Powerlifting to Pilates: Wisdom from Laura

Practical and profound. Two words that immediately come to mind when you sit down and have a conversation with MOVE instructor Laura Tyson. From the authenticity and professionalism she brings to her practice to her everyday celebration of movement and life, Laura is one of the many people who makes MOVE the special place that it is.

From wildlife researcher and powerlifter to Pilates trainer

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I grew up on a farm in Monroe City, Missouri, taking dance lessons and doing gymnastics throughout my childhood. In college, I majored in Fisheries and Wildlife, becoming a wildlife research technician and working in that field for 20 years. My research project work included Missouri muskrats, Canadian geese, Ohio gulls and deer and Illinois wood ducks!

Afterwords, I shifted careers and became an American College of Sports Medicne (ACSM) personal trainer. And in 2017, my husband and I and our three boys moved from Ohio to Michigan.

What is something people might be surprised to know about you?

I placed second in the Women’s National Collegiate Powerlifting Championship in 1987!

Pilates provides efficiency and independence

What drew you to Pilates?

The structure of the movement is what I love. With Pilates, every part of your body is engaged as you progress through movements, becoming stronger and more flexible while engaging the proper sequence of muscles at the proper time. All of this allows you to live and move smoothly and without injury.

Pilates is SO efficient. It helps people become more independent. It’s something that I can easily teach people and confidently tell them, “You can do this at home!”

We’re so unaware of our bodies much of the time and we live in this sort of blame-filled society when it comes to our bodies and our health. I love helping people who come looking for answers on how to move better. My motto is, “If you like it and it’s enjoyable, you’ll do it again.”

I excelled at powerlifting, but it didn’t really make me happy. I love getting outside. I want to ride my bike, I want to walk, I want to garden. Pilates helps me do that.

Advice for Pilates beginners

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone trying Pilates for the first time?

Find someone knowledgeable to teach you the basics first. Pilates can be overwhelming in a class situation (especially classes that are too large) if you’re not familiar with this type of movement. And if you’re not taking the time to learn the exercises correctly, you won’t realize the benefits. Get the basics down with private training and then build your repertoire with small classes. You’ll be amazed at what your body can do.

I don’t have the same body I had when I was 20. And I won’t have the body I have now when I’m 80. You work with the body that you have.

Fun and inspiration from a Pilates instructor

What is your current favorite Pilates exercise?

Airplane on the Cadillac!

What is your favorite food?


What is one conversation past or present that you’d love to eavesdrop on?

Any conversation between my kids when I’m not around!

If you could offer some words of wisdom, what would they be?

Go outside. Go barefoot. Move like your body was intended to move.

Amen, Laura!

Ready to discover the beautiful efficiency and independence that Pilates can bring to your life? Learn more about our private training sessions with instructors like Laura.

You can also find Laura on Facebook at Laura Tyson Body Basics!

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