GoRecess Playground Pros: Amy Briant & Vanessa Malchev; Pilates Plus Orange County




Studios Where They Teach: Pilates Plus Newport Beach; Pilates Plus Costa Mesa

Classes They Teach: Group Classes, Private Sessions, Beginner Classes, Form & Technique Classes

Hometowns:  Vanessa, Angelino born and raised in Los Angeles, California; Amy, Springfield, Missouri

Vanessa's Background: Vanessa's dedication for fitness was instilled at the early age of five.  She trained and practiced ballet and jazz for over ten years and in high school tested the waters playing various sports and fell in love with running, leading her to complete a full marathon. She was first introduced to yoga in 1999 and has been consistently practicing and teaching ever since. She was looking for something that was not only more challenging but would have a lasting fresh effect on her physique, something that could incorporate the feeling and results she received from running, yoga, and weight training at the gym all in less time and all in one place, hence Pilates Plus and the infamous SPX workout! She jumped at the chance to get certified as a Pilates Plus/SPX Instructor and feels fortunate to have the opportunity to share this experience with everyone. She wanted to develop her knowledge of the traditional Pilates method as well as to be able to give her students a more comprehensive and meticulous class, so she received a further traditional Pilates certification through Balanced Body University.  When you take her class you will not only get the inspiration and encouragement you need to achieve your fitness goals but also the knowledge and awareness you need to do it RIGHT!

Amy's Background: For Amy, exercise is a necessary choice if we want to live a high quality life for as long as we can. Amy’s passion for health and fitness began early in competitive soccer at the age of four. In 2002, she began her yoga practice which led her into the development and importance of Mind Body Spirit (MBS) exercise.  As well as being a certified yoga instructor, Amy is a cardio lover which is how she developed her love of running and desire to become a marathon runner! In search of an exercise that incorporated both her passions, she discovered Pilates Plus. Amy immediately knew it was the perfect balance of cardio and MBS exercise.  She sees how including the components of the SPX system into our lives benefits our muscles, bones, and nervous system. Her SPX classes focus on intensity, technique, fitness education and the importance of being in a group class setting with passionate and motivated individuals.  Since her introduction to Pilates Plus SPX, Amy has since received certifications in traditional mat and reformer Pilates through Balanced Body University to bring you the optimal Pilates Plus Workout.  A true believer in goals, she is inspired daily watching her students achieve them. Amy brings her generosity of spirit to all her classes while creating an intense and demanding workout. You’ll leave her class feeling inspired, empowered and motivated realizing that it’s more than just a workout, it’s a lifestyle!


What exactly is Pilates Plus and why do you recommend it for a great workout? Pilates Plus is combination of weight training and Pilates, and is based on the innovative Lagree Fitness method which is specifically designed to strengthen, tighten, and tone the body quickly and safely. Pilates Plus utilizes the best of both: the strengthening and toning benefits of weight training, and the lengthening and postural enhancing benefits of Pilates in a circuit training sequence. Pilates Plus keeps the heart rate up and burns extra calories. You can expect to burn 500 to 600 calories in a single class! And because of the support of the ProFormer and MegaFormer it eliminates the pressure on any joints and the spine as well as prevents extra stress on the body.

What were you doing before opening Pilates Plus and what inspired you to open Pilates Plus? We were both teaching Pilates for about two years at the original Pilates Plus studio in West Hollywood with Sebastien Lagree.  Prior to that, we were both in other fields (Vanessa in sales, Amy in marketing), but we both always wanted to dive into the health and fitness world since we were both so active in fitness.  We trained for the marathon which brought us closer together and started talking about joining up and taking our teaching to the next level.  Our thoughts were to spread the love of this technique into an area that wasn’t privy to the Lagree technique yet, hence…Orange County.  We now have two locations - one in Newport Beach and one in Costa Mesa - and plan to open as many as the universe will allow us to! We love bringing this life-changing experience to all who we can. :-)

Do you need to have Pilates experience in order to do Pilates Plus? We do recommend coming into our “beginner” and/or “form & technique” classes that are offered on a weekly basis at both locations, whether you are new to Pilates or not.  We think it’s a good way to familiarize yourself with the amazing high-tech machine as well as with some of our signature moves.  In these less full classes you also receive the special attention as you would in a private setting to go over any specific ailments or modifications you might need to take with you when you attend any of our regular group classes.

Why do you recommend group fitness classes as a great way to get a workout? We love a group setting for any fitness class as it helps you stay focused, accountable, and wanting to do your best!  A lot of the time the energy of the other clients boosts your energy up and you always end up having a greater workout than you would if you went to do something on your own at the gym.  It’s a community feeling when you enter the doors at Pilates Plus Orange County (PPOC) and we all do our best to motivate you to reach your fitness and health goals!

What types of workouts do you recommend to complement Pilates Plus classes? A lot of the students swear by the combination of yoga and Pilates Plus, saying it's the perfect combo. Some form of cardio is recommended. We would say mix it up. Variety is the spice of life. Your body has an amazing ability to adapt, so force it to adapt to new workouts and combinations. Lucky for you, Pilates Plus encompasses cardio, stretching and strength training, which makes it a well balanced workout!

Favorite workout brand? Obviously…. Lagree Fitness (Pilates Plus) is our favorite workout brand!  We are addicted and when you try it you will be too!

Personal eating styles? We try to eat as healthily as we can but you have to enjoy life!  Everything in moderation.  We do believe that everyone and every “body” has different needs when it comes to diet.  We always suggest to sit and talk with a nutritionist and get your allergy panel done, to be sure what you are eating is right for you.  Sometimes you could be eating some of the most nutritious and healthy foods, but if your body is not accepting those foods then you might be doing it more harm than good.  Meaning just because it is fat free and society says it’s the healthy thing to eat, doesn’t mean it is right for you.  Discover what works for you and listen to your body - it will tell you what works!

Guilty pleasures? Dark Chocolate…..mmmmmm

Your “go-to” workout songs? Gyptian – “Hold You”

What are your favorite things to do/places to go in Orange County? The beaches are beautiful in the OC, but we sometimes prefer the nice grassy knolls or patches found throughout our town that overlook the beach.  Sometimes it’s more tranquil than actually being on the beach, especially on the weekends.  Our favorite hike is El Moro - there are over 26 miles of trails with majestic views of the Pacific Ocean. Avanti Café is one of our favorite spots to eat in or order out from, they have a delicious healthy menu with many gluten-free/yeast-free options.

If you could give GoRecess users one piece of fitness advice what would it be? Sweat once a day!  It's not just about looking good, it starts with feeling good and that resonates in all aspects of your life! Health is Wealth!


What makes your studios unique? Pilates Plus OC stands apart from not only other Pilates studios but also from all fitness studios.  We have been voted number #1 Pilates Studio in OC year after year by our loyal clients.  We believe our patented machines, the “Proformer” and “Megaformer”, are what sets us apart.  These pieces of equipment are like no other, they allow the movements in the group settings to be as fluid and smooth as possible in the transitions, helping to keep the tempo in class and the heart rate up and burning more calories! The Lagree technique transforms you, not just your physical appearance but your mental view as well! It strengthens you from the inside out.  The sequence of our technique can only be done on our machines, another unique quality inherent to only PPOC! The atmosphere is a communal, family feeling and caters to all levels equally, making everyone feel welcome and part of the family.  All of our skilled trainers guide you through your health and fitness journey; they are certified not only with Sebastien Lagree’s certification, but have various other courses and certifications under their belts.  Always learning and training is part of our day-to-day lives at PPOC and our trainers are always up on continuing education courses to stay ahead in their fields!


Arizona: Pilates Plus Chandler

California: Pilates Plus La Jolla; Pilates Plus Beverly Hills; Sweat Pilates Culver City; Pilates Plus Downtown LA; Equilibrium Pilates Glendale; Pilates Platinum Hollywood; SeaFit Huntington Beach; Pilates Plus Malibu; the studio (mdr) - Marina Del Rey; Equilibrium - Miracle Mile; Pilates Plus Montrose; Pilates Plus Pasadena; Pilates Plus Santa Clarita; Pilates Plus Silverlake; Pilates Platinum Venice; Pilates Plus West LASculpt Pilates Plus - Solana Beach; Pilates Plus Palm Springs; Move Pilates Plus San Diego; Seafit Studio San Juan Capistrano; Coreology Fitness Palos Verdes; BT Fitness San Clemente; Fit Buddha Santa Barbara

Colorado: Pilates Evolution Denver; Mile High Pilates+

Florida: JetSet Pilates Miami Beach

Louisiana: Pilates Plus Covington; Pilates Plus Evolution Lafayette

Massachusetts: Btone Fitness Back Bay; Boston Pilates Plus Lexington

New York: SLT NYC

Texas: Sculpt River Oaks, Houston; Sculpt Tanglewood, Houston

Washington: Pilates Plus Bellevue; Inspire Pilates Plus Seattle

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