good for you. Find out what works for you. Give your new workout regime time to kick in. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Figure out what balance means to you. Don’t stress out if you miss a workout because of life’s happenings. Let it go and move on … balance.