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THE STORY... Born in Newark, NY on October 22, 1954, Carla began athletic competition at the age of ten. Her first sport was gymnastics to which she soon added speed swimming. Carla then expanded her scope to include synchronized swimming, which allowed her to combine her speed simming and gymnastic skills. (In the movie "Pumping Iron 2 - The Women" we see Carla doing a bit of synchronized swimming as pre-contest relaxation and conditioning.)

Carla received her diploma in Advertising Design from the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts which she attended on a full scholarship. After the graduation she continued o comete in synchronized swimming events, winning the gold medal in the 1977 Junior National Team Championships and a bronze medal at the inaugural National Sports Festival in 1978. She was about to retire from competitive swimming in 1979 when at the suggestion of sports writer and women's bodybuilding historian Steve Wennerstrom, Carla decided to enter the upcoming "Best in the World" women's bodybuilding contest. Although she had never trained for the sport, Carla placed 5th in a field of 45 entrants.

In March of 1980, Carla began to train seriously as a bodybuilder; her commitment and athletic prowess helped her win the next two National Championships. She continued her winning ways by taking all of the major professional championships in 1983 including the World Professional Women's Championships and Ms. Olympia, making her the Grand Slam winner of 1983. One of those titles, the Ms. Olympia is considered the Wimbledon of professional bodybuilding and a very elite club.

A consistent top placer, Carla then proceeded to add her collection of titles including the 1984 and 1988 World Professional Mixed Pairs title with partner Tony Pearson, and competed in the money at the 1984 ABC "Battle of the Superstars" with the likes of Martina Navrailova, the late Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner, women's professional basketball pioneer Nancy Lieberman and Olympic speed skater and cyclist Beth Heiden. In the late Eighties Carla sampled a new athletic challenge by competing in the first three Danskin all-female Triathlon Series races, the first totally female half-Olympic distance triathlons in the world.

Always the teacher, extremely articulate and self-assured, Carla has appeared on several talk shows as a spokesperson for fitness including Donahue!, Good Morning America, the Regis Philbin Show, Sally Jesse Raphael, Nightline, PM Magazine, Geraldo!, Mike Adams "SportsWorld", Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition. In addition, Carla did a 4 year stint as a regular cast member of the very successful show "Bodyshapding" on ESPN/ESPN2 along with regularly commentating for ESPN and appearances on USA network.

In the early 1990's, Carla was chosen to represent Danskin Inc. active wear, working alongside Tiffany Chin, Nadia Comaneci-Conner and Kerri Strug, as a model and member of "Team Danskin". "What an honor to be considered amongst the top female athletes of the time and represent such a classic athletic and fitness clothing line like Danskin." she said.

The year 1995 brought the decision to make a home for her training business. Flexfit Mind and Body Personal Training and Pilates Studio formerly located on beautiful Lake Quanipowitt in Wakefield, MA proved to be the right move as the studio had a wonderful group of clients from day one. "Flexfit was my home for ten years. I virtually lived there and taught everything from yoga and Pilates to coaching fitness and bodybuilding competitors. I even had access to a pool to condition my clients." Carla says. "there were people who walked through my doors that influenced my life as much as i may have influenced theirs. A day never went by without real laughter and satisfaction. Thank you to all of my Flexfit friends!"

After ten successful years the decision to move to a warmer clime brought the Flexfit era to a close and in 2005 Carla moved to South Florida.

In early 2006, while working at Jean Magrella's Atlantic Avenue Pilates, Carla was asked by two visiting Danish chiropractors, impressed with her teaching style, to come live in Denmark for a month at a time and help expand their Pilates program. Over a two year period with her characteristic focus and determination, Carla taught both therapist and patient (through a daunting language barrier) the classical Pilates Method on all of the apparatus until the program was on solid ground. Carla says "Karina and Peter Gyrst now have one of the most extensive Pilates complimented multi-faceted chiropractic and physical therapy practices in all of Denmark. Peter, Karina and their wonderful sons, Gustof and Valdmar were wonderful hosts and have become great friends. It was a savvy move by Karina and Peter to add Pilates apparatus conditioning for their patients."

Using her many years of experience teaching such diverse subjects as yoga, belly dance, interpretive dance, aerobics, guided relaxation for stress management, swimming, weight training, and gym safety, Carla currently trains people with a variety of fitness goals at Avenue Pilates in coastal South Florida. In keeping with her penchant for getting involved with the offbeat fitness trends, 2006 saw Carla take up teaching pole dance for fitness. Of this Carla comments "Pole dance or vertical dance has a uniquely feminine feel to it and really helps women get their groove back and have fun with being strong and sexy. I teach this not so much from the erotic/ exotic entertainment aspect, but I like to think of the lyrical performances of silk rope dancers and acrobats only a bit spicier!" Body Opera Pole Fitness is one of the growing numbers of pole dance for fitness programs available in Palm Beach County. "We even book Bachelorette, Girls Night Out and Birthday Body Opera pole dance parties!"

Why the focus on this type of programming? Carla responds "We at Avenue Pilates/ Avenue Fitness feel we fill a niche by offering more alternative methods of fitness in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere featuring a highly qualified, talented and personable family of instructors.