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Pilates instructors come from wide-ranging ages, stages, and backgrounds. Pilates as a career can be attractive to many different people. In part, because the schedule and demands can be highly varied according to what is a fit for your own life. Some trainers teach many classes and private lessons at a single studio and keep consistent hours day to day. Other trainers have diverse hours to accommodate second jobs or the demands of parenting. There are successful trainers anywhere from under 20 to over 70 years old. There are men and women. There are trainers of all different body types and sizes. There are trainers with a background in dance, gymnastics, and sports, and those who never had a strong connection to a movement system before Pilates. There are trainers who were already physical therapists and fitness professionals, and some who came out of completely unrelated fields.

What they all have in common, is that at some point they learned what Pilates could do for people’s bodies, got excited about it, and wanted to share it with others. In short, Pilates can be for anyone. These are the personal stories of some of our MOVE Wellness instructors sharing what inspired them to pursue certification in Pilates as a career. We hope you might find your own inspiration in their experiences.

Elaine Economou on the Pilates Tower Reformer

Elaine is the owner of MOVE in Ann Arbor. She is also an accomplished Pilates teacher and Instructor Trainer. When she first considered becoming a Pilates trainer 20 years ago she was looking for the next step after years of training as a dancer and dance teacher. 

Elaine:When I first started doing Pilates, I realized I was doing something really hard that was getting me fit, and it also gave me so much joy. It struck me that this was so different than what we often think about working out: that it’s something you “have” to do, as a duty or a chore. It made me want to help people understand their bodies the way I was learning to understand mine. I took the leap to becoming a trainer when someone I knew let me know that she was starting a Pilates teacher trainer program locally. Suddenly I had available, accessible training and I enthusiastically signed up.”

Davy is a former Gymnast and Peace Corps volunteer.  She started her Pilates training back before she had kids, when she was working 50+ hours a week at a corporate job.

Davy:  “A friend of mine from work was going through the Pilates teacher training, so I first heard about it from her. I was not fulfilled in my corporate job. When I first started Pilates teacher training, I thought that I would be doing it as a supplement to my corporate job, something to help me feel more fulfilled. It was when I started having kids that I decided to make a change professionally. I felt I needed a job with more flexibility that would allow me more time with my family. When I was younger I was in the Peace Corps and it was there that I become passionate about Health Education. It’s always been my goal to get back to that, and teaching Pilates has allowed me to do that. I still believe that being a Pilates teacher is a great supplement to other professions.”

Angela found Pilates when she was in college studying dance. She loves science and movement and found Pilates to be a perfect blend of the two. She also loves helping people!

Angela: “I knew I was going to move to NYC after college and wanted a job that supported my dancing more than just monetarily. I also was referred to my first pilates job in college and just found that it was something I loved to do and the community I worked with was great. I have made lifelong friends through teaching movement and networking all around the world. I know no matter which city I visit when I travel, I will be able to find someone I know or have a lot in common with who is a movement instructor.”

A male Pilates trainer teaching two other men

Kenny is a father and also works full time as a lawyer. He has had a long time passion for Yoga, and started training as a Pilates teacher after talking to his friend Elaine, a Pilates instructor trainer.

Kenny: “A conversation with Elaine inspired me to delve in further to what had previously just been curiosity. I started reading more about Pilates, and soon realized that it’s more than just exercise. I joined the teacher training program because I wanted a new challenge. Even though my first movement passion is Iyengar Yoga, Pilates training seemed like it would be a more time efficient way to become a movement teacher. It also seemed to me that Pilates would be appealing to more potential students. And then there was a course available that I could feasibly fit into my busy schedule. I had originally thought that I would just do the mat course to start. I then realized that although the timing is never perfect, it made sense for me to go ahead and do the comprehensive course all the way through.”

Cadillac Toe Taps

Lauren is a lifelong ballet dancer/student who had just finished graduate school and had a new baby when the idea of becoming a Pilates teacher first crossed her mind.

Lauren: “I had just finished my graduate degree: a Master of Science in Geology. As I applied for jobs in Earth Science I feared that with a baby and a full time desk job I would no longer have time for my other great passion in life: dance and movement. Oddly, I was first inspired by the personal trainers on the show The Biggest Loser (which is kind of funny because I really don’t like that show at all for so many reasons, and don’t at all condone or support the methods they used.) I was, however, jealous of the trainers’ jobs. What appealed to me was that their job seemed to involve a combination of passion for movement and connecting with people one on one to support their growth. The body shaming and the yelling I could do without. 

I didn’t take my own thoughts too seriously at first; it seemed impossible that I would change careers before I’d even begun the one I’d just trained for. But ultimately, while I loved my new baby with all my heart, the prospect of sitting at a desk all day with no time to dance after was utterly depressing to me. I began at first just playing with the idea by googling Pilates training programs. I was surprised to find a training program available just blocks away from my house. I’ve been happily teaching and training ever since.”

MOVE Trainer Sarah Cohen doing a plank on the Pilates Reformer

Sarah’s first career was a former software developer and then a stay-at-home mom and then she found Pilates. The first time she got on the Reformer, she knew something magical was happening in her body. Within months of that moment, she became part of MOVE’s first Pilates Instructor Training Program class.   

Sarah: “About 3-4 classes into trying Pilates, I had a lightbulb moment. I realized that I love this and I want to do this the rest of my life. I knew I didn’t want to go back to a desk job. I did my instructor training about 6 months after that. I’m continually amazed every day by the human bodies in front of me and how I can help them and how they can help themselves. It’s been a gift. I can’t imagine doing anything else now.”

A Pilates trainer teaching a client on the Reformer

Mary is a retired VA worker. She worked in patient safety, and had a desk job for 40 years before embarking on Pilates teacher training.

Mary: “I started taking Pilates 15 years ago from my neighbor who had just opened a studio. I was recovering from breast cancer at the time and was happy to find exercise that felt safe and effective. More recently I ended up deciding to do the teacher training program. At first I didn’t think I could do it, it didn’t occur to me that I was the type of person who could be a Pilates instructor. But I was looking for something challenging that I loved to do with my retirement. A conversation with Elaine (from MOVE ) made me feel like I could do it.”

Pilates Reformer Instructor Training

Jane is a mother of two, a ballet dancer, and former ballet teacher. She was teaching ballet and waiting tables for a living when when she first considered becoming a Pilates instructor.

Jane: “I was teaching ballet and wanted to diversify what I was able to offer students. At first I was just thinking about teaching Pilates to ballet students. As a ballet teacher and a waitress I usually had to work late. After I had kids, I realized I needed earlier nights. That’s when I started to consider teaching a more diverse population of Pilates students. I had just finished my teacher training when I ran into a friend who let me know that they were hiring instructors at MOVE. Soon I was working there several hours a week. Eventually I felt comfortable giving up my waitressing job. Now I just teach Pilates and don’t teach ballet anymore, which makes sense for me and my life right now.”

Pilates trainer Tony with a client on the cadillac

Tony was approaching his 40th birthday and training as a runner to improve his health when he decided he needed to kick it up a notch. After researching various fitness options, he found MOVE Wellness and decided to give Pilates a try.

Tony: “I began my fitness journey back in 2014. Fitness was something I had always struggled with and I wanted to take control. I started with running, and then some biking. By the end of 2014 I ran my first two 5Ks. In the beginning of 2015, I decided I wanted to add something new to my workout routine. After a few months of research I found MOVE Wellness Studios and Pilates. My first private session was such an eye opener and in August of 2015, I decided to become an instructor. I like to create workouts that are not only challenging but fun as well. Because who doesn’t like to have fun, right? I believe doing something that you enjoy gives you the best opportunity to succeed. I am so happy and proud to be part of the amazing team at MOVE Wellness Studios. I am looking forward to being able to help others reach their fitness goals and live healthier lives.”

Legs in Straps on Reformer

Natalie discovered the power of Pilates early in life. She began training in high school to support her love of dance and along the way learned how Pilates can help with strength, power, and injury prevention.

Natalie: “I was initially interested in becoming a trainer because of the powerful information Pilates gave me about my own body in my dancing. I noticed that I was able to have more control and nuance in my dancing and I wanted to share that with younger dancers. I knew I wanted to take the training to become a Pilates instructor, so as soon as I was 18, I signed up. I have definitely loved being a Pilates trainer, but I still want to go to physical therapy school. I know that I will be able to take everything I have learned and continue to use Pilates in my career as a physical therapist.”

Kathy is long time fitness enthusiast and competitive synchronized swimmer. She signed up for Pilates teacher training to prepare for a second act career upon retirement from her human resources job.

Kathy: “I believe in Pilates and the effect it can have on one’s overall health. I felt Pilates teacher training would allow me to get back to teaching as well as have a new career after I retire. Pilates is for everybody and every body…. you don’t need to be a certain type of person or have a certain type of body. Anyone can do it, and everyone can achieve a sense of success and accomplishment.  It feels good on the body.  Pilates allows you to discover just what your body can do and how it moves. I look forward to being able to be a catalyst to my clients in trying new activities, in seeing them explore how and why their bodies move, feeling good about themselves.”

Think a career as a pilates instructor might be for you?

Learn how to become a pilates instructor in our Frequently Asked Questions blog post. Then, check out this video with our top three tips if you’re considering a career in Pilates.

Interested in learning more?

Schedule a free 1:1 consultation with us or stop by one of our open house events.

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  • Tuesday, April 26th, 7:00–8:00 p.m.
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