Pilates Instructor – Here I Come!

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Maybe it’s the dawn of a New Year, or there’s just something in the air, but last week, I finally did something I’ve been wanting to do, meaning to do and talking about doing for a few years now. Yup, I finally took the plunge and enrolled on a Pilates Instructor course. HELL YEAH! I am so super excited to be learning on a deeper level about something I love and the prospect of being able to share that love with other people. It’s overwhelming, I tell ya!

I first got into Pilates probably 10 years ago when I was back home in between moving between countries. Me and my mum went along to a class in Leeds. We were hooked after the very first session. From then on, it was our weekly ritual. We totally lucked out, because it just turned out, our teacher was all kinds of frikkin’ incredible. She was a former dancer and if ever there was anyone who was a perfect advert for what they were doing, it was her. Her body was a force – strong, lean, muscular, she was amazing. Her Pilates was tough, challenging, it would leave you red faced and sweaty, with these gentle aches that would plague you throughout the following day.

Wherever I’ve been in the world, I’ve always looked for an instructor like her. She set the bar high and I’ve gotta say, no one has been able to hit it since. I’ve tried many-a-Pilates teacher and been constantly frustrated. There are far too many ‘let’s just lie on the floor and breathe…’ type teachers out there (no thanks – I can do that myself at home, for free).

Eventually, I realised, (this pretty much goes for any exercise I guess but I feel it especially so in Pilates and Yoga) so much of it is down to the instructor. If you don’t gel with the teacher, if you can’t connect with their way of communicating their message, it just doesn’t work. So I figured, since I can’t find the kind of instructor I like, I will learn how to be an instructor. I will be the kind of instructor I’ve been looking for. I will inspire and motivate my students and push them to get a little better each week.

It’s going to take me about a year to get qualified. I can’t wait to start learning and as part of that learning process, I wanted to throw it open to you. What do you think makes for a good instructor? Have you had any great ones? Terrible ones? What was it that kept you coming back for more or made you vow to never take their class again?

10 Responses to “Pilates Instructor – Here I Come!”
  1. Sarah says:

    Congratulations! I did somehting similar and signed up for Yoga Teacher Training last year – you’re so right, the right teacher can make or break a class. Hopefully we’ll both be awesome ones! Best Wishes

  2. Sounds amazing. The best pilates teachers I’ve had are the ones that have been able to describe how things should feel – especially when you firs start it’s really hard to know exactly which muscles you should be engaging and what it should feel like! I think lots of students don’t get much out of Pilates because they may be doing the movements but they aren’t doing them accurately and the teacher hasn’t noticed or isn’t communicating it properly.
    Good luck with it! x

  3. Tash says:

    Good for you! I would love to do this, but they all seem so expensive. One day…!

  4. Jenni says:

    I love pilates and have done it on and off for years at different gyms. But the real turning point was joining a pilates studio last October – it is like pilates done properly, instead of someone just going through the motions (and the same routines) to 30 people in a class every week. At the pilates studio I joined a beginners class to start and was surprised that I wasn’t streets ahead of everyone else, as I had been doing it for years! They took it back to basics, teaching every move (no matter how small) properly, to form good habits and get the most from the class. I was surprised at how much I had never been taught before, and how many moves I wasn’t doing quite right. A little adjustment here, a little change in breathe there. I LOVE it and I am always amazed at how much I ache the next day! So my top tips for a great instructor are to take the time to teach every move properly, change up the routines every week and CARE about the people in your class!

  5. Georgina says:

    I haven’t ever been to a proper Pilates class, so can’t comment on how to be a good instructor, but this sounds a brilliant adventure, and I hope you really enjoy it!

  6. Jenni says:

    PS I know someone mentioned price and yes it can seem expensive – and it is what stopped me joining a dedicated studio for years. But the way I looked at it was – how quickly would you spend £12 a week on a bottle of wine in the pub, or (more than £12) on a new top, or whatever? £12 a week is a darned good investment in your health, I’d say! :)

  7. Nikki B says:

    I’ve been to so many Pilates & yoga classes over the years, both good & bad. The bad ones I found the instructors just seemed to go through the motions (usually same moves every time), as others said not describing the moves properly or how it should feel. The best instructors communicated with the class well, varied the workouts & most importantly pushed the class. I always get so frustrated in Pilates/yoga classes where the teachers don’t push you at all & you find yourself just lying there for an hour breathing. What’s the point!
    The best Pilates teacher I had varied the workout each week, often using different props (blocks, hoops, bands etc) which kept the workouts interesting and taught us different things. She also encouraged each of us to push ourselves to our own limits, so I saw improvement weekly & even within each class. Wish I could find another instructor like her :-)

  8. Christina_i says:

    Congratulations! Given how much you clearly love Pilates and how much experience you have of teachers, good and bad, I am sure you will make a fantastic instructor! I think the key is to be clear and responsive.

    To be honest, I really don’t get Pilates. I’ve found classes boring, with very slow pace and moves that are easy to do. Hence pretty much pointless, not even for a good stretch. Clearly I’ve ended up always in classes with bad teachers. I had a single one-to-one session with an instructor, using one of those reformer machines (if that’s what they’re called, with the pulleys and the springs) and even then I had no idea what I was being asked to do. It was harder work, but I still barely broke a sweat and I was getting manually corrected constantly. Clearly I wasn’t understanding the instructions. And/or possibly the entire premise of the exercise.

    So, if I’m right, and indeed I have been doing Pilates wrong every single time I’ve tried it, then the most important thing for a teacher is to explain very clearly which muscles to engage, what it’s meant to feel like and what the point is.

    The other thing to say is that my favourite teachers (yoga – yoga I GET) bring energy in the room, they bring their personality and their style to the practice. There’s nothing worse than a dull instructor who’s not tuned in with the people taking the class. Not that I have any doubt you’ll be an engaging and energetic instructor, especially as your motivation is to share something you love and enjoy.

    Good luck!

  9. Jo says:

    Congratulations! That sounds like a great thing to train in.

    I was actually just thinking about what makes for a good class for a blogpost (http://joannashock.com/7-reasons-to-return-to-a-fitness-class-and-3-reasons-not-to/) – really not an intentional plug, I was just thinking about the same things! I think a lot of it is based on personal preference but my best instructors have had really good technical knowledge combined with a great attitude and brilliant music (though I don’t know if that applies in pilates?)

  10. Jess says:

    Congratulations, what an awesome step to take. Good luck with it!