When Brandi Marino moved to Dallas six years ago, she immediately noticed a dearth of fitness options. Though happily successful in a career in orthopedic sales, her days being a “fitness figure bikini girl,” cheerleader and dancer whispered to her from her past. She had already started teaching spinning, Pilates and the Megaformer at eight studios in her previous home of Los Angeles, so when she moved to Texas, she decided it was time to focus fully on Wellness.
The L.A. native used her sparky personality, active background and sales savvy to open multiple outposts of Beyond Studios in Texas, all featuring traditional workouts turned upside down with cutting edge equipment to match. With a Pilates underpinning, cardio is added in with options like rebounders, jumpboards, Curve treadmills and strength exercises in the different classes. Clients love choices like the Beyond 500, combing strength, Pilates and cardio on the Curve, as well as Reform and Rebound, blending work on a reformer (more specifically, the Allegro) and rebounder. Unique and intense, indeed! SBS chatted with this renegade to learn about her twists on the norm.
SBS: You have such curated equipment at the Beyond Studios. How did that evolve?
BM: When I moved to Dallas, I hired an engineer to look at the Megaformer because we kept having issues like pieces breaking, and that’s when I started to research other options. In 2012, I bought the Allegros…but only after ordering three different types of reformers and training my staff in my house!
Off of that, we created a new workout to fit the equipment. Later, I did the same, using the Curve instead of a regular treadmill. You burn more and work harder because it’s self-propelled instead of using a motor. You will feel the difference right away, and it gives you feedback to use. Using the best equipment provides the best workout.
SBS: You use the term PHIT often. What does that mean?
BM: High Intensity Interval Training is huge right now, but I started thinking why get HIIT when you can get PHIT? That means Pilates Hybrid Interval Training! There are so many people working out inefficiently in group fitness. So we’re about working out smart. Getting people to slow down is a really hard thing. It will take time to get there, but it’s so worth it. So we go back and forth between cardio, strength and Pilates exercises in our classes.
Beyond 500 was our first big attempt at it, and that includes Pilates, strength and cardio on the Curve. When I launched the Allegros and opened the Preston studio, people were blown away by the rebounders [small trampolines] we use. It’s low impact, and the benefits are amazing. You’re on it for four minutes and then on your back on the Allegro. That’s PHIT!
SBS: What are your tips for clients new to the Allegro?
BM: The Allegro is smaller than the Megaformer, so initially people think it’s easier. But then, they are sorer! So, first, remember, there’s a horizontal rail, unlike the one at the back of the bed of the Megaformer. Next, you need to pick up the foot bar and slide it along the side of the bed. That’s new, too. But, then you get front gears, mid gears and rear gears, and that provides so many options! The mid gears, especially, help people initiate the work from their center.
SBS: Since you offer such unique classes, what do you look for in instructors?
BM: There are instructors that are better at teaching certain formats, but I like to hire people who can ideally teach everything. I want them to be able to make a career at my studio—make a living. That’s partially why I opened multiple studios. They can teach at all of them.
Next, the students need variety, so I try to hire different types of people. Clients gravitate toward individuals, so I make sure there is someone for everyone.
SBS: What’s your advice to new clients in hybrid classes?
BM: Listen, watch and then move. Don’t try to go too fast, because that’s how people get hurt. It’s ok to take a step back first! Every workout is different, so be patient with yourself. And remember, you can’t just try it once and judge it. It may take two or three times for the light bulb to go off!
SBS: What should clients look for in instructors?
BM: That depends on your goals. You have to know what you want or need. If your goal is to lose weight, you need a really motivating, high-energy teacher who will help you include a cardio-based workout. But, if you’re injured, you need a calming, comfortable presence that won’t rush you.
SBS: What’s your advice for studio owners?
BM: Never discount your interaction with clients. They will root for you, and when you need help, those loyal clients will actually be the ones to step up. When we opened, I wasn’t expecting that. If they believe in something you’re doing, they will be your best ambassadors and helpers.
Next, before you open, have all systems in place in terms of technology. Whatever you choose, know it well and take the time to complete the training up front.
Finally, be resourceful. Even if you don’t have much money, you can find ways. When we opened, we had a client whose neighbor was a printer! They helped us, and that’s how to make things happen.
SBS: Recently you started franchising the Beyond Studios. How did that come about?
BM: For a while, I’ve been inundated with calls. I first sold Beyond Pedaling, and I’ve created a training manual and trademark for everything. Regardless, wherever there’s a Beyond Studio, it’s a Pilates plus cardio base, and every franchise will have that. People have limited time these days, so wherever you are, that blend is essential.
Brandi’s Dallas Faves:
Healthy Restaurant: Kozy
Splurge Restaurant: Campisi’s Restaurant
Fun Activity: Decks in the Park
Calm Activity: Harry Moss Trail with my dog
Bar: High Fives
Workout Studio: CrossFit 214
Workout Clothes: Zella
Brandi’s SBS Mantra: Be Fearless! The world is a difficult place, and you have to go after what you want!