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Caterpillars to butterflies The Studio guides clients through total transformation

Sister team and business owners Amy Kreighbaum and Carrie Johnson Vilas don’t dread their trip into work every day. The two women took their passion for health and fitness and turned it into a client-friendly business when they opened The Studio, a Pilates and functional training facility, 11 years ago.

Both sisters earned Masters degrees in Kinesiology and are Certified Personal Trainers.

“My sister was running the Wellness Program for Fresno City Police Department at the time,” Vilas said of older sister Kreighbaum and the 2004 studio opening. “I had completed my Masters Degree and was working for the American Lung Association.

“We had been working on our business plan and we knew what we wanted to offer clients,” she added. “Back in 2004 a small group training studio didn’t exist. We really had such a passion for it. We know how to get people results. We aren’t a fly by night trainers studio.”

Kreighbaum earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education, with a concentration in Health. Vilas earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science with an emphasis in Community Health.

“We had the education and the training,” Vilas said of their early start. “We opened in 2004 and it just took off.”

Within a year of opening their first location in Merced, the women were seeking a larger facility to accommodate the increased clientele.

“We started with Pilates when we first opened because it was such a comprehensive exercise program to offer our clients,” she said. “We use a reformer, which is a great way to incorporate a total body work out.”

“Clients wanted to come to us for everything, not just Pilates, so when we moved in 2005 we did a soft re-open adding additional services for our clients.”

Among the many services The Studio now offers include: personal training, small group training in a variety of class types, metabolic testing, lifestyle and weight management, as well as health and fitness consultations.

Vilas stated that as the business grew and their personal lives began to evolve, the sister team began looking for a second location in the Turlock area.

“We had a space in mind,” Vilas said, “and, well, God has just blessed us in so many ways.”

Nine years later, Vilas shared she is still a strong believer in Pilates and what it offers their clients.

“It works the total body,” she said. “Most people don’t realize what an awesome strength workout it is, because it is non-impact exercise. It’s such a strengthening exercise. It keeps their body balanced. Everything works together.

“Coupled with circuit work, it’s functional training. We put them in a more functional environment. It’s constantly changing for them. Everything works together,” she said of their comprehensive program. “People get so caught up in the cardio. We hit every small muscle group and every large muscle group. At the end of the day, they definitely feel it.

“Finally, we have a group of people who understand exercise is about a way of life. It’s not about a six, eight week program quick fix,” she said.

“A lot of people think exercise is about weight loss, but it’s so much more than that,” she continued. “Here we teach them. Here they learn.”

“This is definitely my passion,” Vilas said. “When I’m not here, I miss the people. I love that I am making a positive impact on people’s lives. My excitement is just as much as theirs.”

The Studio is a non-membership facility. There is no contract or fees. Clients are welcome to pay by class or purchase one of the many packages offered. The Merced facility is at 755 E. Yosemite Ave., Suite G.

Turlock area clients can find them at 310 E. Main St., Unit J, Turlock.

For more information call 209-723-BODY for Merced or (209) 669-PUSH for Turlock or visit