BY CAROLINE ABKAR | Red Tree Realty | April 2017
There is palpable excitement in the air as I enter the studio and meet Jennie Groom, founder and owner of Studio Flo Pilates tucked in the little center at the intersection of Denver and Ingulf in Bay Park.
We casually sat in the Barre room and chatted about why she founded Studio Flo, what she loves about Bay Park and what the near future holds for her studio. As a relative newbie to Pilates, I left the studio with a desire to come back and experience what it’s all about, thanks to Jennie’s patience and passion for her studio which I could sense through her eyes beaming with pride during the entire interview. Enjoy the read and please share your comments as always!
Caroline Abkar: Jennie, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Jennie Groom: I was born and raised in San Diego and majored in dance in LA where the director pushed me towards various programs including Pilates. I got certified in Pilates at 18, started teaching and loved it. By 2012, I was craving the deeper knowledge of the discipline and met Lolita San Miguel who is the only first generation teacher still alive to have been certified in Pilates directly by Joseph Pilates. I became her student and eventually earned the title of second generation master instructor through her mentor program.
Studio Flo Pilates is the only studio in California to offer Lolita’s Legacy Pilates Certification program. We are very proudly on our second group of Legacy instructors.
Caroline Abkar: Why did you create Studio Flo?
Jennie Groom: I was teaching at a few different places in San Diego, and I realized that I have a lot of knowledge to share. I saw an opportunity to bring clients and other teachers together who wanted this knowledge. My dream for the studio was for it to be seen as an education center and it became just that, where teachers come to learn thru teacher classes, clinics and workshops. Therefore, I opened Studio Flo in June 2014. There isn’t any other studio like this in the area.
Caroline Abkar: Why did you decide to settle in this area?
Jennie Groom: I taught in Point Loma, North Park and Downtown and I wanted to be in a central place where my clients could come to easily. I knew this area mainly because of the restaurants. Our location is so conveniently located off the freeway and I really wanted to be a part of a community. I love the area because of the neighborhood and community feel it has. I love that more and more families are moving here and that younger buyers can get a chance at purchasing a home and upgrading it.
There’s a true desire to be a community here. The clients from this area are down to earth and have a very genuine feel. We really appreciate that.
Caroline Abkar: Can you expand a bit on the type of classes you offer and what makes Studio Flo unique?
Jennie Groom: We teach Traditional/Classical Pilates the way Joseph Pilates taught things in systems, and he taught exercises very precisely and in a specific order that made sense for the body to be complete with your mind, body and spirit. We carry his legacy at our studio.
Other studios offer Fusion/Contemporary Pilates, where exercises are altered thru weights and music, and thus taken a bit further away from what Joseph’s teaching is. I used to teach it and it was a good foundation, but now that I have been teaching traditional Pilates for 6-7 years, I feel like I really get a chance to see first-hand how my clients’ bodies changes in ways that didn’t happen before. When you teach things in an order, it supports Joseph’s famous quote that “You are only as young as your spine is flexible.” You can tell how much a client has accomplished by looking at the changes in their spine. People learn how to move with their whole body
The studio is named Flo based on one of the Pilates principles of flow; Pilates is a continuously moving sequence i.e. there are no static poses. You move from one thing to the next. I also wanted to honor my grandma whose name was Florence and who supported me financially in making this dream come true. She really instilled the confidence in me that I could do this on my own.
Caroline Abkar: How would you describe the difference between Pilates and Yoga?
For me, Pilates makes me feel very grounded and strong. I feel like I am in my muscles, in my body. After a workout, you feel long, tall, decompressed, and the tingly feeling that you really worked to achieve this and used every muscle in your body. I recommend practicing Pilates daily for a healthy life.
After a yoga class, I feel more stretched but not particularly stronger.
Caroline Abkar: There are so many different forms of workouts out there today: gravity, barre, yoga, Pilates… how does someone know that Pilates is a right fit for them?
Jennie Groom: Pilates is for everyone. Pilates teaches you how to move from your power house which wraps from the front of the belly to your back muscles; people become nimbler as a result in their everyday life. Yes, your body will look great but Pilates really trains you for being functional in daily life. I also teach paraplegics, people with brain injuries, amputees. They all can do Pilates because of the springs we use.
It’s a system that really supports you. It really is for everybody.
Caroline Abkar: Can you tell us a bit about the environment, teachers and culture at your studio in particular?
Jennie Groom: I like to make people feel like they are safe and that we are working together as a team. We are very lighthearted and comfortable sharing with each other. Here at Studio Flo, people feel like they have their private space where they come to feel that they are becoming healthier. We don’t talk about calories or what we ate, and there is no emphasis on looking in a mirror. I would rather focus on feeling. We offer private classes as well as beginner group classes. We offer 6-8 group classes daily.
In terms of who the teachers are, we are a team of 9 women and I am so proud that we have fostered a healthy, non-competitive environment. It is so heartwarming to me that they love each other and build each other up. The girls feel ownership in the studio and it transpires in the way we serve our clients.
We host many community events such as date night every other month, where we do partner Pilates where I will ask people to use words of affirmation towards each other. We also organize hikes with our clients. Many friends were made through our studio.
I also donate group classes to organizations, the most recent one being Bay Park Elementary.
The girls and I really want to start volunteering at domestic violence support centers.
Caroline Abkar: What are some client favorites?
Jennie Groom: Barre classes (Barre class is a fusion of Pilates, Dance, and Yoga). Reformer classes (which use the sliding table). My Foam Roller Mat Class is popular too.
Caroline Abkar: Do you have any promotions you would like to share with our readers?
Jennie Groom: Yes! We have a new client special where we offer 10 group classes for $100. The only requirement is that the classes be used within 3 months.
I also offer 4 private sessions for $220.
Jennie Groom is the Owner of Studio Flo Pilates located at 2621 Denver St, San Diego, CA 92110. You can read more at http://www.studioflopilates.com/ as well as their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/studioflopilates/. Due to the wonderful success Jennie and her team have experienced since inception, Studio Flo will be moving to a larger location this summer, still close by. Stay tuned!
About the author: Caroline Abkar is a Real Estate professional who is absolutely passionate about the community as well as helping her clients with one of the most important decisions of their lives. She loves to be an advocate for those who place their trust in her and will go above and beyond to serve anyone needing her real estate services. You can contact her anytime at 619-808-4804 or firstname.lastname@example.org.