Saturday, September 22, 2012

In Praise of Peak Pilates

Five years ago when I began my Pilates training, I had never heard of Peak Pilates.  The owner of the Studio On Main chose to purchase Peak equipment so when it came time to be certified it was only natural to go with Peak.  The first training that was held at the Studio I observed rather than going through the training because I was several months pregnant.
The classical mat order, the Pilates Principles...all of this was new to me.  But something about the dance-like flow of the mat and equipment work captivated me.  At times it seemed annoying (why is there so much to memorize?) and bordering on information overload.  
With classical Pilates there is a specific order for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.  Each exercise has a specific spot in the order, with specific cues for set-up, execution, imagery cues and breathing.  When you are new to teaching Pilates it can be very overwhelming.  The following year I enrolled to take PPS-I, to become certified to teach the beginner work on the mat and equipment.  I was so happy that I had observed a course because I felt a little prepared for what I was going through.  A Peak Pilates training is so very much fun.  Learning the exercises, the anatomy of the body in relationship to the work, and so much more.
I have now been through two trainings, I am a level II (Intermediate) instructor.  Yes, when you go through a training there is a lot to memorize.  When you are tested out it can be very nerve-wracking because, as the instructor, you have teach in the correct order with the correct cues.  You are also required to be able to perform each exercise efficiently.
But let me just is SO VERY worth it!
I am more than prepared to teach any and every student/class that comes my way.  I can answer nearly any Pilates-related questions my students have, and if I can't, I know that my Peak instructors are just an email away.
I am able to safely modify exercises as well as think on my feet to be able to spot what exercises my students are ready for and which ones should wait.
Being in my field I take and observe a lot of classes.  Some instructors seem lost when it comes to having an organized framework for their class.  Some have mentioned "forgetting" certain exercises.  (Other Peak trainers...can you imagine forgetting the Hundred???)
I'm rarely nervous to teach a new class.  I can confidently walk in to a Pilates class and know that I possess the best tools to teach to the students in front of me.
Even on days when I am feeling under the weather, flustered or just distracted, as soon as I walk into the room and see my students, my training takes over and, for that hour, I can concentrate on teaching.
It's a horrible feeling to walk into a fitness class and feel unprepared to teach.  I have also been on the other side of that and been a student in the class where the instructor appears to not really have an idea of how her/his class should flow.  A quality training is invaluable.  You and your students will see and feel the difference.
New students approach me all the time after their first class with me.  I get feedback like:

  • I never knew this was Pilates!  I love it!
  • When will you be teaching next?!
  • I've tried Pilates before but it hurt my *neck* *back* *insert other major area* .  Your instruction helped me to not have any aches or pain.
  • You are the sub?  Can you take over this class?  (To which I always graciously decline, but say I will be back as soon as needed.)
The above comments are samples of what I actually hear on a weekly basis.  It may sound like I am tooting my own horn.  But what I have learned in the 5 years that I have been a Peak trainer is that there is a difference between bragging and presenting yourself as a quality instructor.  I DO feel like my training is the best.  I DO acknowledge that other forms of Pilates/exercise are beneficial.  I DO have wealth of information that I just can't wait to share with my students.  I would never dream of telling a student or instructor that my class is better than another.  Instead, I invite all interested to come try my class and decide what feels best for their bodies.


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