From Piloxing to Pilates…my Teacher Training Experience

April 6, 2017

I just completed my third of four weekends for Level 1 Comprehensive Peak Pilates Instructor Training (that’s a lot of words!). I want to take a moment to reflect on the journey that brought me to this point.

As some of you know I currently teach the Piloxing Barre classes at Studio BE Pilates. Prior to joining Studio BE, we lived in Corpus Christi, TX where I taught Piloxing Barre at a large gym. I thoroughly enjoy the format and the mix of cardio (Boxing) with localized muscle work (Barre) and I hope to continue to teach it for a long time; however, I was ready for something new I just wasn’t sure what ‘new’ would peak my interest. (<-see what I did there?)

We all have someone who inspires us and who is there to encourage and support. They can sometimes see us in a way that we don’t see ourselves. For me that is my dear friend Heather McVay. She recently completed her Pilates Instructor training and throughout that process she would share with me how the knowledge she was getting was broadening her experience as a Master Trainer for Piloxing Barre. I wanted to hear more. We chatted after each of her training weekends and I eagerly volunteered to be her practice client. She mentioned what a challenging experience it was but also how rewarding it was to accomplish the trainings and to complete the test out. Prior to this, my experience with Pilates was limited to some VHS (Mari Windsor anyone?) and/or what was peppered into some group exercises classes. For Heather, Pilates was also exercises she could do for her back (degenerative disc disease & Spondylolisthesis) as she had given up cycling and running long ago but still loved being active. There are many Heathers out there who can no longer do a sport or activity they once did however they won’t be resigned to a life without fitness. This made me think about where I wanted to be in my own fitness in the next 5, 10, 20 years.

But back to the trainings…
After learning more about Peak Pilates and then finding out Carla Vercoe was a Master Instructor I knew I had landed at the right place. The icing on the cake was all the trainings would all be held right here at Studio BE where I could train and listen and learn from the best. Through my limited exposure to Pilates I knew this was the next logical step for me. Not only in my personal fitness journey but also for my professional journey. What better way to start the New Year than with learning a new practice?

Each weekend we have explored the exercises – the setup, the movement, and the words we use, the transitions, the muscles utilized, modifications and limitations. We’ve discussed the anatomy and how the body connects with each of the systems – the skeletal, muscular & nervous. I had flashbacks of high school anatomy class where we had to color and label all the different systems…wish I kept those notes! After each weekend my brain is full and just when I’m sure I can’t think of anymore Pilates I find myself thinking about it lying in bed that night, or on the way to the store the next day. And before I know it I’ve either cracked open my notebook or unrolled my mat or found my way to the studio to practice. I feel lucky that our training group of apprentices each comes with a background in teaching fitness – either ballet, or yoga, or group exercise. It has really been a solid group and we’ve certainly shared some laughs along the way and I am so grateful to be on this journey with these women.

Each time I teach Pilates or practice Pilates or listen to the other instructors I pick up on something new. After I teach a class or an individual I always think what I could have done different or better for the group. I review my notes before a practice session and think about how muscles connect with the breath or the movement or the flow of the exercise. I’m in “sponge mode” when I have a private session with another instructor or when I get to observe them teaching. I have even tried to incorporate some of the Pilates training into my Barre classes.

I am really looking forward to what lies ahead in this journey. I’m excited about growing in my own experiences with Pilates as well as helping those discover and deepen their own personal practice in Pilates. As I close I want to share with you a little motto that has helped me along the way: Sometimes the door of opportunity opens and you can easily walk right on through. But more often it’s a window that’s just barely cracked. YOU have to open the window the rest of the way and do the work to get to the other side.