If you’re reading this then there’s a strong chance you could be one of the 900,000+ people a week in the week in the UK who attends a Pilates class. If so, then you’re probably already reaping the many benefits of this incredibly popular form of exercise which include balance and flexibility, a reduction in back pain and an increase in that all-important core strength.
You’re also in good company as well for it isn’t just everyday gym and studio goers who have truly fallen in love with Pilates either. The likes of Madonna, Russell Brand, David Beckham, and Jennifer Aniston all swear by the power of mat-based Pilates. It’s also been widely reported that reformer Pilates (think exercise on something resembling a bed with springs) is the favoured workout for Adele, Cameron Diaz, and even Megan Markle.
So, you like Pilates and you know the benefits, but what if you’re looking to take things to the next level? Maybe you attend a regular class in a gym or boutique studio and something inside you is just calling out, telling you that you could be at the front leading and instructing your own Pilates classes.
Perhaps you’re just looking to make a difference and help others get in better physical shape. After all, this is what initially drove founder Joseph Pilates. He spent years refining his ideas and developing a range of exercises that benefitted everyone from bed-bound hospital patients during WWII to famous performing artists in New York and everyone in-between. He saw that exercise could transform and made it his life’s work to tell the world.
If Pilates is your true calling then it’s about time to channel that energy and turn a passion, a hobby, a pastime, into a career. The fitness industry continues to grow at an exponential rate and it is ready and waiting for you.
Famous Russian playwright Anton Chekhov once said: “Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice”. So, if you want to become a successful Pilates instructor, you need to get qualified and get out there teaching!
For those who are brand new to the world of fitness education, your entry point is the Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Pilates. What’s great is that there are no prior qualifications needed. If you have an interest in Pilates and you’ve been to classes then you’re setting yourself up for a flying start. This level 3 course allows you to immerse yourself in the world and methods of Joseph Pilates. You’ll learn all about anatomy and physiology, aspects of alignment and posture, Joseph’s original principles and his full range of 34 exercises. Then, you’ll be able to heed Anton Chekhov’s words and be able to structure your own classes.
Your journey doesn’t have to end at level 3 however. Working in the fitness industry allows you to forge your own path and create your own destiny.
If you choose to, you can further advance your knowledge with Level 4 Pilates qualification, which introduces some advanced concepts and lets you get hands-on with Pilates equipment such as foam rollers, Pilates circles, and arc barrels just to name a few.
There are also specific courses available if you’re looking to use specialised equipment or apparatus, something Joseph Pilates very much favoured. One of the most popular (and royalty-approved) is reformer Pilates, but you shouldn’t discount becoming familiar with the spine corrector, trapeze, Cadillac or the brilliantly-named Wunda Chair.
Getting out there
You have the right Pilates instructor qualifications; you’ve gained a detailed knowledge and understanding of Pilates and you know the exercises like the back of your hand. It’s only natural that you get yourself out there and spread the good word of Pilates.
Here are a few initial avenues to explore:
- Recent reports suggest that there are 7,00 gyms currently operating in the UK and that ranges from national chains, smaller franchises or independent local gyms. If you’re going down the freelance route then you should have no trouble finding a place to regularly teach classes.
- In recent years there has been an explosion in the amount of dedicated group exercise studios. Some may focus on multiple disciplines (yoga, barre and Pilates etc) while others may concrete on just the one form of exercise. Of course, if you’re looking to be in full control of your career, starting your own boutique Pilates studio could be a worthwhile endeavour.
- Dedicated fitness retreats are very much in vogue and that goes for ones taking place both in the UK and sunnier climates abroad. There is also plenty of demand for qualified instructors to lead classes on cruise ships and holiday resorts.
- You don’t have to search very hard to find a headline which dubs sitting as ‘the new smoking’ and one of the places many of us spend the most time sat down and not moving is in the office. Luckily, there is an increasing appetite from businesses to be more supportive of corporate wellness. Your involvement could be traveling to offices and teaching classes or setting up a dedicated class for office workers in your own studio.
As Joseph Pilates once said: “The world country, the world, should be doing my exercises. They’d be happier.” If you become a qualified Pilates instructor, just think of the difference you can make.