Their trademarked class, Demi-Bar Pilates, not only taps into each woman’s individual strengths and experience, it combines the most effective moves from both Pilates and bar exercise workouts into one dynamic, full-body, fully satisfying workout.
“Sheila and I met each other right out of college at our first jobs; we were sales managers for a downtown Chicago hotel,” says Jenifer. Together, they learned the importance of customer service, perseverance, hard work, and being sure to have some fun along the way. Their lives took them in different directions, but 20 years later they crossed paths again, and were surprised to discover they lived a few miles apart, both had three children (and Brittany Spaniels), and now were both in the field of health and fitness.
Jenifer first became interested in fitness and Pilates as a way to improve her tennis game and immediately fell in love with the way it changed her body and enriched her life. Her love of Pilates and appreciation of movement led her to become a trained Pilates instructor.
As a marathon runner, Sheila first utilized Pilates as a way to support and improve her running, and to help prevent injuries from the rigors of marathon participation. She has been involved in the health and fitness industry for nearly 10 years as a personal trainer and Pilates instructor.
When the friends reunited and discovered their common interest, they came up with the idea for their unique class and decided to venture out on their own. “We started small,” Sheila said. “We rented space from a dance studio in town, offered three classes a week, and began our adventure.” A year later, they outgrew that space, moved to a larger studio, and soon after had the opportunity to lease their current space on the third floor of Fixe Self Center in Hinsdale.
“We took a mat Pilates class and made it a bit more rigorous and athletic. In addition to the intense abdominal work of Pilates, we include bar exercises to intensify the lower-body aspect, and arm sculpting exercises, stretching for a challenging full-body workout,” says Jenifer.
If you want to shake up your routine and reshape your body, this is the class for you. While it is a very challenging one-hour workout—your heart rate will go up, you’ll sweat, and your legs may visibly shake during some of the routines—Jenifer and Sheila have managed to make it accessible and inviting to all levels.
“We strive to make our studio welcoming and comfortable to all our clients, whatever their fitness goals and levels may be,” says Sheila.
Climb the stairs to their loft studio on the third floor of a sunny building on First Street and you’ll agree. The high ceilings, spa atmosphere, and inviting studio are a refreshing contrast to large fitness centers with sterile group studio rooms.
Jenifer and Sheila point out that their classes, as well as their one-on-one private Pilates and personal training sessions, appeal to a broad range of people. Their workout is indeed challenging, but the instructors offer modifications to every exercise, taking the health and other concerns of their clientele very seriously. “All of our instructors are Pilates-certified and have a true appreciation for putting safety first. That is lesson number one when we are training new staff,” Jenifer notes.
Clients include runners, pregnant women, athletes, older clientele, student athletes, and people recovering from joint replacements. It is a welcoming and diverse community of people and a very pleasant place to spend an hour working and sweating.
Demi-Bar Pilates also offers yoga, TRX Suspension Training, Mat Pilates, and Slim Down/Firm Up—an eight-week program that includes consultation with a nutritionist to develop a personalized eating plan and exercise program. They’ve had many success stories with the weight-loss program, with several clients losing upwards of 20 pounds.
“We are fortunate to be doing what we love,” says Sheila. “And it’s great to see such changes in people, on the outside, but just as importantly on the inside.”
For more information on how to change your body, visit demibarpilates.com, or call 630-533-0075
— Elaine Doremus Slayton