Darla O'Brien

Sarasota, FL 34236

Hi - I'm Darla O'Brien, Owner of Designer Fitness, an innovative studio located on South Osprey Avenue in Sarasota, Florida. I have been in the fitness industry since the mid 1980s and founded the studio in 1989. My 20 year focus on posture and alignment has evolved and expanded to become a new type of workout: "Motion Empowered" or the "ME System". Using Pilates equipment, along with bands and balls, the ME System is a foundation for movement to increase range of motion, proprioception and motivation. ME reinforces a long term commitment to a balanced healthy lifestyle built upon the movements of daily activities... making life a "workout" -- with correct (and safe) alignment as its' underlying foundation!

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Verified Cert/Training
IDEA Author/Presenter
IDEA Member

About Me


  • AA, General Studies, State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota

Certifications / Trainings

ACE - Certified Medical Exercise Specialist
Expires: Dec 31, 2021
ACE - Certified Personal Trainer
Expires: Jan 31, 2021
ACSM - ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
Expires: Dec 31, 2020
ACSM - ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist
Expires: Dec 31, 2020
NSCA - Certified Personal Trainer
Expires: Dec 31, 2020
ACSM - ACSM/ACS Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer
Expires: Dec 31, 2020
ACSM - ACSM Certified Group Exercise Instructor
Expires: Dec 31, 2020
NASM - Women's Fitness Specialist
Expires: Jul 07, 2038
NASM - Youth Exercise Specialist (YES)
Expires: Jul 07, 2038
NASM - Weight Loss Specialist (WLS)
NASM - Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES)
NASM - Senior Fitness Specialist (SFS)
Expires: Jul 07, 2038
NASM - Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES)
NASM - Fitness Nutrition Specialist
Expires: Jul 07, 2038
NASM - Golf Fitness Specialist (GFS)
Expires: Oct 01, 2019

CPR Certified

Amerian Health Academy
Expires: Oct 08, 2019
Amerian Heart Association
Expires: Aug 20, 2019

AED Certified

American Heart Association Heart Saver AED
Expires: Aug 20, 2019

Liability Insurance

  • Lockton Affinity

Darla's Locations

Designer Fitness & Pilates - Sarasota

32 S Osprey Ave
Ste 204
Sarasota, FL 34236

Additional Information


$0.00 / hr, I have different rates for individual & small group sessions (with 2-4 participants).

Payment Methods

Cash , Credit Cards , Personal Checks

Years Experience


Awards & Accomplishments

  • Nominated IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year 2006, 2008 and 2009
  • Small Business of the Year Finalist - Longboat/Lido Chamber of Commerce 2008

Languages Spoken




28 Ratings

5.0 out of 5 Stars

  • by Pam Curtin on May 28, 2015

    I have been doing individual Pilates for seven years but Darla is the most outstanding, knowledgeable, precise, articulate, detail-oriented, attentive instructor I know. Darla makes you THINK constantly: about posture, the way you sit, drive a car, just stand conversing. She is always on your shoulder ( but in a great way) reminding you how best to FEEL in life. Her anatomical knowledge is superior and adds to the overall experience. Her interest in physical challenges and medical history contributes a level of comfort, safety and security to each session. It is with highest regard that I offer a FIVE STAR RATING on behalf of Darla O'Brien. And the best part......I feel great and adore her enthusiastic personality.F

  • by Chloe Schickler on Jun 19, 2014

    Two words describe Darla ... dedicated and professional. She is committed to designing exercises for each individual based on their age, physical condition and daily activity. Her patience and devotion to whole body health and three decades of experience put her at the top of her field.

  • by Deborah Nelson on May 10, 2014

    I have always been someone who enjoys fitness - all types of exercise, and always pride myself on being knowledgeable about the best approaches to living a healthy and fit life. This philosophy and lifestyle has served me well ....I am grateful for decent genetics (thanks Mom!) however as the aging process sneaks up on me, this has begun to backfire. Welcome Darla O’Brien ~ I have never learned so much about my body and its amazing functionality in all these years as I did in my consultation with Darla (wow). And now, after working with her over the past year I am amazed at the true progress toward my best health, well being, and obvious increased fitness level. She truly understands the body, how to help it function at its best, and is able to relay this in such an easy to grasp format. Her ability to assess anything out of line, or daily habits that may be creating issues over time, makes it feel like she is watching me in my daily life LOL and now her wise voice is heard in my head as I use her methods to correct and align myself throughout the day – don’t knock it till you try it! You will become a believer! Thank you Darla for helping me make a workout out of my everyday life – I have built strength through alignment and my body feels and functions better than it ever has.

  • by dawn jacobsen on Apr 17, 2014

    I have been seeing Darla O'Brien at designer fitness for 4 weeks now. She is an amazing personal trainer with her own unique way a redesign your body. I am a breast cancer survivor I've had my back my phone replaced under my front which is short and my reach and made my career barbering very hard for me. Darla unlike other personal trainers top me proper posture and how to recondition my body which by the way is very difficult into the basics proper posture alignment and from there I have been able to add that to my barbering house cleaning and just all around activities so that way I can lengthen the time that I have to be active without having to get hip, knee and rotator cuff replacements. and enjoy a very active lifestyle conducive to my body

  • by dawn jacobsen on Apr 07, 2014


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