Meet Sybil Shearburn & Jenny Barnack—the Team behind Pilates Center of Huntsville

Welcome to our regular feature where we introduce you to great local people who inspire and share our love of Huntsville as much as we do! This time we chatted with the lovely ladies behind Pilates Center of Huntsville—Jenny Barnack and Sybil Shearburn.

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TSG: How many years have you been in business?

Sybil Shearburn & Jenny Barnack: 6.5

TSG: What inspired you to start your own business?

Sybil Shearburn: After owning my own Pilates studio for 11 years, I was feeling a bit stagnant and needed to shake things up a little, so I decided to collaborate with my friend and fellow Pilates teacher, Jenny Barnack, and opened the Pilates Center of Huntsville. This collaboration has given me the opportunity to grow as an individual, a teacher, and a businesswoman. It’s also forced me to improve where I am lacking and lead where I’m strongest. It’s the best business decision I’ve made in the 17 years of being a business owner.

Jenny Barnack: I wanted to collaborate with my friend and colleague Sybil, and create a space to practice Pilates in a playful, intelligent and healthy way.

TSG: What is unique about your business?

Sybil Shearburn: We go deeper than just scratching the surface of the Pilates Method. We teach clients how to gain a deeper awareness of their bodies promoting their own self-healing or taking them to a new level as an athlete.

Jenny Barnack: Our studio educates clients about how to move and care for their bodies not just in the studio, but in their day-to-day functioning (blow drying your hair, washing dishes, walking). Additionally, we have quite a lovely space, with large arching windows looking out over the city. It is a great place to be.

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TSG: When you’re not working, what are you doing?

Sybil Shearburn: Being a wife, mother to a 4th grader in virtual school, playing tennis, or running. 

Jenny Barnack: In the woods on a bike or on foot, possibly reading nerdy anatomy books or maybe on a swing set. And probably not doing laundry.

TSG: What is your favorite thing about Huntsville?

Sybil Shearburn: It offers large city varieties in restaurants, the arts, and outdoor activities in a smaller city environment.

Jenny Barnack: Monte Sano Mountain and craft beer.

TSG: Do you have any hobbies? And tell us why you love them.

Sybil Shearburn: Tennis, gardening, running, and biking. Tennis because it’s soooo mental; gardening because it grounds me (pun intended); running and biking because it keeps my legs strong and I can let go of any worries.

Jenny Barnack: I love mountain biking. I love the variety of movement (stand up, lean right, lean left, scoot back) required to ride on a trail and I love the energy of a forest and the exhilaration of riding over rocks, roots, and dirt. And I really love to go fast.

TSG: Can you give us some words to live by?

Sybil Shearburn: Unsolicited advice is the worst advice you can give.

Jenny Barnack: If you look at the obstacle, you’ll run right into it. Keep your eye on the path around it.

TSG: What’s on your desk right now?

Sybil Shearburn: My 4th grader’s school books. 

Jenny Barnack: Air pods, a book on Human Locomotion, and REI member reward $.

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TSG: What do you never leave home without?

Sybil Shearburn: My child, because she does her virtual school with me at the studio and my phone.

Jenny Barnack: My water bottle and my phone.

TSG: Who is your hero and why?

Sybil Shearburn: My mother, for raising 4 children in a foreign country without any support from family. 

Jenny Barnack: My grandmother, Daphane Morgan. She was galvanizing, insightful, opinionated, and right. She loved children, art, black coffee, and birds. I miss her terribly. 

TSG: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Sybil Shearburn: An architect (but not a teacher), ironic, right?

Jenny Barnack: I always struggled with that. Maybe I couldn’t really picture myself as a grown-up.

TSG: Is there anything else you want us to know/share?

Sybil Shearburn: I was brought up a cradle Catholic and I’m active in my faith. I try to use it as my compass when making decisions in all aspects of my life. 

Jenny Barnack: Your feet are a really big deal. Take care of them, move them, challenge them and learn how they work. You won’t regret it.

Jenny and Sybil, thank you so much for taking the time for this insightful interview. TSG Huntsville loved learning more about you, your business, and how you came to open Pilates Center of Huntsville together!

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