December Client of the Month

Robbye and Dogs 1Our December Client Spotlight, Robbye Frank, found Pilates of West County on Groupon. She had had chronic back pain for nearly 50 years and decided to use a coupon to try a mat class and eventually private sessions. That was four years ago. Today she says that taking private sessions is the best decision she’s made.

Now Robbye says with improved core strength, body strength and balance, she is happier with her body shape.

Flexibility is one of the biggest challenges that Robbye faces. But she says she’s improved because of Ginger’s knowledge and ability to adapt to her body’s needs.

“I trust and value her implicitly,” Robbye says.

Outside of Pilates, Robbye likes to spend time with her grandchildren in St. Louis and San Diego and support non-profits focused on women’s issues, civil rights and regional economic development.

Thanks for all of your hard work, Robbye!

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November Client of the Month

Jack Easterling has been a Pilates of West County client for seven years now. What initially interested him in Pilates? He worked with our June Client Spotlight, Penny Hubbard, noticed a change in her posture and overall appearance and found out that it was a result of Pilates.

When Jack was in his 20’s he experienced severe back problems that eventually led him to be bedridden for many weeks. He says that because of Pilates, he no longer worries about making a move that may cause him such serious pain.

We love Jack’s answer as to what is the biggest benefit he has gained from Pilates:

“Freedom! I believe that Ginger and the regimen of Pilates has rolled years off my physiological life. My body feels balanced and is almost always pain free.”

Slide1Prior to Pilates Jack did aerobic exercise and says that he probably couldn’t touch his toes. The difference between Pilates and aerobic exercise is that Pilates is all about strength and demands flexibility. He continues, saying that without Ginger, he would never have been able to understand that.

He says that the exercises that he least likes are often eventually his favorites. He has recently felt this during the semi-circle in which he ends feeling stronger and more flexible.

Jack likes to think of himself as a life-long learner. He and his wife (also a Pilates of West County client), Lois, like to travel in their free time.

We’ve enjoyed having Jack as a loyal client for the past seven years and are looking forward to the next seven!

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October Client of the Month

Twelve-year client, Gwen Bauer, discovered Pilates of West County in its early days. After seeing several infomercials about Pilates on television, she registered for Ginger’s weekly Friday mat classes at St. Charles Community College.

She says that she enjoyed the challenge that Pilates presented and signed up for private sessions after her first mat class.

Prior to taking Pilates, Gwen worked for the St. Louis County Police Department for 30 years. After retiring, she began taking Pilates and says that because of her Pilates training she feels “taller at 5’1″ – like a puppet on a string!”


Gwen says she tells Ginger, “I am a work in progress,” and that Ginger responds, “We all are.” Pilates is challenging and its exercises take years to master. Even after twelve, there is room for improvement.

“Ginger is excellent at making you visualize how your body should work. There is no better instructor in my mind,” says Gwen.

Gwen’s two grandchildren keep her and her husband, Mike, busy. Pilates, she says, keeps her going during the week. Thank you, Gwen, for your continued dedication and enthusiasm in the studio!

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September Client of the Month

She’s a farmer at Claverach Farm in Eureka and spends six days each week working in the field in addition to hosting farm-to-table dinners in the farm’s 100-year-old renovated barn. While this takes up most of her time, our September Client Spotlight, Rachel Shulman, says she always makes time for her weekly private sessions and mat class at Pilates of West County.

After gaining experience as a research scientist and journalist, Rachel found farming and realized it was her true passion. Four years ago after working her first season on an organic farm, she developed low back pain that she feared would end her farming career. Despite her life-long athleticism, the intense physicality of farming seemed to be taking a toll on her body – to the point that she sometimes could not even get out of bed.

mePhoto Credit: Jennifer Silverberg, FEAST Magazine

She later discovered through X-rays and CT scans that she had developed bone spurs on her spine as a result of moderate scoliosis that had gone undiagnosed when she was a child. To decrease her back pain, Rachel tried yoga, which did not produce the results she wanted. So she decided to try Pilates next. She says that “the immediate relief in pain [she] found after one session had [her] quickly hooked.”

That was four years ago, and she has been taking Pilates ever since. She moved back to St. Louis from Champaign, Illinois a year and a half ago and began taking lessons with Ginger at Pilates of West County.

Pain management has been the biggest benefit of Pilates, Rachel says. The strength she gains from it means that she has less back pain, and she is better able to enjoy the work about which she is so passionate.

“My back often feels ‘junked up’ at the end of a hard day’s work, so even when I’ve worked a thirteen-hour day and all I really want is a glass of wine, I make it a priority to get on my mat and go through the basic series.”

Although she has difficulty relaxing her back, she says that Ginger uses language and energy that allows her to access her body in novel ways.

In addition to farming, Rachel loves horseback riding and says that Pilates is an excellent form of exercise for riders.

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August Client of the Month

When Joan Baraba decided three years ago that she needed a way to stay active and strong after being diagnosed with spinal stenosis and a herniated disk, she found Pilates of West County. With support from her surgeon and physical therapist, she combined physical therapy with Pilates, which she says she has found to be an extremely effective rehabilitation process. With more strength and flexibility, Joan’s abilities have been renewed.

“I never thought I would be able to ride a bicycle again, but while on vacation last year I was able to ride several miles with my family. It was great fun and what an achievement!”

Joan Baraba

Joan says that Ginger’s deep knowledge of Pilates allows her to modify the exercises and help her build strength and endurance so that her injuries do not limit her.

“Pilates has been a game changer for me. I feel empowered and that I can do anything.”

Joan enjoys learning to play the piano, traveling, reading and spending time with friends and family in her free time. Thank you, Joan, for always being fun to have around the studio!

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July Client of the Month

For Tammy, physical therapy was not enough after her back surgery. It didn’t live up to the benefits for which she had hoped it would. After some research for alternatives, Tammy found Pilates and began taking lessons from Ginger.

That was eight years ago. Today Pilates continues to provide Tammy with the benefits she wants. She says that the shape of her body has changed, her posture has improved and her flexibility has increased. While one benefit of Pilates, she says, is understanding how the muscles in her body work, the greatest benefit is that she no longer has back issues.

Although Tammy has encountered challenges with flexibility, especially in her lower back, she says that because of Ginger’s ability to modify workouts and work with her strengths and weaknesses she has improved. She adds that Ginger is able to provide tips and guidance to use for at-home sessions.

Tammy says that Pilates is her favorite exercise because she feels great before, during and after her workout.

“I could not have been as successful in Pilates without Ginger. She is one of the most compassionate, thoughtful and patient teachers I have ever had.”

In her free time, Tammy likes to read, hang out with her nieces and nephews and enjoy life to its fullest.

Keep up the great work, Tammy! And thank you for your years of dedication to Pilates of West County!

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June Client of the Month

From its execution to the results it produces, people continually notice that Pilates is unlike other forms of exercise. Ten years ago Penny Hubbard was bored and unsatisfied with the regular routine of “conventional exercise” until she made the decision to try Pilates.

The results have been incomparable as Penny says her body is more toned, stronger and her posture has improved. One of the biggest benefits she says is “connecting mind and body to work together. It results in a powerful bond.”

Penny says that spending much of her time at a desk for 30 years has been hard on her body, but “Ginger’s guidance and never-ending desire to make sure [she gets] the most out of  [her workout] is a huge benefit.”

When she is not at work or Pilates, Penny likes gardening, fishing and boating with her husband and friends.PWC Penny Hubbard

Penny had a message to Ginger in closing our interview:

“Ginger I cannot thank you enough for teaching me Pilates. I hope our journey continues for many more years. You are amazing!”

Thank you, Penny, for your many years of hard work and dedication!

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May Client of the Month

“I always thought I was an active person and in better shape than my sister,” three-year PWC client, Molly Keegan, says. Her older sister, Jane had been taking Pilates for many years, and when one day at their parents’ house, Molly joined her sister in doing the roll up, she says she struggled. It was then that Molly decided to give Pilates a chance, and she has been at Pilates of West County ever since.

Just before beginning her journey at PWC, Molly started an internship in an OBGYN residency program and says that she had tight muscles and poor posture due to the nature of the job. Since then she has developed a stronger back and core and her pain has diminished.

“I remember people commenting that I had lost weight, but really I had just transformed my figure with a leaner and longer appearance.”

The difference between Pilates and other sports, Molly says, is how your body responds. While in many sports replicating a skill is somewhat simple, in Pilates the body’s response may vary each session based on other recent activities. Because each exercise feels slightly different each time, Ginger knows a variety of ways to cue her clients, Molly says.

Molly Keegan May Client of the Month

Molly Keegan PWC

Molly wasted no time in getting back to her workout as Ginger got to hold brand new baby Jack.

During Molly’s pregnancy last year, she had minimal pain due to the strong core she had developed. She even continued operating until the day before she delivered her son, Jack. “I feel that Pilates helped keep me in shape for the actual delivery as well,” says Molly.

She adds that doing Pilates during her pregnancy helped her stay in shape for running and yoga. She still enjoys running and other activities such as racquetball during her free time.

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April Client of the Month

After having two children, Jen O’Donnell wanted to try something new and to strengthen her core. So in August of 2011 she decided to try Pilates.

Relaxing is the key to attaining the biggest benefit from each Pilates exercise, according to Jen. For her, though, it is also the biggest challenge. With Ginger’s hands-on approach to teaching, she says that her understanding of relaxing while working out has increased, and that sometimes going back to the basics is helpful, even though she’s been taking lessons for nearly three years. Working through the challenges has been worth the hard work as Jen says her flexibility and strength have improved.

Jen O

“I am in the best shape of my life since I began taking Pilates. I feel better, stronger, am more flexible and have had less aches and pains.”

Jen has a love-hate relationship with her favorite Pilates exercise, the pull up. She hates the beginning, she says, but loves realizing the improvement in her strength when the exercise is over.

Jen’s family consists of her husband, Matt, and her two children, Brick and Briar. She says her favorite pastime is spending time with them and that she looks forward to date nights.

With Jen’s commitment to Pilates three times a week, it’s evident in her work that she has become an accomplished student of the method. With her sweet disposition she is always a joy to have in the studio!

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March Client of the Month

“Sometimes in life you feel God leads you to the place you need to be. He did just that one day when, in desperation, after having a massage next door to Pilates of West County, I walked in to inquire about Pilates.”


Two years ago Laurie Roethlisberger was ready to schedule surgery. She suffered from two herniated discs due to working in the Emergency Room and Intensive Care Units for 18 years, having three children in 26 months, and a ski accident. Her continuous pain kept her from fully enjoying time with her family. From skiing in Colorado to dress shopping for a Father Daughter Dance with her daughters, Laurie’s pain was holding her back. Not even physical therapy and back injections could completely dissolve her pain and she felt surgery was her only hope – until she found Pilates.

She walked in to Pilates of West County and after learning all about it from Ginger, she scheduled an appointment. She says that because of her back pain it was very difficult to get off the equipment at first. She persevered though and says that each week it became easier as her back and core became stronger, and until all of her pain was eventually gone.

“How grateful I am to Ginger that I met her before I scheduled back surgery!”

She is reminded during her sessions to release the tension in her shoulders in order to focus more on her core. Laurie says it is most challenging for her to stay focused on performing each exercise correctly, but that Ginger is supportive and nonjudgemental in every session.

Even though it can be difficult at times, the benefits that Pilates has had on Laurie’s health and body over the past two years have been significant. In addition to being joyful knowing she can be proactive in taking care of her body, her back, posture, and strength have all improved as well during her time at Pilates of West County. “Taking walks on the beach with my husband, being able to sit pain free on the bleachers as I watch one daughter swim and another compete in an equestrian sport, and cheering on my son in basketball,” Laurie says, are all now more enjoyable as she is pain-free.

Understanding and improving on the numerous Pilates exercises excites Laurie and she says that because of this, her favorite exercise changes all the time. She enjoys the benefits of more difficult exercises as Ginger leads her to focus and work deeper each week. As for Laurie’s current favorite she says:

“Today it was the ‘Elephant’ because, like a ray of warm sunlight being shone in a dark corner, I was able to feel a stretch in my lower back I have never felt before!”

Laurie says she looks forward to her improvement in Pilates and reaping its rewards. When she is not at the studio, though, she enjoys supporting her children in their sports and traveling to Michigan and Colorado to spend time outdoors.

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