After working at a gym for a few months as an ETM instructor I was asked to train as a Pilates teacher to assist with the amount of classes they could offer. Initially I was a bit reluctant about the idea as I knew nothing about Pilates. My aerobics classes were full and when I wasn’t bouncing around a studio I was running or spinning. Pilates didn’t seem like a ‘proper’ exercise option for me as I enjoyed high energy activity.
I decided to take up the challenge and took my mat Pilates beginners course with Future Fit. I had a fabulously inspiring tutor and the way she taught the course made complete sense to me. I hadn’t attended a Pilates class beforehand so I didn’t have any preconceptions about what I was getting into. Bizarrely I think this helped me take on board everything that I was being taught.
I passed my assessment and quickly started filling up classes in the gym as well as my own classes in the local community. In fact I was making nearly twice as much money teaching Pilates as I was with my aerobics classes! I’m sure we all agree that making money is a good motivator to work, but slowly and surely the whole ethos and ethics of Pilates were really beginning to get to me as a fitness fanatic myself. I was seeing massive benefits in my own core stability and flexibility, so it was easy to pass on my own beliefs to others as I had experienced the benefits myself. I completed my Mat Pilates Improver course and then my Advanced course so I was able to offer a really comprehensive mixed ability class and to be honest since then I have never looked back!
It soon became obvious that Pilates was suited to my teaching style which surprised me as I am such a chatty and energetic person and not really the quiet holistic type! However, I was able to bring my personality into my classes and make them just as enjoyable as any of my ETM classes. The pace of my Pilates classes was much slower than my other classes but I was still able to be ‘me’ and connect to my class in the same fun way. I believe that our clients buy into us as individuals. I also found that during my Pilates classes I had more time to actually speak to people and ask for feedback during exercises, as the slower pace allowed me to find out more about how they were feeling physically as each exercise was performed. It’s great to have the time to really focus on each client and help them as individuals rather than one of many in a class.
I often used Pilates exercises as a ‘core’ section of an ETM class, in a stretch section of a Spin class or after a run with the running club. The more I taught Pilates exercises, especially mixed with other disciplines, the more I could see the benefits. Increased core stability, flexibility, aligning as well as strengthening core and back muscles are integral to so many other sports and fitness classes. I would say within one year Pilates was definitely my passion and I had quickly made a name for myself in my local town.
One of the reasons for absolutely loving teaching Pilates is because unlike some other exercise classes I teach, I can really see the benefits and health issues that it can help with. Rehabilitation and Pilates work well together so I have regular referrals from physiotherapists and other back care specialists. I gain a real sense of satisfaction from seeing first-hand the difference improved strength and flexible movement makes to people’s daily lives.
I have been lucky that clients from my group classes have asked me to help them on a one-to-one basis and then my Personal Trainer services have spread on a word of mouth basis. I’m currently working within an Exercise Specialist Centre where I have one-to-one clients who are being referred from outside sources or who are already receiving personal training and have heard of me through other PTs.
I love creating an individual Pilates prescription for clients and really focussing on areas of misalignment or a particular area that requires attention following an injury or accident. So, from starting out only as a class teacher I’ve expanded my client base and now teach a combination of classes as well as PT sessions. As a fitness professional, this brings new variety and challenges to your work schedule, which is really exciting.
Fortunately, I am able to teach a whole range of classes every week; Pilates, Spinning, aerobics, and PT sessions and this keeps me motivated, challenged and on my toes! As a teacher, I don’t think we should stereotype ourselves to teach just one type of exercise class, and qualifying as a Pilates teacher has certainly allowed me to expand my skillset and given me a new exercise method to study and apply to my other classes. I didn’t think teaching Pilates could ever be as fun as teaching aerobics – but it is and I love teaching it.