Trainer Gia Marakas uses Pilates to heal, build core

| January 3, 2014 | 0 Comments
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TRAINER Gia Marakas demonstrates on the Cadillac, a machine with built-in pulleys and bars, in her studio.

Gia Marakas was a professional Bob Fosse-style dancer, who, eventually, “like most dancers,” was badly hurt. And like many dancers, she turned to Pilates to heal her body.

Her shoulder injury long gone, she’s been teaching the exercise method, developed in the 1920s, for the past 15 years. “It’s my greatest passion. I love it as much as I love dance,” the Rossmore Ave. resident said.

The exercise style is deceptive. Clients enter her West Hollywood studio and lay down on the Cadillac or Reformer, equipped with a system of pulleys and bars, and think, this is going to be a piece of cake. “Unfortunately it’s not going to go like that,” laughs Marakas.

The workout of the body’s “powerhouse”—abs, lower back, thighs and buttocks—targets deeper muscles.

Marakas has seen some remarkable turn-arounds in her time. One client in his mid-30s suffered from congenital back issues and nothing seemed to help. He walked in with a cane, and after six months of frequent visits, he was relatively pain free. Best of all he left the cane at home.

Once a condition has taken hold, arthritis can be relieved, and you can improve mobility, but only so much if the joint is worn away, adds the classically trained Marakas.

She learned from Heidi Kling and Ron Fletcher—both who studied with method-founder Joseph Pilates. Fletcher is credited with bringing the method to the West Coast.

Nutrition is as equally important as exercise, adds Marakas, who eats an organic-based, high protein, low-carbohydrate diet.

She recommends two to three, 55-minute sessions a week. Privates, classes and in-home sessions are offered.

“I like what Pilates does and how it makes me feel,” says Maggie Murray, a Hancock Park resident. She does “duets” at the Sunset Blvd. studio with her boyfriend David Brynan, when she can carve time into her busy grant writing schedule.

After 10 years of classes, her posture is noticeably improved, and the workout is a nice balance to her treadmill running program at Gold’s Gym.

Marakas’ suggestion to “imagine pulling your belly button into your spine” to develop core strength came in handy during a recent hiking trip to Utah’s national parks.

Murray’s knees hurting, she found by having strong abs she was able to redirect her energy to where she needed it, getting down cliffs and mountainous trails. And her knees made the journey safely, too.

8920 Sunset Blvd., Suite 200B, West Hollywood, 323-697-0048;


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