Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Pilates Center - June 2017 trip

This time last week, I was completely submerged in the Pilates community in Boulder. How was that already a week ago! Naturally, I had to document and share all the details about my trip with you. It was a jam-packed schedule but so rewarding and fun, and I left feeling super motivated (and sore!) This will be a photo-heavy post, so let's just get to it!

The Pilates Center Boulder, CO
Grip socks: Toesox (in "Tiare") c/o | Leggings: Z by Zella

I decided to fly in on Wednesday night because I wanted to take some classes at the studio Thursday morning and none of the morning flights got me in early enough to do so. I worked a full day on Wednesday and went straight to the airport from the office. It made for a long day, but it was great to have 4 full days at the studio! I ended up staying at an Airbnb that was exactly 1.7 miles away from the studio. It was a one bedroom cottage located on a 2-acre property and was half the price of the hotels in the area. It had a country feel even though it was so close to the city!

Airbnb Cherryvale Rd Boulder, CO

Thursday, June 15th

I signed up for a group mat class at 10am on Thursday. I arrived at the studio just after 9am since I figured I needed to fill out new-client paperwork. It didn't take long to get through all that, but it's ok - I was able to just sit and observe one of the classes already in progress. That was the best thing about this studio! I need to have a certain amount of observation hours, and not all studios here at home are open to you just sitting and watching. Since so many trainees go through the program, the studio (instructors and clients) is used to observers. It was great to be able to watch without feeling like I was imposing.

Pilates reformer 100
Grip socks: Toesox (in "Rosie") c/o | Leggings: Zella

I also wanted to make sure I signed up for a private lesson. If you've never done Pilates before, or really, if you've never taken a private Pilates lesson before, you totally should! Each instructor is different and looks for different things in the body, so it's great to take privates from several people. You're always learning something new about yourself and how you can be even better! My private was with Debora and I loved it. The most important thing she taught me was about my exhale. My exhales were pretty contrived and didn't serve a purpose. By the end of the lesson, I could feel my core working more and more with each exhale, which is how it should be!

Floral romper outfit
Bag: Rebecca Minkoff Micro Moto Satchel | Romper: Band of Gypsies via Topshop | Sandals: American Eagle

Kellie was sweet enough to drive in from Denver to spend time with me! We had cocktails and apps at the Corner Bar and then shopped a few boutiques on Pearl Street before ultimately ending our night at Nordstrom Rack. It was the perfect little date, especially since we both went home with new shoes!! I found this perfect pair of blush espadrilles!

Friday, June 16th

The main purpose for the trip was to attend the live lectures. The program is set up so that people outside of Boulder and all over the world even, can enroll. Yes, I do need to do my final exams and such in Boulder, but all of the lectures are viewable online. Remote students are required to watch all of the lectures online, but we do have the option of flying to Boulder and seeing these same lectures live as well. I use the term "lectures" loosely. They're really live demonstrations of the exercises. Each exercise is explained in detail - the set up, choreography, how you can assist your client through each exercise, and how you could modify the exercise for those with special needs. In general, the exercises are presented in order of difficulty, so since I was watching weekend 4 (the last weekend of lectures), all of the exercises we learned were advanced.

Pilates teaser long box reformer, toesox
Tank: GapFit Breathe tie-back tank | Leggings: Z by Zella | Grip socks: Toesox (in "Tiare") c/o

The lectures started at 4pm on Friday, which gave me plenty of time in the morning to relax and recoup. I signed up for a 1pm advanced reformer class (which kicked my butt!) and then I observed two classes before the lectures began at 4pm. I cannot stress how awesome it was to see this content live and in person! I felt like I was able to retain a lot more, and it was so helpful hearing everyone's questions and commentary. It was also super helpful seeing the exercises demonstrated by different trainees who were at varying levels in the program.

Pilates longbox reformer Breaststroke

Saturday, June 17th

Saturday was my longest day at the studio! I had another advanced reformer class at 9am, I observed a tower class at 10am, and then I signed up for a teaching skills class at 11am. The teaching skills class was interesting! The emphasis was around being as concise with your cues and instructions while teaching. There were 6 of us in this class. One of us had to practice teach one exercise, except we had to have our backs turned towards the other trainees so we couldn't see what they were doing or how they were reacting to our cues. Usually when teaching, seeing how your clients are positioning themselves will prompt you to further clarify what you're trying to tell them to do. But if you can't see what they're doing, you only have one chance to get your words out and hope that it's clear! 

This was a challenging task, but I learned a lot. For example, I never realized that I said, "You're gonna grab the back of your right calf..." instead of simply saying, "Grab the back of your right calf..." When an exercise only has 5 repetitions, you don't have time to use superfluous words like this! I've taught a few classes since I've been back from Boulder and am suddenly super aware of how often I start my cues with those two words and now it's like nails on a chalkboard when I hear myself say it!!! Needless to say, I'm working on it!

Pilates short box reformer open the hip
Tank: Fabletics | Leggings: Zella | Grip Socks: Toesox (in "Shimmy")

The exercises we learned during the lectures were on all of the various pieces of Pilates equipment - mat, reformer, cadillac, and chair. Chair is definitely a challenge for me and I took a leap by volunteering to be one of the 6 trainees demonstrating the exercises as they were being taught. There's really no better way of learning the exercise other than just doing them, as difficult as they may be! I wish I would have recorded myself as I was doing the exercises. It would be nice to watch it all again, and see how I progress with these exercises over time.

Sunday, June 18th

Pilates rowing on the mat

Sunday lectures went from 9am through 4pm, and I wasn't planning on working out at all this day. I was pleasantly surprised when Rachel said she would be teaching us a reformer workout, but on the mat. It was a quick 30 minute workout, but it felt good to move, even though I was ridiculously sore from the previous days! Having a dozen other trainees there with you doing the same workout was great motivation, too. And it felt like synchronized swimming at times! So fun!

Pilates barrel walkover
Tank: Old Navy (similar) | Leggings: Gap

The barrel is another piece of Pilates equipment that I don't spend enough time on. We learned a few advanced exercises on the barrel and Rachel let us split into groups and practice doing and assisting each other with these exercises. The photo above is of me doing the walkover. It starts with a backbend over the barrel, and then I scissor my legs over my head to come up to standing. I had never done this before, so I was a bit terrified, but I am glad I tried it! Helps build my confidence in myself and my abilities, and I definitely need that.

the Pilates center trainee program

Here is a group pic of all of us on Sunday, minus a couple of trainees who weren't able to stay until the end. Rachel is next to me in the front center. Rachel and her sister, Amy, are the two women who started The Pilates Center. They were trained by a woman named Romana, and Romana was taught by Joseph Pilates himself! How cool is that?!

Thankfully, I didn't have to go through the weekend by myself! This is me with Stephanie, and she owns The Pilates Barre Studio in Edwardsville, where I've been practicing and teaching. She is already certified through another program, but she is in the process of completing an advanced bridge program through The Pilates Center. Her program requirements are more demanding than the intermediate program I am completing, but some of the criteria is the same, like watching the lectures. I was happy to have her company and get to know her better! She was the one after all, who motivated me the most to take the plunge and get certified! 

And that is it!!! We flew home on Monday, so I had 4 full days to fill with Pilates! I wish I could have attended the other weekends also but unfortunately the timing didn't work out. The next time they offer weekends 1 and 2 will likely not happen until spring (and I should be done with the program by then!) That's not to say I wouldn't still attend because I do feel there is a huge value in doing so! We will see!

Thanks for reading and following along! I'm so sad it's over!!!


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  1. Your pilates certification journey sounds hard but so worth it, I wish you could teach me.


  2. What a cool weekend! So fun that you and Kellie got to meet up (again! I have to admit I'm jealous! LOL!). Also very cool that the teaching skills class heightened your awareness of some speech patterns! That definitely sounds like an effective and interesting class!
    Gina || On the Daily Express