by Emily Clark
Having been in the industry for close to a decade, owning Pilates studios in Hobart and having employed over 100 instructors (many of them Pilates instructors) and interviewed many many more than this we know the ins and outs of what it takes to become a Pilates instructor and perhaps more importantly what separates good Pilates instructors from great ones! An instructor who understands and has a passion for the human body and remains thirsty for knowledge to continue their own development is always who you want teaching you. Great instructors not only deliver members the best workouts in the safest way possible, but they build an authentic connection with every one of their members and really care about them. Their goals, desires, and achievements. A great Pilates instructor strives to deliver their members the best workout each and every session, ensuring they leave class feeling ten times better about themselves, walking better, feeling longer, leaner, stronger and emotionally more stable.
Embarking on your own journey as a Pilates instructor means finding and committing to a Pilates instructor course. It is the most rewarding career path and one that takes time and energy to perfect before hitting the floor as an instructor. If you have a passion for health and fitness and in particular Pilates and are looking for a way to escape the 9-5 and start doing something truly fulfilling then this article is for you. We’ve got the top 5 most commonly asked questions by those wanting to become a Pilates instructor and a short interview with Ema, who fell in love with the Reformer coming to classes and now has a Diploma of Pilates and is a regular instructor with us at The Studio HQ.
There are so many courses and training available it is hard to know which is the “right” one for you. Short answer… There is no right or wrong, it depends on the outcome you want, so ask yourself what sort of instructor do you want to be?
You can do a Diploma in Pilates that results in qualification to instruct Mat Pilates, Reformer Pilates, and Studio work. This course can take 12+ months but is one of the most in-depth courses you can do and gives you such an amazing depth of knowledge and a great start to being a successful instructor long term.
There are a number of 3 – 7 day courses for both Mat Pilates and Reformer Pilates. These give you an excellent understanding of the exercises taught in both styles of class and once you have completed the course you are qualified. However, from our experience, you’ll need a good mentor or coaching course to learn how to become an instructor and deliver the exercises either in a private, semi-private or small group setting. There is a skill in applying the repertoire to different bodies and movement types and you’ll definitely want to feel competent in this before instructing your first class.
2. Will I have enough time to complete the course?
If you want it you will find the time everyone has enough time in the day to complete the things that are important to them. Certainly, you will have to make sure this fits into your weekly structure, blocking out a certain amount of time per week (depending on your course) is a must. Most courses have a recommended study guide and have been designed so that each week is not overly time-consuming. We’ve found that with your own regular practice most courses need about 4-10 hours a week. Remember, you will only get out what you put in, and to become a good instructor you need to put in the time to learn anatomy, the exercises and develop your instructing skill. We have helped loads of full-time workers as well as mums who have found the time to complete their courses around their other weekly obligations.
Everyone learns differently and finds their own way to develop this skill. We highly recommend getting to as many classes as possible to learn how other instructors are doing it, find someone who is already qualified to practice with, teach family friends anyone who will listen. Most importantly, find a studio who will look after you and mentor you with time and advice until you feel ready to instruct. There is no fixed timeline to becoming an instructor we’ve watched people go from nothing to on the floor in a matter of 3 months and others who have taken 2 years. Find what works for you and work your way toward your passion.
Every course is different, most courses do not require any prerequisites, however, some do. Always check with the course provider, you may need to have some anatomy and physiology course work under your belt or some may require you to have a certificate 3 in fitness. Depending on the course you may even need to hold a current Pilates qualification before you can progress.
This depends on the type, of course, you have done. The number of Pilates studios is expanding rapidly so there is no shortage of work for qualified instructors and most health clubs and gyms have also started to offer small group mat and even reformer classes. Some people go out on their own and hire a community hall or park to take their own sessions (although check with your local council before taking classes as some do require a permit). The opportunities once you are qualified are truly limitless.
So many instructors have found themselves in a similar situation to you. Looking, hunting, searching for a career change and a move into something they feel truly passionate about. Whatever the reason that brought you here to seek more understanding on becoming a Pilates instructor, we sincerely hope you make this fulfilling jump and join others on their journey where they have found their true calling and a moment of happiness amongst a community of like-minded people!
Ema first started Pilates in 2015 to ‘mix up’ her own workouts, coming from a background in dance and having been an avid Barre student she immediately understood and fell in love with Pilates. She did her first short course in reformer Pilates in early 2016 and has since completed her Diploma of Pilates in 2017/2018 and other specialist short courses. We sat down to chat all things Pilates with our much-loved instructor who has carved out her own style that offers functionality with a killer burn every workout.
Q: Why Pilates?
A: I have always favoured exercise that derives from the flow of movement. Pilates encompasses so many of the key elements I seek within a workout or practice that is inclusive but not limited to; strength, conditioning, endurance, mobility and coordination. All achieved through orchestrated, flowing movement and breath.
Q: What made you take the step to become an instructor?
A: After many years of practising it seemed a natural step for me to share the passion I felt for the method with others through becoming an instructor myself. I now have extensive training behind me, beautiful fellow instructors and mentors alongside me and many wonderful clients to-be in front of me.
Q: What is Pilates to you?
A: Pilates is my saving grace. For my body, my mind and my soul.
We have helped more than 50 people become instructors – learning how to instruct on the Mat, Reformer Pilates Machine or array of Studio Pilates equipment. We know it can be daunting trying to find the right information, google has it all and more!
Take your time to research, find the course length that works for you and enjoy the journey of learning and becoming someone who can help others find health and happiness.