Why do I teach Pilates?

~by Renee, 15 to Fit Instructor

First a little background on me…I grew up in upstate NY in the 70’s and 80’s. As a child I was active all the time. We didn’t have cell phones or elaborate gaming systems, we were outside running around with our friends. In the summer we were riding our bikes and swimming in the pool. In the winter we were sledding and ice skating. I played softball from T-Ball through high school and I took horseback riding lessons once a week as well as competed in shows. I continued to play softball as I got older on several co-ed and women’s teams. 

I started really paying attention to fitness and how great it made me feel after college and when I moved to NC in 1993. I had limited funds so mostly I had videos and hand weights and worked out at home. Over the years I tried many different styles of fitness (The Firm, Reebok Step, Tae-Bo and a Pilates mat work out) I always said I was not a “gym person” I preferred working out at home by myself. As my mid 40’s rolled around I started to realize working out alone was not challenging enough. It was too easy for me to either not do it at all or quit before I finish. I started going to a gym with a friend and this was a great way to keep me on track, I felt like I had to be there so she didn’t have to work out alone. We eventually joined a boot camp and worked out with a group of people. I didn’t know what I was missing all those years working out alone! It was great to have the moral support of the group and people to complain with when the work out was a tough one. I eventually moved on to kick boxing circuit training and loved it! 

I spent many years thinking the best way to work out was high intensity and lots of cardio. While I still enjoy that type of workout I realized I needed something else as well. That’s where Pilates comes in. I had shied away from Pilates in the past thinking it would be “too easy”. A little over a year ago a friend of mine asked me to come take a class at 15 to Fit and I agreed. I walked into the studio with all these reformers (something I didn’t know anything about) and I’m not going to lie I was a little intimidated. The class was amazing! The instructor made me feel welcome and was very attentive to make sure I was using the equipment correctly and doing the exercises the right way to avoid injury. The actual work out was so much harder than I expected it to be, but at the same time I didn’t feel like I was killing myself. 

I was sold after that class and looked into the instructor training. I continued to take classes through the training and could see and feel the difference Pilates made in several areas. The one thing I always tell people though is how I had horrible Plantar Fasciitis for years. I would get up in the morning and have terrible pain in my feet as soon as they hit the floor. It would take me several minutes to get down the stairs and my dogs would be at the bottom staring at me thinking “Are you ever going to make it down here to feed us?”. After doing Pilates I started to realize I wasn’t feeling the pain as much and then eventually not at all.  I had tried so many things over the years and Pilates is the only thing that made the pain go away. I have also gained strength in my core and improved my posture. I find myself standing taller and keeping my shoulders “open” and “away from my ears”. 

Even with a consistent fitness program I have struggled with my weight as I got older. No matter what I tried I just couldn’t lose more than a pound or two and usually put it back on quickly. So in February 2019 I decided I would try the 15 to Fit Dare Challenge. I did my weigh in with one of the other instructors and determined how many calories I should eat a day. I’m not going to lie the first few weeks of measuring and weighing all my food felt like a full time job. But the instructor who helped me was amazing! She would reach out to me to see how I was doing sticking to my calories and she was my biggest cheerleader when I started to lose the weight. 3 months later I am down 18lbs with 16lbs of that being fat. I have never had results like that in the past. 

Last but not least, another reason I love teaching Pilates is the community. The other 15 to Fit instructors are so knowledgeable and love to pass that knowledge along to new instructors as well as their clients. The clients come into classes happy, ready to work out and are so supportive of each other. We like to work hard but we also like to have fun.  It’s truly like a family!