Leaders In Fitness

Entries in Career Development (48)

That New Fitness Trend? Pilates Has It Covered

by Jonathan Urla, MFA, CPT-PMA

It seems that I hear about a “new” fitness term or trend every week. These words usually come from the scientific community, but they often take on new meanings when the media and general public start using them. I started noticing that most of these words could be used to describe Pilates exercise, so I decided to dig a little deeper.

I compiled a list of the terms that are currently in fashion in the fitness world and media and looked at the relevance that each has to Pilates training. I hope the result is as illuminating to you as it was to me. This exercise reiterated to me that the techniques of Joseph and Clara Pilates are still proving to be years ahead of their time. As instructors in the health and wellness field, it is important for us to be aware of these trends and be able to explain to students how they relate to Pilates.

Just a Pilates Instructor?

By Kristen Matthews

I made the decision to become a Pilates instructor because I wanted to help people. I fell in love with Pilates the moment I was introduced to it, and felt like I’d found the most ideal job when I made the decision to teach. I never could picture myself sitting behind a desk at a corporate job. With movement-based activities being a big part of my childhood, Pilates seemed to fit perfectly into my life. I truly felt that I had found my calling. What I didn’t expect were the thoughts that surfaced one day of “I’m only just a Pilates instructor.”

After eight years of teaching I found myself wanting more. I kept thinking to myself, “Am I doing enough?” “Am I making a difference?” After 20 sessions with a client who still was not able to set up for footwork, I would wonder, “Am I getting through?” “Are they learning anything from me?”

Pilates Debuts on Reality Series

Bookmark and Share

By Michelle Fama

A career in Pilates can take you just about anywhere, including the set of a cutting-edge reality series. Instructor Michelle Fama, owner of Core Pilates NYC, was recently offered the opportunity to train the cast of If I Can Dream, a new reality show that streams live online 24/7. Here’s her behind-the-scenes look at working on a show that doesn’t really have a “behind-the-scenes.”

My suck into the Hoover-vac of reality TV began early. First there was my “Survivor,” Season 1 finale party where guests casted their votes next to a lit tiki torch outside my Brooklyn brownstone apartment. I shed tears for Ryan and Trista’s blooming love on “The Bachelorette” and have texted “vote” for my Idol faves more times in a row than I would like to mention. And, who doesn’t cry when they “move that bus” and reveal a new house?

So when I received a call from producers of “If I Can Dream,” a new hybrid TV/Web show from “American Idol” co-creator Simon Fuller, I was ecstatic. The show gives viewers a documentary-like look at what it takes to achieve success in Hollywood. A cast of six young people — two musicians, an actor, two actresses and a model — leave their hometowns and live together in the Hollywood Hills. Their every move is streamed live online by over 60 fixed cameras as they rehearse, write music, socialize, plan their careers…and do Pilates!

How did they find me? They had just outfitted the “Dream” house with a new bamboo Reformer from Root Manufacturing and asked Root to recommend a Pilates instructor that could train the cast and teach them how to properly use and care for the Reformer. Having just furnished my NYC studio with Root equipment, Root recommended me.

The show’s mission is to give these kids opportunities to help them on their journey toward stardom. Producers realized the undeniable benefits Pilates could bring to the cast members’ Hollywood pursuits. It would help them with the voice, acting and modeling auditions that they would be filmed doing. Along with Pilates, the cast gets weekly yoga sessions with a yoga instructor who visits the house.

While I have been scheduled to train the entire cast, I’ve only gotten half of them at any given time since their audition schedules and classes keep them busy. I created their Reformer workouts based on easy-to-retain exercises organized by areas of the body – arms, legs and butt, and core – rather than training them through a classically ordered session. With such a bustling, social household and busy schedules, I needed to deliver quick routines that they could safely do if they worked out solo or in a time pinch. When I train more than one at a time, I take them through a classical mat class as well. 

Improving posture and flexibility is aspiring model Giglianne’s goal, while actor Ben wants core strength to improve his gym workouts. Although the cast had never done Pilates before, they were excited to have the chance to see what the hype is all about. Each came with individual requests such as easing tight hamstrings and lower back while carving the core. They are not required to do the workouts, but the workouts kept them interested. They are all sold on Pilates so far!

My biggest challenge is remembering that the cameras are always on. My first day in the house I made a comment about how sloppy 21-year-olds can be after seeing one of their messy bedrooms, and proceeded to blurt out language worthy of a bleep while setting up the Reformer. A friend who was helping me, clueless of the cameras, turned beat red after her how-does-reality-TV-work questions elicited the “It’s confidential – I can’t answer” response.

While I’m pretty sure that a few slips of the tongue and my tough training tactics won’t get me voted out of the house anytime soon, I’m not so sure the cast will like my lecture on Reformer etiquette next time: I just clicked on the live feed from the Laundry Room where they keep the Reformer and noticed that the handles and straps were sloppily dumped on the floor, and someone had placed their guitar on top of the carriage.

Will someone be working out tomorrow at lunchtime? Will the straps still be in the same place? Will you catch me training them? Log on to the Laundry Room cam, and keep me updated by posting comments here. For real-time action on and off the Reformer tune in to ificandream.com or hulu.com for episodes.

Michelle Fama is the co-founder of Core Pilates NYC and is the NYC chapter head for the United Pilates Collective. Prior to establishing her Pilates brand in 2002 and growing it internationally, Michelle lived and adventured extensively through Africa, Southeast Asia, Indonesia and South America as a journalist and travel writer.

The Growth of Pilates Collectives
How to Run Your Pilates Studio Remotely
New, Eco-Friendly Pilates Equipment from Root Manufacturing
Pilates and the Voice

Bookmark and Share


Lolita San Miguel Celebrates Pilates Day in Joe’s Hometown

Bookmark and Share

First-generation Pilates teacher Lolita San Miguel is one of only a handful of practitioners to receive an official teaching certificate from Joseph Pilates himself. Lately, she has been hard at work running her Master Mentor Program, and is soon to return to Dusseldorf, Germany, 10 miles away from Joe Pilates’ birthplace, to teach the European leg of her program. Last year, in May 2009, she was able to celebrate Pilates Day in a festival hall in Mönchengladbach, the town where Joe was born, teaching a free mat class to more than 150 people. Pilates Day was created as a way to raise the profile of the Pilates method. As it draws near this year on May 1, we’re excited to share Lolita’s plans for celebrating again in Joseph Pilates’ hometown and helping Mönchengladbach commemorate him.

By Lolita San Miguel

Mönchengladbach was a memorable experience and it was an honor to spend Pilates Day there, but unfortunately Joe Pilates is not really known in his hometown. It truly hurt me to find this out. Joe’s dream was to reform the world with his Pilates Method, and I will never forget his “bad days,” before he died, when he felt he had not succeeded. I resolved to do something for Joe in Mönchengladbach.

Pilates Instructors’ Top Tax Questions, Answered

Bookmark and Share

It’s tax season again, a stressful time for anyone who grapples with the complexities of filing a tax return. It can be hard to find an accountant familiar with the details of a Pilates career, so we put out the call for a CPA who’s worked in this area, and Michelle Fama, owner of Core Pilates NYC, connected us with her accountant, Steven Kingsley, CPA. He has worked with many a Pilates instructor over the years; in fact, he’s worked with the entire Core Pilates NYC staff. We put some of your top tax questions to him and he graciously provided answers. We hope this Q&A can be a helpful guide for any confused instructors out there, but be sure to consult a tax professional for help with your specific questions and concerns. Happy filing!

Pilates Pro: This is is the most-often-asked, big Kahuna question: What can I itemize for deduction?

Steven Kingsley: Let me start off by saying deductions are expenses incurred in order to provide one’s expertise, service or to operate that particular business activity. There are expenses that are general to most any independent contractor but in some cases I have tried to put an explanation to how they apply to Pilates instructors.

Pilates Product Review: BASI's Pilates Interactive

Bookmark and Share

By Nicole Rogers

Have you ever wished for an online Pilates encyclopedia? If so, Pilates Interactive, a new web platform from BASI Pilates founder Rael Isacowitz, might be what you’re looking for. It’s an instant exercise reference tool, a continuing ed program and, for those like me who work alone, a digital colleague, packaged onto one site and accessible at any time. It is an extremely handy tool for Pilates in the 21st century.

At its most basic, Pilates Interactive is an online video library of the BASI exercise repertoire. Each video on the site is a demonstration of an individual exercise, and most feature Rael Isacowitz performing and/or cueing the movement. The videos are searchable and sortable by key word, difficulty level, apparatus, muscle, or BASI block (BASI’s unique system). Because all of the video content is streamed, nothing needs to be installed or downloaded onto your computer. The site’s main interface is sleek and easy to navigate and the viewing interface for each exercise has at-a-glance exercise notes, organized into set-up, movement, muscle focus, objectives and cueing sections. At last count, 327 exercises were available and BASI is still adding to the site.

Pilates Conferences: How to Make the Most of Your Continuing Education 

Bookmark and Share

By Shari Berkowitz

Pilates conferences are a relatively new phenomenon, but what a phenomenon they have become! Every major training program has at least one and many independent trainers have them, too. Navigating the conference landscape can be tricky. How do you know which ones to go to? How do you know when it’s time to go to these conferences? Most important of all, how do you make sure you’re getting the most for your time and money?

The first thing to consider is what you’re looking for in your continuing education. You need to know what it is you want to buy in the marketplace and then find who is selling what you want. Figuring that out is key, and it’s not as difficult as it seems to determine what it is that you want in your continuing education. Though there appear to be so very many directions you could go in, there are only three things to truly consider: 

Adding Barre Work to Your Pilates Workout

Bookmark and Share

By Christine Binnendyk

Pilates and dance conditioning have a long history, and they make for a highly effective combination. Joseph Pilates himself was well-known for working with many prominent dancers during his lifetime. I’d heard the buzz about barre-style workouts such as Lotte Berk, Fluidity, and Bar Method. I had even tried out a few videos. But it wasn’t until I ran across Barre3, the Portland, Oregon, based studio with the tagline, “Where ballet barre meets yoga and Pilates,” that it hit me: Dance conditioning can be a breath of fresh air for Pilates studios, to draw new clients and keep existing ones coming back for more.

Barre Classes
Mt. Pleasant Pilates studio owner Nicole Wallen launched a program called Body By Barre just over a year ago. “It’s been a great success,” she says, and the ticket to bringing in new clientele.

Most Popular Articles From 2009

Bookmark and Share

As 2009 draws to a close and we refocus our energies on the year to come, it’s nice to reflect on the year past. Thus it’s time for our very own Pilates-Pro.com “Year in Review,” a countdown of the site’s 10 most popular articles in 2009. (This is a great place to start if you’re just discovering us!) We’d like to extend huge thanks to all of the innovative, thoughtful, dedicated and generally amazing Pilates experts who contributed to Pilates-Pro.com this year. Kudos as well to the growing number of community members who use the articles and forums as a place for lively, insightful discussion. Pilates-Pro.com continues to grow because of you. And of course, if you have topics you’d like us tackle in 2010, please drop a line and let us know!

1. Pilates for Scoliosis by Suzanne Martin, PT, DPT
2. Pilates for Feet by Madeline Black
3. Five Ways to Combine Cardio and Pilates by Nicole Rogers
4. Pilates on Call with Siri Dharma Galliano
5. Postpartum Recovery: Helping New Moms Get Their Bodies Back by Debbi Goodman, MSPT
6. 16 Fitness Wear Discounts for Pilates Instructors by Christine Binnendyk
7. Pilates DVD Review: The Jump Board Workout by Nicole Rogers
8. Pilates on Call: Core Conditioning PTs
9. Five Ways to Hook Men on Pilates by Julian Littleford
10. Five Ways to Build Successful Client-Instructor Relationships by Devra Swiger

2010 Pilates Conference Planner

Bookmark and Share

2010 is just around the corner! Have you thought about your Pilates continuing education plans for next year? If not, the time to start is now. If you’ve never attended a Pilates or fitness conference, check out the offerings below. Conferences are great opportunities to get out of the studio, meet new colleagues and build on your teaching skills. Don’t forget to check out our workshops calendar, where these events are listed, along with dozens of others worldwide.

February 12-13, 2010
Power Higher: Power Pilates Annual Conference
Las Vegas, NV

February 26-28, 2010
Pilates on Tour
San Diego, CA

February 26-28, 2010
2nd Australia/New Zealand Polestar Pilates Regional Conference