Charlotte Maynard trained as an accountant before she discovered crunching abs was more enjoyable than crunching numbers.
“I started doing reformer Pilates at a studio in Bondi Junction, and I wanted to learn more about it because I was fascinated by the anatomy and physiology aspect of it,” says Maynard. “I decided to train to be a Pilates instructor, not to teach but more for my own education and as a hobby.”
When she eventually qualified, her instructor asked why she wouldn’t consider teaching herself. “That got me thinking, so the following week I hosted a class at The Iconic, where I had about 16 people for my first ever session,” says Maynard.
As planning manager for sport and childrenswear at the online retailer, Maynard soon found herself juggling budgets and sales analysis with downward dogs and cat-cows. “The support from The Iconic was incredible and I’ve now taught over 170 classes there,” she says.
As demand continued to grow, Maynard decided to found her own studio in a light and airy space within Combined Clinics health and wellness centre in Darlinghurst. “My partner went to see (Combined Clinics founder) Dr Cody Hanish for a bad back, and during the course of the treatment he mentioned he had a vacant studio space,” says Maynard.
Fast forward several months, and the result is Studio Combined, a boutique experience for just 10 people per class that offers Pilates, yoga and barre attack.
“As someone [who goes to classes] I want to spend that 45 minutes or an hour working exactly the correct muscles in the right way, while protecting my back and joints,” says Maynard. “Sometimes in larger classes the instructor can’t get around to everyone to check their form and make adjustments, and it’s amazing how many people will do a glute exercise and not work their glutes at all. With no more than 10 people a class, we can ensure you are doing things the right way and give you highly personalised attention that is tailored to what you want and need.”
The classes – running from mat and hot Pilates to vinyasa, yin and sun flow yoga – are held in an intimate yet luxurious space designed by Gray & Co, the interior design business founded by Dr Hanish’s partner Graham Simmonds. Think dove grey linen wallpaper, softly glowing wall lamps, elegant mirrors, a diffuser emitting Le Labo Santal 33 and translucent scrim curtains cascading over the floor-to-ceiling windows that face out onto Liverpool Street in Darlinghurst.