My journey to becoming a Pilates instructor started a little over four years ago. I was working as a personal trainer and found I really loved training runners. As a marathoner myself, I was familiar with the drive, determination, and injuries that stem from endurance sports.
My first marathon left me unable to walk for weeks with what I thought was a knee injury. I had throbbing pain that I’ve never experienced before, and I finally went and saw a sports physician. He told me I had lordosis in my lower back and that I wasn’t experiencing a knee injury, but actually sciatica from a bulged disc. He expressed how I needed to focus on my core, posture, and balance if I wanted to continue running. If I really wanted to make endurance athletes my “niche” as a personal trainer, I not only needed to help them get stronger, better and faster at their sport, but also make sure I did everything I could to help them avoid injury.
You Might Have to Touch Feet
Enter Kristin Strom. She was the fitness director at the club I was at at the time and suggested I look in to Pilates. I’ll be honest, I avoided it at first…I hate feet. I don’t want people touching my feet, and I don’t want to touch anyone else’s. She promised no one would touch my feet and invited me to try a class. I gave in, and I’m so glad I did because that class showed me a completely different way to work out. It showed me that it’s not always about heavy weights and reps and burning a billion calories. Pilates actually slowed things down and demanded focus. I couldn’t believe how sore I was afterwards. I was hooked.
I decided to enroll in the FFC Pilates Teacher Training program to work toward becoming a Pilates instructor. It changed everything for me. I not only obviously learned Pilates, but also how to be a better trainer to my clients. I had a much more comprehensive understanding of how the body worked. I could cue moves better. Speak better. I learned how a simple touch can help a client create a mind-body connection they’ve never been able to achieve before.
Incorporating Pilates Instructor Training into Personal Training & Group Fitness
I eventually incorporated what I learned in my Pilates instructor training into my sessions with my clients. Soon enough they were hooked as well, and that year I was ranked 4th in the company for session count and sales. I’m still very proud of that!
Eventually, I ended up leaving Chicago and moved West to San Diego, where I currently reside. I work at a gorgeous Pilates studio where not only do I teach private Pilates sessions, but also about 10 group classes a week of various levels. It’s so satisfying to see beginner students finally gain the confidence to try a harder class. Or to see your advance students finally nail a teaser on the long box!
I also do private personal training and teach boot camp classes at a different gym. The gym focuses on “going hard” and “going heavy”. I love this gym, but at first I struggled with this. People’s back’s hurt. Their knees hurt. Their rotator cuffs. Why was no one stretching? Where were the foam rollers?
Since then, I have started a weekly class that includes mobility, stretching, and Pilates. It’s been a huge hit. The members really appreciate my Pilates instructor background and it allows me to have a unique skill set that the other trainers don’t have. I have invited members of this gym to visit me at the Pilates studio and vise versa. Seeing burly guys who can deadlift 400 lbs struggle on the Pilates reformer is now a hobby of mine. But it’s good for them, and I’ll even touch their feet… if I have to.